Remember the time Jesus took Peter, Jacob and John to the top of a mountain and his clothes turned white and Moses and Elijah appeared with him and a voice spoke from the cloud? The count from that story points to the book of Ezekiel where a similarly strange encounter occurred.

Matthew 17:1-8

1After 6 days Joshua took Peter and Jacob and his brother John and brought them to a high mountain alone. 2Joshua was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun and his clothes turned white like light. 3There appeared to them Moses K Exodus 2:10 and Elijah K 1 Kings 17:1 as they were speaking with him. Matthew 17:1-34Peter answered and said to Joshua, My master, it is better for us to remain here. If you wish we will make 3 shelters here, 1 for you and 1 for Moses and 1 for Elijah. Matthew 17:45While he was speaking a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud, H 2 Peter 1:18 saying, This is my beloved son with whom I am pleased. Q 2 Peter 1:17 Listen to him. Matthew 17:56When the disciples heard it, they threw themselves on their faces and they were greatly frightened. 7Joshua came near them and touched them and said, Arise, do not be afraid. 8They lifted up their eyes and saw no man but Joshua, alone. Matthew 17:6-8 (Matthew 17:1-8 BRB)


6+3+1+1+1 = 12 = Ezekiel


Ezekiel has several intense encounters with something described as a "wheel within a wheel." Trying to crack what it was that Ezekiel saw, or what it means, is difficult for some. While I'm not prepared to give the end-all-beat-all answer for what Ezekiel was experiencing, we can certainly find some answers by understanding what some of the other related stories are in the Bible. The transfiguration of Jesus proves to be one such story, but not the only one.

First, here's a generous quote from the first of Ezekiel's encounters.

4I looked and saw the wind of the hurricane was coming from the north, a great cloud and a flaming fire, and a brightness was around it and from within it the appearance from within the fire. 5From within it came the likeness of 4 creatures and their appearance was the likeness of the children of men. 6Each one had 4 faces and each one had 4 wings. 7Their legs were straight and the soles of their feet were like the soles of the feet of the calf and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. 8They had hands of a son of man under their wings on their 4 sides and their faces and their wings were on their 4 sides. 9Their wings were joined to each other and when they went they went straight forward and they did not turn when they went. Ezekiel 1:4-910As for the likeness of their faces each of the 4 had the face of a son of man and the face of a lion on the right side and each of the 4 had the face of an ox and the face of an eagle on the left side. 11Their faces and their wings were stretched upward to another. 2 joined to each other and 2 covered their bodies. 12Each went straight forward to the place the wind was going and they did not turn when they went. 13The likeness of the creatures was as the appearance of burning coals of fire and as the appearance of a lamp walking among the creatures and the fire was bright and lightning went out from it. 14The creatures were running and were not turning as the appearance of the flash of lightning. Ezekiel 1:10-1415As I saw the creatures wheels were on the land by the side of each of the 4 creatures. 16The appearance of the wheels and their work was like the color of a beryl and the 4 had 1 likeness and their appearance and their work was a wheel inside a wheel. 17They went on 4 sides and they did not turn when they went and wherever the 1st one turned to go the other went after it and did not turn. 18As for their rims they were high and they could see, for the rims were full of eyes around the 4. Ezekiel 1:15-1819When the creatures went the wheels went with them and whenever the creatures were lifted up from the ground the wheels were lifted up with them. FE 20To the place the wind was going they went and the wheels were going up with them, because there was a living wind in the wheels. 21Whenever the creatures went the wheels went and when the creatures stood they also stood and when they were lifted up from the land the wheels were lifted up with them, for there was a living wind in the wheels. Ezekiel 1:19-2122Over the heads of the creatures there was the likeness of a crystal host. 23Under it their wings were straight, the one toward the other; over and under; 2 of them covering their faces and 2 covering their bodies. 24Whenever they went I heard the voice of their wings like the voice of many waters, like the voice of almighty, like the voice of speech in a host, and whenever they stopped they let down their wings. Ezekiel 1:22-2425There was a voice over the booth that was above their heads and when they stood their wings were still. 26Above the booth that was over their heads was the likeness of a sapphire stone as the likeness of a throne and on the likeness of the throne was the likeness of a son of man above it. Ezekiel 1:25-2627I saw the appearance of god and the appearance of fire inside him, around from his loins upward and from his loins downward, I saw the appearance of fire shining around him, 28as the appearance of the rainbow when it is in the clouds in the day of rain. Ezekiel 1:27-28Thus was the appearance of the brightness around him. Thus was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Master. I saw him and I fell on my face and I heard his voice speaking. M Daniel 10:9 M Revelation 1:17 Ezekiel 1:28 (Ezekiel 1:4-28 BRB)

Details shared by both the transfiguration of Jesus in the book of Matthew and Ezekiel's vision include a fire (or sun), a cloud, a voice from the cloud, and a certain man. What shiny man was Ezekiel seeing? The same shiny man Peter and friends saw. Jesus. What about that wheel within a wheel thing? Ten bucks says Moses and Elijah know what it was.

Moses' Encounter

In the book of Exodus, when the Israelites make it to Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt, a fiery cloud settles on the top of the mountain and a voice speaks the Ten Commandments to the whole nation. Eventually Moses goes up to the top of the mountain, into the cloud, and comes back with the tablets of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. In fact, there are multiple trips Moses makes up the mountain in the book of Exodus. Here's one such instance.

12The Master said to Moses, Come up to me to the mountain and be there and I will give to you the tablets of stone FE and the laws and the commandments which I have written to teach them. A Acts 7:38 Exodus 24:1213Moses rose up and his minister Hosea and Moses came up to the mount of god. 14He said to the elders, You wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a problem will come before them. Exodus 24:13-1415Moses came up to the mountain and the cloud covered him. 16The glory of the Master rested on the mount of Sinai and the cloud covered it for 6 days. On the 7th day the Master called to Moses out of the middle of the cloud. 17In the sight of all the children of Israel he saw the glory of the Master like a burning fire on the top of the mountain. Exodus 24:15-18 (Exodus 24:12-17 BRB)

Notice the details this event in Exodus shares with Ezekiel's vision and the details given about the transfiguration of Jesus. Same basic pattern of a fiery cloud on the top of a mountain and a voice that speaks to those present. In fact, Moses, who was in the audience in the Exodus rendition of this event is actually on the stage in the Matthew rendition. So even the presence of Moses is starting to become a pattern. Curious.

Elijah's Fiery Chariot

Elijah was the other person on stage with Jesus and Moses. How might Elijah relate to these other stories? Elijah's story has many amazing events, none so amazing, though, in my opinion, as his departure.

11It came to pass as they talked and walked there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire that separated the 2 of them. Elijah went up in a whirlwind to the skies. A Matthew 5:20 S Isaiah 66:15 M Acts 8:39 12Elisha saw it and cried saying, My father. My father. The chariot of Israel and its horsemen. He did not see him any longer. He took hold of his clothes and tore them in 2 pieces. 2 Kings 2:11-12 (2 Kings 2:11-12 BRB)

The description of what happened is short, but it involved a fiery chariot with horses that whisked Elijah away. What if Elijah's fiery chariot is the same thing that Moses saw on the top of Mt. Sinai, Ezekiel saw and described in detail, and that showed up when Jesus was transfigured? Though it may not be easy to say exactly what it was, or what it all means, it's clear from the math in Matthew and the shared details between the stories of those represented in Matthew's account that these stories are all interrelated and should be studied as such.