1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Kebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, 3 The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Kebar River, and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
4 And I looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and from the midst of it as the color of amber, from the midst of the fire. 5 Also from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: They had the likeness of a man, 6 And each had four faces and each had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot. And they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides. And the four of them had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined to one another. They did not turn when they went. They each went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, the four of them had the face of a man and the face of a lion on the right side. And the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side. The four of them also had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings were stretched upward. Two wings of each were joined to one another and two covered their bodies. 12 And they each went straight forward. Where the spirit was to go, they went, and they did not turn when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire and like the appearance of lamps. It went up and down among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, there appeared one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like the color of a beryl. And the four of them had one likeness. And their appearance and their work was like a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they went, they went upon their four sides, and they did not return when they went. 18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful, and their rings were full of eyes around the four of them. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them. And when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went, their spirit going there. And the wheels were lifted up over against them, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went. And when those stood, these stood. And when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of a firmament, like the gleam of awesome crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. 23 And under the firmament their wings were straight, one toward the other. Each had two which covered on this side, and each had two which covered on that side of their bodies. 24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host. When they stood, they let down their wings. 25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads when they stood and had let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire around within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw something like the appearance of fire, and it had brightness on all sides. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one speaking.
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains a vision, which is the introduction to the prophet's call and commission to perform his office, in the account of which may be observed the time when it was seen (Ezekiel 1:1-2); and the place both where the prophet was when he saw it, and the object or things that were beheld by him, and the origin, form, and manner of the vision (Ezekiel 1:3-4); next follow the particulars of it, and first, four living creatures appear, described by their general likeness, as human (Ezekiel 1:5); and, in particular, by their faces, feet, hands, and wings (Ezekiel 1:6-11); by their motion and progress and the spirit by which they were influenced (Ezekiel 1:12); and by their forms of light, brightness, and heat, in which they appeared and moved (Ezekiel 1:13-14); and next the wheels, described by their number, for, though they seemed to be as one, they were four, and by their situation on the earth, and by the side of the living creatures (Ezekiel 1:15); by their appearance, which was alike in them all, and as the color of beryl and as a wheel within a wheel (Ezekiel 1:16); by their motion, which was on their sides and not retrograde (Ezekiel 1:17); by their rings or circumferences, which were high, dreadful, and full of eyes (Ezekiel 1:18); by their dependence on the living creatures, moving as they did, having the same spirit they had (Ezekiel 1:19-21); and then a firmament is seen, described by its situation, over the heads of the living creatures, and by its color, as the terrible crystal (Ezekiel 1:22); by what were under it, the wings of the living creatures of which a more particular account is given (Ezekiel 1:23-24); by what was heard from it, a voice (Ezekiel 1:25); and by what was above it, a throne, described by its color as a sapphire stone, and by a person on it who had the appearance of a man (Ezekiel 1:26); who, in general, looked like the color of amber, within which was the appearance of fire from his loins upward and from his loins downward, the fire had a brightness round about it, and that brightness was like a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, and this appearance was no other than that of a divine and glorious Person, which, when seen by the prophet, caused him, through reverence, to fall upon his face, when he heard a voice speaking to him what is recorded in the following chapter (Ezekiel 1:27-28).
[v.22] - "crystal" - From the Pulpit Commentary: "The Hebrew noun is not found elsewhere. Its primary meaning, like that of the Greek κρύσταλλος, is that of 'cold,' and I incline therefore to the margin of the Revised Version, 'ice.' Rock crystal, seen, as it is, in small masses, and in its pure colorless transparency, hardly suggests the idea of terror; but the intense brightness of masses of ice, as shining in the morning sun, might well make that impression."