“This was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And I saw, and I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one that spoke. And he said to me: Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak to thee.And the spirit entered into me after that he spoke to me, and he set me upon my feet: and I heard him speaking to me,And saying: Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious people, that hath revolted from me, they, and their fathers, have transgressed my covenant even unto this day.And they to whom I send thee are children of a hard face, and of an obstinate heart: and thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord God:If so be they at least will hear, and if so be they will forbear, for they are a provoking house: and they shall know that there hath been a prophet in the midst of them.And thou, O son of man, fear not, neither be thou afraid of their words: for thou art among unbelievers and destroyers, and thou dwellest with scorpions. Fear not their words, neither be thou dismayed at their looks: for they are a provoking house. And thou shalt speak my words to them, if perhaps they will hear, and forbear: for they provoke me to anger. But thou, O son of man, hear all that I say to thee: and do not thou provoke me, as that house provoketh me: open thy mouth, and eat what I give thee. And I looked, and behold, a hand was sent to me, wherein was a book rolled up: and he spread it before me, and it was written within and without: and there were written in it lamentations, and canticles, and woe.” (Ezekiel 2:1-9)
Literal Sense: Ezekiel saw the likeness of God’s glory and was terrified, like Isaiah who had a similar experience with God (Isaiah 6). He then heard the voice of a heavenly figure who sent God’s spirit into him in order that he might be strengthened and prepared to hear the message he was to deliver. The heavenly figure instructed Ezekiel to speak to the people of Israel, who were a rebellious people, and warn them of their transgressions against God. The heavenly figure then made Ezekiel consume the book he saw in his vision (Ezekiel 3).
Allegorical Sense: Three of the disciples saw the likeness of God’s glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:27-36) and they too were terrified. Like Ezekiel, these three disciples also heard the voice of a heavenly figure, God, after they beheld the likeness of His glory. As the spirit entered within Ezekiel, the Spirit entered into the Apostles at Pentecost. Ezekiel was instructed to speak to the rebellious people of Israel, and likewise the disciples were instructed to preach to the people of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). As the people in Ezekiel’s day were a stiff-necked people who were likely to reject the message, many of the people of Israel to whom the disciples preached were stiff-necked and rejected their message. As Ezekiel was instructed not to fear them, the disciples were instructed not to fear anyone (Luke 12:4). As Ezekiel was instructed to consume a book, so too, the disciples consumed God’s word and the Word Himself came to dwell within them.
Moral Sense: Like Ezekiel, we are to fear God and when we do so He sends us a heavenly figure, the Holy Spirit, for strength. We too have an obligation to speak to those who rebel against God, telling them about God’s love and warning them about His justice. As Ezekiel saw a scroll and was instructed to consume it (Ezekiel 3), we ought to consume every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, which are recorded for us in the Scriptures and have been passed down orally through the magisterium.
Anagogical Sense: Though Ezekiel could not behold the likeness of God’s glory, we will one day be able to behold God’s glory in the beatific vision. There will come a day when we will not have to warn others about God’s justice and say “[k]now the Lord: for all shall know me [God] from the least to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:11). On that wonderful day we will no longer have to consume God’s word since we will be directly in the presence of the Word of God.