EZEKIEL'S FIRST VISION OF GOD (1.1—7.27)
1 (A)On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year,[a] I, Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, was living with the Jewish exiles by the Chebar River in Babylonia. The sky opened, and I saw a vision of God. (2 (B)It was the fifth year since King Jehoiachin had been taken into exile.) 3 There in Babylonia beside the Chebar River, I heard the Lord speak to me, and I felt his power.
4 I looked up and saw a windstorm coming from the north. Lightning was flashing from a huge cloud, and the sky around it was glowing. Where the lightning was flashing, something shone like bronze. 5 (C)At the center of the storm I saw what looked like four living creatures in human form, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and they had hoofs like those of a bull. They shone like polished bronze. 8 In addition to their four faces and four wings, they each had four human hands, one under each wing. 9 Two wings of each creature were spread out so that the creatures formed a square, with their wing tips touching. When they moved, they moved as a group without turning their bodies.
10 (D)Each living creature had four different faces: a human face in front, a lion's face at the right, a bull's face at the left, and an eagle's face at the back. 11 Two wings[b] of each creature were raised so that they touched the tips of the wings of the creatures next to it, and their other two wings were folded against their bodies. 12 Each creature faced all four directions, and so the group could go wherever they wished, without having to turn.
13 (E)Among[c] the creatures there was something that looked like a blazing torch, constantly moving. The fire would blaze up and shoot out flashes of lightning. 14 The creatures themselves darted back and forth with the speed of lightning.
15 (F)As I was looking at the four creatures I saw four wheels touching the ground, one beside each of them.[d] 16 All four wheels were alike; each one shone like a precious stone, and each had another wheel intersecting it at right angles, 17 so that the wheels could move in any of the four directions. 18 (G)The rims of the wheels were covered with eyes.[e] 19 Whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and if the creatures rose up from the earth, so did the wheels. 20 The creatures went wherever they wished, and the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them. 21 So every time the creatures moved or stopped or rose in the air, the wheels did exactly the same.
22 (H)Above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal. 23 There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings toward the ones next to it and covering its body with the other two wings. 24 (I)I heard the noise their wings made in flight; it sounded like the roar of the sea, like the noise of a huge army, like the voice of Almighty God. When they stopped flying, they folded their wings, 25 but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads.
26 (J)Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne made of sapphire, and sitting on the throne was a figure that looked like a human being. 27 (K)The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light 28 that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the Lord.
God Calls Ezekiel to Be a Prophet
When I saw this, I fell face downward on the ground. Then I heard a voice
2 saying, “Mortal man, stand up. I want to talk to you.” 2 While the voice was speaking, God's spirit entered me and raised me to my feet, and I heard the voice continue, 3 “Mortal man, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They have rebelled and turned against me and are still rebels, just as their ancestors were. 4 They are stubborn and do not respect me, so I am sending you to tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. 5 Whether those rebels listen to you or not, they will know that a prophet has been among them.
6 “But you, mortal man, must not be afraid of them or of anything they say. They will defy and despise you; it will be like living among scorpions. Still, don't be afraid of those rebels or of anything they say. 7 You will tell them whatever I tell you to say, whether they listen or not. Remember what rebels they are.
8 “Mortal man, listen to what I tell you. Don't be rebellious like them. Open your mouth and eat what I am going to give you.” 9 (L)I saw a hand reaching out toward me, and it was holding a scroll. 10 The hand unrolled the scroll, and I saw that there was writing on both sides—cries of grief were written there, and wails and groans.
3 (M)God said, “Mortal man, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.”
2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3 He said, “Mortal man, eat this scroll that I give you; fill your stomach with it.” I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey.
4 Then God said, “Mortal man, go to the people of Israel and say to them whatever I tell you to say. 5 I am not sending you to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language, but to the Israelites. 6 If I sent you to great nations that spoke difficult languages you didn't understand, they would listen to you. 7 But none of the people of Israel will be willing to listen; they will not even listen to me. All of them are stubborn and defiant. 8 Now I will make you as stubborn and as tough as they are. 9 I will make you as firm as a rock, as hard as a diamond; don't be afraid of those rebels.”
10 God continued, “Mortal man, pay close attention and remember everything I tell you. 11 Then go to the people of your nation who are in exile and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them, whether they pay attention to you or not.”
12 Then God's spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the loud roar of a voice that said, “Praise the glory of the Lord in heaven above!” 13 I heard the wings of the creatures beating together in the air, and the noise of the wheels, as loud as an earthquake. 14 The power of the Lord came on me with great force, and as his spirit carried me off, I felt bitter and angry. 15 So I came to Tel Abib beside the Chebar River, where the exiles were living, and for seven days I stayed there, overcome by what I had seen and heard.
- Ezekiel 1:1 It is not known to what year this refers.
- Ezekiel 1:11 Some ancient translations Two wings; Hebrew Their faces, their wings.
- Ezekiel 1:13 Some ancient translations Among; Hebrew And the likeness of.
- Ezekiel 1:15 Some ancient translations them; Hebrew their faces.
- Ezekiel 1:18 Verse 18 in Hebrew is unclear.
- Ezekiel 1:1 : Rev 19:11
- Ezekiel 1:2 : 2Kgs 24:10-2Kgs 24:16; 2Chr 36:9; 2Chr 36:10
- Ezekiel 1:5 : Rev 4:6
- Ezekiel 1:10 : Ezek 10:14; Rev 4:7
- Ezekiel 1:13 : Rev 4:5
- Ezekiel 1:15 : Ezek 10:9-Ezek 10:13
- Ezekiel 1:18 : Rev 4:8
- Ezekiel 1:22 : Rev 4:6
- Ezekiel 1:24 : Rev 1:4-Rev 1:15; Ezek 19:6
- Ezekiel 1:26 : Ezek 10:1; Rev 4:2; Rev 4:3
- Ezekiel 1:27 : Ezek 8:2
- Ezekiel 2:9 : Rev 5:1
- Ezekiel 3:1 : Rev 10:9; Rev 10:10
Jesus Is Greater than Moses
3 My Christian friends, who also have been called by God! Think of Jesus, whom God sent to be the High Priest of the faith we profess. 2 (A)He was faithful to God, who chose him to do this work, just as Moses was faithful in his work in God's house. 3 A man who builds a house receives more honor than the house itself. In the same way Jesus is worthy of much greater honor than Moses. 4 Every house, of course, is built by someone—and God is the one who has built all things. 5 Moses was faithful in God's house as a servant, and he spoke of the things that God would say in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son in charge of God's house. We are his house if we keep up our courage and our confidence in what we hope for.
A Rest for God's People
7 (B)So then, as the Holy Spirit says,
“If you hear God's voice today,
8 do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God,
as they were that day in the desert when they put him to the test.
9 There they put me to the test and tried me, says God,
although they had seen what I did for forty years.
10 And so I was angry with those people and said,
‘They are always disloyal
and refuse to obey my commands.’
11 I was angry and made a solemn promise:
‘They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest!’”
12 My friends, be careful that none of you have a heart so evil and unbelieving that you will turn away from the living God. 13 Instead, in order that none of you be deceived by sin and become stubborn, you must help one another every day, as long as the word “Today” in the scripture applies to us. 14 For we are all partners with Christ if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at the beginning.
15 (C)This is what the scripture says:
“If you hear God's voice today,
do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were
when they rebelled against God.”
16 (D)Who were the people who heard God's voice and rebelled against him? All those who were led out of Egypt by Moses. 17 With whom was God angry for forty years? With the people who sinned, who fell down dead in the desert. 18 When God made his solemn promise, “They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest”—of whom was he speaking? Of those who rebelled. 19 We see, then, that they were not able to enter the land, because they did not believe.
In Praise of the Creator
104 Praise the Lord, my soul!
O Lord, my God, how great you are!
You are clothed with majesty and glory;
2 you cover yourself with light.
You have spread out the heavens like a tent
3 and built your home on the waters above.[a]
You use the clouds as your chariot
and ride on the wings of the wind.
4 (A)You use the winds as your messengers
and flashes of lightning as your servants.
5 You have set the earth firmly on its foundations,
and it will never be moved.
6 You placed the ocean over it like a robe,
and the water covered the mountains.
7 When you rebuked the waters, they fled;
they rushed away when they heard your shout of command.
8 They flowed over the mountains and into the valleys,
to the place you had made for them.
9 You set a boundary they can never pass,
to keep them from covering the earth again.
10 You make springs flow in the valleys,
and rivers run between the hills.
11 They provide water for the wild animals;
there the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 In the trees near by,
the birds make their nests and sing.
13 From the sky you send rain on the hills,
and the earth is filled with your blessings.
14 You make grass grow for the cattle
and plants for us to use,
so that we can grow our crops
15 and produce wine to make us happy,
olive oil to make us cheerful,
and bread to give us strength.
16 The cedars of Lebanon get plenty of rain—
the Lord's own trees, which he planted.
17 There the birds build their nests;
the storks nest in the fir trees.
18 The wild goats live in the high mountains,
and the rock badgers hide in the cliffs.
19 You created the moon to mark the months;
the sun knows the time to set.
20 You made the night, and in the darkness
all the wild animals come out.
21 The young lions roar while they hunt,
looking for the food that God provides.
22 When the sun rises, they go back
and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to do their work
and keep working until evening.
24 A hypocrite hides hate behind flattering words. 25 They may sound fine, but don't believe him, because his heart is filled to the brim with hate. 26 He may disguise his hatred, but everyone will see the evil things he does.