Ezekiel 10

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Read Ezekiel 10

God’s Glory Departs From the Temple

10 I looked, and I saw the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli above the vault that was over the heads of the cherubim. The Lord said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in.

Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almightywhen he speaks.

When the Lord commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out. (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like human hands.)

I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like topaz. 10 As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel.11 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went. 12 Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels. 13 I heard the wheels being called “the whirling wheels.” 14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not leave their side. 17 When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them.

18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. 21 Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like human hands. 22 Their faces had the same appearance as those I had seen by the Kebar River. Each one went straight ahead.

Go Deeper

Ezekiel 10 is the continuation of the vision that began two chapters prior and what he sees is tragic. God commands the man clothed in linen to spread fire over the city as a sign of God’s judgment on them. However, what proceeds this command is God’s glory mounting on the Cherub and leaving the temple. Although the people seemed to get away with their wickedness for some time, God’s glory would not remain in the place His creation made a mockery of Him.

What is left to do now? Is God at last done with the wickedness of the Israelites? Has He left with no plan to return? This chapter serves as a reminder that all sin must be paid for, in hell forever, or on the cross by Jesus. The Israelites had forsaken God and the consequences were coming, it was just a matter of time. The temple built by Solomon where God had dwelled with people for decades would at once be empty of His presence. 

Yet, God in His kindness leaves critical details at the end of the chapter that describe His heart to pursue His wayward people and bring them home. Ezekiel 10:18-22 tells us God “stopped” at the entrance of the east gate. Why? As He is about to leave, He takes a final look knowing the destruction of the temple is coming. God’s heart breaks knowing they chose death over life. However, what God does next is not what we could have imagined. He heads east! 

Why does that matter? God’s presence heads east toward the exiles in Babylon and continues to pursue them. It was never about a temple built by human hands; it was about God choosing to dwell with them. As Paul said in Acts 17:24, “God does not live in temples made by man”. Like the cross, God’s glory leaving the temple seemed to be the end in real-time, but God was up to the unthinkable. His rescue mission was in full pursuit because of who He is. Ezekiel 10 serves as a clear reminder that our obedience does not change God’s love for us, but it does change how we experience His love for us.


  1. How do you see the threads of redemption in this text?
  2. What keeps you from obeying God as quickly and humbly as “the man clothed in linen” did (v. 2, v. 7)?
  3. What does Ezekiel 10 teach you about humanity’s temptation to believe that our sin “isn’t that bad”?

Pray This


Your Word is clear that our deepest need is Your presence. Help us to yield to Your Spirit in all ways and be obedient to Him. Rid us of any and every distraction and help us to be led by Your Spirit as Jesus was, for apart from You we can do nothing. 


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4 thoughts on “Ezekiel 10”

  1. Just reading the chapter title of the text in my copy of scripture gave me pause (and a few chills)—The Lord’s Glory Leaves the Temple. This is the very place God established with his people where he would meet with them. Clearly the message of all the images presented—blue sapphire, whirling wheels, live coals, cherubim, and the man in linen clothing—point to the nation’s repeated, unconfessed sins causing the the glory of God to depart. God’s perfect holiness has been denied and sins must be purged. The burning coals represent fire that would cleanse the heinous sins of the people. Hebrews 12:28-29 gives believers this charge, “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.”
    “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain he washed it white as snow.”

  2. Obedience. God demands it. They had let idols become their gods and God would not stand for His home to be defiled, so He left. He had plans for a great comeback BUT we can not let things, idols, take His place in the temple of our heart. He still will not stand for it. 1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? The end is drawing near and the wickedness will not and is not being tolerated.

    God thank You for showing me Your ways. Thank You for opening the eyes of my understanding. God help me to continue to cleanse the Your temple that is in my heart. Help me to be obedient, make my desire for You to be so much more consuming that it overtakes the worldly idols. Guide me, show me, make them known to me to get rid of them for Your Glory and honor in Jesus name amen.

  3. The Go Deeper commentary really helped me see elements of the passage I would not have picked up. Even in this sad and terrifying passage of God’s withdrawal, the cherubim stop at the gate. Even in the moment of punishment, God’s nature is one of patience, mercy and love. Thank you, LORD, that you are a God of second chances. Help us to cling to your mercy, manifest through Jesus, and to be Jonahs and John the Baptists telling those around us that there is yet time to repent and believe and that we know a God who is rich in mercy.

  4. 1.God’s glory depart
    2. God’s perfect Holiness demands judgment for sin.
    3. Burning coals represents purging of sin. 🔥
    4. Refusal to repent leads to destruction.
    5. The repeated failures of his people will not prevent God’s plan for the world from being fulfilled.

    Glory, hallelujah! Thank you Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit for Your Word, Your Sacrifice, Your Wisdom. May I forever hold hard these truths. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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