God gives Ezekiel visions
1 It was the 30th year. God spoke to me on the fifth day of the fourth month. I was among the prisoners from Judah at the side of the Kebar river. At that time the skies opened and I saw visions from God.
1:1This probably means that Ezekiel was 30 years old.
1:1The 4th month would be what we call June or July.
1:1King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken Israelite people from Jerusalem as prisoners. The Kebar river joined the Euphrates river at Babylon. It was big enough for large boats.
2 King Jehoiachin of Judah had been a prisoner in Babylon for five years. On the fifth day of the month, 3 the Lord spoke to Ezekiel, the priest. He was the son of Buzi. He was standing beside the River Kebar in Babylon. While Ezekiel was there, the Lord came to him with power.
1:3When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.
4 As I looked, I saw a great storm that was coming from the north. It was a large cloud, with bright lightning. Light shone all around the cloud. It was like a fire that had bright metal in the centre of it. 5 I could see something like four living things in the middle of the fire. Each of them had the shape of a human. 6 But each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight. Their feet were like the feet of young cows. They shone like bright bronze. 8 They had human hands under their wings on the four sides. Each of these four living things had faces and wings that were like this: 9 Their wings touched each other. All the living things moved forward together. They did not turn as they moved.
10 This is what their faces looked like: Each of the living things had four faces. There was a human face at the front. There was a lion's face on the right side. There was a bull's face on the left side. Each of them also had the face of an eagle. 11 Their wings waved up above them. Two wings of each living thing touched the wings of the living things on each side of them. Each living thing covered its body with its other two wings. 12 The living things each moved forward, in the direction that the spirit wanted them to go. They did not turn as they moved.
13 In the middle of the living things was a fire. It looked like coals that were burning, or like bright flames. The fire moved around among the living things. It shone brightly, with lightning coming out from it. 14 The living things moved around very quickly, as fast as lightning.
15 I continued to look at the four living things. Each of them had a wheel on the ground at its side. 16 The four wheels all looked the same. They shone like bright jewels. The wheels were made like this: Each wheel had another wheel that went across the middle of it. 17 They moved forward in the same direction that the living things moved. They did not turn in any other direction. 18 The wheels had high edges. Eyes completely covered the edges of all the wheels.
19 When the living things moved, the wheels moved with them. If the living beings rose up from the ground, the wheels rose with them. 20 The living things went wherever the spirit wanted them to go. The wheels would also go with them. That was because the spirit of the living things was in each wheel. 21 When the living things moved, the wheels also moved. When the living things stopped, the wheels stopped moving too. When the living things rose up from the ground, the wheels went up at their side. That happened because the spirit of the living things was in each wheel.
22 I saw something over the heads of the living things. It looked like a high roof that shone brightly like ice. 23 The living things all stood under the roof. Each of them stood with its wings held out towards the living things on each side of it. They covered their bodies with their other two wings. 24 When they moved, I could hear the sound of their wings. They made a noise like lots of water that pours along a river. It was also like the voice of the Almighty God, or the noise of a great army. When the living things stopped moving, they put their wings down at their sides.
25 While they stood with their wings down at their sides, I heard a voice. It came from above the roof over their heads. 26 Above the roof, there was something that looked like a throne. It was made of a blue jewel called sapphire. On the throne, high above, I saw something that looked like the shape of a man. 27 The top part of his body shone like a fire with bright metal in the centre of it. The lower part of his body looked like flames of fire. All around the human shape, there was a very bright light. 28 It shone with the colours of a rainbow in the clouds when there is rain. This bright light showed the glory of the Lord, who was there.
When I saw this, I bent down low with my face on the ground. I heard a voice that was speaking to me.