The Message

Ezekiel 1

Wheels Within Wheels, Like a Gyroscope

1When I was thirty years of age, I was living with the exiles on the Kebar River. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the sky opened up and I saw visions of God.

2-3 (It was the fifth day of the month in the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that God’s Word came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, on the banks of the Kebar River in the country of Babylon. God’s hand came upon him that day.)

4-9 I looked: I saw an immense dust storm come from the north, an immense cloud with lightning flashing from it, a huge ball of fire glowing like bronze. Within the fire were what looked like four creatures vibrant with life. Each had the form of a human being, but each also had four faces and four wings. Their legs were as sturdy and straight as columns, but their feet were hoofed like those of a calf and sparkled from the fire like burnished bronze. On all four sides under their wings they had human hands. All four had both faces and wings, with the wings touching one another. They turned neither one way nor the other; they went straight forward.

10-12 Their faces looked like this: In front a human face, on the right side the face of a lion, on the left the face of an ox, and in back the face of an eagle. So much for the faces. The wings were spread out with the tips of one pair touching the creature on either side; the other pair of wings covered its body. Each creature went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit went, they went. They didn’t turn as they went.

13-14 The four creatures looked like a blazing fire, or like fiery torches. Tongues of fire shot back and forth between the creatures, and out of the fire, bolts of lightning. The creatures flashed back and forth like strikes of lightning.

15-16 As I watched the four creatures, I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.

17-21 They went in any one of the four directions they faced, but straight, not veering off. The rims were immense, circled with eyes. When the living creatures went, the wheels went; when the living creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off. Wherever the spirit went, they went, the wheels sticking right with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures went, the wheels went; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; when the creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22-24 Over the heads of the living creatures was something like a dome, shimmering like a sky full of cut glass, vaulted over their heads. Under the dome one set of wings was extended toward the others, with another set of wings covering their bodies. When they moved I heard their wings—it was like the roar of a great waterfall, like the voice of The Strong God, like the noise of a battlefield. When they stopped, they folded their wings.

25-28 And then, as they stood with folded wings, there was a voice from above the dome over their heads. Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne, sky-blue like a sapphire, with a humanlike figure towering above the throne. From what I could see, from the waist up he looked like burnished bronze and from the waist down like a blazing fire. Brightness everywhere! The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day—that’s what it was like. It turned out to be the Glory of God!

When I saw all this, I fell to my knees, my face to the ground. Then I heard a voice.

New American Standard Bible

Ezekiel 1

The Vision of Four Figures

1Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw [a]visions of God. (On the fifth of the month [b]in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile, the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the Lord came upon him.)

As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. Each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight and [c]their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. 10 As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; [d]all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and [e]all four had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies. 12 And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went. 13 [f]In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, [g]like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was [h]flashing from the fire. 14 And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, [i]for each of the four of them. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like [j]sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if [k]one wheel were within another. 17 Whenever they [l]moved, they [m]moved in any of their four [n]directions without turning as they [o]moved. 18 As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about. 19 Whenever the living beings [p]moved, the wheels [q]moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. 20 Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction[r]. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living [s]beings was in the wheels. 21 Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living [t]beings was in the wheels.

Vision of Divine Glory

22 Now over the heads of the living [u]beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of [v]crystal, spread out over their heads. 23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward the other; each one also had two wings covering its body on the one side and on the other. 24 I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of [w]the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings. 25 And there came a voice from above the expanse that was over their heads; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings.

26 Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like [x]lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. 27 Then I [y]noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like [z]glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow [aa]in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 1:1 Some ancient mss and versions read a vision
  2. Ezekiel 1:2 Lit it was
  3. Ezekiel 1:7 Lit the soles of their feet
  4. Ezekiel 1:10 Lit the four of them
  5. Ezekiel 1:10 Lit the four of them
  6. Ezekiel 1:13 So with some ancient versions; Heb as the likeness of the living beings
  7. Ezekiel 1:13 Lit like the appearance of
  8. Ezekiel 1:13 Lit coming out
  9. Ezekiel 1:15 Lit for his four faces
  10. Ezekiel 1:16 Lit the look of beryl
  11. Ezekiel 1:16 Lit the wheel in the midst of the wheel
  12. Ezekiel 1:17 Lit went
  13. Ezekiel 1:17 Lit went
  14. Ezekiel 1:17 Lit sides
  15. Ezekiel 1:17 Lit went
  16. Ezekiel 1:19 Lit went
  17. Ezekiel 1:19 Lit went
  18. Ezekiel 1:20 M.T. adds the spirit to go
  19. Ezekiel 1:20 M.T. reads being
  20. Ezekiel 1:21 M.T. reads being
  21. Ezekiel 1:22 So some ancient mss and versions; M.T. reads being
  22. Ezekiel 1:22 Or ice
  23. Ezekiel 1:24 Heb Shaddai
  24. Ezekiel 1:26 Heb eben-sappir
  25. Ezekiel 1:27 Lit saw
  26. Ezekiel 1:27 Or electrum
  27. Ezekiel 1:28 Lit which occurs in