Saturday, December 17, 2005

What was up with Ezekiel?

26 And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sapphire;e and seated above the likeness of a throne was something that seemed like a human form. 27Upward from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all around; and downward from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendor all around. 28Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendor all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.
When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.

Ezekiel,
chapter 1, The Vision of the Chariot

After reading Ezekiel's vision of the chariot recently, the obvious question occurred to me: How are we to understand his vision? I can think of a few reasonable choices:
  1. He didn't really see these visions, rather he was being metaphorical. He was using the common religious symbols of his time to make a point.
  2. He actually saw the images of the glory of God in his mind. Perhaps he consumed psychedelic drugs to achieve this.
  3. He was seeing an extraterrestrial UFO (some people actually believe this).
  4. He was insane.
It's hard to know exactly what the answer is, although, I have to admit the descriptions in his visions do creep me out a little. I wonder if the people living in his time thought it was perfectly normal? Maybe they were used to such descriptions. I'm not sure, because I don't see any of the other prophets being so descriptive of "God's glory".

8 Comments:

Blogger Orthoprax said...

Spinoza,

Yeah, I had this same question a few months ago.

http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/2005/06/ezekiels-vision.html

I tend to lean towards the chemical influence, though I suspect a strong imagination was also in play.

2:26 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

sorry for ripping off your post :)

I tend to agree with you that he was influenced by some psychedelic substance. Combine that with a vivid imagination, and popular religious imagery, and Ezekiel's visions are the result

However, it should be noted that he never says to see God directly, just the "glory of God". So it's possible he was just trying to describe God's projected image or something like that.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Ben Avuyah said...

Could of been the first album of psychadelic rock, that wasn't prophecy, it was lyrics.

But you forgot to add to your list the possibility of pious fraud. I am not saying that was the cause, but it should be considered.

Who was it who complained of, "the lying pen of scribes" ? I think it was Gedaliah...

4:54 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>But you forgot to add to your list the possibility of pious fraud

That's sort of included in the first option. I just said it in a nicer way

7:44 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Does anyone know if other religions around the same time as Ezekiel produced similar descriptions of visions? Oftentimes you can learn a lot by comparing similar types of writing.

I am pretty sure that the motif of winged man-figures is very common in the Sumerian/Babylonian culture.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous daat y said...

Before you make your'scientific' conclusions read Heschel's 'The Prophet-specifically the chapter differentiating prophesy from psychosis.

6:57 AM  
Blogger KiddushClubGuy said...

If he really existed, he was nothing more than a pre-historic Timothy Leary or Maharishi Yogi. Do you think maybe he wrote the original STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, someone else could have put it in to make him look bad. They didn't have bloggers or talk radio in those days, so the MSM could have made him look bad without anyone being the wiser. Anybody check the typeface? Where was Mary Mapes when this made it into print? Just asking.

2:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home