0 Ezekiel's UFO (Ezekiel 1-3)

Episode 199: Ezekiel's UFO

Ezekiel 1-3

1 1 Ezekiel said,

One day, the heavens opened, and I saw God.

4 A great fiery whirlwind came out of the north.

5 Out of the mist appeared four creatures that looked like men.

6 Each creature had four faces and four wings.

7 They sparkled and had straight feet, with soles like calves' feet.

8 They had human hands under their wings on four sides.

10 Each creature had the face of a man, lion, ox, and eagle.

11 Two wings were joined together, and two covered their bodies.

13 The creatures looked like coals, lamps, fire, and lightning.

15 A wheel was on the ground by the creatures.

16 And there was a wheel within a wheel.

18 The rims of the wheels were dreadfully high, and they had eyes round about all four of them.

19 Wherever the creatures went, the wheels went with them.

20 Because the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels.

22 The firmament or terrible crystal stretched over their heads.

24 Their wings sounded like the voice of God from the firmament.

26 Someone who looked like a man sat on a throne that was above the firmament.

The appearance of God's loins

27 I saw his loins both upward and downward. His loins appeared to be on fire, with brightness round about.

28 This appeared to be the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell on my face.

God chooses Ezekiel

2 1 God said to Ezekiel, "Son of man stand on your feet, and I'll speak to you."

2 Then the spirit picked me up and set me on my feet.

3 And God said to me,

Son of man, I'm sending you to talk to the people of Israel, who have rebelled against me.

4 You'll say to them, "This is what God says."

5 Whether the people hear or refuse to hear, they'll know there's a prophet among them.

6 And you, son of man, don't be afraid of their words, or be upset by how they look at you.

7 Maybe they'll listen to you and maybe they won't. They're a tough crowd.

8 But you, son of man, listen to me.

Open your mouth and eat what I give you.

9 And when I looked, I saw a hand that held a scroll.

10 The book contained lamentations, mourning, and woe.

Eat this scroll

3 1 God said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll and fill your bowels with it."

So I did that. And it was as sweet as honey.

A forehead harder than flint

4 God said,

Son of man, go speak my words to the people of Israel.

7 But they won't listen to you. They don't listen to me either.

8 I've made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads.

9 Your forehead is harder than flint. So don't be afraid of them.

The noise of the wheels

12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard a voice say, "Blessed be the glory of the Lord."

13 I also heard the wings of the creatures and the noise of the wheels.

14 Then the spirit lifted me up and took me away. I wasn't happy about it, but God's hand was strong on me.

God's killing rules

16 Seven days later, the word of God came to me, saying,

17 I've made you a watchman for the people of Israel. Warn them for me.

18 When I say to wicked people, "You will die", and you fail to warn them, and I kill them for their wickedness, you'll be responsible for their deaths.

19 But if you warn the wicked people and they stay wicked, then I'll kill them, but you will have saved your own soul.

20 When righteous people do something wrong because I lay a stumbling block before them, I'll kill them. And because you didn't warn them, you'll be responsible for their deaths.

21 If you warn the righteous and they stay righteous, I won't kill them, and you will save your soul.

House arrest

22 The hand of God was upon me, and he said,

Get up and go to the plain. I'll talk to you there.

23 When I arrived at the plain, the glory of the Lord stood there. And I fell on my face.

24 Then the spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and said,

Go shut yourself up in your house.

25 Son of man, you will be tied up.

26 And I'll make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you can't speak.

27 Until I tell you to speak. Then you'll speak to the people, and say,

Whoever hears will hear. Whoever doesn't, won't.

A few more words about this episode

One day (1:1)
Verse 1:1 is actually a bit more specific about the day. It was "in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month." But the 30th year etc. of what exactly? Ezekiel doesn't tell us that.
The next verse is more helpful in dating this, though. Ezekiel says that his vision took place in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, which would put it somewhere around 593 BCE, since Jehoiachin's exile to Babylon began in 597 BCE.
Ezekiel identifies himself in verse 3 as "Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans." So he was a priest during the Babylonian captivity. It is interesting, however, that Ezekiel is never referred to by name in any other book of the Bible.
A great fiery whirlwind (1:4)
Ezekiel experiences what some say is the first recorded UFO sighting.

But see eSkeptic: The Spaceships of Ezekiel for a more reasonable view on this.

I saw his loins (1:27)
The Hebrew word that is used here (motnayim) refers to the groin and genitals, according to Francesca Stavrakopoulou in God: An Anatomy.
The rabbis restricted the reading of Ezekiel's vision, because they were uncomfortable with Ezekiel's seeing God's loins. (See The Torah: Ezekiel’s Vision of God and the Chariot
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