There are some crazy amazing situations that happen in the Bible. One, in particular, is Ezekiel’s wheel in a vision from God. We can read through this passage of Scripture and move on, or we can dive into what this bizarre vision of what Ezekiel’s wheel means.
What Is Ezekiel's Wheel in the Bible?
The book of Ezekiel is tucked away in the back of the Old Testament after Lamentations and before Daniel. Ezekiel was a priest of the Lord in Israel. The first chapter starts out with a vision given to Ezekiel from the Lord. In fact, the Bible says, “the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel" and “the hand of Lord was upon him” (Ezekiel 1:1-4). Ezekiel’s vision in verses 5-18 points towards the four creatures who we also see in Revelation 4. He goes into particular detail about a wheel in verses 15-21.
Ezekiel’s wheel in the vision was on the ground beside each of the four creatures. There were four wheels that sparkled like topaz and they would travel whichever way the four creatures were faced. The rims are described as “high and awesome” with eyes all around them. The wheels went where the creatures did, whether that was on the ground or above. The Bible describes the wheels as going where the spirit of the creatures went because the spirit was in the wheels. The spirit led the wheels (Ezekiel 1:15-21).
At the end of the chapter, Ezekiel shares, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (Ezekiel 1:28). The glory of God was revealed to this priest in a vision, and it was magnificent, to say the least.
In chapter 2 we see Ezekiel’s call to be a prophet to tell the people of Israel the message from the Lord. Ezekiel sees a hand and the hand gives him a scroll with the words of the message on it, front and back. Then amazingly Ezekiel eats the scroll, and it is as sweet as honey (Ezekiel 3). As the vision ends, we see Ezekiel’s wheel one more time when verse 13 says, “It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.”
What Does Ezekiel's Wheel Mean?
You might be thinking, what on earth does this mean? Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith from Bible Study Tools teaches us that the spirit and the wind are transposable in the wheels. She describes the whirlwind in verse 4 as connected with the movement of God. She shares that Bible scholars believe that the wheels reveal the omnipotence and omnipresence of the Lord.
The Editorial Staff and Film Critics of Bible Study Tools share, “Most Biblical scholars hold to the idea that the Spirit of God gave direction to the wheels through direct knowledge of and access to the will of God. The mobility of the wheels suggests the omnipresence of God; the eyes, His omniscience; and the elevated position, His omnipotence."
When I ponder a wheel, whether it is on a bicycle, car, or even a plane, I think about how a wheel moves the vehicle forward. The wheel enables the journey. Looking at the whole picture in what Ezekiel was being asked to do as a mouthpiece of God, we see Him being moved by the Spirit of God to share difficult messages to the Israelites. He experienced the power and glory of God before the Lord sent him to do His work. Ezekiel’s wheel is a symbol of moving forward with the presence of God. So often the Spirit is compared with the wind. As Ezekiel 1:4 teaches about the wheels moving with the wind, we can think about the Spirit of God resting on Ezekiel and propelling him forward into the work set before him.
Why Does God Sometimes Communicate to Us through Visions?
Although not always the case for everyone, the Lord sometimes will communicate to people through visions. At times, He chooses to do this to reveal salvation around the world. I have heard powerful stories of people in closed countries who have had dreams or visions that revealed Jesus as Lord and they gave their lives to Christ. Sometimes the Lord might use a vision to speak directly into a situation that we are going through or as means of encouragement in our faith. In this case, God used a vision to give Ezekiel goals and confidence in His working.
Many times, our visions may not come in the same way, but simply might be a dream within our hearts to glorify God in a certain way. Acknowledge that dream and bring it before the Lord in prayer and see how He might be prompting your heart to make an impact on your generation.
What Can We Learn from Ezekiel's Wheel?
Heather Riggleman from Crosswalk teaches us that in the time of exile when life was difficult for Ezekiel and the people, he had this vision from the Lord. She describes this moment as life-changing for him because he went from loathing to passionately following the Lord. He became a voice-piece to his people. Ezekiel grew in his confidence that God’s message would speak to them and provide comfort and victory regardless of what the people chose.
Ezekiel’s wheel shows us that when we are in challenging circumstances, our God has not forgotten us. He is always with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. On top of that wonderful promise, we also have the gift of knowing that if we surrender to Him and His Spirit, He can use us as His vessels to reveal Christ to others. We can find purpose in our pain. We can discover identity in exile. We can be filled up by the Spirit to live by the His ways and spread the love of Christ.
I do want to give a warning though that in the same ways the Lord works, the enemy copies. We need to always test the spirits and make sure that we use God’s Word as our anchor. We must take every thought captive to Christ. We might even think that we heard or saw something from the Lord, but it is vital that we confirm that before taking action on it or getting wrapped up in it.
John 4:1-3 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”
Ezekiel’s wheel encourages us that just as God’s Spirit moved through one man to share His message in the Old Testament, we each have been given the sweeter that honey message of the gospel of Jesus today. We have the gifting of the Holy Spirit at the moment when we accept Jesus into our hearts (Ephesians 1:13). The same Spirit, which rested on Ezekiel, now lives in us. We can move forward with our “wheels of faith,” confidently knowing that the Lord goes before us and we can share the good news with our generation.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and they have been married for over a year. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She has the joy of being the host of Her Many Hats podcast where she explores the many roles that women play while serving One God.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first published book on singleness. Emma also had the privilege of being a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com