The Glory of the Lord Moves Out of the Temple
I looked up and saw something that appeared to be a throne made out of lapis lazuli. It was above the huge space that was spread out over the heads of the cherubim. The Lord spoke to the man who was wearing linen clothes. He said, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from the fire that is among the cherubim. Scatter the coals over the city.” As I watched, he went in.
The cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in. A cloud filled the inner courtyard. Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim. It moved to the doorway of the temple. The cloud filled the temple. And the courtyard was full of the brightness of the glory of the Lord. The sound the wings of the cherubim made could be heard as far away as the outer courtyard. It was like the voice of the Mighty God when he speaks.
The Lord gave a command to the man who was dressed in linen clothes. He said, “Get some coals of fire from among the wheels. Take them from among the cherubim.” So the man went in and stood beside a wheel. Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand. He picked up some of the burning coals that were among the wheels. He handed them to the man who was wearing linen clothes. The man took them and left. I saw what looked like human hands. They were under the wings of the cherubim.
I looked up and saw four wheels beside the cherubim. One wheel was beside each of them. The wheels gleamed like topaz. All four of them looked alike. Each wheel appeared to be inside another wheel at right angles. The wheels could go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced. The wheels didn’t change their direction as the cherubim moved. The cherubim went in the direction their heads faced. They didn’t change their direction as they moved. Their whole bodies were completely covered with eyes. That included their backs, hands and wings. Their four wheels were covered with eyes too. I heard someone tell the wheels to start spinning around. Each of the cherubim had four faces. One face was the face of a cherub. The second was the face of a human being. The third was the face of a lion. And the fourth was an eagle’s face.
The cherubim rose from the ground. They were the same living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved. The cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground. As they did, the wheels didn’t leave their side. When the cherubim stood still, the wheels also stood still. When the cherubim rose, the wheels rose along with them. That’s because the spirits of the living creatures were in the wheels.
Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the doorway of the temple. It stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, they spread their wings. They rose from the ground. As they went, the wheels went along with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house. And the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
These were the same living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. I had seen them beneath the God of Israel. I realized that they were cherubim. Each one had four faces and four wings. Under their wings was what looked like human hands. Their faces looked the same as the ones I had seen by the Kebar River. Each of the cherubim went straight ahead.
The Lord’s Judgment of Jerusalem Is Certain
Then the Spirit of the Lord lifted me up. He brought me to the east gate of the Lord’s house. There were 25 men at the entrance of the gate. I saw Jaazaniah and Pelatiah among them. They were leaders of the people. Jaazaniah is the son of Azzur. Pelatiah is the son of Benaiah. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these men are making evil plans. They are giving bad advice to the city. They say, ‘Haven’t our houses just been built again? The city is like a pot used for cooking. And we are the meat in it.’ So prophesy against them. Prophesy, son of man.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me. He told me to tell them, “The Lord says, ‘You leaders in Israel, that is what you are saying. But I know what you are thinking. You have killed many people in this city. In fact, you have filled its streets with dead bodies.’
“So the Lord and King says, ‘The bodies you have thrown there are the meat. And the city is the cooking pot. But I will drive you out of it. You are afraid of the swords of war. But I will bring them against you,’ announces the Lord and King. ‘I will drive you out of the city. I will hand you over to outsiders. And I will punish you. You will be killed by swords. I will judge you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. This city will not be a pot for you. And you will not be the meat in it. I will judge you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. You have not obeyed my rules. You have not kept my laws. Instead, you have lived by the standards of the nations around you.’ ”
Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah, died as I was prophesying. Then I fell with my face toward the ground. I cried out in a loud voice. I said, “Lord and King, will you destroy all the Israelites who are still left alive?”
The Lord Will Bring His People Back Home
A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have spoken about you. They have spoken about the others the Babylonians have taken away. They have also spoken about all the other people of Israel. The people of Jerusalem have said, ‘Those people are far away from the Lord. This land was given to us. And it belongs to us.’
“So tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “I sent some of my people far away among the nations. I scattered them among the countries. But for a little while I have been their temple in the countries where they have gone.” ’
“Tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “I will gather you from the nations. I will bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered. I will give you back the land of Israel.” ’
“They will return to it. They will remove all its statues of evil gods. I hate those gods. I will give my people hearts that are completely committed to me. I will give them a new spirit that is faithful to me. I will remove their stubborn hearts from them. And I will give them hearts that obey me. Then they will follow my rules. They will be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people. And I will be their God. But some people have hearts that are committed to worshiping the statues of their evil gods. I hate those gods. Anything that happens to those people will be their own fault,” announces the Lord and King.
Then the cherubim spread their wings. The wheels were beside them. The glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the Lord went up from the city. It stopped above the Mount of Olives east of the city. The Spirit of God lifted me up. He took me to those who had been brought to Babylon as prisoners. These are the things that happened in the visions the Spirit gave me.
Then the visions I had seen were gone. I told my people everything the Lord had shown me.
Ezekiel Gives a Picture of What Will Happen
A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, you are living among people who refuse to obey me. They have eyes that can see. But they do not really see. They have ears that can hear. But they do not really hear. They refuse to obey me.
“Son of man, pack your belongings as if you were going on a long trip. Leave in the daytime. Let the people see you. Start out from where you are. Go to another place. Perhaps they will understand the meaning of what you are doing. But they will still refuse to obey me. Bring out your belongings packed for a long trip. Do this during the daytime. Let the people see you. Then in the evening, pretend you are being forced to leave home. Let the people see you. While the people are watching, dig through the mud bricks of your house. Then take your belongings out through the hole in the wall. Put them on your shoulder. Carry them out at sunset. Let the people see you. Cover your face so you can’t see the land. All of that will show the Israelites what is going to happen to them.”
So I did just as he commanded me. During the day I brought out my things as if I were going on a long trip. In the evening I dug through the wall of my house with my hands. At sunset I took my belongings out. I put them on my shoulders. The people watched what I was doing.
In the morning a message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, didn’t the Israelites ask you, ‘What are you doing?’ They always refuse to obey me.
“Tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “This prophecy is about Zedekiah, the prince in Jerusalem. It is also about all the Israelites who still live there.” ’ Tell them, ‘The things I’ve done are a picture of what’s going to happen to you.
“ ‘So what I’ve done will happen to you. You will be forced to leave home. You will be taken to Babylon as prisoners.’
“The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder and leave. He will do this at sunset. Someone will dig a hole in the city wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so he can’t see the land. I will spread out my net to catch him. He will be caught in my trap. I will bring him to Babylon. It is the land where the Chaldeans live. But he will not see it. He will die there. I will scatter to the winds all those around him. I will scatter his officials and all his troops. And I will chase them with a sword that is ready to strike them down.
“They will know that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the nations. I will send them to other countries. But I will spare a few of them. I will save them from war, hunger and plague. In those countries they will admit they have done all kinds of evil things. I hate those things. They will know that I am the Lord.”
A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, tremble with fear as you eat your food. Tremble as you drink your water. Speak to the people of the land. Say to them, ‘Here is what the Lord and King says. He says this about those who live in Jerusalem and Israel. “They will be worried as they eat their food. They will not have any hope as they drink their water. Their land will be stripped of everything in it because all those who live there are harming one another. The towns where people live will be completely destroyed. The land will become a dry and empty desert. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
The Lord’s Judgment Will Come Soon
A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, you have a proverb in the land of Israel. It says, ‘The days go by, and not even one vision comes true.’ Tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “I am going to put an end to this proverb. They will not use that saying in Israel anymore.” ’ Tell them, ‘The days are coming soon when every vision will come true. There will be no more false visions. People will no longer use magic to find out whether good things are going to happen in Israel. I am the Lord. So I will say what I want to. And it will come true when I want it to. In your days I will do everything I say I will. But you people always refuse to obey me,’ announces the Lord and King.”
A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision Ezekiel sees won’t come true for many years. He is prophesying about a time that is a long way off.’
“So tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “Everything I say will come true. It will happen when I want it to,” announces the Lord and King.’ ”