Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Versions of Reality

Versions of Reality

Ezekiel seems to have access to a totally different realm of reality. He has mystical visions. He's magically transported in an instant from Babylon to Jerusalem and back. He remains immobilized for months on end. Of course, some people would say he was crazy, but he's definitely not just spouting nonsense—even if he sees things that seem shocking or strange, like four-faced creatures and wheels full of eyes. If you look for it, there's meaning in the visions that's consistent with what other prophets have said about the fate of Israel, so we can't just write them off as meaningless hallucinations.

The dramatic language of the book conveys just how different the prophet's experience is from that of ours. Even though otherworldly experiences are hard to understand, many people seem to seek them out. Remember the '60s? Oh, wait, you don't. But the whole psychedelic movement was an effort to get to another level of consciousness, either through hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and mescaline or safer techniques like meditation. And of course, all religions have mystical traditions where believers try to reach a different level of experience of God.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. What do you think was going on with Ezekiel? What was the source of his vision—divine inspiration, madness, intense visualization? 
  2. Why does "the glory of God" appear to Ezekiel in such an unusual way (four-faced beings, etc.)?
  3. What do you think the wheels full of eyes symbolize or represent? 
  4. How does this higher visionary world influence or inform the human world?

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