Ezekiel 1; Ezekiel 2; Hebrews 11:1-19

1 On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year, I, Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, was living with the Jewish exiles by the Chebar River 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.) 3 There in Babylonia beside the Chebar River, I heard the Lord speak to me, and I felt his power. 4 I looked up and saw a windstorm coming from the north. Lightning was flashing from a huge cloud, and the sky around it was glowing. Where the lightning was flashing, something shone like bronze. 5 At the center of the storm I saw what looked like four living creatures in human form, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and they had hoofs like those of a bull. They shone like polished bronze. 8 In addition to their four faces and four wings, they each had four human hands, one under each wing. 9 Two 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. 10 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. 11 Two 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. 12 Each creature faced all four directions, and so the group could go wherever they wished, without having to turn. 13 Among the creatures there was something that looked like a blazing torch, constantly moving. The fire would blaze up and shoot out flashes of lightning. 14 The creatures themselves darted back and forth with the speed of lightning. 15 As I was looking at the four creatures I saw four wheels touching the ground, one beside each of them. 16 All four wheels were alike; each one shone like a precious stone, and each had another wheel intersecting it at right angles, 17 so that the wheels could move in any of the four directions. 18 The rims of the wheels were covered with eyes. 19 Whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and if the creatures rose up from the earth, so did the wheels. 20 The creatures went wherever they wished, and the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them. 21 So every time the creatures moved or stopped or rose in the air, the wheels did exactly the same. 22 Above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal. 23 There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings toward 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, 25 but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads. 26 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 28 that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the Lord. When I saw this, I fell face downward on the ground. Then I heard a voice
1 saying, "Mortal man, stand up. I want to talk to you." 2 While 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. 4 They are stubborn and do not respect me, so I am sending you to tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. 5 Whether 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. 7 You 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 reaching out toward me, and it was holding a scroll. 10 The hand unrolled the scroll, and I saw that there was writing on both sides - cries of grief were written there, and wails and groans.
1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. 2 It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God's approval. 3 It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God's word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. 4 It was faith that made Abel offer to God a better sacrifice than Cain's. Through his faith he won God's approval as a righteous man, because God himself approved of his gifts. By means of his faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. 5 It was faith that kept Enoch from dying. Instead, he was taken up to God, and nobody could find him, because God had taken him up. The scripture says that before Enoch was taken up, he had pleased God. 6 No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. 7 It was faith that made Noah hear God's warnings about things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a boat in which he and his family were saved. As a result, the world was condemned, and Noah received from God the righteousness that comes by faith. 8 It was faith that made Abraham obey when God called him to go out to a country which God had promised to give him. He left his own country without knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. 10 For Abraham was waiting for the city which God has designed and built, the city with permanent foundations. 11 It was faith that made Abraham able to become a father, even though he was too old and Sarah herself could not have children. He trusted God to keep his promise. 12 Though Abraham was practically dead, from this one man came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, as many as the numberless grains of sand on the seashore. 13 It was in faith that all these persons died. They did not receive the things God had promised, but from a long way off they saw them and welcomed them, and admitted openly that they were foreigners and refugees on earth. 14 Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 They did not keep thinking about the country they had left; if they had, they would have had the chance to return. 16 Instead, it was a better country they longed for, the heavenly country. And so God is not ashamed for them to call him their God, because he has prepared a city for them. 17 It was faith that made Abraham offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice when God put Abraham to the test. Abraham was the one to whom God had made the promise, yet he was ready to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that you will have the descendants I promised." 19 Abraham reckoned that God was able to raise Isaac from death - and, so to speak, Abraham did receive Isaac back from death.
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