On the ﬁfth day of the fourthmonth of the thirtieth year when Iwas with the exiles by the river Kebar, theheavens opened and I had visions fromYahweh.
On the ﬁfth of the month (it was theﬁfth year of the exile of king Jehoiakin)
the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel,son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of theChal deans by the banks of the Kebar.There the hand of Yahweh was uponme.
Ezekiel sees the Glory of Yahweh
I looked: a windstorm camefrom the north bringing a greatcloud. A ﬁery light inside it lit up allaround it, while at the center therewas something like a glowing metal.
In the center were what appearedto be four creatures with the sameform;
but each had four faces andfour wings.
Their legs were straightand their feet were like those of acalf, shining like polished bronze.
Under their wings (on their foursides) they had human hands. Thewings of one
touched those of theother. Their faces did not turn as they
advanced, because they were able togo forward in any of the four direc-tions of their faces.
I saw they had human faces; buteach one also had the face of a lionon the right, and on the left the faceof an ox, and all four had the face of an eagle.
Their wings were spread up-wards. Each had two wings meetingthose of its neighbor and two co ver-ing its body; having four faces theycould advance in any of the four di-rections.
Wherever the spirit wouldgo, they went without turning as theyadvanced.
Between these creatures couldbe seen glowing coals like torchesmoving between them. The ﬁreblazed and ﬂashed from thunder-bolts.
The creatures ran to and frolike thunderbolts.
While I looked at the creatures, Isaw a wheel on the ground besideeach of them,
glittering as if madeof chrysolite. The four wheels hadthe same shape: indeed each was
1 The book begins with two differentintroductions. Nobody knows the meaning ofthe year thirty in the ﬁrst verse. It may be acopyist’s mistake. The ﬁfth year of Jehoiakinbrings us to 594 before Christ.
There the hand of Yahweh was upon me
(v. 3). This means that Ezekiel was drawn intoecstasy: as if having left his body, he mysteri-ously encountered God. He learned somethingof God’s mystery, received his mission and wastransformed into another man.• 4.
A windstorm came from the north
.Ezekiel was overwhelmed by the vivid imagesaccom panying God’s words. We will ﬁnd thevision of the Chariot of Yahweh again in chap-ter 10 where Yahweh is shown leaving hisTemple in Jerusalem to live in Babylon amongthe exiles.People of those days thought that their godswere conﬁned to speciﬁc sanctuaries andplaces. Thus, the Jews exiled in Babylon, farfrom their homeland and their Temple wherethey could worship God, succumbed to de-spair. They felt that God had abandoned themand that only the people who stayed behind intheir country enjoyed God’s care.Precisely for that reason, Yahweh teachesEzekiel that though he dwells in the temple ofJerusalem he is not less present in distantBabylon. Yahweh follows his people anddwells among them.In a vision Ezekiel sees four creatures withfour faces and four wings. This suggests—inimages of those times—the greatness of God.In Chaldean palaces there were magniﬁcentstatues of fantastic beings called “Cherubs”combining features of the strongest of beings:humans, the eagle, the lion and the bull. Here,they become impetuous living creatures sur-rounding and protecting the mystery of God.The intersecting wheels moving in every di-rection show God’s action throughout the uni-verse. They have eyes which see everythingand are in constant movement. In Revelation4, the apostle John will use images from thisvision.Above the creatures,
was a kind of plat-