Revised Dec 19, 2011:
I’ve been thinking about Ezekiel from the bible for the past few days.
Ezekiel, I believe it is best understood not as a UFO encounter, but as a man who finds himself under a night sky by a river after the sun has just set. Thunderclouds in the distance, back-lit by the sun, are to him deities, living creatures which he attempts to describe.
The word “spirit”, as I have previously shown, was another word for “wind” and “breath” and was used synonymously. The creatures Ezekiel describes are clouds which go where the wind blows. ( “whither the spirit is to go, they go). Through these clouds, he sees the beryl colored milky way, which is over the clouds.
The clouds are lit by the sun which has just set, creating fire and copper colors. The noise he hears is the river Chebar (the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory – link) .
The wheels he describes are those of a chariot, a chariot of the gods. “Chariots are frequently mentioned in the Old Testament,particularly by the prophets, as instruments of war or as symbols of power or glory.” – link
He imagines or just lies that he has a vision of God as part of his anger toward a rebellious tribe. The rebels will use the same “prophet ploy” to say that God is on their side with regard to some property or other dispute.
Then, as now, it is a lot more powerful to say that God told you to smite someone rather than just admitting your own fear of them makes you want to smite them.
“… 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.
And I look, and lo, a tempestuous wind is coming from the north, a great cloud, and fire catching itself, and brightness to it round about, and out of its midst as the colour of copper, out of the midst of the fire.
And out of its midst is a likeness of four living creatures, and this is their appearance; a likeness of man is to them, and four faces are to each, and four wings are to each of them, and their feet are straight feet, and the sole of their feet is as a sole of a calf’s foot, and they are sparkling as the colour of bright brass; and hands of man under their wings — on their four sides, and their faces and their wings — are to them four; joining one unto another are their wings, they turn not round in their going, each straight forward they go.
As to the likeness of their faces, the face of a man, and the face of a lion, toward the right are to them four, and the face of an ox on the left are to them four, and the face of an eagle are to them four.
And their faces and their wings are separate from above, to each are two joining together, and two are covering their bodies. And each straight forward they go, whither the spirit is to go, they go, they turn not round in their going. As to the likeness of the living creatures, their appearances are as coals of fire — burning as the appearance of lamps; it is going up and down between the living creatures, and brightness is to the fire, and out of the fire is going forth lightning. And the living creatures are running, and turning back, as the appearance of the flash. And I see the living creatures, and lo, one wheel is in the earth, near the living creatures, at its four faces.
The appearance of the wheels and their works is as the colour of beryl, and one likeness is to them four, and their appearances and their works are as it were the wheel in the midst of the wheel. On their four sides, in their going they go, they turn not round in their going. As to their rings, they are both high and fearful, and their rings are full of eyes round about them four. And in the going of the living creatures, the wheels go beside them, and in the living creatures being lifted up from off the earth, lifted up are the wheels.
Whither the spirit is to go, they go, thither the spirit is to go, and the wheels are lifted up over-against them, for a living spirit is in the wheels. In their going, they go; and in their standing, they stand; and in their being lifted up from off the earth, lifted up are the wheels over-against them; for a living spirit is in the wheels. And a likeness is over the heads of the living creatures of an expanse, as the colour of the fearful ice, stretched out over their heads from above. And under the expanse their wings are straight, one toward the other, to each are two covering on this side, and to each are two covering on that side — their bodies.
And I hear the noise of their wings, as the noise of many waters, as the noise of the Mighty One, in their going — the noise of tumult, as the noise of a camp, in their standing they let fall their wings. And there is a voice from above the expanse, that is above their head: in their standing they let fall their wings. And above the expanse that is over their head, as an appearance of a sapphire stone, is the likeness of a throne, and on the likeness of the throne a likeness, as the appearance of man upon it from above.
And I see as the colour of copper, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward, and from the appearance of his loins and downward, I have seen as the appearance of fire, and brightness is to it round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in a cloud in a day of rain, so is the appearance of the brightness round about. It is the appearance of the likeness of the honour of Jehovah, and I see, and fall on my face, and I hear a voice speaking, and He saith unto me, ‘Son of man, stand on thy feet, and I speak with thee.’
And there doth come into me a spirit, when He hath spoken unto me, and it causeth me to stand on my feet, and I hear Him who is speaking unto me. And He saith unto Me, ‘Son of man, I am sending thee unto the sons of Israel, unto nations who are rebels, who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, unto this self-same day. And the sons are brazen-faced and hard-hearted to whom I am sending thee, and thou hast said unto them: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: and they — whether they hear, or whether they forbear, for a rebellious house they are — have known that a prophet hath been in their midst. And thou, son of man, thou art not afraid of them, yea, of their words thou art not afraid, for briers and thorns are with thee, and near scorpions thou art dwelling, of their words thou art not afraid, and of their faces thou art not affrighted, for they are a rebellious house, And thou hast spoken My words unto them, whether they hear or whether they forbear, for they are rebellious.”
So, there you have it. The more elaborate and fearsome his description of his vision, the more power Ezekiel will have in convincing others that he is the prophet.
Our ancestors made mystical events out of things nearly every child today commonly understands. Storms, for example, were powerful and fearsome living beings (see Cherub, Lamassu), not the result of water vapor, electricity and atmospheric pressures.
I suppose Gods, ancient aliens and wheel-like UFOs are more fun than clouds and stars.