Reflection on Ezekiel 1:1

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, when I was in the midst of the captives by the river Chobar, the heavens were opened, and I saw the visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)

Literal Sense: In this verse Ezekiel, also called the “Son of Man” (Ezekiel 2:1), on the thirtieth year and near a body of water, received a vision of God as the heavens were opened.

Allegorical Sense: When Christ, the “Son of Man” (Matthew 16:13) began his ministry, in his thirtieth year of age (Luke 3:23), he drew near to a body of water, the River Jordan, and “heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21) as he was baptized and God could be seen, in the form of a dove.  (This is essentially Origen’s interpretation of Ezekiel 1:1 as can be seen in Thomas P. Sheck, Origen Homilies on Ezekiel, Homily 1)

Moral Sense: As Ezekiel’s heart was open to receiving the word of God in a vision, we too should be open to receiving God’s word as he speaks to us in the Scriptures.

Anagogical Sense: As a result of heaven being opened for us in baptism, if we remain faithful, we too, like Ezekiel, will have a vision of God in the beatific vision.

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