Ezekiel 1:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human,

New Living Translation
From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human,

English Standard Version
And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness,

New American Standard Bible
Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form.

King James Bible
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The form of four living creatures came from it. And this was their appearance: They had human form,

International Standard Version
Deep inside it, the likenesses of four living beings were visible. Their appearances were similar to human forms,

NET Bible
In the fire were what looked like four living beings. In their appearance they had human form,

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

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In the center of the cloud I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were shaped like humans,

JPS Tanakh 1917
And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.

New American Standard 1977
And within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of man.

King James 2000 Bible
Also out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

American King James Version
Also out of the middle thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

American Standard Version
And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And in the midst thereof the likeness of four living creatures: and this was their appearance: there was the likeness of a man in them.

Darby Bible Translation
Also out of the midst thereof, the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.

English Revised Version
And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

Webster's Bible Translation
Also from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

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

Young's Literal Translation
And out of its midst is a likeness of four living creatures, and this is their appearance; a likeness of man is to them,
Study Bible
Vision of Four Cherubim
4As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. 5Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. 6Each of them had four faces and four wings.…
Cross References
Revelation 4:6
And before the throne was something like a sea of glass, as clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, covered with eyes in front and back.

Revelation 4:8
And each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around and within. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

Ezekiel 1:26
Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.

Ezekiel 10:15
Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw by the river Chebar.

Ezekiel 10:17
When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them.

Ezekiel 10:20
These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim.
Treasury of Scripture

Also out of the middle thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

the likeness

Revelation 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like to crystal: and …

Revelation 6:6 And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure …

(5) The likeness of four living creatures next appeared from this centre of the fiery cloud. The word "likeness" is not without significance. The prophet would make it plain that this was a vision, that these were symbolic, not actually existing creatures. Their prominent characteristic is that they were "living." This word is used over and over again in connection with them (see Ezekiel 1:13-15; Ezekiel 1:19; Ezekiel 1:21, &c.); and in fact, in Ezekiel and Revelation (Ezekiel 4:6, &c., where it is mis-translated beasts) it occurs nearly thirty times. The same characteristic is further emphasized in Ezekiel 1:14 by the speed, "as of a flash of lightning," with which they "ran and returned," by the multiplicity of eyes in the wheels connected with them (Ezekiel 1:18), and by their going instantly "whithersoever the spirit was to go" (Ezekiel 1:20); while in Revelation 4:8 it is said that "they rest not day and night." Their life is represented as most closely connected with the source of all life, the "living God," whose throne is seen in the vision (Ezekiel 1:26) as above the heads of these "living creatures,"

Ezekiel does not here say what these living creatures were, but in a subsequent vision, when he saw them again in connection with the Temple, he recognised them as the cherubim (Ezekiel 10:15; Ezekiel 10:20). Cherubim, whether here, or in the Temple overshadowing the mercy-seat, or in the garden of Eden keeping the way of the tree of life, always indicate the immediate presence of the God of holiness. The prophet again mentions these composite symbolic figures in connection with the vision of the Temple in Ezekiel 41:18-20. The origin of such ideal figures has been variously ascribed to the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Phnicians, and the Arabs; but this symbolism was, in fact, almost universal throughout the East. Dr. Currey (Speaker's Com., note on Ezekiel 1) points out the striking difference between this symbolism and that of the Greeks. They tried to delineate the Divine attributes with the utmost beauty of form and harmony of detail under some human figure in which those attributes were conspicuous. In consequence, the mind of the worshipper lost sight of the ideal, and became absorbed in the sensuous imagery by which it was represented; while here, by the very strangeness, and sometimes grotesqueness, of the imagery, its purely symbolic character was kept constantly in view. Cherubim are associated in the Old Testament with that tree of life of which man might not partake save through Him who is "the life," and with that typical holy of holies which man might not enter until the true Holy of Holies was entered once for all by Christ through His own blood (Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 9:12).

They had the likeness of a man.--With all the strange variety of details to be described immediately, they had yet a general human form, and are to be understood as like man in whatever is not specified.

Verse 5. - The likeness of four living creatures. The Authorized Version is happier here in its rendering than in Revelation 4:6, where we find "beasts" applied to the analogues of the forms of Ezekiel's vision. There the Greek gives ζῶα, as the LXX. does here, while in Daniel 7:3-7 we have θήρια In Ezekiel 10:15 they are identified with the "cherubim" of the mercy seat; but the fact that they are not so named here is presumptive evidence that Ezekiel did not at first recognize them as identical with what he had heard of those cherubim, or with the other like forms that were seen, as they were not seen, in the temple (1 Kings 6:29; 1 Kings 7:29), on its walls (2 Chronicles 3:7), and on its veil or curtain (Exodus 36:35). What he sees is, in fact, a highly complicated development of the cherubic symbols, which might well appear strange to him. It is possible (as Dean Stanley and others have suggested) that the Assyrian and Babylonian sculptures, the winged bulls and lions with human heads, which Ezekiel may have seen in his exile, were elements in that development. The likeness of a man. This apparently was the first impression. The "living creatures" were not, like the Assyrian forms just referred to, quadrupeds. They stood erect, and had feet and hands as men have. Also out of the midst thereof,.... The fire; or out of the whole that was seen; the whirlwind, cloud, fire, and the brightness about it:

came the likeness of four living creatures; not really four living creatures; they appeared like to such they were in the form of such; by which we are to understand, not the four monarchies; nor the four Gospels; nor the angels; but ministers of the Gospel; the true key for the opening of this vision is that which John saw, Revelation 4:6; the four beasts there, or living creatures, as it should be rendered, are the same with these here, and these the same with them; and who manifestly appear to be not only worshippers of the true God, but to be men redeemed by the blood of Christ; and are distinguished from angels, and also from the four and twenty elders, the representatives of the Gospel churches; and so can design no other than the ministers of the word, with whom all the characters of them agree, as in that vision, so in this; see Revelation 4:8. "Creatures" they are; not gods, but men; they are indeed in God's stead, and represent him, being ambassadors of his; but they are frail, mortal, sinful men, of like passions with others; and therefore great allowances must be made for their infirmities and weaknesses: yea, as ministers, they are the creatures of God; he, and not men, has made them able ministers of the New Testament: and they are "living" creatures; they have spiritual life in themselves, and are the means of quickening others; and have need to be, and should be, lively and fervent in their ministrations. Their number, "four", respects the four parts of the, world, to which their commission to preach the Gospel reaches; and whither they are sent, whensoever it is the will and pleasure of God they should got and he has work for them to do;

and this was their appearance, they had the likeness of a man; their general likeness was the human form, except in some particulars after mentioned, because they represented men; men humane, tender, kind and pitiful; knowing, and understanding, and acting like men. 5. Ezekiel was himself of a "gigantic nature, and thereby suited to counteract the Babylonish spirit of the times, which loved to manifest itself in gigantic, grotesque forms" [Hengstenberg].

living creatures—So the Greek ought to have been translated in the parallel passage, Re 4:6, not as English Version, "beasts"; for one of the "four" is a man, and man cannot be termed "beast." Eze 10:20 shows that it is the cherubim that are meant.

likeness of a man—Man, the noblest of the four, is the ideal model after which they are fashioned (Eze 1:10; Eze 10:14). The point of comparison between him and them is the erect posture of their bodies, though doubtless including also the general mien. Also the hands (Eze 10:21).1:1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and a duty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. The voice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the Holy Spirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess the prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God, and humbled themselves. In ver. 4-14, is the first part of the vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory. Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet we see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their being and power from God. They have the understanding of a man, and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings; and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time. They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick, who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose; they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what duty required. Whatever service they went about, they went every one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God would have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures by their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of fire; they are seraphim, or burners; denoting the ardour of their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom alone they belong.
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OT Prophets: Ezekiel 1:5 Out of its midst came the likeness (Ezek. Eze Ezk) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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