On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year,1.1 thirtieth year: It is not known to what year this refers. I, Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, was living with the Jewish exiles by the River Chebar in Babylonia. The sky opened, and I saw a vision of God. ( 2
It was the fifth year since King Jehoiachin had been taken into exile.) 3There in Babylonia beside the River Chebar, I heard the LORD speak to me and I felt his power.
4I looked up and saw a storm coming from the north. Lightning was flashing from a huge cloud, and the sky round it was glowing. Where the lightning was flashing, something shone like bronze. 5
At the centre of the storm, I saw what looked like four living creatures in human form, 6but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7Their legs were straight, and they had hoofs like those of a bull. They shone like polished bronze. 8In addition to their four faces and four wings, they each had four human hands, one under each wing. 9Two 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.
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. 11Two wings1.11 Some ancient translations Two wings; Hebrew Their faces, their wings. 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. 12Each creature faced all four directions, and so the group could go wherever they wished, without having to turn.
13Among1.13 Some ancient translations Among; Hebrew And the likeness of. the creatures there was something that looked like a blazing torch, constantly moving. The fire would blaze up and shoot out flashes of lightning. 14The creatures themselves darted to and fro with the speed of lightning.
As I was looking at the four creatures, I saw four wheels touching the ground, one beside each of them.1.15 Some ancient translations them; Hebrew their faces. 16All four wheels were alike; each one shone like a precious stone, and each had another wheel intersecting it at right angles, 17so that the wheels could move in any of the four directions. 18
The rims of the wheels were covered with eyes.1.18 Verse 18 in Hebrew is unclear. 19Whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and if the creatures rose up from the earth, so did the wheels. 20The creatures went wherever they wished, and the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them. 21So every time the creatures moved or stopped or rose in the air, the wheels did exactly the same.
Above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal. 23There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings towards the ones next to it and covering its body with the other two wings. 24
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, 25but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads.
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
The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light 28that had in it all the colours of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light that shows the presence of the LORD.
When I saw this, I fell face downwards on the ground. Then I heard a voice
21saying, “Mortal man, stand up. I want to talk to you.” 2While 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. 4They are stubborn and do not respect me, so I am sending you to tell them what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them. 5Whether 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. 7You 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
I saw a hand stretched out towards me, and it was holding a scroll. 10The hand unrolled the scroll, and I saw that there was writing on both sides — cries of grief were written there, and wails and groans.
God said, “Mortal man, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.”
2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3He 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.
4Then God said, “Mortal man, go to the people of Israel and say to them whatever I tell you to say. 5I am not sending you to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language, but to the Israelites. 6If I sent you to great nations that spoke difficult languages you didn't understand, they would listen to you. 7But 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. 8Now I will make you as stubborn and as tough as they are. 9I will make you as firm as a rock, as hard as a diamond; don't be afraid of those rebels.”
10God continued, “Mortal man, pay close attention and remember everything I tell you. 11Then go to your countrymen who are in exile and tell them what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them, whether they pay attention to you or not.”
12Then 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!” 13I heard the wings of the creatures beating together in the air, and the noise of the wheels, as loud as an earthquake. 14The power of the LORD came on me with great force, and as his Spirit carried me off, I felt bitter and angry. 15So I came to Tel Abib beside the River Chebar, where the exiles were living, and for seven days I stayed there, overcome by what I had seen and heard.
16After the seven days had passed, the LORD spoke to me. 17“Mortal man,” he said, “I am making you a watchman for the nation of Israel. You will pass on to them the warnings I give you. 18If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death. 19If you do warn an evil man and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.
20“If a truly good person starts doing evil and I put him in a dangerous situation, he will die if you do not warn him. He will die because of his sins — I will not remember the good he did — and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21If you do warn a good man not to sin and he listens to you and doesn't sin, he will stay alive, and your life will also be spared.”
22I felt the powerful presence of the LORD and heard him say to me, “Get up and go out into the valley. I will talk to you there.”
23So I went out into the valley, and there I saw the glory of the LORD, just as I had seen it beside the River Chebar. I fell face downwards on the ground, 24but God's Spirit entered me and raised me to my feet. The LORD said to me, “Go home and shut yourself up in the house. 25You will be tied with ropes, mortal man, and you will not be able to go out in public. 26I will paralyse your tongue so that you won't be able to warn these rebellious people. 27Then, when I speak to you again and give you back the power of speech, you will tell them what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying. Some of them will listen, but some will ignore you, for they are a nation of rebels.”