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Revelation 4:6-11 - The Four Living Creatures

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by , November 10th, 2017 at 08:06 PM (352 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 November 12th, 2017 at 06:44 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!
    NoNameMcgee likes this.
  2. Lafftur's Avatar
    Hello Ahwatukee,

    I'm so glad you blogged about the 4 living creatures. I'm so excited to share with you what I've gotten from studying the 4 Living Creatures and the 4 Horses and Riders!!! I'll try to be brief........

    Four Living Creatures are THE WILL AND WORKS OF THE FATHER on display at His Throne so all of heaven may know The Father. While Jesus was on Earth, He put these 4 on display by doing the Will and Works of the Father so that we might know the Father on Earth.

    The 4 horses and riders are consequences to not obeying the Father's Will displayed in the 4 living creatures.

    1st Living Creature: LION - King - Highest Authority (Gospel of Matthew)

    No one in Heaven or on Earth can challenge God's authority because He is the Highest. It is the Father's Will that I submit and come under His authority with love and obedience.

    Jesus displayed Lion when "...even the winds and seas obey Him.......demons and evil spirits obey Him.......never have we heard any one speak with such authority...."

    1st Seal: Lion releases Rider w/bow on White Horse

    When I rebel and will not submit to God's authority, I am choosing a human to rule over me - either myself or another person. The Rider is the human I have chosen to rule over me. ( I Samuel 8)

    White - the one with authority rides a white horse

    2nd Living Creature: OX / CALF - Priest / Servant - Able to Meet the Needs of the People (Gospel of Mark)

    It is the Father's Will to meet all of my needs - spiritual, mental, emotional, physical.

    Jesus displayed Ox/Calf when He feed multitude with 2 fish and 5 loaves, as well as, telling Peter to pull money out of a fishes mouth to pay their taxes. Healing sickness and diseases.

    2nd Seal: Ox/Calf releases Rider w/sword on Red Horse

    When I rebel, I'm choosing to take care of myself with no dependency on God. I'll have to kill or be killed to take care of myself; thus, I will no longer have peace - just fear, worries and war.

    Red - shedding of blood to meet needs

    3rd Living Creature: MAN - Savior - Able to save us from our sins (Gospel of Luke)

    It is the Father's Will to save me. Jesus Christ is the MAN - the Savior - the Seed of the Woman that the Father would send to save us from our sins.

    Jesus displayed the MAN when He was born in a human body. He did not sin but, fullfilled all righteousness. He has become the Human Fulfillment of the Law for me - The Lord Our Righteousness.

    3rd Seal: MAN releases Rider with balance scales and Black Horse

    My faith in Christ as Savior or my faith in myself or any one or thing as savior will be weighed in the balance. Jesus told Peter, " Satan desires to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you - that your faith would not fail you. After you have been tested, strengthen your brethren."

    Black - when the kingdom of darkness is all around me and it is the darkest night, I walk by faith not by sight.

    Wheat is the harvest of the Jews from the Earth.
    Barley is the harvest of the Gentiles from the Earth.
    Oil is the anointed spirit-filled Jew.
    Wine is the anointed spirit-filled Gentile.

    A penny/darius is a day's wages - the work Jesus did in one day on the cross - His blood. He purchased 1 measure of wheat and 3 measures of barley with 1 day's wages.

    4th Living Creature: FLYING EAGLE - Deliverer (Gospel of John)

    It is the Father's Will to deliver me from Death (second death) and Hades/Hell. He wants to deliver me from all my enemies (Enemy #1 is my flesh) - make them my footstool - ruling over them.

    Jesus displayed the Flying Eagle every time He raised someone back to life. He is able to deliver me from death and hell.

    4th Seal: Flying Eagle releases Death Rider on Pale Horse w/Hades close behind

    Only God can deliver me from Death and Hades. My final deliverance will be when Death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire, at the very end of time.

    Pale - color of death, dying, life is leaving body

    Notice in Rev. 5, all 4 living creatures bow and worship the slain Lamb upon the Throne because it's the Father's Will that judgment bow and give way to Mercy. Mercy rules and reigns over Judgment.

    However, where there is NO Mercy - there is only wrath. Meaning, without the Blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ), there is only wrath. This is why the wrath of God still abides on people that are not saved - have not received the blood of Jesus for their sins to be forgiven.

    That's all I have so far. There is ALWAYS so much more to glean from the scriptures.

    I know I've typed a lot, but I'd love to here your thoughts.

    It's okay if we don't agree, I just wanted to share because I know you love the Lord with all your heart.
    AuntieAnt likes this.
  3. AuntieAnt's Avatar
    I just did a search on CC for "the four living creatures" and found this blog. Excellent information on the background of these creatures in the throne room, Ahwatukee. I love Lafftur's comments, too. Thanks for sharing! \/
    Lafftur likes this.
  4. Ahwatukee's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieAnt
    I just did a search on CC for "the four living creatures" and found this blog. Excellent information on the background of these creatures in the throne room, Ahwatukee. I love Lafftur's comments, too. Thanks for sharing! \/
    Hello AuntieAnt,

    Thank you for your kind response. I thank God that you found the blog beneficial. And if you're interested, I also did blogs on the seals, trumpets and bowl judgments (in that order), which you can find here.

    Christian Chat Rooms & Forums - Ahwatukee - Blogs

    God bless! Enjoy!
    Lafftur likes this.