The cherubim in the Temple (Ezek 10:3-10:5)

“Now the cherubim

Were standing

On the south side

Of the house.

When the man went in,

A cloud filled

The inner court.

Then the glory of Yahweh

Rose up from the cherubim

To the threshold

Of the house.

The house was filled

With the cloud.

The court

Was full

Of the brightness

Of the glory

Of Yahweh.

The sound

Of the wings

Of the cherubim

Was heard

As far as the outer court,

Like the voice

Of God Almighty     

When he speaks.”

Once again, this is reminiscent of the vision in chapter 1. The cherubim in the Temple were surrounding the Holy of Holies on the south side of the Temple. The man in linen cloth with the writing case at his side went into the sanctuary as a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of Yahweh rose up from the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the Temple as in the last chapter. This glory of Yahweh was the real presence of God. The whole Temple was filled with a cloud, while the court was full of the brightness and glory of Yahweh. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, as in chapter 1. They sounded like the voice of God Almighty when he spoke.

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The man with the writing case at his side (Ezek 9:2-9:4)

“Among the executors

Was a man

Clothed in linen,

With a writing case

At his side.

They went in.

They stood beside

The bronze altar.

Now the glory

Of the God of Israel

Had gone up

From the cherubim

On which it rested

To the threshold

Of the house.

Yahweh called

To the man

Clothed in linen,

With the writing case

At his side.

Yahweh said to him.

‘Go through the city,

Through Jerusalem,

Put a mark

On the foreheads

Of those who sigh,

Of those who groan

Over all the abominations

That are committed in it.’”

Now a new character enters the scene. This man dressed in white linen with a writing case at his side was among the 6 executioners from the north. They were all standing at the bronze altar when the glory of the God of Israel left the cherubim where it was resting and went to the threshold of the house. Then Yahweh called to the man, who was clothed in linen, with the writing case at his side. Yahweh told him to go into Jerusalem. He was to find all the people who were sighing and groaning about all the abominations in town. He was to put a taw mark on their forehead, like a mini cross, since taw was the last consonant of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus he acted like the angel of death in the Passover story. He marked those who cared about the situation there, who might be spared.

The holy cry (Isa 6:3-6:4)

“One seraph called to another.

They said.

‘Holy,

Holy,

Holy

Is Yahweh of hosts!

The whole earth

Is full of his glory.’

The foundation pivots

On the thresholds

Shook at the voices

Of those who called.

The house was filled

With smoke.”

Now the seraphs cried out about the holiness of Yahweh, the Lord. The whole earth is full of his glory. This simple phrase of triple holiness became part of the introduction to the later Christian or Roman Catholic consecration at the Liturgy of the Eucharist with its famous “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.” Emphasizing the holiness of Yahweh was a major theme of the biblical writings. These voices were so strong that they shook the foundation pivots of the threshold to the Temple. On top of that, the whole Temple or house of Yahweh was filled with smoke.