Ezekiel's Wheel within a Wheel Revealed
by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
Adapted from Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
In my books, I show that many biblical stories cannot be taken literally but are in fact based
on ancient myths found around the eastern Mediterranean. As were their predecessors, a significant number of these
biblical myths are rooted in nature worship, including the widespread reverence of the sun, moon, planets, stars
and constellations. This astral mythology, astrolatry or astrotheology can be
detected in numerous tales in the Old Testament, including the stories of patriarchs such as Moses and Joshua, as demonstrated in my books Did Moses Exist? and Suns of God, in particular.
As Dr. Robert M. Price states:
"Many of the epic
heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets and
Ezekiel's Godly Visions
Knowing these facts of Jewish astrolatry, the enigmatic imagery in the biblical book of Ezekiel
(c. 6th cent. BCE) can be analyzed as depicting many aspects of astral religion/astrotheology. In this regard,
Ezekiel's mysterious vision in chapter 1 has been said for centuries to have occurred at the summer solstice.
Summer solstice myths hold that the solar hero attains to his or her full glory at this time of year, when the days
are the longest and are victorious over the night or "prince of darkness."
Four Living Creatures
In his account, the heavens open, and Ezekiel sees "visions of God." The word and hand of the
Lord are upon the prophet, who recounts at 1:4-6:
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness
round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming
And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their
appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.
Despite popular perception, this tempestuous vision is not of a spaceship with aliens but
portrays ancient storm mythology. These four living creatures are called "cherubim"
(Ezek 11:22), who, along with the seraphim or "burning ones" on the ark of the covenant, represent
"personifications respectively of the dragonlike storm clouds and the serpentine lightnings."
Ezekiel’s "four living creatures" are described as having the faces of a man, lion, ox and eagle (1:10ff):
As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on
the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the
The four in Ezekiel could be equated with the faces of Baal Tetramorphos, who "had four
visages—those of lion, bull, dragon and human—and reported to have been erected centuries earlier in a temple in
Ezekiel’s vision has been linked to synagogue zodiacs with Helios and his quadriga chariot in
the center, as at Beth Alpha, Israel:
Here is the sun, indeed at the center of the universe, in a chariot controlled by a
charioteer, in a vision recalling Ezekiel’s vision of the divine chariot (Ezekiel 1). The charioteer is God, in
control of the four horses, over and above the stars and the constellations, that is, over fate and
Ezekiel’s four beasts evidently symbolize the fixed points of the zodiac, the man equated with
Aquarius, the ox or cherub with Taurus, the lion with Leo and the eagle with Scorpio. These points represent the
signs immediately after the winter solstice, vernal equinox, summer solstice and autumnal equinox,
"Ezekiel’s four beasts evidently symbolize the fixed points
of the zodiac."
The association of these biblical four with the solstices and equinoxes or seasons may be
indicated by the presence of the seasons in the corners of the synagogue zodiacs, serving as the four "living
creatures" pulling the solar chariot.
Concerning this equation, Dr. Jan van Goudoever comments:
The Glory of the Lord, which was seen by Ezekiel, is elsewhere called "Chariot of the
Cherubim" and can easily be recognised as a kind of "sun-chariot." The four "living creatures" are supposed to
correspond to four signs of the Zodiac.... In agreement herewith the future city is described as having 12
gates, three gates for each direction.... And in his vision of the future Temple, Ezekiel saw the Glory of the
Lord returning through the eastern gate.
Thus, Ezekiel’s chariot is that of the sun and zodiac, with the 12 "gates" or signs and an
eastern entrance where the sun god rises.
The Chariot or Merkabah of the Sun
The coglike "wheel within a wheel" of Ezekiel 1:15-19 thus could describe not only a sun chariot but also a
Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living
creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their
appearance was like the gleaming of a chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their construction being
as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as
they went. The four wheels had rims and they had spokes; and their rims were full of eyes round about. And when
the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the
Concerning Ezekiel’s cherubim, wings and wheels, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown mention the
"symbolical figures, somewhat similar" of the Chaldeans/Assyrians that "symbolize the astronomical zodiac, or the
sun and celestial sphere, by a circle of wings or irradiations."
These "wheels" or ophanim, a word referring also to an order of angels, make up the sapphire-like
"throne" or "chariot" (merkabah) of conveyance in which, Ezekiel 1:26-28 claims, rides the Lord, as in the
"Yahu" coin from Gaza, for example.
A common portrayal of the sun god can be found in the Bible at 2 Kings (23:11), in the "chariots
of the sun," essentially Helios and his quadriga chariot. Other solar charioteers include Apollo, Surya and
Krishna. In this same regard, Ezekiel (1:27-28) uses solar imagery to describe Yahweh’s arrival:
And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like
the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it
were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.
Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the
appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And
when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
Here the bright, fiery and brazen glory of the Lord appears like a rainbow in the clouds, solar
imagery that could not be more obvious.
The Beasts on the Temple Wall
Guided by Yahweh himself, Ezekiel next has a vision of the temple at Jerusalem, in which the
prophet digs into a hole in the wall to discover a door. Behind this aperture lies the sight of "vile abominations"
being committed by the 70 Jewish elders. At Ezekiel 8:10-11, the biblical prophet writes:
So I went in and saw; and there, portrayed upon the wall round about, were all kinds of
creeping things, and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy
men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Ja-azani'ah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his
censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up.
Here we see a discussion of the elders in the temple’s inner sanctum blasphemously worshipping
"creeping things and loathsome beasts on the walls," which may be a reference to the zodiac. The imagery could
represent also the polytheistic iconography of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites and Egyptians, which would
indicate that, by Ezekiel’s time (7th-6th cents. BCE), the Jews were maintaining their ancient polytheistic
worship, despite the alleged reforms by the Judean kings Hezekiah and Josiah. Indeed, it surmised that the push for
monotheism did not begin in earnest until Ezekiel’s time, during the Babylonian exile and for centuries
In any event, the "wheel within a wheel" in Ezekiel's vision clearly refers to the
zodiac, with its four fixed signs, not a spaceship with alien creatures.
For more information and citations, see Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver.