Ezekiel Saw a Wheel

“…way up in the middle of the air…”

In the “good book”, famous for its peculiar tales of God’s prejudices and choosing favorite ones from all the variety and diversity in his creation, the character of Ezekiel is one of the most bizarre.   He is also regarded as one of the greater Hebrew “prophets.”  Ezekiel began his “prophetic” career during the later years of another prophet, Jeremiah (born c. 650 BCE).  Ezekiel was the son of Buzi, a priest, so Ezekiel’s youth was conditioned in a priestly environment, his father being a priest in the timeframe of Jehoiakin, 18th king of Judah (598-597 BCE).  Ezekiel therefore tended to be more fanatic than Jeremiah in regard to ritual practices of holiness than was Jeremiah who stressed moral behavior rather than strict ritual.

It was in this timeframe that Ezekiel was carried captive to Babylonia.  This was around eleven years before Jerusalem would be destroyed by Zedekiah and the bulk of Jews deported to Babylonia.  After years of exposure to Babylonian culture in which human and mixed animal composites were common motifs (bull with wings, for example), his visions were undoubtedly colored by such images.

While captive in Babylonia, Ezekiel became intimately familiar with the methodical study of astronomy.  This introduced him to how the story of Creation had once been explained with use of the revolving images that were imagined to be traced upon the various constellations during their yearly procession.  Thus the opening “vision” related by this prophet happened to rely upon Babylonian star knowledge (astronomy) to galvanize “the whole house of Israel.”  Consequently in the first chapter of Ezekiel, the prophet declares that a whirlwind out of the north (did he refer to his captivity?)  brought him an awareness (vision) of things to come.  By verse ten he descries the winged creatures he had seen.  Ezekiel declares, “As for the likeness of their faces, the four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side; and the four had the face of an ox on the left side; the four also had the face of and eagle.”

Wow! What an attention-grabbing array of “visions.”  And to further raise awe of the exiles the prophet declared after long elaboration of the “faces” that they also had wings.  “The four wings of the four living creatures” described by Ezekiel are actually coded references taken from the prehistory lessons of Creation which used four quarterly divisions of the heavens as study illustrations.  We still reference those quarterly divisions of the heavens today with zodiac symbols of Aquarius (man pouring water);  ox (bull), Taurus;  lion (Leo); and scorpion (eagle was the Hebrew symbol for Scorpio).  As Ezekiel says, “…and they went every one strait forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went” (1-12).  (The stars retain their course.)  By verse 15 he saw a wheel “…upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.”  And their “work” (the established positions of constellations) was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.” (1-16)

Among Ezekiel’s prophecies it is this “wheel within a wheel” vision which is probably most widely known, and this first of his visions is what is concentrated on here.  This is because it was this extreme composite of figures and symbols which openly reveal the connection with ancient astronomy teachings upon which the Jewish trinity concept came to be established.  From this the “incommunicable name” of the Supreme Being was theorized which contains three elements.  That theorized name thus contained 1) Yod, which is the letter of the phallus; 2) He, representing the passive or bearing forth principle (considered feminine) within that Being; 3) Yau, representing the will to create; and 4) the passive He principle was repeated again to signify the creative power as the initiator.  Thus the name of the Supreme Being was theorized to be Ya-he-vau-he, or Yahweh.  The Jewish trinity concept expanded upon Ezekiel’s “vision” with the  Hebrew letters transliterated as YHWH or JHVH (Yahweh or Jehovah).

In Ezekiel’s Trinity the “first person”, “Yod”, or primal power, was the All-Father–the”Let there be light” Creator.  The second “person” (the “He” part) was regarded to be the enthroned passive principle by which and through which all diverse and varied manifestations become active as Creation.  This second “person” was regarded as either androgynous (asexual) or the fertilized virginal Source through which all become made manifest.  The third “person”, or “Yah“, is the Life Principle (the will to bring forth), which in Genesis 1:2 is referred to as “the spirit upon the face of the waters.”   The “He” or passive bearing forth of this creative power was then repeated again, for it must attend and fulfill the will to create.  Interestingly, the Christian version of Trinity has never allowed this much “feminine” identity with Creator power.

The events of the Ezekiel’s accounts cover approximately twenty-one years.  In truth there was little definable or visionary mystery about Ezekiel’s means of communication with heaven.  As noted, each of these four symbolic divisions of the heavens as seen from Earth was defined in prehistory lessons which used constellations as illustrations for Creation/cosmology and life lessons.  To recount, the “Man” of Ezekiel’s earliest “vision” came from the opening of the ancient lessons on Creation which began with constellation Aquarius.  There a naked male figure (his back  toward the viewer) poured water from an urn held on his left shoulder.  The ox,  the second alleged “face” of Ezekiel’s vision, represents Taurus (the Bull); the lion-face refers to constellation Leo; and the Eagle was the Hebrew symbol for constellation Scorpius.  Each of these four major “face” constellation symbols had two companion constellations of progressive study.  With Aquarius, for example, was Pisces and Aries; lessons with Taurus were given with Gemini and Cancer; with Leo were Virgo and Libra; and with Scorpio were Sagittarius and Capricorn.

Ezekiel’s prophetic “calling” is said to have begun c. 593 BCE, and his prophecies revolved around the concept that the future of the “chosen people” (Judaic followers) was to be fulfilled by the Babylonian exiles.  His strongest influence upon Judaism was his “vision” of a sacred nation which would be raised above all others.  This, in turn, influenced the Messianic sermonizing which developed in later centuries.  Ezekiel’s prophecies marked the transformation of the prophetic period of Jewish people into the priestly period, which was then phased out with rabbis (my master) in the general timeframe of Herod (75 BCE – 4 BCE).

 

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