In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin--
the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was upon him.
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,
and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man,
but each of them had four faces and four wings.
Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.
Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings,
and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.
Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body.
Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.
The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it.
The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.
As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces.
This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel.
As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about as the creatures went.
Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.
When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome.
Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body.
When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings.
Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.
I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
He said to me, "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you."
As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.
The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.'
And whether they listen or fail to listen--for they are a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them.
And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.
You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.
But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you."
Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll,
which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.