Ezekiel 1

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1 Now it happened in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

2 In the fifth [day] of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,

3 the word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of Yahweh was there on him.

4 I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire.

5 Out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.

6 Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings.

7 Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass.

8 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 [thus]:

9 their wings were joined one to another; they didn't turn when they went; each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had 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 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies.

12 Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn't turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: [the fire] went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

14 The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it.

16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel.

17 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn't turn when they went.

18 As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full of eyes all around.

19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside 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; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside 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 beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

22 Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched forth over their heads above.

23 Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies.

24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings.

25 There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings.

26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above.

27 I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.

28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.

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Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 9457, 9509

Apocalypse Revealed 36, 322, 945

Conjugial Love 26

The Lord 52

Sacred Scripture 97

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 124

Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 49, 425, 908, 934, 1042, 1992, 2162, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 14, 49, 239, 245, 466, 614, 629, ...

Divine Providence 134

Doctrine of the Lord 48

True Christian Religion 157, 260

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 69, 70, 77, 239, 253, 277, 279, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

Spiritual Experiences 255

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 22, 52

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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.

 Ezekiel's Vision
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Ezekiel’s Vision (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Ezekiel’s Vision (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Ezekiel’s Vision (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Vision of the Prophet Ezekiel
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Apocalypse Explained # 283

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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283. Verse 8. And the four animals, each by itself, had six wings round about, signifies the appearance of the spiritual Divine on all sides about the celestial Divine. This is evident from the signification of the four animals, which were the cherubim, as being the Lord's Divine guard and providence that the higher heavens be not approached except from the good of love and of charity; and as this is the significance of the four animals as regards their bodies, they signify also the celestial Divine (of which presently). It is evident also from the signification of "six wings round about," as meaning the spiritual Divine round about the celestial Divine (of which also presently). The "cherubim" in respect to their bodies signify the celestial Divine, and in respect to their wings the spiritual Divine; because all things that represent heavenly things signify in respect to their bodies what is essential, and in respect to what is about them what is formal. So man also, in respect to his body signifies good in essence, and in respect to the encompassing things good in form. Celestial good is good in essence, and spiritual good is good in form; and this for the reason that the will, in which good resides, is man himself, or the man in essence; while the understanding in which is truth, which is the form of good, is the man thence derived, thus man in form; this good also is round about the other.

(Odkazy: Revelation 4:8)

[2] But let it be told first what the celestial Divine is, and what the spiritual Divine is. The heavens are divided into two kingdoms, one of which is called the celestial kingdom, and the other the spiritual kingdom. They differ in this, that those in the celestial kingdom are in the good of love to the Lord, and those in the spiritual kingdom are in the good of charity towards the neighbor. Therefore the celestial Divine is the good of love to the Lord, and the spiritual Divine is the good of charity towards the neighbor. Moreover, according to these goods the heavens are arranged; the highest or third heaven consists of those who are in celestial good, or in the good of love to the Lord; and the heaven that succeeds this, and is called the middle or second heaven, consists of those who are in spiritual good, or in the good of charity towards the neighbor; and as celestial good is good in the highest place, and spiritual good is good in the second place, therefore the latter is round about the former; for that which is above is also within, and that which is below is also without, and what is without is round about. This is why in the Word higher things, and things in the midst, signify things interior; and lower things, and things round about, signify things exterior. Now as each good, the celestial and the spiritual, guards, and as the "animals," that is, the cherubim, in respect to their bodies signify the celestial Divine, and in respect to their wings the spiritual Divine, it is clear that by "the four animals, each by itself, were seen to have six wings round about," the appearance of the spiritual Divine on all sides round about the celestial Divine is signified. (But a fuller idea of these things can be had from what is said and shown in the work on Heaven and Hell; first, from the chapter where it is shown that The Divine of the Lord makes Heaven, n. 7-12; then from the chapter, The Divine of the Lord in Heaven is Love to Him, and Charity towards the Neighbor, n. 13-19; and lastly, in the chapter, Heaven is divided into two Kingdoms, a Celestial Kingdom and a Spiritual Kingdom, n. 20-28.)

[3] The cherubim were seen as animals because heavenly things are represented in ultimates in various ways, as can be seen from many passages in the Word; as:

That the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove over Jesus when He was baptized (Matthew 3:16-17).

And that the Divine of the Lord appeared as a lamb (Revelation 5:6, 8, 13).

And from this the Lord was also called a Lamb (Revelation 6:1, 16, 7:9-10, 14, 17, 12:11, 13:8, 14:1, 4, 17:14; 19:7, 9, 21:22-23, 27).

There were "four cherubim," and "each had six wings," because "four" signifies celestial good, and "six" spiritual good; for "four" signifies conjunction, and inmost conjunction with the Lord is through love to Him; but "six" signifies communication, and communication with the Lord is by means of charity towards the neighbor.

(Odkazy: Revelation 21:26, 22:1)

[4] That "wings" signify the spiritual Divine, which in its essence is truth from good, can be seen from the following passages. In David:

If ye have lain among the ranks, [ye shall have] the wings of a dove overlaid with silver, and her pinions with the yellow of gold; when Thou, Shaddai, dost spread out, kings shall be in it (Psalms 68:13-14).

What it means that "those who lie among the ranks shall have the wings of a dove overlaid with silver, and her pinions with the yellow of gold," and that "kings shall be in it when Shaddai spreadeth out," can be understood only from the internal sense; in that sense "to lie among the ranks" signifies to live according to the statutes; "the wings of a dove overlaid with silver" signify spiritual truths; her "pinions with the yellow of gold" signify spiritual good from which are those truths; "Shaddai" signifies a state of temptations; "kings in it" signify truths in that state and after it. "The wings of a dove overlaid with silver" signify spiritual truths, because "wing" signifies the spiritual, "dove" signifies truth from good, and "silver" the truth itself; "pinions overlaid with the yellow of gold" signify spiritual good from which are those truths, because "pinions" and "the yellow of gold" signify spiritual good from which are truths. "When Shaddai spreadeth out" signifies a state of temptations because "God Shaddai" signifies temptations and consolations after them; and as truths from good are implanted in man by temptations it is said, "kings shall be in it," for "kings" signify truths from good (see above, n. 31.

(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 31)

[5] In the same:

God rode upon a cherub, He did fly, and was borne upon the wings of the wind (Psalms 18:10).

"God rode upon a cherub" signifies the Lord's Divine Providence; "He did fly" signifies omnipresence in the spiritual world; "He was borne upon the wings of the wind" signifies omnipresence in the natural world; "wings of the wind" are things spiritual, from which are things natural.

[6] In the same:

Jehovah covereth thee under His pinion, and under His wings shalt thou trust; truth is a shield and a buckler (Psalms 91:4).

"To cover under the pinion" signifies to guard by Divine truth, which is the spiritual Divine; and "to trust under His wings" signifies under truth known [verum scientificum], which is the spiritual natural Divine; and as both signify truth, and "to cover" signifies guarding by means of it, it is said, "truth is a shield and a buckler." This makes clear what is signified:

By being hidden under the shadow of God's wings (Psalms 17:8);

By putting trust under the shadow of His wings (Psalms 36:7; 57:1);

Also by singing under the shadow of His wings (Psalms 63:7).

[7] That "wing" in reference to the Lord signifies the spiritual Divine is further evident from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

When I passed by thee, and saw thee, that behold thy time was the time of loves, I spread My wing over thee, and I covered thy nakedness (Ezekiel 16:8).

Here Jerusalem is treated of, and by it the church is meant, here its reformation; "the time of loves" signifies the state when it could be reformed; "I spread My wing over thee" signifies spiritual truth by which reformation is effected; "I covered thy nakedness" signifies putting evil out of sight thereby; for the evil that man has by heredity and afterwards from what is his own [ex proprio] is put out of sight, that is, so removed as not to appear, by spiritual truths, which are truths from good.

[8] In David:

Jehovah covereth Himself with light as with a garment; He stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain; He layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters; He maketh the clouds His chariot; He walketh upon the wings of the wind (Psalms 104:2, 3).

The "light with which Jehovah covereth Himself" signifies Divine truth in the heavens; it is called His "garment" because it proceeds from Him as a sun, and is thus outside of Him and about Him. This has a like meaning with the "light" and "the garments" of the Lord, when He was transfigured (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:28-37). "He stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain" signifies filling heaven and them that are therein with Divine truth, and thereby with intelligence; "He layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters" means to fill those who are in the ultimate heaven and in the church with the knowledges of truth and good; "He maketh the clouds His chariot" signifies the doctrine of truth from the literal sense of the Word, "clouds" mean that sense, and "chariot" doctrine; "to walk upon the wings of the wind" signifies the spiritual sense of the Word contained in the literal sense.

(Odkazy: Luke 9:28-36; Psalms 104:2-4, Psalms 104:2-3)

[9] In Malachi:

Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, and healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).

"The Sun of righteousness" signifies the good of love, which is the celestial Divine; and the "wings of Jehovah, in which there is healing," signify truth from that good, which is the spiritual Divine; "healing" is reformation thereby.

[10] In Moses:

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, beareth them on her wings, so Jehovah doth lead him (Deuteronomy 32:11, 12).

Here comparison is made with an "eagle," because "eagle" signifies intelligence, and "wing" the spiritual Divine, which is Divine truth, from which is intelligence.

(Odkazy: Deuteronomy 32:11-12)

[11] In Isaiah:

They that wait upon Jehovah renew their strength, they mount up with a wing like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).

"To mount up with a wing like eagles" is to ascend into the light of heaven, which is Divine truth or the spiritual Divine from which is intelligence.

[12] In Ezekiel:

The mountain of height will I plant it; that it may lift up the bough and bear fruit, and become a magnificent cedar; that under it may dwell every bird of every wing (Ezekiel 17:23). "A magnificent cedar" signifies the spiritual church; "every bird of every wing" signifies things intellectual which are from spiritual truths.

From this it can be seen what "the wings of the cherubim," both here and elsewhere in the Word, signify, namely, the spiritual Divine, which is Divine truth instructing, regenerating, and protecting.

[13] As also in Ezekiel:

Each cherub had four faces: and each had four wings, their wings were erect one toward the other, each had two wings covering their bodies. I heard the sound of the wings like the sound of great waters, as the voice of Shaddai; when they went, the voice of a tumult like the voice of a camp; when they stood they let down their wings. I heard the voice of their wings kissing each the other, and the voice of wheels beside them; the voice of the wings of the cherubim was heard even unto the court without, as the voice of God Shaddai. The likeness of hands was under their wings (Ezekiel 1:4, 6, 23-24; 3:12-13; 10:5, 21).

That "wings" here signify the spiritual Divine, which is the Lord's Divine truth in His celestial kingdom, is evident from the particulars of the description here; that there were "four wings" signifies the spiritual Divine in that kingdom; that "their wings were erect one toward the other," and "kissed each other" signifies consociation and conjunction from the Lord of all in that kingdom; that "the wings covered their bodies" signifies the spiritual Divine there encompassing the celestial Divine; that "the sound of their wings was heard as the sound of great waters," and "as the voice of wheels," and "as the voice of Shaddai," and that "the voice of the wings was heard even unto the court without" signifies the quality of the spiritual Divine, that is, of Divine truths in the ultimate heaven; for "voice" is predicated of truth; "waters" signify truths and the perception of truths; "wheels" the truths of doctrinals, because a "chariot" signifies doctrine; and "God Shaddai" means truth rebuking in temptations, and afterwards consoling; the "court without" is the ultimate heaven; the "likeness of hands under the wings" signifies the power of Divine truth.

(Odkazy: Ezekiel 1:23, 3:13)

[14] From this also can be seen what the "wings" of the cherubim, that were over the mercy-seat which was upon the ark, signified, which are thus described in Moses:

Make one cherub from the one end, and the other cherub from the other end; out of the mercy-seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And the cherubim shall spread out the wings upwards, covering over the mercy-seat with the wings, and their faces shall be a man to his brother; towards the mercy-seat shall be the faces of the cherubim. And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above the ark; and to the ark thou shalt commit the testimony that I shall give thee (Exodus 25:18-21).

Here, too, "cherubim" in like manner signify the Lord's Providence in respect to guarding, that the highest heaven or the celestial kingdom be not approached except through the good of love from the Lord and to the Lord. The "testimony" or the "law," in the ark, signifies the Lord Himself; the "ark" the inmost or the highest heaven; the "mercy-seat" the hearing and reception of all things of worship which are from the good of love, and then expiation; the "wings of the cherubim" signify the spiritual Divine in that heaven or in that kingdom; that "the wings were spread out upwards," and that "they covered the mercy-seat," and that "their faces were toward the mercy-seat" signify the reception itself and hearing. (But all this can be seen more fully explained in Arcana Coelestia 9506-9546.) And as the "wings of the cherubim" and their direction signify Divine truth heard and received by the Lord, therefore it follows in Moses:

And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, all things which I will command unto the sons of Israel (Exodus 25:22, and Numbers 7:89).

(Odkazy: Exodus 25:19-21)

[15] As most expressions in the Word have a contrary sense also, so do "wings," in which sense they signify falsities and reasonings from them; as in Revelation:

Out of the smoke [of the pit of the abyss] went forth locusts. And the voice of their wings was as the voice of chariots of many horses running to war (Revelation 9:2-3, 9).

"Locusts" signify falsities in extremes, and "horses" reasonings from them, and "war" signifies the combat of falsity against truth; it is therefore said, "the voice of the wings of the locusts was as the voice of chariots of many horses running to war."

(Odkazy: Revelation 9:3)

[16] In Hosea:

Ephraim is joined to idols. Their wine is gone; in whoring they have committed whoredom. The wind hath bound her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices (Hosea 4:17-19).

"Ephraim" signifies the intellectual, such as it is with those within the church who are illustrated when they read the Word; "idols" signify the falsities of doctrine; therefore "Ephraim joined to idols" signifies a perverted intellectual seizing upon falsities; that "their wine is gone" signifies that the truth of the church is gone, "wine" meaning that truth; "in whoring they have committed whoredom" signifies that they have falsified truths, "whoredom" meaning the falsification of truth; "the wind hath bound up in its wings" signifies reasonings from fallacies, from which are falsities. (What fallacies in respect to things spiritual are, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 53.) "Wind in the wings" has a like signification in Zechariah 5:9.

(Odkazy: Exodus 25:19-22; Ezekiel 3:13; Psalms 104:2-4; Revelation 9:3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 276, 297, 304, 315, 419, 558, 569, 573, 759, 1038

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.