1 Now [when I was] in [my] thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was in the midst of captivity beside the river Chebar [in Babylonia], the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity,
3 The word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.(A)
4 As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud with a fire enveloping it and flashing continually; a brightness was about it and out of the midst of it there seemed to glow amber metal, out of the midst of the fire.
5 And out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures [or cherubim]. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man,
6 But each one had four faces and each one had four wings.
7 And their legs were straight legs, and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot, and they sparkled like burnished bronze.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides. And the four of them had their faces and their wings thus:
9 Their wings touched one another; they turned not when they went but went every one straight forward.
10 As for the [a]likeness of their faces, they each had the face of a man [in front], and each had the face of a lion on the right side and the face of an ox on the left side; the four also had the face of an eagle [at the back of their heads].(B)
11 Such were their faces. And their wings were stretched out upward [each creature had four wings]; two wings of each one were touching the [adjacent] wing of the creatures on either side of it, and [the remaining] two wings of each creature covered its body.
12 And they went every one straight forward; wherever the spirit would go, they went, and they turned not when they went.
13 In the midst of the living creatures there was what looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; the fire was bright and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14 And the living creatures darted back and forth like a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I was still looking at the living creatures, I saw one wheel upon the ground beside each of the living creatures with its four faces.
16 As to the appearance of the wheels and their construction: in appearance they gleamed like chrysolite; and the four were formed alike, and their construction work was as it were a wheel within a wheel.
17 When they went, they went in one of their four directions without turning [for they were faced that way].
18 As for their rims, they were so high that they were dreadful, and the four had their rims full of eyes round about.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20 Wherever the spirit went, the creatures went and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit or life of the [four living creatures acting as one] living creature was in the wheels.
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up high beside them, for the spirit or life of the [combined] living creature was in the wheels.
22 Over the head of the [combined] living creature there was the likeness of a firmament, looking like the terrible and awesome [dazzling of shining] crystal or ice stretched across the expanse of sky over their heads.
23 And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. Every living creature had two wings which covered its body on this side and two which covered it on that side.
24 And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, the sound of tumult like the noise of a host. When they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice above the firmament that was over their heads; when they stood, they let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne in appearance like a sapphire stone, and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with the appearance of a Man.(C)
27 From what had the appearance of His waist upward, I saw a lustre as it were glowing metal with the appearance of fire enclosed round about within it; and from the appearance of His waist downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness [of a halo] round about Him.
28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face and I heard a voice of One speaking.(D)
- Ezekiel 1:10 It is noteworthy that the four faces of the living creatures as here described are symbolic of “the four portraits of Jesus” as given in the four Gospels. Matthew represents our Lord as the King (the lion), Mark portrays Him as the Servant (the ox), Luke emphasizes His humanity (man), and John proclaims especially His deity (the eagle).
- Ezekiel 1:3 : I Kings 18:46; II Kings 3:15.
- Ezekiel 1:10 : Rev. 4:7.
- Ezekiel 1:26 : Phil. 2:5-8.
- Ezekiel 1:28 : Rev. 4:3.