And he spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub…
I. THERE ARE IN THE ECONOMY OF GOD, TERRIFIC FORCES FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF EVIL. The whirling globe of fire was but a symbol of the manifold elements that, through processes of pain, and it may be throes of agony, have punished and will punish sin. And very often those elements are just those that have been guiltily used by man. It was true of these Jews "that they had abused fire to maintain their gluttony, for fulness of bread was one of their sins; they burned incense to idols, and abused the altar fire which had been the greatest refreshing to their souls, and now even this fire kindled upon them." Thus, indeed, is it clearly taught in the prediction of Christ, "They that take the sword shall perish by the sword," that the implements of our evil become the engines of our punishment. And such engines have terrific force.
1. To avoid sin ourselves.
2. To believe in the final victory of goodness.
II. THE GREAT FORCES PROVIDED AGAINST EVIL WILL OFTEN BE USED BY THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF MAN. A man's hand was to scatter these coals of retribution. Thus it commonly is. As man is the tempter, so is man frequently the punisher of man. Chaldean armies are instruments of Divine righteousness. Human judges are often the swords of God: human revolutionists the vindicators of liberty against despots. It is for this hand sometimes to scatter the fires of retribution; but ever to scatter the fires of purification. The consuming of the sin — sin in thought, sin in feeling, sin in habit, rather than retribution, on the sinner, may perhaps be the higher and better teaching of this vision for all of us.
(Urijah R. Thomas.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight.
WEB: He spoke to the man clothed in linen, and said, Go in between the whirling [wheels], even under the cherub, and fill both your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city. He went in as I watched.