Ezekiel Chapter 1

1 On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year when I was with the exiles by the river Kebar, the heavens opened and I had visions from Yahweh.

2 On the fifth of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiakin) 3 the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Chal deans by the banks of the Kebar.

3 There the hand of Yahweh was upon me.

Ezekiel sees the Glory of Yahweh

4 I looked: a windstorm came from the north bringing a great cloud. A fiery light inside it lit up all around it, while at the center there was something like a glowing metal.

5 In the center were what ap peared to be four creatures with the same form;

6 but each had four faces and four wings.

7 Their legs were straight and their feet were like those of a calf, shin ing like polished bronze.

8 Under their wings (on their four sides) they had hu man hands. The wings of one

9 touched those of the other. Their faces did not turn as they advanced, because they were able to go forward in any of the four directions of their faces.

10 I saw they had human faces; but each one also had the face of a lion on the right, and on the left the face of an ox, and all four had the face of an eagle.

11 Their wings were spread up wards. Each had two wings meeting those of its neighbor and two co ver ing its body; having four faces they could advance in any of the four di rections.

12 Wherever the spirit would go, they went without turning as they advanced.

13 Between these creatures could be seen glowing coals like torches moving between them. The fire blazed and flashed from thunderbolts.

14 The creatures ran to and fro like thunderbolts.

15 While I looked at the creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each of them,

16 glittering as if made of chry solite. The four wheels had the same shape: indeed each was double �C two wheels placed crosswise,

17 so they could follow any of the four directions without turning as they went.

18 Their rims were lofty and looked terrifying, and the four of them were covered with eyes all the way round.

19 When the creatures moved forward the wheels moved along beside them and when the creatures rose from the ground the wheels rose, too.

20 Wherever the spirit was to go, there the creatures went and the wheels went with them for the spirit of the creatures was also in the wheels.

21 When the creatures moved forward they did, too, stopping when they stopped, rising above the ground when they did, for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels.

22 Over the heads of the creatures was a kind of platform; it looked like crystal.

23 Under the platform their wings were straight, one parallel to the other. (Each creature had two that covered its body).

24 I heard the noise of their wings when they moved, similar to the roar of many waters, similar to the voice of the Most High, the noise of a multitude or of a camp. When they were not moving they lowered their wings.

25 I heard a noise above the platform over their heads.

26 Above it was a throne resembling a sapphire and high on this throne was a figure similar to that of a man. Then I saw a light as of glowing bronze as if fire en veloped him

27 from his waist upwards. And from his waist downwards it was as if fire gave radiance around him.

28 The surrounding light was like a rainbow in the clouds after a day of rain. This vision was the likeness of Yah weh��s Glory. On seeing it I fell on my face and then I heard a voice speaking.


Comments Ezekiel, Chapter 1

• 1.1 The book begins with two different introductions. Nobody knows the meaning of the year thirty in the first verse. It may be a copyist��s mistake. The fifth year of Jehoiakin brings us to 594 before Christ.

There the hand of Yahweh was upon me (v. 3). This means that Ezekiel was drawn into ecstasy: as if having left his body, he mysteriously encountered God. He learned something of God��s mystery, received his mission and was transformed into another man.

• 4. A windstorm came from the north. Ezekiel was overwhelmed by the vivid images accom panying God��s words. We will find the vision of the Chariot of Yahweh again in chapter 10 where Yah weh is shown leaving his Temple in Jerusalem to live in Babylon among the exiles.

People of those days thought that their gods were confined to specific sanctuaries and places. Thus, the Jews exiled in Babylon, far from their homeland and their Temple where they could worship God, succumbed to despair. They felt that God had abandoned them and that only the people who stayed behind in their country enjoyed God��s care.

Precisely for that reason, Yahweh teaches Eze kiel that though he dwells in the temple of Je ru salem he is not less present in distant Babylon. Yahweh follows his people and dwells among them.

In a vision Ezekiel sees four creatures with four faces and four wings. This suggests �C in images of those times �C the greatness of God. In Chaldean palaces there were magnificent statues of fantastic beings called ��Cherubs�� combining features of the strongest of beings: humans, the eagle, the lion and the bull. Here, they become impetuous living creatures surrounding and protecting the mystery of God. The intersecting wheels moving in every direction show God��s action throughout the universe. They have eyes which see everything and are in constant movement. In Revelation 4, the apostle John will use images from this vision.

Above the creatures, was a kind of platform; it looked like crystal (v. 22). The rainbow and the transparent vault supporting the throne also suggest the mystery of Yahweh. The same is true of the fire where Yahweh alone can live and where everything which is not God is destroyed.

A figure similar to that of a man (v. 26). Having reached the most intimate part of God, the last image will be a figure of a human because God��s power comes from his mysterious and personal being in whose likeness the human being was created.