As the slaughter commences, the Lord’s palanquin arrives. Ezekiel learns that the living creatures that are underneath the crystal-blue throne are called cherubim. The Ark of the Covenant that sits in the middle of the temple is a representation of God’s throne on earth. The bottom is a golden chest that contains the two tablets of the Law given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, the budded staff of Aaron, and a golden jar of manna. The top surface of the ark is called the “mercy seat” and in front of it the high priest would sprinkle the blood of a bull and a goat with his finger. Above the mercy seat were golden images of cherubim, beings that looked like a man with wings. Their wings were spread over the top of the mercy seat so that they overshadowed it. The bizarre creatures he saw in his first vision with their four different faces and four wings are thus associated with God’s throne both in heaven and on earth.
God commands the angelic scribe to take burning coals that are in between the four cherubim of His throne and scatter some over the city. While the Babylonians certainly set fires to destroy Jerusalem when they conquered the city, these verses so that God was superintending the destruction at the same time.
The cloud that fills the temple shields Ezekiel from seeing the full glory of the Lord as He moves from the Holy Place to palanquin. Once He takes His place on this mobile throne, the cherubim and the whirling wheels convey the Lord away from the temple and the city. Of course, this being a vision, it is more of a symbolic act than a literal one, especially since God is present everywhere and therefore cannot “leave” a place.
Though You are infinite and overflow our minds, You condescend to us and give us the glimpses of Yourself that we are able to understand because it is good that we know You and love You.