Ezekiel 3:12, ‘Blessed be the glory of YHWH from His place!’
These are the words declared by the four Cherubim who stand by the glittering wheels of the divine throne. Now, what does it mean to declare the glory of YHWH blessed from its place? The ‘from’ is expressed by the Greek εκ, and the Hebrew מן, both of which denote separation of some sort, and the Greek specifically being glossed as denoting ‘exit or emission out of—as separation from—something with which there has been a close connection.’ Now, I have not very often seen either of these prepositions used to mean ‘separated from’, usually I just translate them (I’m thinking especially εκ) ‘from’. However, if we allow them—again, especially εκ—to have the significance of ‘separation from that with which there has been a close connection’, then there really is something quite amazing to see here…we might translate it:
‘Blessed be the glory of YHWH separated from His place / coming out of His place’
If this is correct, then this declaration of the Cherubim places an emphasis on the wonder and uniqueness that YHWH’s throne—YHWH Himself in His glory—has come out from His place, out from His temple, and, indeed, out from His celestial abode, and has entered with His people into the land of their exile. Or said another way: the unique beauty (glory) of YHWH is that He comes out ‘from His place’ into the exile of His people.
The praise of the Cherubic throne-bearers of YHWH is specifically praise of YHWH’s glory as the one who departs from His place and enters into His people’s exile. THAT is the glory on display here in the descent of the throne into Babylon, but it will be supremely and climactically on display in YHWH’s descent into the flesh and blood of humanity, and supremely into their death and deserved hell, in the slain and risen Jesus Christ. YHWH’s glory ‘from His place’ here in Ezekiel 3 is an anticipation and expression of His supremely revealed glory as the one who comes ‘from His place’ into the true exile of sin and death and so establishes His cherubic chariot-throne on the Golgotha of our condemnation.
That—HE—is the unique glory of YHWH, the specific identity of the Lord, the unparalleled beauty of the Only True God….The Son of God who is the image and glory of God, descending from His place of splendor into the dust and ashes of sin and curse, suffering and death, punishment and condemnation….descending into this by choice (indeed in and as love) to gather His lost ones, to redeem His enslaved ones, to ransom His condemned ones—that is the glory of YHWH….that is the specific glory that the Cherubim declare, the glory of YHWH separated from His place…and that is the glory with which all of created reality will one day reverberate (Phil.2:9-11; Eph.1:10; Rev.5:13-14). Hallowed be His Name.