October 25, 2017: Verse of the day

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12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!” 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake.[1]


12–13 The vision concludes with Ezekiel’s being raised up by the Spirit (v. 12; cf. 8:3; 11:1, 24; 43:5) and hearing a final benediction that assures him that he has witnessed a revelation of God’s glory (v. 13).

Ezekiel’s transportation is not a case of hypnotism, autosuggestion, or parapsychic bodily levitation. The text demonstrates that the transportation is in a vision, experienced under the compulsion of the Holy Spirit (cf. Edward J. Young, My Servants, the Prophets [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952], 182–87).[2]


12–13 The translocation of Ezekiel by the spirit is the first of a number of such experiences (see 8:3; 11:1, 24; 43:5; cf. 37:1). V 14 will continue the topic, but first the departure of the apparition is recorded, in terms of sounds heard. It is implied that it had stood stationary on the ground since the point of 1:15. The term כבוד יהוה “the glory of Yahweh,” which had been used in 1:28 to describe the enthroned divine figure, is evidently employed here as a literary shorthand to refer to the whole apparition. Its “standing place” (מקום) corresponds to the similar verb עמד “stand” in v 23 and to its use with reference to the stationary apparition in 1:21, 25. The noise is explained in v 13. The noise of the flapping wings corresponds to that heard in 1:24. Only here is there mention of the (squeaking, rumbling) noise of the wheels. Does it refer to a taxiing, as if along a runway, before takeoff? Strictly one expects the wheels to have been heard before the wings. Perhaps the louder noise is explained first, unless the wings flapped even when the apparition was moving on the ground. The stem רעשׁ, here rendered “pulsating sound,” is used of the noise of war chariots in Jer 47:3 and of their wheels in Nah 3:2.[3]


3:12 the Spirit lifted me up. Simultaneous events are being described: Ezekiel is being taken away, but at the same time the throne of the Lord is departing. There is ambiguity in the Hebrew ruakh: “Spirit” implies the divine spirit (see notes on 1:4 and 1:12) but, given the stormy setting, “wind” (ESV footnote) or the Spirit manifested in the form of wind is also possible. However, there is a tacit “transportation” here (see 3:15), and the parallels in 8:3 and 37:1 point toward this certainly being the divine Spirit in action in some form.

3:12 The empowering by the Spirit prefigures the role of the Spirit in Christ’s prophetic ministry (Luke 4:18), and then his empowering of gospel proclamation (Acts 1:8).

3:13 In the audience with God, the living creatures have been momentarily forgotten, but their movement brings them dramatically into focus once more.[4]


3:12 And the Spirit lifted me up See note on 2:2.

the sound of a great earthquake A theophany is often accompanied by sounds and storm imagery (compare Exod 19:18; Psa 68:8; Matt 27:54). See note on Ezek 1:4.[5]


3:12 Spirit lifted me up. Ezekiel more than once describes his visionary experiences in terms of transport by the Spirit (3:12, 14; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 40:1–3; 43:5). See 2 Kin. 2:11, 16; 2 Cor. 12:1, 2.[6]


3:12, 13 Blessed … from His place: This thunderous acclaim in praise of the living God came from His myriad of angelic armies (compare Is. 6:3). glory: The word suggests “weight” or “significance,” indicating the wonder, majesty, and worthiness of the living God.[7]


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eze 3:12–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] Alexander, R. H. (2010). Ezekiel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, p. 670). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Allen, L. C. (1998). Ezekiel 1–19 (Vol. 28, p. 43). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1505). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 3:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1147). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 961). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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