As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under the wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; they went straightforward, without turning as they went.
As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back. Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straightforward; wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. In the midst of the living creatures was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro, like a flash of lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning.
Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction; their appearance was like the gleaming of chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. The four wheels rims were so high that they were dreadful and their rims were full of eyes round about. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament, shining like crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the firmament over their heads; when they stood still they let down their wings.
And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was a brightness round about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.
Such was the appearance of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face and I heard the voice of one speaking.
Josef Blumrich’s 1973 book The Spaceships of Ezekiel (Bantam. ISBN 0553083783). Unaware that Ezekiel had described God enthroned, Blumrich, a NASA rocket engineer, reinterpreted Ezekial’s description. Blumrich worked on the Saturn 5 rocket, the Lunar Lander and on Skylab.
Notes on Ezekiel’s Vision
(chapters 1 and 10 of the Book of Ezekiel; King James Version – at times edited by myself to weed out archaisms)
Below is a verse-by-verse (brief) running commentary on Ezekiel’s vision – in regard to whether what he saw was some sort of extraterrestrial craft or not. Mike’s view is that all the elements of the Ezekiel vision referring to beings or objects can be accounted for in the iconography of the ancient near eastern world. Ezekiel was borrowing divine images familiar to the Babylonians (and which exiled Jews would no doubt see) to “inform” his audience that the God of Israel was the true God and still active (i.e., HE, YHWH, was still enthroned on the cherubim, not some Babylonian god, despite Israel’s circumstances). Using ancient near eastern images and literature for theologically polemic purposes was a common practice for biblical writers (cf. the Baal epic and the face-off between Elijah and the prophets of Baal). Images used below come from a book by the great German scholar, Othmar Keel – Jahwe-Visionen und Siegelkunst: Eine neue Deutung der Majestatsschilderungen in Jes, Ez 1 und 10 und Sach 4 (“Visions of Yahweh and Seal Art: A New Interpretation of the Majestic Portrayals in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and 10, and Zechariah 4”), Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart, 1984-85).
I should also point out that Ezekiel 1 and 10 are considered to be among the most problem-filled chapters in the entire Old Testament when it comes to text-critical problems and manuscript disagreements. I’ve avoided dealing with that since most readers will not know Hebrew or will never have done textual criticism. If you want to know the relevant problems, see the textual discussion section of Leslie Allen, Ezekiel 1-19, Word Biblical Commentary, and the article by Daniel Block,