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Ezekiel 1:5-21 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

From within it figures in the likeness of four living creatures[a] appeared. This is what they looked like: They were in human form, but each had four faces and four wings, and their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass. Human hands were under their wings, and the wings of one touched those of another. Their faces and their wings looked out on all their four sides; they did not turn when they moved, but each went straight ahead.

10 [b]Their faces were like this: each of the four had a human face, and on the right the face of a lion, and on the left, the face of an ox, and each had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. On each one, two wings touched one another, and the other two wings covered the body. 12 Each went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they went; they did not change direction when they moved. 13 [c]And the appearance of the living creatures seemed like burning coals of fire. Something indeed like torches moved back and forth among the living creatures. The fire gleamed intensely, and from it lightning flashed. 14 The creatures darting back and forth flashed like lightning.

15 [d]As I looked at the living creatures, I saw wheels on the ground, one alongside each of the four living creatures. 16 The wheels and their construction sparkled like yellow topaz, and all four of them looked the same: their construction seemed as though one wheel was inside the other. 17 When they moved, they went in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. 18 The four of them had rims, high and fearsome—eyes filled the four rims all around. 19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them; and when the living creatures were raised from the ground, the wheels also were raised. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they went. And they were raised up together with the living creatures, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 Wherever the living creatures moved, the wheels moved; when they stood still, the wheels stood still. When they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up with them. For the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:5 Four living creatures: identified as cherubim in 10:1–2, 20. Known from Assyrian religion as minor guardian deities of palaces and temples, the cherubim were usually portrayed in gigantic sculpture with the bodies of bulls or lions, wings like an eagle and a human head. In the Jerusalem Temple, the Lord was enthroned above in the holy of holies (Is 6:1–2).
  2. 1:10 The four faces together represent animate creation: wild animals, domesticated livestock, birds, and human beings. Christian tradition associates them with the four evangelists: the lion with Mark, the ox with Luke, the eagle with John, and the man with Matthew.
  3. 1:13–14 The coals and flashing lightning moving among the four creatures and yet coming from them identify this vision as a theophany. See note on 10:2–13.
  4. 1:15–21 The repetitions and inconsistencies in the description of the wheels and the direction of their movements evoke the vision’s mysterious quality and emphasize the difficulty of describing the divine world in human language.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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