Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.
As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.
And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.— Ezekiel 1:4-29
Men, it takes the rest of the chapter for Ezekiel to express what he saw as the Lord approached him at the Chebar River while a captive in Babylonia. Repeatedly he uses the words “likeness of” as he struggles to express the wonder of what he saw.
A whirlwind of raging fire approached Ezekiel, and in it where 4 winged creatures, each over a wheel inside a wheel, and each wheel had eyes all around it. Each winged creature had 4 faces, 4 wings and their appearance was like burning fire. Above them was a crystal like form of platform. On the platform was a throne like sapphire stone and something like a man sat upon it. As the Spirit inclined, the wheels and winged creatures moved and it made a noise like rushing waters, or of the Almighty, or of a marching army. The man upon the Throne shone with the color of amber from His waist up, and from the waist down He appeared to be of fire and a great radiance like that of rainbows was all around Him.
Ezekiel fumbles for words to express an inexpressible wonder of power, glory, radiance, and awe as the Lord of Heaven came to earth to meet with him in His vision. A.W. Tozer wrote in “Knowledge of the Holy”, “What comes to mind when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.”
Ezekiel had been taught about God in preparation to serve as priest his whole life until the captivity. But nothing could prepare him for what He saw and experienced. Every preconception, ever traditional interpretation, every teaching about His likeness fell flat. Whatever pursuit he had for God, through His Word and in service fell flat. At once, Ezekiel was reduced to awe struck, paralyzing, sensory overload.
Jesus said, “to see Me is to see the Father”. So we have to ask, have we really “seen” Jesus? We see Him in pieces, but if we ever saw Him in the form of His glory as Ezekiel has, what would we then think of God?
Move forward men, questioning the insufficiency and error of our thoughts about the Most High.