This week we start our deeper study on Ezekiel, the crystallization-study of Ezekiel (part 1), and in particular we focus on Visions of God and the Unveiling of God’s Purpose and the Desire of His Heart.
Ezekiel chapter 1 is the deepest chapter in the Bible, and if you read it you may not understand it with your natural mind, but if you read it with an open spirit, unveiled heart, and the ministry of the age, you will receive visions after visions.
Toward the end of the chapter there’s a crystal clear expanse above which there’s a throne, and the One on the throne has the appearance of a man. The throne is of government, and the One on the throne is not merely God but also man.
On earth there are four living creatures who corporately have the appearance of a man. In Ezekiel 1 we see that, finally, God has something on earth that actually cooperates and moves in oneness with what He is doing in the heavens.
The Man on the throne has a corporate expression with the living creatures on earth, who are absolutely one, who can move with lightning speed, and who have corporately become the expression of the Man who is on the throne.
This is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26, the fulfillment of God’s intention in creating man. The fact that there’s a throne in the heaven and a corporate being on earth who expresses the Man on the throne shows us that in this chapter we have God’s governmental authority carried out through the living creatures on earth.
This is central to God in His economy: He wants to be expressed and represented on earth through a corporate person. With these four living creatures there’s a huge wheel, a wheel within the wheel, indicating the Lord’s unhindered move on the earth.
The entire chapter 1 in Ezekiel consummates with a rainbow, as the bright and radiant expression of the man on the throne. The consummation of our Christian life and the church life is a rainbow – we are becoming the “rainbow-city”, the New Jerusalem, shining out God’s faithfulness in this marvelous expression. Hallelujah!
For God to have such a corporate expression on earth moving with Him and expressing and representing Him, we need to have certain crucial and indispensable experiences, as indicated by the wind, the cloud, the fire, and the electrum.
Wow! How mysterious, how wonderful, how practical, and how glorious! I am looking forward to getting into the depths of Ezekiel 1 with the help of the ministry, having my being open to the Lord, so that I may receive something according to the present situation and grow in life to be built up with the saints into His corporate expression!
Being the Ezekiels of Today to have the Heavens Opened and See Visions of God
The first verse in Ezekiel is, “…the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God” (Ezek. 1:1). Seeing visions of God means having revelations of the spiritual, divine, and heavenly things, and this requires an open heaven.
We need to become, by the Lord’s organic salvation, persons of an open heaven, with a being unconditionally open to the Lord. We need to be those like Ezekiel, who are exercised to be one with the Lord, seek Him, and contact Him, so that we may have an open heaven and see visions of God.
Although the opening of the heavens and the giving of the visions altogether rest with God, there’s the side of our human cooperation: if there’s no persons on earth who have the characteristics of Ezekiel, the heavens will remain shut.
We need to be the Ezekiels of today, those who are open to the Lord, seeking the Lord, contacting the Lord, and being one with the Lord. If the Lord doesn’t gain such persons, He can’t open the heavens.
God is not arbitrary; He is sovereign, he decides when to open the heavens and what to reveal, but we need to be people today who are open to the Lord and qualified to receive visions of God. We need to tell the Lord,
Lord Jesus, I am willing to see whatever You want to show me. I am willing to hear anything You want to speak to me. I am willing for You to touch anything in my being, any aspect of my life, that will cause me to be more open to You! Amen! On my part, Lord, I am open to You! I exercise to be one spirit with You. I want to contact You and seek You. I pray that Your heart would be duplicated in my heart, so that I would be fully one with You!
Ezekiel was a unique person: if you read the book of Ezekiel you will realize that with this dear prophet there is nothing of the self, no self-interest or self-concern. Ezekiel was released from the prison of the self: he was in ecstasy, he stood outside of himself. He was a person whom the Spirit could lift out of himself.
We need to be touched by the Lord’s love and grace so that we truly, deeply, and earnestly care for something far greater than ourselves – we would care for God and His interest on earth.
Whatever God commanded Ezekiel to speak; dozens of times he spoke the Lord’s word, even at the cost of his life. He was made a sign to the people of Israel. The Lod required him to engage in certain mysterious actions outwardly for him to be a sign. God didn’t spare Ezekiel.
When God finds a man who is open to Him, one with Him, and not caring for himself, then God will not spare the natural feeling of that one, for He finally has a channel to express His thought, His feeling, His heart, His burden, and His interest. So whatever this requires, the Lord will require of him, and he will do it.
In Ezek. 24 we see that even his wife died, so that God would speak something to His people. Ezekiel paid a tremendous price to be a priest and a prophet and release the word of God. May we be those who are fully open to the Lord to be one with Him.
The opening of the heavens to Ezekiel was God’s special visitation. The heavens were also opened to Jacob (Gen. 28:11-17), to Jesus (Matt. 3:16-17), to Stephen (Acts 7:56), to Peter (10:11), and to John (Rev. 4:2; 19:11).
When the Lord returns, the heavens will be opened once again. It is such a great blessing for us as God’s children to have the heavens opened to us!
Lord Jesus, grant us to be the Ezekiels of today, those who are fully one with You and who don’t care for themselves but allow You to speak to us and through us. Lord, we want to be the channels for You to express Your thought, feeling, heart, burden, and interest. Touch us by Your love and grace that we may truly and deeply care for something greater than ourselves: God and His interest here on earth. Lord Jesus, we want to be fully one with You and open to You so that we may have the heavens opened and see visions of God!
Being Priests who Seek and Contact God, being Connected to the Heavens, to see Visions of God
Ezekiel stood in the position of a priest, one who was seeking God and contacting God, one who was connected to the heavens (Ezek. 1:3); therefore, the heavens were open to him, and the word of God came to him expressedly.
As believers in Christ we are a kingdom of priests, and we all need to be willing to respond at the speed of life at what the Spirit is doing.
Ezekiel was carrying out his priesthood in the spirit; he was serving God and fellowshipping with God, so that the heavens were opened, and he saw the glorious vision of God being life to man so that man could be built together (see Ezek. 1:4, 16; 40:1-48:35).
The situation in Ezekiel’s time was of captivity: the earth has been occupied by Satan, the people on earth were damaged by Satan, and the people of God were in captivity, with the result that the opens could not be opened to them.
However, among those in captivity there was one, a priest, who was seeking GOd and contacting Him, one who was connected to the heavens; this one was Ezekiel, and to this one the heavens were open, the heavens came down, and God’s heavenly things were seen by people on earth to be fulfilled on earth.
Ezekiel 1:3 speaks explicitly of “Ezekiel the priest.” As a priest Ezekiel was one who lived in the presence of God, serving God and being mingled with God. Ezekiel was this kind of person. Although he was in the land of captivity, he still lived in the presence of God and ministered before God. He was by the river Chebar, not in the holy temple, yet as a priest he looked to God, prayed to God, contacted God, fellowshipped with God, and waited for God. Because Ezekiel was such a person and contacted God in such a way, the heavens were opened to him, and he “saw visions of God” (v. 1). Witness Lee, Life-Study of Ezekiel, msg. 1
We need to function as priests as we grow in life, live as open vessels before the Lord, and contact Him every day; our attitude in our Christian life should be, Lord, I am open to whatever You want to say, any light You want to give, any direction from You, and anything You want to touch.
Ezekiel personally saw the visions, he personally spoke the word, but he was not individualistic in his spiritual function. Throughout the Bible, all those who saw visions of God were part of God’s people corporately.
There’s no such thing in the Bible as individual mystics alone in a cave in the desert or on the top of a mountain “alone with God”, cultivating spiritual experiences on their own.
Rather, what Ezekiel and the prophets saw was as part of God’s people and for God’s people (the same is true with Isaiah, Daniel, and the apostles).
The apostle John said, I am your companion, your brother in tribulation, kingdom, and endurance; even when he was over ninety years old he was ever new and fresh, and he was in spirit to see visions, which, as the Lord instructed him, he sent to the churches.
Seeing visions of God is not for our private spirituality but for God’s interest and for the benefit of His purpose.
Lord Jesus, thank You for making us a kingdom of priests to our God and Father. We want to stand on the position of a priest to seek You, contact You, and be connected to the heavens. We exercise our spirit to serve You and fellowship with You in spirit, so that we may have the heavens opened and see visions of God. Lord, grant us to have opened heavens to see visions of God for Your interest, for Your purpose, for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, msg. 1, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Ezekiel (1), msg. 1 (week 1), Visions of God and the Unveiling of God’s Purpose and the Desire of His Heart.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, in Thy presence silent I would be, / That in the inmost I to Thee may come; / I would not in my own way pray to Thee, / But let Thy prayer in me my prayer become. (Hymns #764)
# My every moment is to live unto You. / In everything dear Lord, / You must now break through. / I’m just a vessel, You’re my treasure within. / O Lord, keep spreading in my entire being. (Song on contacting the Lord)
# Take me Lord, and fill me with Your dear Self, / Till my whole being is one with You. / Lord, I’m willing to open to You / Every moment in my life; / Fully trusting You, to live Your dream / For Your rest and expression. / Beside You I have no one / In heaven or on the earth. / To You, dear Lord, I give my all. / I will not let You go. / Make Your desire my heart’s desire / For our goal, the New Jerusalem. (Song on being one with the Lord)