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Ezekiel's Wheels

(go to 1:58:17 in the video).

(see footnotes below) 

Ancient Aliens: “In the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet describes a flying chariot containing wheels within wheels and powered by angels. Although Bible historians suggest Ezekiel was speaking symbolically about the terrifying enemies facing Israel, could this be another example of an alien visitation and proof that pre-historic aircraft existed?”

Ezekiel’s vision is often used to try to support the Ancient Astronaut theory. Let’s take a close look at it and see if it does in fact support this idea.

First we need to disagree with the narrator that biblical scholars think this vision is referring to the enemies of Israel. I can’t imagine any biblical scholar saying that, as it expressly says in the book that the vision is of the glory of God on his throne. I have read dozens of commentaries by bible scholars on Ezekiel and have never found one that said this was referring to the enemies of Israel.

I think this is a case of Ancient Aliens propping up a straw-man argument, in other words, taking an obviously weak argument and pretending it is your opposition’s majority view.

The main premise of the Ancient Astronaut theory is that ancient writers couldn’t understand, or didn’t have the vocabulary to explain technology. But that idea doesn’t really work for Ezekiel for many reasons.

First of all, Ezekiel had a huge vocabulary. Hebrew is one of the richest languages in history of the world, and Ezekiel showed great skill in utilizing it when describing complicated things in other places in his writings.[1]

He had the vocabulary to say things like: silver disk, or round, or window or grey being with big eyes if he had wanted to[2], but he didn’t. As we will see what Ezekiel describes simply cannot be compared to a UFO.

More than any other Bible writer, Ezekiel was extremely detail oriented. He makes sure to describe every detail, not just here, but throughout his writings. For example a very accurate model of the layout of an entire city, as well as a huge temple complex can be constructed by using his specifications.

He even starts out every one of his visions by a meticulous detailing of the time and place it happened. For example:

“Eze 8:1  And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me. “

The vision that Ezekiel saw that is in question can also be drawn out on paper using his specifications, and people that do this all pretty much get the same thing.

It is describing the throne of God, which rests on a platform, that platform is supported by four Cherubim on each corner. (Cherubs are specific types of angels in the bible that have four faces and several wings; there are also four wheels next to the angels).

Mike Heiser: “Everyone in the field knows what this is in Ezekiel One: It’s a cherubim throne, because we have very clear examples of the elements that you find in Ezekiel One.”

It’s not that exciting, but it is more or less what everyone gets when they draw this out…well, almost everyone.

AA: “Joseph Bloomrich is your proverbial rocket scientist. He worked on the moon project for NASA and, from the mind of a rocket engineer, started to look at was written in the first part of the book of Ezekiel and, after months of research Joseph Bloomrick came to the conclusion that what Ezekiel described in his eye-witness report was indeed a type of spacecraft.”

AA: “Joseph Bloomrich would go on to write “The Spaceships of Ezekiel”.

Ok so they say this guy, who they say is super smart, really studied the book of Ezekiel, and they say that what he got was this contraption with four propellers at the bottom of each corner.

The biggest problem with this theory is Ezekiel’s attention to detail; there is just no way to get this contraption from what Ezekiel describes.

Heiser: “Bloomrichs’ book and other books penned by ancient astronaut theorists all have the same weakness: They tend to ignore the vocabulary of Ezekiel chapter one. For instance, the throne upon which Yahweh seats is never described as round or silvery or some sort of disk shape. That just has to be assumed and brought into the text. So they either do that, or they modernize the descriptions that are there, for instance the bovine with the calf legs must surely be legs of a UFO or some other aircraft.”

Let me read a description of the four angels holding up the throne, and you can decide for yourself if you think he is really struggling with his ancient vocabulary to describe four propellers.

Eze 1:5  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.

Eze 1:6  And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.

Eze 1:8  And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.

Eze 1:10  As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

It’s hard to get a propeller when Ezekiel says “And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.”

Ezekiel knew what a man looked like, so it’s just not honest to say that Ezekiel mistook a propeller for a man.

But Ancient Aliens has a way around this one:

AA: “If we thought of the word angel as representing something like celestial energy, sounds much more like a spacecraft.”

So we just make “angel” equal “celestial energy” and that’s much better for our UFO theory. Talk about forcing the evidence to fit the hypothesis.

Using this logic I could say that the description of my car would sound more like a UFO if instead of wheels I said “anti-gravity devices.”

The problem is that Ezekiel doesn’t just mention angels in passing, he devotes an entire chapter to describing them, he calls them “Cherubim” over 20 times in chapter 10, he even says in chapter 10 verse 20 that he knows that they are Cherubim.

Heiser: “It’s very illogical to assume that an ancient astronaut reading of the modern mind is getting it right when the ancient person has pretty much done all they can do to tell you what they are talking about, and you just depart from what they say. It’s very inconsistent to say that you’re reading an ancient text, [only to look] at what the creators of that text thought and [push] it aside.”

One thing that helps to dispel the Ezekiel UFO theories is by seeing how common this throne idea is in other places in the Bible. No one seems to think these other passages are talking about UFOs but they are obviously talking about the same thing as Ezekiel.

For example in the book of Revelation, when John was taken up to heaven and specifically to Gods throne, this is how he describes it:

Rev 4:2  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Rev 4:6  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

Rev 4:7  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

Rev 4:8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Daniel the prophet even mentions that the throne of God has “wheels” in Daniel 7:9

Heiser: “The other places in the Hebrew Bible that describe God’s throne don’t have a lot of detail. Isaiah 6 is a familiar example where Isaiah appears before God’s throne with the Seratheme and other divine beings there. I think the best one for this particular issue is found in Daniel 7. You have the ancient of days seated upon a throne and it’s called a throne – the word for throne actually appears in the passage. The issue there is, since we know it’s a throne because Daniel calls it a throne, it’s really important to observe how the throne is described. It has wheels. It has fiery descriptions. Scholars have known for a long time that the description of the throne in Daniel 7 has the same elements as that in Ezekiel 1, so it’s very clearly a throne, and some of the other passages help us understand that.”

We could go through other passages, but the point is that according to the Bible God’s throne is supported by four angels with multiple wings which are on wheels.

But now the interesting part, it seems that even the other cultures, from Sumer to Egypt and everywhere in between, also knew that the thrones of kings, and especially of God, were to be supported by cherubim, and that they have wheels, as well as other elements described by Ezekiel. [3] [4]

We know this because of the artwork of the ancient world. There are 1,000s of pieces of art from the ancient world that show various elements that Ezekiel described of God’s throne.

We can see the angels, some of them even have four faces, some of them have wheels. They have the platform and the throne.

Heiser: “In terms of iconography again what I like to describe are the polaroids of the old testament ancient world – pictures they left us of the things they’re talking about. The idea of a deity seated on a throne that was in effect a chariot that is carried around by supernatural beings with wings, to describe it as the chariot of heaven, is very common. However, when it’s depicted, it’s never depicted as what we would think of as a UFO. No triangles. No round disks. Nothing like that. It’s a chair. It’s a throne which has some sort of platform, with the deity [Yahweh] seated upon these various heavenly creatures”

There are also a ton of basic logical problems with the Ancient Astronaut theorist’s idea that Ezekiel is talking about a UFO.

Here is one of them.

AA: “Well that sounds like flames. That sounds like propulsion.”

No physicist, no matter how sympathetic to this cause would say that using a combustion engine for interstellar travel is possible. Not to mention that this particular fire comes from coal on the alter, so that would make it a coal powered interstellar spaceship.

As simple as it sounds the entire reason this whole thing with Ezekiel started in the 1970’s was because of the line Ezekiel uses “wheels within wheels.”

People basically said, wheels are round, flying saucers are supposed to be round too!

AA: “Ezekiel saw this wheel within a wheel. This sounds more high tech than supernatural.”

But the idea conveyed in Ezekiel’s writing is nothing more than a concentric circle. Pretty much like any wheel with a rim. It’s not exactly a high tech idea. The only reason it’s mentioned is because Ezekiel is such a detail oriented writer. Daniel doesn’t go into such detail when he sees the throne of God, he just says “wheels.”

Besides that there are four wheels that make up one unit, so if you’re going to say a wheel within a wheel is a UFO, then you have to say that UFO’s only come in sets of four, because that is unambiguously what Ezekiel is describing.

And these wheels are not horizontal as if they were flying around; they are vertical, just like they should be if they were really wheels.

So we see that this idea is refuted by:

1.)    The consistent biblical motifs using these elements to describe the throne of God

2.)    The 1000s of pieces of art from the ancient world that depict thrones as having the same elements that Ezekiel describes.

3.)    The logical problems with the theory such as it being a coal powered combustion engine.

[1] Ezekiel 40-48 – The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Eze 30:13–19). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


[4] , Othmar Keel – Jahwe-Visionen und Siegelkunst:  Eine neue Deutung der Majestatsschilderungen in Jes, Ez 1 und 10 und Sach 4 (“Visions of Yahweh and Seal Art: A New Interpretation of the Majestic Portrayals in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and 10, and Zechariah 4″), Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart, 1984-85).

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