The Vision of Four Figures
1 Now it came about [when I was] in my [a]thirtieth year [of life], on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles beside the River Chebar [in Babylonia], the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 (On the fifth of the month, which was in the fifth year of [b]King Jehoiachin’s captivity,(A) 3 the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the [c]Chaldeans by the River [d]Chebar; and the hand of the Lord came upon him there.)(B)
4 As I looked, I saw a stormy wind coming out of the north, a great cloud with fire flashing continually from it; and a brightness was around it, and in its core [there was] something like glowing [amber-colored] metal in the midst of the fire. 5 Within it there were figures resembling [e]four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. 6 Each one had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight and the soles of their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they sparkled and gleamed like shiny bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 9 their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. 10 Regarding the [f]form and appearance 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; all four also had the face of an eagle [at the back of their heads].(C) 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were stretched out upward; two [wings] of each one were touching another [the wings of the beings on either side of it], and [the remaining] two [wings of each being] were 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 Among the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire. 14 And the living beings moved rapidly back and forth like flashes of lightning.
15 Now as I looked at the living beings, I saw one wheel on the ground beside the living beings, for each of the four of them. 16 Regarding the appearance of the wheels and their construction: they gleamed like chrysolite (beryl, olivine); and the four were made alike. Their appearance and construction were a wheel [set at a right angle] within a wheel. 17 Whenever they moved, they went in any [one] of their four directions without turning as they moved. 18 Regarding their rims: they were so high that they were awesome and dreadful, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes all around. 19 Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them; and when the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. 20 Wherever the spirit went, the beings went in that direction. And the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit or life of the living beings was in the wheels. 21 Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those came to a stop, these came to a stop; and whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
Vision of Divine Glory
22 Now stretched over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, looking like the terrible and awesome shimmer of icy crystal. 23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. Every living being had two wings which covered its body on one side and on the other side. 24 As they moved, I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of great [rushing] waters, like the voice of [g]the Almighty, the sound of tumult like the noise of an army camp. Whenever they came to a stop, they lowered their wings. 25 And there was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads; whenever they stopped, they lowered their wings.
26 Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, it appeared like [it was made of] sapphire or lapis lazuli; and [seated] on that which looked like a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.(D) 27 Now upward, from that which appeared to be His waist, I saw something like glowing metal that looked like it was filled with fire all around it; and downward, from that which appeared to be His waist, I saw something like fire; and there was a brightness and a remarkable radiance [like a halo] around Him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory and brilliance of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell face downward and I heard a voice of One speaking.(E)
The Prophet’s Call
2 Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak to you.” 2 Then as He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me. 3 And He said to me, “I am sending you, son of man, to the children of Israel, to a rebellious people [in both the north and the south] that have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have sinned and revolted against Me to this very day. 4 I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord [h]God.’ 5 As for them, whether they listen or refuse [to listen]—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know and be fully aware of the fact that there has been a prophet among them. 6 And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words; though briars and thorns are all around you and you sit among scorpions, neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. 7 But you shall speak My words to them whether they will listen or refuse [to listen], for they are [most] rebellious.
8 “As for you, son of man, listen to what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” 9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out toward me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And He spread it before me, and it was written on the front and on the back, and written on it were [words of] lamentation (funeral songs) and mourning and woe.
3 He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find [in this book]; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me the scroll. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll that I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them. 5 For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, 6 not to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you and pay attention to My message; 7 yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you and obey you, since they are not willing to listen to Me and obey Me, for the entire house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. 8 Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 I have made your forehead like emery (diamond), harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them, though they are a rebellious house.”(F) 10 Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words which I will speak to you and hear with your ears (listen closely). 11 Go to the [Jewish] exiles [in Babylon], to the children of your people, and speak to them, whether they listen or not, and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’”
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a great rushing sound behind me, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord in His place [above the expanse].” 13 And then I heard the sound of the wings of the living beings as they touched one another and [I heard] the sound of the wheels beside them, a great rushing sound. 14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went embittered [by the sins of Israel] in the rage of my spirit; and the hand of the Lord was strong on me. 15 Then I came to the exiles who lived beside the River Chebar at Tel Abib. I sat there for seven days [in the place] where they were living, overwhelmed with astonishment [by my vision and the work before me].
- Ezekiel 1:1 If he had not been in exile in Babylonia Ezekiel would have formally begun his service to God as a Levitical priest at the age of thirty. Instead God anointed him to serve as a prophet.
- Ezekiel 1:2 Jehoiachin the king of Judah was taken captive when Nebuchadnezzar and his army invaded Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean Dynasty, more commonly known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, ruled Babylon from 605-562 b.c. He conquered Jerusalem in 597 b.c.
- Ezekiel 1:3 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c., until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
- Ezekiel 1:3 A canal off the Euphrates, south of Babylon.
- Ezekiel 1:5 These four angelic beings are identified as cherubim in ch 10. In Scripture, the cherubim seem to be related to the affirmation of God’s perfection and holiness standing in stark contrast to the debased character of godless mankind. They are extremely intelligent, powerful, expeditious servants of God.
- Ezekiel 1:10 Various interpretations have been ascribed to the symbolism of the four heavenly beings. The four faces may be regarded as symbolic of “the four portraits of Jesus” as given in the four Gospels (king, servant, man, and God). Another proposes that they represent the four qualities of the angels (intelligent, strong, servile, and swift). Another interpretation identifies them with the four Gospels, and another with the four corners of the earth, implying that the angels serve God throughout the earth. In ch 10 these beings are identified as cherubim.
- Ezekiel 1:24 Heb Shaddai.
- Ezekiel 2:4 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord and so throughout.
Jesus Our High Priest
3 Therefore, [a]holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider the Apostle and High Priest whom we confessed [as ours when we accepted Him as Savior], namely, [b]Jesus; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him [Apostle and High Priest], as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.(A) 3 Yet Jesus has been considered worthy of much greater glory and honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in [the administration of] all God’s house, [but only] as a ministering servant, [his ministry serving] as a testimony of the things which were to be spoken afterward [the revelation to come in Christ];(B) 6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over His [Father’s] house. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ].
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as [your fathers did] in the rebellion [of Israel at [c]Meribah],
On the day of testing in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried Me by testing [My forbearance and tolerance],
And saw My works for forty years
[And found I stood their test].
“Therefore I was angered with this generation,
And I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they did not know My ways [nor become progressively better and more intimately acquainted with them]’;
So I swore [an oath] in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest [the promised land].’”(C)
The Peril of Unbelief
12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving [d]heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. 13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 14 For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, 15 while it is said,
“Today [while there is still opportunity] if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart, as when they provoked Me [in the rebellion in the desert at Meribah].”(D)
16 For who were they who heard and yet provoked Him [with rebellious acts]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies were scattered in the desert? 18 And to whom did He swear [an oath] that they would not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [those who would not listen to His word]? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest—the promised land] because of unbelief and an unwillingness to trust in God.(E)
The Lord’s Care over All His Works.
104 Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
[You are the One] who covers Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretches out the heavens like a tent curtain,
Who lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters [above the firmament],
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes winds His messengers,
Flames of fire His ministers.(A)
He established the earth on its foundations,
So that it will not be moved forever and ever.(B)
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.(C)
At Your rebuke they fled;
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
You set a boundary [for the waters] that they may not cross over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.
You send springs into the valleys;
Their waters flow among the mountains.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst there.
Beside them the birds of the heavens have their nests;
They lift up their voices and sing among the branches.(D)
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
He causes grass to grow for the cattle,
And all that the earth produces for cultivation by man,
So that he may bring food from the earth—
And wine which makes the heart of man glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And bread to sustain and strengthen man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He has planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
As for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The rocks are a refuge for the [a]shephanim.
He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the [exact] place of its setting.
You [O Lord] make darkness and it becomes night,
In which prowls about every wild beast of the forest.
The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
When the sun arises, they withdraw
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes out to his work
And remains at his labor until evening.
- Psalm 104:18 Small, shy, furry animals (Hyrax syriacus) found in the peninsula of the Sinai, northern Israel, and the region around the Dead Sea; kjv coney, orig NASB rock badgers.
He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
But he stores up deceit in his heart.
When he speaks graciously and kindly [to conceal his malice], do not trust him,
For seven abominations are in his heart.
Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit,
His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly.