EZEKIEL 1’S VISION OF STRANGE BEINGS AND A.N.E. THRONE ICONOGRAPHY (PLUS AND A MODERN VERSION OF IT)


13:14 We do have pictures – we have iconography and sculpture of the day of the period in which Ezekiel wrote. All of the elements in Ezekiel’s description are visible except one…

Taking a look at these pictures of Royal Thrones in the ancient Near Eastern world – again, from Syria, Palestine and of course Babylon – you can see that specifically they account for all of the elements in Ezekiel’s vision.

We have cherubim. We have cherubim with wings. We have deities, divine beings with four faces. We have situations where we get a throne that incorporates hooves and calves legs.

All of these elements drawn from Ezekiel 1 show up in what essentially are the pictures, the photographs of the day – iconography, sculptures, carvings, paintings.

We know what Ezekiel saw because we have this material, and it’s very important that we recognize the importance of reading Ezekiel again – in both a Babylonian and an Israelite context, with material known from the prophet’s own day and of course known by the original audience to which he was writing.

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So to an ancient Jew, it would be clear that what Ezekiel describes are ‘throne guardians’, and that he was in the presence of a divine royal sovereign. Cherubim are the Babylonian version (where Ezekiel was), Seraphim are the Egyptian version (where Isaiah was, with strong influence from Egypt).

Perhaps a modern retelling using ‘throne guardians’ from what we know from our own iconography – news media and movies – will help illustrate:

I gazed up and behold, a White Abode was descending from heaven. All around were attendants in black garments, their eyes concealed by obsidian, black vines coiling around their ears.

Day and night they chant “Roger, all clear, over” as they minister before the White Abode. None could approach its occupant, for the fiery red gaze of Watchers on every rooftop swept to and fro, and they pierced through any trespasser with their thunder and stinging darts.

And behold, a finger was thrust into my vision, and a voice like the sound of a thousand thunders rang out to me: “I want YOU, o son of man!

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2 Responses to “EZEKIEL 1’S VISION OF STRANGE BEINGS AND A.N.E. THRONE ICONOGRAPHY (PLUS AND A MODERN VERSION OF IT)”

  1. br.d Says:

    Wonderful artwork!!
    I have an idea for a cartoon on Calvinism – if someone is interested.
    It wouldn’t be the artist’s property. But I would want to have permission to use it.

  2. br.d Says:

    Woops. It WOULD be the artist’s property.
    But I would want to have permission to use it.

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