Ezekiel 1, Psalm 46
We are told that Ezekiel receives his introductory vision in the fifth year of the exile of Jehoiachin. Remember, the book of Jeremiah ended with Jehoiachin being released from prison. Though roughly a contemporary of Jeremiah’s, Ezekiel's location, and thus his messages will be directed at a very different group of people. The year of this vision is 593 B.C. and we know that since Ezekiel was near the Chebar Canal. Though he already in Exile in the Babylon’s empire, he was not in the city of Babylon itself. This beginning vision is perplexing. To help, remember that Ezekiel speaks about his vision with phrases such as, “looked like”, “like”, and “appeared to be”. That means Ezekiel is doing his best to tell you how this vision struck him, not that he was literally looking at “burning coals” or a “vault” made of crystal. Ezekiel is doing his best to describe the indescribable. Ezekiel is witnessing the glory of God (Ezekiel 1:28) in the midst of a foreign land, far removed from the soon to be destroyed Temple of God. Ezekiel’s extended vision will remind Israel of the glory of the one they have abandoned, but also provide hope that the Lord of the whirlwind is greater than their oppressors. This opening chapter sets the stage for the priestly Ezekiel to emphasize the glory of God and the need to be Holy to approach such a wonderful Creator.