Ezekiel 1:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

King James Bible
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

Darby Bible Translation
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

World English Bible
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.

Young's Literal Translation
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.

Ezekiel 1:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The thirtieth year - being closely connected with as I, is rather in favor of considering this a personal date. It is not improbable that Ezekiel was called to his office at the age prescribed in the Law for Levites Numbers 4:23, Numbers 4:30, at which age both John the Baptist and our Lord began their ministry. His call is probably to be connected with the letter sent by Jeremiah to the captives Jeremiah 29 written a few months previously. Some reckon this date from the accession of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, 625 b.c., and suppose that Ezekiel here gives a Babylonian, as in Ezekiel 1:2 a Jewish, date; but it is not certain that this accession formed an era in Babylon and Ezekiel does not elsewhere give a double date, or even a Babylonian date. Others date from the 18th year of Josiah, when Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law (supposed to be a jubilee year): this would give 594 b.c. as the 30th year, but there is no other instance in Ezekiel of reckoning from this year.

The captives - Not in confinement, but restricted to the place of their settlement.

The fourth month - "Month" is not expressed in the original. This is the common method. Before the captivity the months were described not by proper names but by their order, "the first, the second," etc.; the first month corresponding nearly with our "April." After the captivity, the Jews brought back with them the proper names of the months, "Nisan" etc. (probably those used in Chaldaea).

Chebar - The modern "Khabour" rises near Nisibis and flows into the Euphrates near "Kerkesiah," 200 miles north of Babylon.

Visions of God - The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme God, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis "the Matter of the Chariot" (compare 1 Chronicles 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel's vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study. The vision must be compared with other manifestations of the divine glory Exodus 3; Exodus 24:10; Isaiah 6:1; Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:2. Each of these visions has some of the outward signs or symbols here recorded. If we examine these symbols we shall find them to fall readily into two classes,

(1) Those which we employ in common with the writers of all ages and countries. "Gold, sapphire, burnished brass," the "terrible crystal" are familiar images of majestic glory, "thunders, lightnings" and "the rushing storm" of awful power. But

(2) We come to images to our minds strange and almost grotesque. That the "Four Living Creatures" had their groundwork in the cherubim there can be no doubt. And yet their shapes were very different. Because they were symbols not likenesses, they could yet be the same though their appearance was varied.

Of what are they symbolic? They may, according to the Talmudists, have symbolized orders of Angels and not persons; according to others they were figures of the Four Gospels actuated by one spirit spread over the four quarters of the globe, upon which, as on pillars, the Church is borne up, and over whom the Word of God sits enthroned. The general scope of the vision gives the best interpretation of the meaning.

Ezekiel saw "the likeness of the glory of God." Here His glory is manifested in the works of creation; and as light and fire, lightning and cloud, are the usual marks which in inanimate creation betoken the presence of God Psalm 18:6-14 - so the four living ones symbolize animate creation. The forms are typical, "the lion" and "the ox" of the beasts of the field (wild and tame), "the eagle" of the birds of the air, while "man" is the rational being supreme upon the earth. And the human type predominates over all, and gives character and unity to the four, who thus form one creation. Further, these four represent the constitutive parts of man's nature: "the ox" (the animal of sacrifice), his faculty of suffering; "the lion" (the king of beasts), his faculty of ruling; "the eagle" (of keen eye and soaring wing), his faculty of imagination; "the man," his spiritual faculty, which actuates all the rest.

Christ is the Perfect Man, so these four in their perfect harmony typify Him who came to earth to do His Father's will; and as man is lord in the kingdom of nature, so is Christ Lord in the kingdom of grace. The "wings" represent the power by which all creation rises and falls at God's will; the "one spirit," the unity and harmony of His works; the free motion in all directions, the universality of His Providence. The number "four" is the symbol of the world with its "four quarters;" the "veiled" bodies, the inability of all creatures to stand in the presence of God; the "noise of the wings," the testimony borne by creation to God Psalm 19:1-3; the "wheels" connect the vision with the earth, the wings with heaven, while above them is the throne of God in heaven. Since the eye of the seer is turned upward, the lines of the vision become less distinct. It is as if he were struggling against the impossibility of expressing in words the object of his vision: yet on the summit of the throne is He who can only be described as, in some sort, the form of a man. That Yahweh, the eternal God, is spoken of, we cannot doubt; and such passages as Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14; John 12:41, justify us in maintaining that the revelation of the divine glory here made to Ezekiel has its consummation or fulfillment in the person of Christ, the only-begotten of God (compare Revelation 1:17-18).

The vision in the opening chapter of Ezekiel is in the most general form - the manifestation of the glory of the living God. It is repeated more than once in the course of the book (compare Ezekiel 8:2, Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 9:3; 10; Ezekiel 11:22; Ezekiel 40:3). The person manifested is always the same, but the form of the vision is modified according to special circumstances of time and place.

Ezekiel 1:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
'Deliver us from Evil'
'But deliver us from evil.'--MATT. vi. 13. The two halves of this prayer are like a calm sky with stars shining silently in its steadfast blue, and a troubled earth beneath, where storms sweep, and changes come, and tears are ever being shed. The one is so tranquil, the other so full of woe and want. What a dark picture of human conditions lies beneath the petitions of this second half! Hunger and sin and temptation, and wider still, that tragic word which includes them all--evil. Forgiveness and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

How Subjects and Prelates are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 5.) Differently to be admonished are subjects and prelates: the former that subjection crush them not, the latter that superior place elate them not: the former that they fail not to fulfil what is commanded them, the latter that they command not more to be fulfilled than is just: the former that they submit humbly, the latter that they preside temperately. For this, which may be understood also figuratively, is said to the former, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: but to
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Cross References
Matthew 3:16
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,

Mark 1:10
Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;

Luke 3:21
Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

John 1:51
And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Acts 7:56
and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

Acts 10:11
and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,

Revelation 4:1
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."

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