by John Greene
“Arise, shine because your Light is come! The honor of YHWH beams over you! Certainly you see the wickedness that fills the land, the gloom of the people. YHWH beams over you, His honor gazes over you.” – Isaiah 60:1-2, direct translation
At various times, certain elements of YHWH’s people have gleamed brightly as a witness to people all around. It is the Father’s intention that His people in modern times gleam, giving a warning call to those that are spiritually asleep, to those that are distracted or misdirected. Over the age, YHWH has used His watchman. Today, spiritual watchmen are modern-day prophets that are willing to speak out when it isn’t popular, or even when speaking out is dangerous. Some professed watchmen have also fallen short because they have been misled by the world about them. Because of this, modern ‘prophets’ (as should be all disciples of Messiah) have some gleaming to do on understanding scripture, for this requires the mind of the Messiah and counsel with the Holy Spirit.
As Ezekiel starts his ministry, he sees what could only be called shocking by his description, a strange sight for someone used to looking at the world around him.
“It came to pass in my thirtieth year in the fourth or fifth month, as I was in the midst of the exile, by the river of Chebar. The heavens opened wide as I experienced the vision of Elohim in the fifth of the month this fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s exile. The matter of YHWH came especially to Ezekiel the priest, a son of Buzi in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. The open hand of YHWH came to pass there.
I saw, and behold, an angry storm came from out of the darkness, a great thunder cloud of fire mingling with a light encompassing it on every side. From out of the midst of fire came a fountain of amber and from out of the fountain the appearance of four living creatures. This appearance of theirs was the likeness of man, united with four faces and united in four corners of their prayer garments. They walked the straight way of endurance. The power of their walk was the power of sacrifice. They sparkled as polished bronze. The open hand of the power of man came from out of the bottom (tzitzit “a seat-seat” or kanaph) – often translated as wing in English) the corners of their prayer garments on the fourth part of four sides and the wings of their prayer garments.
Their corners (tzitzis – “sit-sis”) joined one to the other and did not surround them as they walked. They walked each one straight ahead (turn about them as they walked) in the likeness of each face for the four faces of man: the face of a lion on the right hand, the four had the face of an ox from out of the left hand and the four had the face of a bird of prey.” – Ezekiel 1:1-10, direct translation
By the description of Ezekiel, these living creatures were messengers that looked like men except that they had four faces. They were united in worship and praise for YHWH, walking in His track of righteousness through the power of sacrifice. Their witness sparkled as polished bronze. The open hand of the power of man describes these living creatures as men. They were wearing Jewish prayer garments that covered them. Their power came through their witness, their prayer covering from YHWH and their prayer. These living creatures are messengers of Elohim. Today, religion and religious imagery put wings on all kinds of “angelic creatures,” originally adopted from the religions of Babylon and Sumeria. These living creatures do not have wings for flying. To say they do is an assumption, as the actual Hebrew indicates something entirely different.
The prayer garment mentioned is the tallit. The tallit (“tal-eat”) is mentioned many times in the Bible, and is translated into several names in English – a garment, a robe, a cloak, a napkin, and a mantel. In Christianity, the understanding of this mantle is commonly lost, most often because of the attitude of the Catholic Church and the early Roman Empire against Judaism in the 3rd century. In Judaism, this prayer garment was a vital part of ritual practice. The truth is that the knowledge of these corners or wings (kanaph) of this portable “prayer closet” (instituted by Moses) are vital to the correct understanding of Jewish scripture. These messengers of YHWH were wearing prayer closets, tallits (“tal-iss”) (possibly ringed with knotted fringe) with tzitzis (“sit-sis”) on each corner.
Please allow me to explain a little further. The ‘wings,’ which are the corners of prayer garments, or tzitzis (“sit-sis”) are mentioned as a robe in Zechariah 8:23, a prophecy when men from the nations will take hold of one Jew by the hem of the robe and say ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.’ The corners are also referred to in I Samuel 15:27 when Saul caught hold of the hem of Samuel’s robe and tore it. The tallit (tal-eat) is mentioned as a cloak in II Kings 2:13 when Elisha picked up the “mantle” that had fallen from Elijah when he was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. This same understanding of the tallit (tal-eat) is required in Luke 8:43 regarding the woman with the issue of blood. She touched the cloak of Yahshua [Jesus] and was immediately healed. Psalm 17:8 shows YHWH wearing a tallit (tal-eat) as He tends after the needs of His people. In Revelation 19:16, Yahshua [Jesus] wore a robe or tallit (tal-eat), and on His thigh was written: SOVEREIGN OF SOVEREIGNS AND MASTER OF MASTERS. The four living creatures of YHWH’s are part of a spiritual threshing machine that operate in the vision of Ezekiel are also explained in detail in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 4:7, the four living creatures have tallits (tal-iss) with tzitzis (sit-sis) on the corners as well. The 24 elders wear these tallits (tal-iss) in white. Most of the images that you see handed down through Christianity that portrays these scriptures are wrong because they don’t contain any Jewish understanding, so what you see are mostly elements of confusion and conjecture.
The faces of the living creatures are as the character of the men (the ideal character of man) that carry the Word of the living Elohim [YHWH] to the nations. The corners of their tallits (through prayer) complete their work of YHWH’s judgment on the threshing floor of life, initiated by the decision of Adam. It is said that a lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, a hallmark of the unwearied task required that YHWH’s messengers have to do, in this day through Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah and the “Set-Apart” Holy Spirit. (1 Peter 1:14-16, 2:9; Romans 12:1-2; Psalm 4:3) An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring height. These divine messengers of Elohim have the understanding of a man that carries out YHWH’s work through His Spirit. They adhere to and advertise only the Word of Elohim, looking only at the face of Yahshua [Jesus] in this age. Their work is further described as they lift their arms in praise to YHWH.
“Their faces and the corners of their prayer garments were stretched overhead. Two of each one joined each man. Two clothed their bodies. They walked each one straight forward, which there, the Spirit came to pass, to walk where they went. They did not turn about where they walked. The likeness of the living creatures appeared as kindling embers of fire, the appearance of a torch. The Spirit went to and fro (walked) between the living creatures. The fire was bright and from out of the fire sprang gleaming lightnings. The living creatures ran and returned (delighted in restoring and repenting), as the appearance of gleaming lightnings. I saw the living creatures and look! A united threshing wheel in the land joined the living creatures, each with four faces.” – Ezekiel 1:11-15, direct translation
These living creatures were posted in all directions with their arms lifted high in praise. As they praised they viewed the corners of the earth to carry out the harvest of YHWH, the judgment of the world, of each man and woman that lives. The unique throne is the Word of YHWH. Below the throne is a threshing device to separate the wheat from the tares, the grain from the sheaves. This wheel in Hebrew is “ophan,” a threshing wheel. In Proverbs 20:26, YHWH brings the threshing wheel of judgment. He brings the threshing wheel over all, threshing all in his zeal, as the wheel does the grain on the threshing floor. On the threshing floor the grain was separated from its husks. The grain was separated by action of the oxen trampling and bringing a rough-shod wheel or grain-board over them. In this way, in the vision of Ezekiel, YHWH’s people are harvested, judged by the fruits of their lives. Once the grain is separated by the threshing wheel, the winnowing fork is used to separate the grain from the chaff and weed seeds. (Matthew 5:16; Proverbs 20:24-30, 22:26; Isaiah 28:27-28; Exodus 14:25; “YHWH’s Threshing Floor“)
“The appearance of the threshing wheels and their labors are a fountain of beryl, the four united in one likeness. Their likeness and their labors were coming to pass as a threshing wheel in the center of a threshing wheel. They walked, having charge of their four sides, not turning about as they went. The circle was exceedingly high and the curve was pregnant, a fountain encircling the four. (pregnant=full) Where the living creatures went, the threshing wheels went beside them. When the living creatures were lifted up from out of the land, the threshing wheels were lifted up. Wherever the Spirit continued to go walked their Spirit and their threshing wheels were lifted up along with them, for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the threshing wheels. When they walked they walked and when they stood, they stood. They were lifted up from out of the land, the threshing wheels lifted along with them for the Spirit of the living creatures were in the threshing wheels.” – Ezekiel 1:16-21, direct translation
“The steps of a man are from YHWH; What does a man know about his own way? It is a snare for a man to say rashly, “It is set-apart,” and only later to reconsider his vows. A wise sovereign winnows out the wrong, and turns the wheel over them. The spirit of a man is the lamp of YHWH, searching all his inmost parts. Kindness and truth watch over the sovereign, And he shall support his throne by kindness.” – Proverbs 20:24-28, ISR98
We can see from Proverbs that divine wisdom threshes out corruption from all matters in life in the same that a worldly king might thresh out what he sees as corruption and rebellion. It’s an act of separation. Mercy and truth always preserve the righteous through loving kindness grounded in your covenant with YHWH. While mankind is threshed as wheat or grain, often rather violently as a result of spiritual warfare in life, as well as the condition of the human heart, threshing is simply one step that doesn’t go on forever. (Matthew 13:40-43) Your life and how you react to others around you is your threshing floor. (“YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “YHWH’s Faithful: Victory in Spiritual Battle“)
“For the black cummin (“coo-men”) is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin;
But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick,
And the cummin with a rod.
Bread flour must be ground;
Therefore he does not thresh it forever,
Break it with his cartwheel,
Or crush it with his horsemen.” – Isaiah 28:27-28
Ezekiel describes the heavens, the expanse overhead as dreadful crystal, an overwhelming sight of majesty. The purpose of these messengers is one of salvation, praising YHWH in the heavens as the threshing work goes on. Their praise, coupled with the praise of the messengers of heaven and the voice of YHWH are as one, in unity. The thundering voice of YHWH speaks to them through the power of the Holy Spirit as they listen to Him, signified when the living creatures lowered their hands, the extended corners of their prayer shawls. On the sapphire throne sits the Almighty, the sacrifice of YHWH and the Holy Spirit. YHWH’s Spirit pulses as fountains of polished brass that operate through His people, pregnant with the Word of the Father, the seed of His Word. The fire of the Holy Spirit encompasses the messengers of the Father, in a similar way to the description of the Second Coming of Yahshua [Jesus] as described in scripture. (Matthew 19:18-20, 24:14, 27-36, 25:31; Luke 17:22-30; Mark 13:26-27; Revelation 1:7) This track of righteousness is firmly set. (“How YHWH Marks His People“; “Breaking Free from Dirty Rags“)
“The likeness of the expanse over the heads of the living creatures appeared as dreadful crystal spread out over their heads from above. Below the expanse the corners of their garments were straight, one towards the other. Every one had two corners hidden on the side of their bodies. As they walked I discerned them: the voice of their wings (the sounds of praise), the sound of many waters, the voice of the Almighty, the sound of tumult as the voice of an army. They stood and let down the wings of their garments. There came to pass a voice from out of the expanse that was over their heads as they stood with their wings down. From out of the top of the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne with the countenance of a sapphire stone. Over the likeness of the throne was like the appearance of a man from out the top of the expanse. I saw a fountain of polished brass as the appearance of fire encompassing the house of Elohim from out of the beautiful countenance of his loins beneath and from out of the countenance of his loins downward I saw the appearance of fire shining in a circle, the appearance of the shooting light which comes to pass in the thunder cloud on a rainy day was the appearance of brightness round about.” – Ezekiel 1:22-28, direct translation
The captives of old Israel were under the rule of an earthly authoritarian government of that time. Their nation had been invaded and sacked as a result of the multitude of hardened hearts that were grounded in idolatry because the nation of His people had broken covenant. The people of this nation were being threshed. YHWH was still interested in saving those that were willing to listen. He knew their hearts, but also knew that a remnant would listen and return to Him for a witness to all around them as part of the winnowing process. In time, He promised to bring those that would listen out of the wilderness of captivity back into His land of promise through Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah. YHWH promises the same to all willing to listen into this age as their righteousness shines for Him. The Messiah shines as lightning in clouds on a rainy day described as the glory of YHWH. Ezekiel fell on his face and the Holy Spirit stood him on his feet, energizing him with a vital message of salvation.
“He had the appearance of the likeness of the glory of YHWH. I saw it and fell on my face, discerning a voice speaking, saying to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and listen. The Spirit came to me and spoke to me and as He spoke He stood me on my feet. I heard Him speak (to me), saying (to me) “Son of man, I send you to the sons of Israel, to a foreign nation of rebels. When do they rebel? They and their fathers transgress as far as this same day, hard-hearted to my face, sons of violent hearts. I send you to say this,” says Adonai YHWH. They won’t listen. They won’t desist because they are a house of rebellion, even though they know a prophet is in their midst. – Ezekiel 1:28-2:5, direct translation
YHWH calls His people today to the same purpose, which is the purpose of the Messiah that He has called His people to do. (Matthew 28:18-20) Is each one willing to witness to both ‘religious’ and ‘unreligious’ rebels that would rather bathe in nationalism or in the worship of their own gods? (Matthew 22:1-14) Today, disciples of Messiah carry the Truth of YHWH and a witness is given to everyone, as it has through time, but few are chosen. A remnant truly responds to His righteousness. The evidence of this witness will be without refutation. The decision and end result is a matter of heart condition. (Luke 8:4-21) Just as Ezekiel was told not to fear, Elohim’s people over the ages have been told the same, to have confidence in the Messiah and the power of YHWH. Followers of Yahshua [Jesus] cannot be like the house of rebels, the venomous scorpions that they give witness to in line with Bible prophecy. (Isaiah 1:4; Luke 10:19) The life course and decision of each person is judged in the light of these messengers to the ends of the earth through the threshing floor of YHWH. (Luke 10:19)
“You, son of man, do not fear. Do not fear their judgment because thistles and thorns are near or you dwell among scorpions. Do not fear their judgment, nor be discouraged from their countenance though they are a house of rebels. You speak my judgment to them whether they listen or whether they desist, for they are rebellious. You, son of man, hear me and what I say to you. Don’t come to be rebellious like that house of rebels. Open your mouth. You eat what I give you. I looked and saw His open hand reach to me. I saw a volume of a scroll. He spread it in front of me. It was written on the front and the back, the inscription of lamentations, mourning and woe.” – Ezekiel 2:6-10, direct translation
Like Ezekiel, disciples of the Messiah are to consume, to take fully to heart what the scripture and witness of Elohim gives us. (Psalm 81:10, 119:103; Jeremiah 15:16; Revelation 10:9-11) When your mind and heart are in line with YHWH, abiding in His love, what He commands you to consume as you walk on His track of righteousness, is sweet. When you operate in His Will, your Heavenly Father gives you strength, even when His Will is difficult to follow. In the eyes the world, this Word of Elohim is a sour message of lamentation, mourning and woe. (Hebrews 4:12; “Disciple o f Messiah: Live Your Belief“)
“He said, ‘Son of man, you eat what you find. You eat this volume. Go speak to the house of Israel.’ I opened my mouth wide and ate that scroll. He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat and fill your belly and bowels with this scroll that I give you.’ I did eat and it was like sweet honey in my mouth. He said to me, ‘Son of man, go abide among the house of Israel and speak my judgment to them. For you aren’t sent to a people of strange language or difficult tongue, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of strange speech or difficult tongue whose words you can’t understand. The house of Israel will not listen to you, for they won’t listen to me because the whole of the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted (stiff of head and heart). See, I Myself have made your face strong against their faces, and your mind strong and their minds. As a thorn harder than stone have I made your mind. Fear them not, nor be dismayed by the looks of their faces. Certainly they are a rebellious house.’” – Ezekiel 3:1-9, direct translation
When I read this account of the scroll, what springs to mind is the mezuzah, a piece of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) Instead of putting this vital message on your doorpost though, you live YHWH’s Word in life in your mind and heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the same way, each one that takes the message to heart will be spared. You empty your mind of the world by gaining spiritual maturity as a new man through the Holy Spirit, consuming the Word of YHWH and keeping yourself filled with it, receiving a deeper understanding over time. (Luke 9:44; 1 Timothy 4:15; 1 Corinthians 2:13) All His messengers praise Him. (Acts 4:20; Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3)
“He charged me, ‘Son of man, all my words that I speak to you, receive in your heart and hear with your ears. Walk and enter near to the captives, to the sons of your people. Answer and declare to them like this,’ says Adonai YHWH, ‘whether they understand or whether they walk away.’ The Spirit lifted me and I understood behind me a voice of great uproar, ‘Praise the splendor of YHWH from out of this place.’ The sound of the lifted hands of the living creatures that touched one another and the sound of the threshing wheels nearby were a noise of great quaking. The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I walked in bitterness of spirit though the open hand of YHWH was strong upon me.” – Ezekiel 3:10-14, direct translation
Ezekiel was to listen and discern what he was told. (Psalm 10:17; Proverbs 16:1) He was to tell others what he had been told as a watchman alerts the sleeping town beneath him. In the vision of Ezekiel, the sound of praise to the ends of the earth was as a great quaking. Even though a message of judgment is bitter, the power of YHWH is strong on His people that act as watchmen, as prophets to the world. At this point, we learn a great truth that is reflected through Messiah. Salvation is personal rather than a group activity or benefit. It required commitment and action. Salvation requires persistence. We either understand or walk away. Everyone has the same choice, determining their future on YHWH’s threshing floor. The enormity of the task overwhelmed Ezekiel. Disciples of the Messiah have the intimacy of the Holy Spirit to help them, the mark of Elohim’s people through Yahshua [Jesus]. (“Are You Building With Sand?“; “Are You Rejecting YHWH’s Holy Spirit?“)
“I went to the captives at Tel Aviv that dwelled by the river Chebar. I dwelled where they dwelled, and sat there bewildered among them for seven days. It came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of YHWH came to me saying, ‘Son of man, I have charged you as a watchman to the house of Israel. Consider the word from out of my mouth, giving them warning from Me. When I challenge the wicked that they will die and you do not warn them, nor speak to warm the wicked about the course of their lives of wickedness, to save them, the wicked will die. If you warn a wicked one and he don’t turn from out of his iniquity or wicked course of life, he will die in his fault. You have saved your soul. A righteous man that turns from out of his righteousness and commits iniquity lays a stumbling block in front of him and he will die for his offense. The righteousness he has done will not be counted. His blood is required of your hand. When you warn the righteous and the righteous does not sin. He does not sin but lives. He lives because of the warning and you have delivered your soul.’ The strong hand of YHWH continued there on me saying, ‘Rise and go to the plain. I will speak with you there.’ I rose and went to the plain. I saw the splendor of YHWH stood there as the splendor which I saw by the river Chebar. I fell on my face.” – Ezekiel 3:15-23, direct translation
Ezekiel was learning to do more than to be a watchman for the Jewish exiles. It appears that old Israel had grown smug, full of national satisfaction, a kind of once-saved always-saved anything-goes attitude. Conduct, obedience and idolatry no longer mattered. Everything was masked in the humanism of false righteousness. In fact, according to YHWH’s message for Ezekiel, old Israel was worse than the nations round about them! A singular physical nation of YHWH’s people was now a failed experiment, proving that salvation was personal, an illustration of reality for all of mankind. The same Spirit of Elohim that was in the threshing wheels and living creatures (the messengers of YHWH) told Ezekiel to get in his quiet place away from the exiles to his prayer closet at home, to prayerfully and carefully consider what he had learned. He would no longer be seen as a man of authority, he would be a man of silence. Only when YHWH spoke to Ezekiel would Ezekiel speak to others. YHWH wanted Ezekiel to learn to listen to Him, to be sensitive to His Spirit as he learned to be more spiritually mature. His being shut away would also protect Ezekiel from the violence of the people of old Israel. By being shut away instead of constantly in the public eye, his prophecies were more likely to receive more weight so that some would listen when he did speak. Ezekiel would draw his strength from YHWH alone and speak when he was told to do so. Ezekiel’s countrymen had been judged by their iniquity and Ezekiel would begin his real training in obedience. (“The Call of YHWH’s Watchman“; “Disciple: The Act of Being a Watchman“; “Discipleship in Messiah: You are a Spiritual Watchman“; “Are You a Christian First or Last?“)
“The Spirit came and set me on my feet. He spoke with me and said concerning me, ‘Go shut yourself in the midst of your home. Son of man, you see that they want to put restraints on you and bind you. Do not go out among them. Your tongue will hold fast to the inside of your mouth. You will be silent and not a man of authority. Certainly they are a house of rebellion. When I speak with you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, ‘Like this says Adonai YHWH,’ He who listens will listen. He that walks away will walk away. Certainly, they are a house of rebellion. – Ezekiel 3:24-27, direct translation
Modern thinking which has evolved over the ages has become a house of rebellion against YHWH. The Bible has many scriptural passages that are often considered as fantasy, as unidentified flying objects or as ancient aliens. The world is greatly amiss, just as religion is often amiss. This is mostly because they look at the words of the Bible that they are holding and imagine a scene in the mind based on the English text they read. The reader doesn’t often consider that these words are translated from a master text written in Hebrew from an ancient Jewish perspective. When you consider the original Hebrew and compare an English translation, you will notice some differences. The nuances of the original language are important and must be considered for a fair understanding.
In Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, a lot of conjecture and misunderstanding has occurred in understanding the supernatural visions of Bible prophets. Much of this is due to the corruption of Judaism through the influences of “Babylon,” as well as the creative mythologies and mysticism regarding angels and spiritual warfare, proffered through continued satanic influence. This satanic influence has continued through professed Christianity, and as a result, religious understanding regarding spiritual warfare has continued to be confused and mystified. The threshing on YHWH’s threshing floor continues and the winnowing is under way. In these last days, the Holy Spirit has opened understanding to some of those that believe and operate in YHWH’s Holy Spirit. In fact, much of what is described directly involves the operation and function of the “Set-Apart” Holy Spirit (Ruah ha’Qodesh). When the reader and seeker of scriptural truth recognize how the elements of scripture work together, the truth becomes more clear. (Matthew 3:7-12, 25:31-46; Luke 22:31-32; “Testing for YHWH’s Spirit“; “Abiding in Trust“; “The Unpardonable Sin“; “Understanding Sin“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“)
Instead of visualizing UFOs in the heavens or trying to divine an image of modern warfare machinery from scripture, an important image of the threshing action of YHWH’s Word has been missed for ages. We pretend that mankind has always progressed in an upward fashion where technology and lifestyle is concerned. That prejudice is shown in the understanding of the past. Even worse, in our conceit regarding technology and the history of mankind, modern thinking fails to take the advice of Solomon:
“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
As we study this account, we must understand that the real issue behind the confusion over scriptural text often involves a disconnect between Jewish life of the past and life as we see it today. It also involves politics of the past that diffused and confused the Word of Elohim, making it another gospel. In this case, the misunderstanding involves understanding YHWH’s threshing floor, a theme that repeats through scripture. This threshing floor represents the whole of the Father’s judgment in all matters of heaven and earth. The guidance of the Holy Spirit, along with the willingness to prayerfully read and discern the original language of scripture is important. The willingness of the Bible reader to consider a Jewish understanding of the past is an important part of pulling together the unity of scripture that the confusion of nations and religion has created over time. (“Christianity: A Crisis in Prayer & Spirit“; “Understanding Real Prosperity“)