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Ezekiel 1

English: Young's Literal Translation         

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1 And it cometh to pass, in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth of the month, and I [am] in the midst of the Removed by the river Chebar, the heavens have been opened, and I see visions of God.

2 In the fifth of the month -- it is the fifth year of the removal of the king Jehoiachin --

3 hath the word of Jehovah certainly been unto Ezekiel son of Buzi the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans, by the river Chebar, and there is on him there a hand of Jehovah.

4 And I look, and lo, a tempestuous wind is coming from the north, a great cloud, and fire catching itself, and brightness to it round about, and out of its midst as the colour of copper, out of the midst of the fire.

5 And out of its midst [is] a likeness of four living creatures, and this [is] their appearance; a likeness of man [is] to them,

6 and four faces [are] to each, and four wings [are] to each of them,

7 and their feet [are] straight feet, and the sole of their feet [is] as a sole of a calf's foot, and they are sparkling as the colour of bright brass;

8 and hands of man under their wings -- on their four sides, and their faces and their wings -- [are] to them four;

9 joining one unto another [are] their wings, they turn not round in their going, each straight forward they go.

10 As to the likeness of their faces, the face of a man, and the face of a lion, toward the right [are] to them four, and the face of an ox on the left [are] to them four, and the face of an eagle [are] to them four.

11 And their faces and their wings are separate from above, to each [are] two joining together, and two are covering their bodies.

12 And each straight forward they go, whither the spirit is to go, they go, they turn not round in their going.

13 As to the likeness of the living creatures, their appearances [are] as coals of fire -- burning as the appearance of lamps; it is going up and down between the living creatures, and brightness [is] to the fire, and out of the fire is going forth lightning.

14 And the living creatures are running, and turning back, as the appearance of the flash.

15 And I see the living creatures, and lo, one wheel [is] in the earth, near the living creatures, at its four faces.

16 The appearance of the wheels and their works [is] as the colour of beryl, and one likeness [is] to them four, and their appearances and their works [are] as it were the wheel in the midst of the wheel.

17 On their four sides, in their going they go, they turn not round in their going.

18 As to their rings, they are both high and fearful, and their rings [are] full of eyes round about them four.

19 And in the going of the living creatures, the wheels go beside them, and in the living creatures being lifted up from off the earth, lifted up are the wheels.

20 Whither the spirit is to go, they go, thither the spirit [is] to go, and the wheels are lifted up over-against them, for a living spirit [is] in the wheels.

21 In their going, they go; and in their standing, they stand; and in their being lifted up from off the earth, lifted up are the wheels over-against them; for a living spirit [is] in the wheels.

22 And a likeness [is] over the heads of the living creatures of an expanse, as the colour of the fearful ice, stretched out over their heads from above.

23 And under the expanse their wings [are] straight, one toward the other, to each are two covering on this side, and to each are two covering on that side -- their bodies.

24 And I hear the noise of their wings, as the noise of many waters, as the noise of the Mighty One, in their going -- the noise of tumult, as the noise of a camp, in their standing they let fall their wings.

25 And there is a voice from above the expanse, that [is] above their head: in their standing they let fall their wings.

26 And above the expanse that [is] over their head, as an appearance of a sapphire stone, [is] the likeness of a throne, and on the likeness of the throne a likeness, as the appearance of man upon it from above.

27 And I see as the colour of copper, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward, and from the appearance of his loins and downward, I have seen as the appearance of fire, and brightness [is] to it round about.

28 As the appearance of the bow that is in a cloud in a day of rain, so [is] the appearance of the brightness round about.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Other references to this chapter:

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

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

Divine Providence 134

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

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

  PDF Resources

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Five also signifies all things of one part.

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In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

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Because a nearer and stronger divine influx through the heavens disperses truths among the wicked, 'wind' signifies this dispersion of truth and the resulting conjunction...

Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

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Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

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four wings
By the four wings, as of a fowl, on the back of the third beast, signifies confirmations of falsity.

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Calves of the lips (Hos 14:2) are confessions from the affection of truth.

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'A lion' signifies the good of celestial love and the truth from that good.

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living creatures
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noise of their wings
'The voice of wings,' as in Revelation 9:9, signifies rationalizations, because 'to fly' signifies perceiving and instructing.

'A voice crying,' and 'the voice of a cry,' are common expressions in the Word, and are applied whenever there is a noise or disturbance,...

Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

a camp
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Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

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'Precious stones,' in application to the Word, symbolizes the Divine truth of the Word in its literal sense which the Divine truth in its spiritual...

Sapphire stone
A sapphire stone is the quality of the literal sense of the Word, when the internal sense is perceived in it.

Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

'The Lord's throne' signifies, in general, the whole heaven, and specifically, the spiritual heaven, and by extension, divine truth proceeding, and so, everything of heaven...

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a day
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day of
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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 at the New Church Vineyard website.

 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
Project | Ages 7 - 17

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #9407

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9407. 'There was so to speak a work of sapphire [stone]' means that it is translucent with inner truths on that level, and that all things in it are translucent from the Lord. This is clear from the meaning of 'a work of sapphire' as the character of the literal sense of the Word when the internal sense is discerned within it, that is, when Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, as it is in heaven, shines through it. For the Word is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. In origin it is Divine, but as it passes through the heavens it is celestial in the inmost heaven, spiritual in the second or middle heaven, spiritual-natural in the first or lowest heaven, and natural and worldly in the world; this last is its character in the sense of the letter intended for people there. From this it is evident that the sense of the letter, which is the lowest in order, contains a spiritual and a celestial level of meaning, and inmostly the Divine Himself. And since these inner levels are contained in the lowest or literal sense and are seen by those who understand the Word in a spiritual manner, that sense is represented by 'a work of sapphire', which lets rays of heavenly light through, that is, which is translucent.

[2] To give some idea of that translucence, let human speech serve to illustrate it. Such speech has its origin in the end a person has in view which he wishes to make known through speech. This end is his love; for a person has what he loves as his end in view. From that end arises the person's thought, and finally his speech. Anyone who stops to think properly about this can see and discern the truth of it. The fact that the end is the primary component of speech is clear from the general rule that all intelligence has an end within it, and devoid of the end it is not intelligence. And everyone knows that thought is a secondary component arising from the first, for nobody can speak without thinking or think without having an end in view. The fact that spoken words ensue from this, and that these are the final component, which is properly called speech, is also well known. All this being so, when a person pays attention to what another utters he pays attention not to the words the speaker uses but to the meaning conveyed by them which is present in the speaker's thought. And one who is wise pays attention to the end in view that has given rise to the thought expressed in speech, that is, he pays attention to what the speaker's aims are and what it is he loves. These three components are present in human speech, in which the spoken words serve as the outward form.

[3] This comparison enables one to gain some idea regarding the Word in the letter. For those in heaven pay attention to the Word in the letter and perceive things there in exactly the same way as anyone is accustomed to perceive a person's thought as it presents itself in spoken words, or in the inmost heaven as anyone is accustomed to perceive a person's aims or end in view. But the difference is that when someone reads the sense of the letter of the Word this is not heard or understood in heaven, only the internal sense, because in heaven they perceive solely the spiritual and celestial levels of the Word, not the natural level of it. The one sense accordingly passes over into the other, for they correspond to each other and only things which have a correspondence have been used in the writing of the Word. All this shows what to understand when reference is made to the translucent nature of the Word, meant by 'a work of sapphire'.

[4] But a person who is unable to think on a higher level of understanding, that is, on a level altogether above material things, cannot grasp any of this, not even the idea that it is possible for a sense to exist in the Word other than the one perceived in the letter. If that person is told that the letter holds within itself a spiritual sense which has to do with truth, and that this in turn holds within itself a celestial sense which has to do with good, and also that these senses shine through the literal sense, he will be taken aback at first, then dismiss the idea as nonsense, and finally ridicule it. Actual experience has shown me that this is what people are like in the Christian world at the present day, especially the learned, and that those who reason against that truth boast of being wiser than those who uphold it. Yet the learning in earliest times, which were called golden and silver ages, had consisted in speaking and in writing in ways in which no attention was be paid to the literal meaning other than to enable hidden wisdom to shine through it, as becomes perfectly clear from the oldest books, including those by gentile authors, as well as from fragments in their languages. For their knowledge was primarily the knowledge of correspondences and the knowledge of representations, which forms of knowledge at the present day are some of those which have been lost.

[5] The reason why there appeared under the Lord's feet 'so to speak a work of sapphire' and why this means the translucence of the Word in the sense of the letter is that 'stone' in general means truth, and 'precious stone' truth shining through from what is Divine and the Lord's. For the meaning of 'stone' in general as truth, see 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798, 6426, 8609, 8940-8942. As for 'precious stone' being truth shining through from what is Divine and the Lord's, this was meant by the twelve precious stones in Aaron's breastplate, which was called the Urim and Thummim, 3862, 6335, 6640.

[6] Something similar occurs in Ezekiel,

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, you were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering - ruby, topaz, diamond, tarshish, shoham, and jasper, sapphire, chrysoprase, emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and your pipes was within you; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were perfect in your ways on the day you were created. Ezekiel 28:12-13, 15.

This refers to Tyre, by which the Church in respect of interior cognitions or knowledge of truth and good is meant, 1201. Its intelligence and wisdom as these had been in its infancy or earliest period are described by those precious stones. 'The day you were created' means the first state when they were regenerated, for 'creation' in the Word means the regeneration or new creation of a person, 16, 88.

[7] Similar things are meant by 'the precious stones' in John,

The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. Revelation 21:19-20.

This refers to the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven, by which a new Church among gentile nations is meant, after the present-day Church in our European world has been laid waste. 'The precious stones that are its foundations' are God's truths shining through on the lowest level of order.

[8] God's truth shining through on the lowest level of order, which is the Word in the letter, is meant by 'sapphire' in particular, as in Isaiah,

O afflicted one and storm-tossed, and receiving no comfort! Behold, I am arranging your stones with antimony, and will lay your foundations in sapphires. Isaiah 54:11.

This too refers to the Church which will take the place of the former one, meant in verse 1 of that chapter by 'her that is desolate who is going to have more sons than the previously married one'. 'Arranging stones' stands for the Church's truths, 'foundations in sapphires' for truths shining through on lowest levels.

(References: Isaiah 54:1)

[9] 'Sapphire' is used with a similar meaning in Jeremiah,

Her Nazirites were brighter than snow, they were whiter than milk. Their bones 1 were ruddier than pearls, 2 polished like sapphire. 3 Lamentations 4:7.

'Nazirites' in the representative sense meant the Lord in respect of the Divine Natural, 3301, 6437, and therefore also Divine Truth emanating from Him as it exists on its lowest levels, that is, the Word in the sense of the letter. For 'the hair', which is implied by 'Nazirites' here, and is said to be 'brighter than snow and whiter than milk', means truth on its lowest levels, 3301, 5247, 5570, 'brightness' and 'whiteness' having reference to truth, 3301, 5319. 'Bones that were ruddy' means factual knowledge of truth, or truth on its lowest level, which acts as servant to all other levels, 6592, 8005, 'ruddiness' having reference to the good of love present in truths, 3300. From all this it is evident that 'sapphire' means truth on the lowest levels which is translucent with inner truths.

[10] In Ezekiel,

Above the expanse that was above the heads of the cherubs, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and above the likeness of a throne there was the appearance of a man (homo) sitting upon it. Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1.

'The cherubs' are the Lord's protection and providence, guarding against access to Him except through good, 9277 (end). 'A throne over which there was the appearance of a man' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good, 5313, 6397, 9039. From this it is evident that 'a sapphire stone' means truth translucent with inner truths; that is to say, 'a stone' means truth, and 'sapphire' translucence.

[11] The reason why all things of the Word are translucent with the Lord is that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is the one and only source of everything there. For what is primary is the one and only vital element present in the things which follow and are derived from it, because they have their being in it and come into being from it; and the Divine Truth is the Lord. Here also lies the reason why the subject in the highest sense of the Word is the Lord alone, His love, providence, kingdom in heaven and on earth, and especially the glorification of His Human.

[12] The fact that the Divine Truth is the Lord Himself is evident from the consideration that whatever emanates from someone is the someone himself. What emanates for instance from a person when he speaks or acts originates in his will and understanding; and will and understanding constitute a person's life, thus the person himself. For the human being is not a human being by virtue of the shape of face and body but by virtue of an understanding that sees what is true and a will that intends what is good. From this it becomes clear that what emanates from the Lord is the Lord; and the fact that this is Divine Truth has been shown often in what has gone before.

[13] But anyone unacquainted with the arcana of heaven may suppose that the nature of Divine Truth which emanates from the Lord is no different from that of spoken words emanating from a human being. It is not spoken words however; rather It is the Divine filling the heavens, like light and heat from the sun filling the world. This may be illustrated by means of the spheres which emanate from the angels in heaven, dealt with in 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504-1520, 1695, 2401, 4464, 5179, 6206 (end), 6598-6613, 7454, 8063, 8630, 8794, 8797. In these places it has been shown and may be seen that they are spheres of the truth of faith and the good of love received from the Lord. But the Divine sphere which emanates from the Lord and is called Divine Truth spreads everywhere; as has been stated, it fills the whole of heaven and composes all of the life there. It appears before the eyes there as light, which enlightens not only angels' sight but also their minds. That same light is in addition what composes a person's understanding in the world. This is the meaning in John,

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He was the true light which enlightens every person coming into the world. And the world was made by Him. John 1:4, 9-10.

These words refer to Divine Truth, which in this chapter is called 'the Word'; and Divine Truth or 'the Word' - it says - is the Lord Himself.

[14] That light, which is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, was described by the ancients as radiating rings of golden hue around the head and body of God represented as a human being. For the ancients had no thought of God except of Him in human form.

[15] When a person is governed by good, and because of good is guided by truths, this person is raised to that Divine light, and - according to the amount and essential nature of the good - to interior light. This provides him with a general enlightenment in which the Lord enables him to see countless truths and to perceive them from good. At this time that person is led by the Lord to discern and absorb those which are suitable to him. He is led to do so as regards the most specific things, in keeping with order, so far as it contributes to his eternal life. The words 'as regards the most specific things' are used because the Lord's providence reigns universally, and it does so because it is present in the most specific things. For specific things are at the same called what is universal, 1919 (end), 6159, 6338, 6482, 6483, 8864, 8865.


1. i.e. bodies

2. In other places where Swedenborg quotes this verse he has rubies or gem stones.

3. literally, sapphire their polishing


(References: Arcana Coelestia 6482-6483, 8864-8865; Exodus 24:10)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9410, 9467, 9548, 9571, 9643, 9684, 9868, 9905, 10044

Apocalypse Revealed 424

Heaven and Hell 86, 603

The White Horse 10, 13

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 49, 50, 259, 262, 277, 304, 306, 307

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 28, 108, 196, 253, 270, 329, 543, 701, 717

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.