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[Wheel] > Fulfillment of Ezekiel's Prophecy of the Wheels

And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. ... Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. ... As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. ... As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. ... And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host:

Ezekiel 1:4ff (Spoke 4, Cycle 2)

Ezekiel's Vision by Weigel (1695)
Ezekiel's Vision (Weigel, 1695)
From This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window

Ezekiel's famous vision of the Divine Throne above the Four Living Creatures with their "wheels within wheels" contains all the elements of lightning, fire, a whirlwind, and great noise that typically attend the great revelations of God's Word. Indeed, Ezekiel said that the sound emanating from the wings of the Four Cherubim was as "the Voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech" (Ezek 1:24), which is, of course, an exact description of what we hear resounding from God's Holy Bible. It is the rolling thunder of God's Voice. The "noise of many waters" represents the many human voices of the prophets through whom God revealed His Word as well as the great cloud of witnesses that have been proclaiming it throughout the ensuing millennia (water typifies people, see Spoke 13, BW book pg 265). It is the "voice of speech, as the noise of an host" reverberating within and ringing out from the Wheel (Galgal) of God's Word like a Divine Bell summoning all who would know God.

Ezekiel stated the ultimate meaning of this vision at the end when he saw the "appearance of a man" – the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ – seated on His Throne above the Four Living Creatures and said "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD" (Ezek 1:28). This is the miracle of true prophecy; he saw the glory of God shining "in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6) six hundred years before His incarnation in Bethlehem (see Spoke 4, BW book pg 178).

Ezekiel later identified the Living Creatures as Cherubim, saying "This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubim" (Ezek 10:20). His reference to them as a single "living creature" signifies their profound unity. All four looked identical, and like the inseparable "wheel in the middle of a wheel" associated with each, they were intertwined as one for "their wings were joined one to another" (Ezek 1:9). The image of God enthroned above or between the cherubim originates in the design of the Mercy Seat that He revealed to Moses (Exo 25:18ff):

And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony [the prototypical Word of God, Spoke 2, BW book pg 136] that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

As discussed in Wings of Glory (Spoke 11, BW book pg 242), "cherub" is a Kaph KeyWord that is closely associated with many others such as kissey (throne), kasah (to cover), kanaph (wing), and kavod (glory). These supernatural creatures dwell in the presence of God and ceaselessly declare "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory (kavod)" (Isa 6:3). It was from between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat above the Ark of the Testimony (God's Word) that the Lord spoke with Moses (Num 7:89):

And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim: and he spake unto him.

This then became a standard image of God's dwelling place, as seen in many Scriptures:

  • So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubim: 1 Sam 4:4
  • And David went up ... to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it. 1 Chr 13:6
  • Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Ps 80:1
  • O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Isa 37:16

In Solomon's Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies, also known as the Davir (Oracle, 1 Kings 6:20), from the root davar which as a verb means to speak and as a noun denotes a word (Spoke 2, BW book pg 141). It was called the Davir because it was there that God spoke – gave His Word – from between the cherubim.

Various commentators from the earliest times in Church history have recognized Ezekiel's vision as a prophetic revelation of the detailed structure of the whole Bible, given many centuries before it was completed. The most obvious correspondence is between the Four Faces and the Four Gospels, as discussed on Spoke 4 (BW book pg 178). One of the earliest records of this interpretation is from Irenaeus (died 202 AD):

It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the "pillar and ground" of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. As also David says, when entreating His manifestation, "Thou that sittest between the cherubim, shine forth [Ps 80:1]."

Jerome (died 420 AD) said the same thing in his review of the New Testament:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Lord’s team of four, the true cherubim or store of knowledge. With them the whole body is full of eyes, they glitter as sparks, they run and return like lightning, their feet are straight feet, and lifted up, their backs also are winged, ready to fly in all directions. They hold together each by each and are interwoven one with another: like wheels within wheels they roll along and go whithersoever the breath of the Holy Spirit wafts them.

Though there has been some historical confusion as to which Face goes with which Gospel, there always has been broad agreement of the basic fact of the correspondence. Both follow a 3 . 1 pattern just like the space-time manifold discussed in relation to the Fourth Day (Spoke 4, BW book pg 169). The Four Faces divide into three that are earth-bound (Lion, Ox, Man) and one that flies in the heights of heaven (Eagle). This is directly analogous to the pattern of the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and the one "heavenly Gospel" of John (Eagle). Furthermore, the order of the Gospels corresponds precisely with that of the Four Faces revealed by God in the parallel vision of Revelation 4:

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like an ox, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

The Four Gospel Creatures - Lion, Ox, Man, EagleArthur Pink, in his enlightening book Why Four Gospels? This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window, noted that this passage "authenticates the arrangement of the four Gospels as we have them in our Bibles, evidencing the fact that their present order is of Divine arrangement as Rev 4:7 confirms!" (his emphasis). Pink also commented on the 3 . 1 pattern and described the correspondences pretty much as listed in the table, which also coheres with the general consensus amongst most Protestant scholars. This is the overwhelming wonder of the Bible Wheel; the profound integration of the Four Faces with the distinctive characteristics of each Gospel, as recognized by countless scholars, is identical to the distinctive characteristics reviewed in the Synopsis that are based on KeyWords revealed in the Alphabetic Verses! The Wheel is an astounding witness of the correct interpretation of Scripture. Everything mutually reinforces and confirms everything else and seamlessly coheres with the witness of countless Biblical scholars from ages past.

The 3 . 1 pattern also appears in the large-scale tri-radiant structure generated by the seven canonical divisions since it consists of three pairs of divisions aligned on the first two Cycles, and one Cycle, the third, that is an undivided whole. This also is reflected in Ezekiel's prophetic Temple with its three pairs of gates centered on the altar standing before the one door to the Holy of Holies (Spoke 4, BW book pg 180). The same pattern is seen yet again in the Seven Days of Creation which has three pairs of corresponding Days and one Day, the Sabbath, that is set apart. And all of this is united in the design of the sevenfold Menorah with its three pairs of branches symmetrically arrayed about one central lamp (BW book pg 49). It is this integration of the Menorah with the Wheel that reveals a second correlation between the Four Faces and the progressive structure of the whole body of Scripture:

Correlation of the Four Gospels/Cherubim with the divisions/branches of the Bible Wheel/Menorah
Full integration of the Gospels,
Cherubim, divisions of the Bible
Wheel, and the Menorah
  • Lion: Just as Matthew emphasizes the righteousness of the Law and the fulfillment of the Prophets, so the Lion corresponds to the Law and the Major Prophets (Divisions 1 . 4). This corresponds to the creation of Light and Light Bearers on the First and Fourth Days of Creation, for "The commandment is a lamp [light bearer], and the Law is light" (Prov 6:23). Note also "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" (Amos 3:8).
  • Ox: Just as Mark emphasizes the actions of Christ, so the Ox corresponds to Israel's historical actions as she ploughed through the Twelve OT History Books, which also were the central focus of the Twelve Minor Prophets (Divisions 2 . 5). Note that Division 2 begins with the parting of the waters of the Jordon River, just as the waters were divided on the Second Day and in the Second Book (Spoke 2, BW book pg 144).
  • Man: Just as Luke emphasizes the humanity and wisdom of Christ, so the Man corresponds to the Five Books of Wisdom and Five NT History Books (Divisions 3 . 6). This interweaves with everything we have seen concerning the creation of Man in the likeness of God on the Sixth Day, the Incarnation of God in the likeness of Man in the Sixth Division, and its reiteration on the Sixth Spoke (pgs 204, 206).
  • Eagle: Just as John is marked with the greatest density of the word faith in any Book of the Bible, and it contains the explicit declaration that "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29), so the Eagle corresponds to the 22 NT Epistles (Division 7) which is marked with the clarion call of NO WORKS, salvation is through faith alone. This corresponds exactly with the ultimate spiritual meaning of the Seventh Day of Creation, the Sabbath Rest (pg 49). It is through faith in the Son of God that we "overcome the world" (1 John 5:5) and soar like eagles into the heights of heaven to be with our Saviour God.

This new correlation reveals yet another level of the limitless depth of Divine Wisdom that God invested in the structure of His Holy Word. We have the full synergistic integration of the Seven Days of Creation, the Sevenfold Menorah, and the Seven Canonical Divisions with the Four Gospels and the Four Faces revealed in Ezekiel on Spoke 4 and in Revelation 4! This is an exceedingly dense and reiterative compounding of manifold symbolic elements, not unlike the Divine Synergy of the Four Symbols of the Circle, the Cross, the Alphabet, and the Number Seven discussed in Part I (BW book pg 52). The Four Faces therefore simultaneously represent two aspects of the Divine Word; one recognized since ancient times (the Four Gospels) and one newly revealed by the integration of the Wheel with the Menorah.

God enthroned amongst the Four CherubimThe differences between Ezekiel's vision and that of Revelation 4 are as important as their similarities. In Revelation, the Four Faces are separated and distributed amongst the Four Cherubim and the wheels are absent. These represent the Four Gospels in their traditional canonical order, and are listed by number as the first, second, third, and fourth. In contrast, Ezekiel reveals the Cherubim with Four Faces each. This signifies their composite unity – four aspects of one being. They simultaneously represent four aspects of the One Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word, and four aspects of His Bible, the Written Word, that reveals Him to us. Each stands beside a huge wheel that has another wheel within it. Scripture strongly emphasizes their unity with the Cherubim, twice stating that "the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels" (Ezek 1:20f). This unity is naturally displayed in the Wheel with the Four Faces distributed according to the 3 . 1 pattern of Ezekiel's Temple and the Bible Wheel the seven canonical divisions (see The Sevenfold Light of God's Word, BW book pg 47). This is why Scripture says that each wheel itself had Four Faces like the Cherubim (Ezek 1:15). It represents the full fourfold pattern of the entire unified Word of God – four aspects of one being – and so reveals God enthroned between the cherubim of His Holy Word! Recall also that the tri-radiant form of the Word of God is isomorphic to the tri-radiant form of Ezekiel's prophetic Temple where once again the eternal Lord is seen enthroned amongst the Cherubim. The whole Bible is a revelation of its True Author, the Almighty Lord of History !

Wheels within Wheels

Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl [bright gold/yellow]: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings [rims], they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

Ezekiel 1:15ff (Spoke 4, Cycle 2)

Related WordsThroughout most of Ezekiel's vision, the word translated as "wheel" is not galgal, but ophan. It is not until a later vision in Ezekiel 10:13 that the vision as a whole is declared to be the Galgal. The word ophan is from the root panah meaning "to turn" or "to look" which also is the root of the Pey KeyWord panim (face) as discussed at length on Spoke 17 (BW book pg 306). Its plural form ophanim differs from panim only by the initial Aleph (and the Vav which functions as a vowel). These words are closely related and they both play central roles in Ezekiel's vision. It is in the wheels (ophanim) and the Four Faces (Panim) of the Cherubim that God displays His character and glory. This is amplified by looking at ophan as a Hebrew Word Picture (BW book pg 115). Applying what we learned in the Synopsis of the Twenty-Two Spokes, we see Aleph as a symbol of God the Creator (Spoke 1, BW book pg 121), Pey as a symbol of the Face of God (Spoke 17, pg 307), and Nun as a symbol of Eternality (Spoke 14, BW book pg 271). Putting these ideas together into an English phrase, we see the vision of the ophanim as representing Divine Phenomena that reveal the Eternal Face of God, exactly as the text has been interpreted for millennia. The power of this root is such that cognates appear in many languages, most notably in Latin, Greek, and English words with similar meanings. Our word phenomenon is from the Latin phaenomenon This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window, which in turn is based on the Greek fainomenon (phainomenon), the root being phaino which means to shine, to appear, or to show forth. God used this word in His explanation of faith as a mode of cognition (knowing, understanding):

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (phaino). Hebrews 11:1ff (Spoke 14, Cycle 3, BW book pg 284)

God also used this word to describe the light of His Creative Word, saying "The light shineth (phaino) in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5), and again to describe the face of His Son, the Living Word, which blazes as "the sun shineth (phaino) in his strength" (Rev 1:16). He used this word again to describe the light of His glory that enlightens the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:23):

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine (phaino) in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

This is the light that shines throughout God's Written Word from beginning to end (BW book pg 51). It is the light of the Old and New Testaments, which have been understood as a "wheel within a wheel" since at least the sixth century when Saint Gregory the Great presented his Homilies on Ezekiel This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window (593 AD):

The wheel within the wheel is, as we said, the New Testament within the Old Testament, because what the Old Testament defined the New Testament showed forth. ... Therefore, the wheel is in the midst of a wheel because the New Testament is encompassed by the Old. And, as we have often said already, what the Old Testament promised the New showed forth, and what the one covertly announced the other openly proclaimed manifest. Therefore, the Old Testament is the prophecy of the New, and the New is the exposition of the Old.

First panel of Fra Angelico's 'Silver Closet'Gregory's explanation of the "wheel within a wheel" is identical to Augustine's poetic dictum "The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed." This understanding is found throughout the writings of the Church Fathers, and was graphically portrayed in the fifteenth century by Fra Angelico in his magnificent set of 32 panels called the Silver Closet (Armadio degli Argenti, 1455 AD). The first nine panels, shown in the image, begin with a representation of Ezekiel's Wheel. Each panel that follows has two banners quoting Scripture; the top banner quotes an Old Testament prophecy and the bottom banner quotes its fulfillment in the New. For example, the second panel shows the Annunciation when Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The top banner quotes Isaiah 7:14 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," and the bottom banner quotes its fulfillment in Luke 1:31 "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus." This is the purpose of the Silver Closet. The 31 panels that follow the Wheel exemplify how the Two Testaments interweave like a "wheel in the middle of a wheel." They demonstrate the reality of prophecy by telling the whole story of Christ from His Birth to His Ministry, His Death and His Resurrection through interlaced passages from the both Testaments. It is a magnificent piece of theological art. Here now is the first panel showing Ezekiel's Wheel as the Old and New Testaments:

Ezekiel's Wheels: First Panel of Fra Angelico's 'Silver Closet

The outer wheel represents the Old Testament by portraying twelve of its primary prophets. Moses sits in the top position, holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments. He is flanked by King David on his right and King Solomon on his left. Listed clockwise, we have Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Micah, Jonah, Joel, Malachi, Ezra, Daniel, and Isaac, the latter being the only Old Testament figure not known as a writer of Sacred Scripture. Angelico encircled the outer Wheel of the Old Testament with the Latin text of Genesis 1:1-5 This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window from the Vulgate:

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram terra autem erat inanis et vacua et tenebrae super faciem abyssi et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona et divisit lucem ac tenebras appellavitque lucem diem.

The inner wheel represents the New Testament. It portrays the Four Evangelists as a cross like the Four Cherubim around God's Throne. The top figure represents John, the bottom Luke, the right Mark, and the left Matthew. These four figures each hold a codex (bound book). In contrast, the other four prophets of the New Testament – Peter, Jude, James, Paul – are interspersed and portrayed with scrolls. Angelico encircled the Wheel of the New Testament with the Latin text of John 1:1-3 This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window from the Vulgate:

In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum. hoc erat in principio apud Deum. omnia per ipsum facta sunt et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est.

Angelico inscribed both wheels with text that begins with In principio (In the beginning) to show the unity of God's Creative Word as revealed in the Two Testaments. The figures at the bottom are the Prophet Ezekiel on the left and Saint Gregory on the right. The banner at the bottom reads "Flumen Cobar" (River Chebar), the place of the vision. The unrolled scroll in the upper left corner quotes the Latin text of Ezekiel that speaks of the Four Cherubim and their wheels. The unrolled scroll in the upper right corner quotes a fragment from one of Gregory's Homilies on Ezekiel. It picks up after the words in square brackets:

[Why is it that when one wheel was mentioned] a little later is added "as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel," unless that the New Testament lay hidden by allegory in the letter of the Old Testament? Hence also this same wheel which appeared by the sacred creatures is described as having four faces because Holy Scripture is divided into four parts through both Testaments. Indeed the Old Testament is divided into the Law and the Prophets, and truly the New into the Gospels and the Acts and Sayings of the Apostles.

Gregory's simplified fourfold division of the Bible closely mimics the more detailed sevenfold structure we discovered through its correlation with the Menorah (BW book pg 385, see above). In both cases, the Four Faces are associated with the canonical divisions of Scripture. Note also that a connection between the Numbers Four and Seven is implicit in the structure of the Ten Commandments where we find the Seventh Day Sabbath as the subject of the Fourth Commandment.

Fra Angelico's painting graphically illustrates the natural understanding of Ezekiel's vision that has appeared to be quite obvious, indeed, self-evident, to many commentators through-out much of Church history. Gregory's interpretation still held currency some eight centuries after he presented it in 593 AD. It has been lost to most modern scholars for three reasons. First, much of the writings from before the Reformation remain hidden in Latin, never having been translated into English. For example, Gregory's Homilies on Ezekiel were first translated into English in 1990. The second and more significant reason is the "demise" of the allegorical and typological methods of interpretation as discussed at length with regards to the Song of Songs (BW book pg 72). This has sealed off vast portions of the true meaning of Scripture from the view of contemporary scholarship. Such skepticism directly contradicts the common and correct methods of interpretation, as taught in Scripture, that have dominated traditional Biblical exegesis from the beginning. Gregory devoted over one hundred pages to his explanation of the relation between Ezekiel's vision and different aspects of both the Written and the Living Word of God. The great miracle is that it reads like a commentary on the Bible Wheel, written seventeen hundred years before it was revealed in 1995.

The third reason Ezekiel's vision has remained "enigmatic" is that there has never been a second witness to confirm the interpretation. The Bible Wheel solves that problem. In fact, it solves it abundantly, since there is yet a third group of witnesses that both confirm and amplify Ezekiel's vision as a revelation of the structure of God's Word. I speak of the series of visions – the Capstone Prophecies – given to the third and fourth chapters of Zechariah. It is to these we now turn.

Next article: The Fulfillment of Zechariah's Capstone Prophecies

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