The Lord’s Glory Leaves the Temple
10 I saw the dome that was above the four winged creatures,[a] and on it was the sapphire[b] throne.[c] 2 The Lord said to the man in the linen robe, “Walk among the four wheels beside the creatures and pick up as many hot coals as you can carry. Then scatter them over the city of Jerusalem.” I watched him as he followed the Lord’s instructions.
3 The winged creatures were standing south of the temple when the man walked among them. A cloud filled the inner courtyard, 4 and the brightness of the Lord’s glory moved from above the creatures and stopped at the entrance of the temple. The entire temple was filled with his glory, and the courtyard was dazzling bright. 5 The sound of the creatures' wings was as loud as the voice of God All-Powerful and could even be heard in the outer courtyard.
6 The man in the robe was now standing beside a wheel. 7 One of the four creatures reached its hand into the fire among them and gave him some of the hot coals. The man took the coals and left.
8 I noticed again that each of the four winged creatures had what looked like human hands under their wings, 9 and I saw the four wheels near the creatures. These wheels were shining like chrysolite.[d] 10 Each wheel was exactly the same and had a second wheel that cut through the middle of it,[e] 11 so that they could move in any direction without turning. The wheels moved together whenever the creatures moved. 12 I also noticed that the wheels and the creatures' bodies, including their backs, their hands, and their wings, were covered with eyes. 13 And I heard a voice calling these “the wheels that spin.”
14 Each of the winged creatures had four faces: the face of a bull,[f] the face of a human, the face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. 15-17 These were the same creatures I had seen near the Chebar River. They controlled when and where the wheels moved—the wheels went wherever the creatures went and stopped whenever they stopped. Even when the creatures flew in the air, the wheels stayed beside them.
18 Then I watched the brightness of the Lord’s glory move from the entrance of the temple and stop above the winged creatures. 19 They spread their wings and flew into the air with the wheels at their side. They stopped at the east gate of the temple, and the Lord’s glory was above them.
20 I knew for sure that these were the same creatures I had seen beneath the Lord’s glory near the Chebar River. 21-22 They had four wings with hands beneath them, and they had the same four faces as those near the River. Each creature moved straight ahead without turning.
Ezekiel Condemns Jerusalem’s Wicked Leaders
11 The Lord’s Spirit[g] lifted me up and took me to the east gate of the temple, where I saw twenty-five men, including the two leaders, Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah. 2 The Lord said, “Ezekiel, son of man, these men are making evil plans and giving dangerous advice to the people of Jerusalem. 3 They say things like, ‘Let’s build more houses.[h] This city is like a cooking pot over a fire, and we are the meat, but at least the pot keeps us from being burned in the fire.’[i] 4 So, Ezekiel, condemn them!”
5 The Lord’s Spirit took control of me and told me to tell these leaders:
I, the Lord God, know what you leaders are saying. 6 You have murdered so many people that the city is filled with dead bodies! 7 This city is indeed a cooking pot, but the bodies of those you killed are the meat. And so I will force you to leave Jerusalem, 8 and I’ll send armies to attack you, just as you fear. 9 Then you will be captured and punished by foreign enemies.[j] 10 You will be killed in your own country, but not before you realize that I, the Lord, have done these things.
11 You leaders claim to be meat in a cooking pot, but you won’t be protected by this city. No, you will die at the border of Israel. 12 You will realize that while you were following the laws of nearby nations, you were disobeying my laws and teachings. And I am the Lord!
13 Before I finished speaking, Pelatiah dropped dead. I bowed down and cried out, “Please, Lord God, don’t kill everyone left in Israel.”
A Promise of Hope
14 The Lord replied:
15 Ezekiel, son of man, the people living in Jerusalem claim that you and the other Israelites who were taken to Babylonia are too far away to worship me. They also claim that the land of Israel now belongs only to them. 16 But here is what I want you to tell the Israelites in Babylonia:
It’s true that I, the Lord God, have forced you out of your own country and made you live among foreign nations. But for now, I will be with you wherever you are, so that you can worship me. 17 And someday, I will gather you from the nations where you are scattered and let you live in Israel again. 18 When that happens, I want you to clear the land of all disgusting idols. 19 Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me 20 and all my laws and teachings. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 21 But those who worship idols will be punished and get what they deserve. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
The Lord’s Glory Leaves Jerusalem
22 After the Lord had finished speaking, the winged creatures spread their wings and flew into the air, and the wheels were beside them. The brightness of the Lord’s glory above them 23 left Jerusalem and stopped at a hill east of the city.
24 Then in my vision, the Lord’s Spirit[k] lifted me up and carried me back to the other exiles in Babylonia. The vision faded away, 25 and I told them everything the Lord had shown me.
- 10.1 winged creatures: See the note at 9.3.
- 10.1 sapphire: See the note at 1.26.
- 10.1 dome. . . creatures. . . throne: See 1.22-26.
- 10.9 chrysolite: See the note at 1.16.
- 10.10 a second wheel that cut through the middle of it: See the note at 1.16.
- 10.14 a bull: The Hebrew text has “a winged creature,” but see 1.10.
- 11.1 The Lord’s Spirit: Or “A wind.”
- 11.3 Let’s. . . houses: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 11.3 the pot keeps us from being burned in the fire: These leaders were trying to convince the people of Jerusalem that they were secure, and that their future was bright.
- 11.9 foreign enemies: That is, the Babylonians.
- 11.24 the Lord’s Spirit: See the note at 11.1.
6 We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. 2 And we shouldn’t need to keep teaching about baptisms[a] or about the laying on of hands[b] or about people being raised from death and the future judgment. 3 Let’s grow up, if God is willing.
4-6 But what about people who turn away after they have already seen the light and have received the gift from heaven and have shared in the Holy Spirit? What about those who turn away after they have received the good message of God and the powers of the future world? There is no way to bring them back. What they are doing is the same as nailing the Son of God to a cross and insulting him in public!
7 A field is useful to farmers, if there is enough rain to make good crops grow. In fact, God will bless that field. 8 But land that produces only thornbushes is worthless. It is likely to fall under God’s curse, and in the end it will be set on fire.
9 My friends, we are talking this way. But we are sure that you are doing those really good things that people do when they are being saved. 10 God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won’t forget the love you have shown his people. 11 We wish that each of you would always be eager to show how strong and lasting your hope really is. 12 Then you would never be lazy. You would be following the example of those who had faith and were patient until God kept his promise to them.
God’s Promise Is Sure
13 No one is greater than God. So he made a promise in his own name when he said to Abraham, 14 “I, the Lord, will bless you with many descendants!” 15 Then after Abraham had been very patient, he was given what God had promised. 16 When anyone wants to settle an argument, they make a vow by using the name of someone or something greater than themselves. 17 So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.
We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. 19 This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain[c] and into the most holy place. 20 Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and he is our high priest forever, just like Melchizedek.[d]
- 6.2 baptisms: Or “ceremonies of washing.”
- 6.2 laying on of hands: This was a ceremony in which church leaders and others put their hands on people to show that those people were chosen to do some special kind of work.
- 6.19 behind the curtain: In the tent that was used for worship, a curtain separated the “holy place” from the “most holy place,” which only the high priest could enter.
- 6.20 Melchizedek: See the note at 5.6.
16 God kept crops from growing
until food was scarce
everywhere in the land.
17 But he had already sent Joseph,
sold as a slave into Egypt,
18 with chains of iron
around his legs and neck.
19 Joseph remained a slave
until his own words
had come true,
and the Lord had finished
20 Then the king of Egypt
set Joseph free
21 and put him in charge
of everything he owned.
22 Joseph was in command
of the officials,
and he taught the leaders
how to use wisdom.
23 Jacob and his family
and settled in Egypt
24 They were the Lord’s people,
so he let them grow stronger
than their enemies.
25 They served the Lord,
and he made the Egyptians plan
hateful things against them.
26 God sent his servant Moses.
He also chose and sent Aaron
27 to his people in Egypt,
and they worked miracles
and wonders there.
28 Moses and Aaron obeyed God,
and he sent darkness
to cover Egypt.
29 God turned their rivers
into streams of blood,
and the fish all died.
30 Frogs were everywhere,
even in the royal palace.
31 When God gave the command,
flies and gnats
swarmed all around.
32 In place of rain,
God sent hailstones
and flashes of lightning.
33 He destroyed their grapevines
and their fig trees,
and he made splinters
of all the other trees.
34 God gave the command,
and more grasshoppers came
than could be counted.
35 They ate every green plant
and all the crops that grew
in the land of Egypt.
36 Then God took the life
of every first-born son.
Don’t Brag about Tomorrow
27 Don’t brag about tomorrow!
Each day brings
its own surprises.
2 Don’t brag about yourself—
let others praise you.