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Revelation 4:6-11 - The Four Living Creatures

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by , 1 Week Ago at 09:06 PM (65 Views)
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

These four living beings which John is describing in his vision of God’s throne in heaven and which are rerferred to throughout Revelation, are also referred to in detail in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 and by Isaiah in chapter 6 who also saw God’s throne in heaven. Ezekiel first refers to them in the same manner as John identifying them as “four living creatures,” but then in Ezekeil 10 as cherubim (Ker-oob). Where in Isaiah 6:2 he refers to them as “Seraphs.” Below is Stong’s definition:

Strong's Concordance
kerub: probably an order of angelic beings
Original Word: כְּרוּב
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: kerub
Phonetic Spelling: (ker-oob')
Short Definition: cherubim

The Cherubim along with pomegranates were also woven into the curtain/veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. There were also two cherubim of gold carved on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant facing each other with outstretched wings. And they are also mentioned as appearing on the walls of the inner and outer sanctuary of the temple described in Ezk.41:17-20. Both Isaiah and John record the Cherubim as proclaiming the following, respectively:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” - Isa.6:3

“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, the One having been, and the One being, and the One coming” - Rev.4:8

As mentioned in an earlier post, the phrase “the One having been, and the One being, and the One coming” refers to God’s eternal state. I would also draw your attention to the repetition of three.

These four living creatures are obviously a different order of heavenly beings. I would also point out that though other angels are referred to as flying (Dan.9:21), these are the only heavenly beings mentioned as having actual wings.

However, there are some differences between their descriptions, for example: Both John and Isaiah describe them as having six wings, where Ezekiel which is the most detailed, describes them has having four wings. Being that Ezekiel is so detailed in his account of them, I don’t believe that he is mistaken about the number of their wings. Likewise, I don’t believe that the mention of six wings by Isaiah and John is in error either. It would appear that just as there are different classes of angels, that there are also different classes of cherubim, some with four wings and some with six, some with four faces and others with one and two faces.

“Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying” – Isa.6:2

“In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings.” - Ezk.1:6

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings” – Rev.4:8

In the same way, Ezekiel describes each living being has having four faces, where john describes them as having one face each with the same resemblances. In addition, Ezekiel in his description of the temple in Ezk.41:18-19, around the inner and outer walls of the sancuary are carved cherubim alternating with palm trees. Of note is the fact that these cherubim carved on the walls of the temple are said to have two faces, the face of a human and the other of a lion.

“In the space above the outside of the entrance to the inner sanctuary and on the walls at regular intervals all around the inner and outer sanctuary were carved cherubim and palm trees. Palm trees alternated with cherubim. Each cherub had two faces: the face of a human being toward the palm tree on one side and the face of a lion toward the palm tree on the other. They were carved all around the whole temple. From the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the main hall. – Ezk.41:17-20

“As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. 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. – Ezk.1:10

“the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.” – Rev.4:7

As described by Ezekiel, when the four living beings move, they don’t turn to face the direction that they are moving in. I believe this is because since they each have four faces, one face is always pointing in each direction. One of those faces is already facing the direction that they would be moving in and therefore there is no need to turn when they change direction.

“As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went.” – Ezk.10:11

Though not mentioned in Isaiah, both Ezekiel and John describe these living beings as having eyes covering their wings, their wheels and entire bodies:

“Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels.” – Ezk.10:12

“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.” - Rev.4:8

These four cherubim are also described as having a wheel on the ground besides each of the four cherubim described as a “wheel intersecting a wheel,” i.e. an inner wheel turning crosswise within an outer wheel, later described in Ezk.10:13 as “the whirling wheels.”

“I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like topaz. As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. – Ezk.10:9-10

A wheel turning crosswise within a wheel almost sounds like a gyroscope.

The spirit of the four beings is also described as residing in each of the wheels which sparkled like Chrysolite or Topaz and also have eyes covering them all over. What the purpose is of them being covered with eyes I have no idea. Talk about all seeing.

“When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. – Ezk.1:15, 10:9

Now that we have a background on these four living creatures, also known as cherubim, in chapter 6 when the Lord opens each of the four seals, each cherubim calls out the rider of their respective horses, each one having different results of wrath upon the earth. They are referred to even up to Rev.19:4

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Updated 1 Week Ago at 07:44 PM by Ahwatukee



  1. Desertsrose's Avatar
    I studied Ezekiel earlier this year with a group of ladies. It was all so fascinating. And that's what we decided too......they reveal a characteristic of God as being omniscient.

    Their faces not turning as they move makes me think of us being commanded to not turn to the right or the left, but to walk forward - to stay on the straight and narrow. I can't prove that the intent, but that's what it makes me think of.

    Great study! Thanks so much!