Thirty years had passed; it was the fifth day of the fourth month, and I was sharing the lot of the exiles by the river Chobar, when heaven opened, and I saw a vision of God.
The fifth day of the month, and the fifth year since king Joachin was banished.
To the priest Ezechiel, son of Buzi, the divine word came; there in the Chaldaean land, by the river Chobar, the power of the Lord could reach him.
I looked round me, to find that a storm-wind had sprung up from the north, driving a great cloud before it; and this cloud had fire caught up in it, that fringed it with radiance. And there in the heart of it, in the very heart of the fire, was a glow like amber,
that enclosed four living figures. These were human in appearance,
but each had four faces, and two pairs of wings.
Either leg was straight-formed, yet ended in a calf’s hoof; they sparkled like red-hot bronze.
On each of the four sides, human arms shewed beneath the wings; faces and wings looked outwards four ways.
Wings of each were held touching wings of other; and when they moved, they did not turn round, but each kept an onward course.
As for the appearance of their faces, each had the face of a man, yet each of the four looked like a lion when seen from the right, like an ox when seen from the left, like an eagle when seen from above.
So much for their faces; each had two wings spread out above him, those two which met his neighbours’ wings; with the other two he veiled his body.
Each of them marched straight forward, following the movement of a divine impulse, never swerving as he marched.
There was that, too, in the appearance of the living figures which put me in mind of flaming coals, or of torches; that was what I saw going to and fro in the midst of the living figures, a glow as of fire, and from this glow lightning came out.
So the living creatures came and went, vivid as lightning-flashes.
And as I watched the living figures, all at once wheels appeared close to them, one at each of the four sides,
of strange colour and form. All four were alike, the colour of aquamarine, and each looked like a wheel within a wheel.
Moved they, it was ever one of the four ways the living figures looked; and they did not turn round in moving.
As for their size, their height was terrible to look upon; and the whole frame of them, all round, was full of eyes.
Onward the wheels moved, when the living figures moved onward, at their side; rose above the earth when the living figures rose above it.
They too had a living impulse in them, they too, whenever that impulse stirred them, must rise up and follow the way it went;
with the living figures, whose vital impulse they shared, the wheels too moved, and halted, and rose.
Over the living figures a vault seemed to rise, like a sheet of dazzling crystal resting on their heads;
under this vault each held two wings erect to meet his neighbour’s. Each had two turned upwards to overshadow him, and two turned downwards to veil his body.
When they moved, the sound of their wings reached me, loud as waters in flood or thunders from on high, incessant as the hum of a great throng or an armed camp; only when they came to rest did they lower their wings.
A voice would come from the firmament over their heads; then they would halt, then they would lower their wings.
Above this vault that rested on them, sapphire blue towered up into the form of a throne, nor did that throne seem to be empty; a shape was there above it, as of one enthroned,
and all about him it was filled with amber-coloured flame. Upwards from his loins, downwards from his loins, an arch of light seemed to shine,
like rainbow among the clouds on a day of storm; there was brightness all about him.