Revelation 4:6-7 – Four Beasts – Part 4

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Rev 4:6-7 – Part 4 – Fourteen Characteristics Which Chapters One and Ten of Ezekiel Have In Common
Introduction

Our study today will cover the spiritual significance of only the first three characteristics of the patterns of the things of the heavens, which are common to chapters one and ten of Ezekiel..
The significance of understanding the message of Heb 9 and many other verses of God’s word concerning the meaning of the words “the heavens” cannot be overestimated. The heavens are where God dwells, and God dwells in the hearts and minds of His elect. God’s elect are “the heavens themselves,” and it is this bit of understanding that is missing in virtually all the commentaries on the scriptures.

Heb 9:23 [ It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

These verses reveal to us where Christ is:

Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

What we saw last week is that the word ‘patterns’ in the plural is used for a very good reason; that reason being that there are many functions which are being performed in the heavens, and each function needs a separate pattern to describe for us the things which cannot be seen, but which are within us and which must be accomplished within “the heavens themselves.”
For example, we have seen that Christ within us has to have a pattern for this part of the things of the heavens. The pattern of “Christ in us” is given to us as “a wheel within a wheel.” It typifies the last Adam living within the first Adam and becoming the very means for the transportation of the omnipresent God.
We also need a pattern of the things of the things of the heavens which communicates to us that the the last Adam also comes “out of the ground” and comes through the death of the first Adam.

Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

That pattern has to show us that the first Adam, from whence we all originate, is but a beast. But that pattern also has to demonstrate that God is dealing with all who are in Adam. So the pattern for “all in Adam” is four living creatures, or beasts, who are now “a new creature.”
The pattern which tells us that we are to “rule with Him” is the presence of these four living creatures “in the middle of and round about” the very throne of God.
The heavenly pattern of the fact that the first Adam is being judged at this time in those who are His elect, is given to us in the fact that this whole vision comes “out of the north” and also in the fire within and from between these four living creatures.
But since we not only judge ourselves and the world, but we are to judge the angels also, we are given the pattern of a man dressed in linen, who first slaughters the old man, and then casts coals of fire from between the cherubims, over all of Jerusalem.

1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

What we have seen is that all these patterns are of “the things of the heavens themselves,” and that it was into the heavens themselves that Christ ascended out of the sight of His “yet carnal” disciples. While there was not one converted person into whom He could yet ascend, He ascended to His Father, knowing that in just a few days there would be 120 temples into which He could ascend and dwell in “the heavens themselves.”

Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Act 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

God does not need us to have a dwelling place, but we do need Him, and He has decreed that he has chosen us as His temple and His house. As noted above, Heb 9 is used of God to teach us the meaning of what is the true heavens into which Christ was received, and to which these verses in Acts refer.

Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these [“the blood of calves and goats”]; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Two weeks ago we covered the five points made in chapter one of Ezekiel concerning these four living creatures, which are not mentioned in chapter ten. Then last week we covered the four points covered in chapter ten, which are not mentioned in chapter one. This week we will cover the spiritual significance of three of the fourteen characteristics of this heavenly vision which the first and tenth chapters of Ezekiel have in common.

1) The cloud

Both chapters mention the cloud.

Eze 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Eze 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This 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 a voice of one that spake.
Eze 10:3 Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.
Eze 10:4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory.

Both chapters mention “the cloud,” and verse one of Ezekiel calls it “a great cloud.” What is this “great cloud” which is also called “the cloud?”  Once again we find that the scriptures a centered around Christ and His Christ:

Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

We have just seen that Christ is “in you.” He is “in the heavens,” and he was “received into a cloud.”

Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Christ dwells in and rides upon His elect, that “great cloud of witnesses.”

Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

2) Four living creatures

Both chapters mention that there are four living creatures. There were just two creatures in the tabernacle of Moses, which tells us they encompass God’s two witnesses. But now they are four, adding to our knowledge of who these four creatures represent, and telling us that they are the whole of God’s elect, by which the whole of mankind will be brought to God. The fact that each animal has all four faces is to be remembered and put together with the fact that the four separate creatures of the same kind, in the book of Revelation, are also called “four and twenty elders.” We are constantly looking for “the sum of thy Word.”

Eze 1:5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

Eze 10:12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had.
Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

The spiritual significance of the number ‘four’ is ‘the whole.’ As ‘the whole’ relates to these four creature, they are the pattern of the heavenly things themselves, which are the whole of Christ’s Christ, and they are the vehicle by which God will bring the whole of mankind to Himself, and by which God will be made to become “all in all.”

Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Jer 49:36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.

“Four winds from the four quarters of heaven,” leaves out nothing. Elam is to be scattered throughout the whole earth, and these four living creatures are the whole of God’s elect, by which He will bring to Himself the whole of mankind, even scattered Elam.

Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Eze 1:5 Also out of the midst thereof [ came] the likeness of four living creatures. And this [ was] their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

3) Four faces

Both chapters mention that each living creature has four faces. In Ezekiel all four faces are on each creature. In Revelation each ‘face’ is a distinct creature, but as always this is a matter of “the sum of Thy Word.” The scriptures do not deal with or consider ‘the remainder of Thy Word.’ ‘The remainder of Thy Word’ is not a Biblical concept and no way to arrive at the revelation of Jesus Christ. In the sum of God’s Word each “face” is part of that Revelation. That is why we have been given four gospels. Each gospel gives Christ a different “face,’ and each of those four faces is one of the four faces of these four living creatures which typify all mankind and the whole of Adam.

Matthew is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”

Matthew’s gospel presents Christ with the face of the “lion of the tribe of Judah,” as the king of Israel. The genealogy proves Him to be the Son of King David, as well as the Son of God.

Mat 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

The sign of the tribe of Judah, from which tribe sprang both King David and Christ, was a lion:

Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [ shall] the gathering of the people be.

The King’s throne was flanked by lions..

1Ki 10:19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne [ was] round behind: and [ there were] stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.
1Ki 10:20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

Matthew is the lion.
Mark is the powerful ox Mark presents Christ as the tireless “ox, by whose strength is much wealth.”

Pro 14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

This gospel is characterized by phrases like “and straightway… and immediately” as if Christ went from one task to the next without a break.

Mar 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mar 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
Mar 2:8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

It is in this gospel that Christ’s tireless compassion for mankind shines through, as in this statement, found only in Mark, concerning the rich young ruler who was so close and yet so far away from our Lord.

Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Mark shows us Christ as the powerful, tireless ox.
3) Luke is the man

In Luke Christ is given the face of a man, and it is in this gospel only that Christ’s genealogy is traced all the way back to “Adam the son of God.” Yet the phrase that most characterizes Luke, is a phrase that is also common to this book of Ezekiel, where we also read so much about these “four living creatures.” That phrase which is common to and typical of both Ezekiel and Luke is “the son of man.”
 
It is here in Luke that Christ most often refers to Himself with the same as Ezekiel refers to himself. Both call themselves “the son of man.”

Eze 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
Luk 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [ from their company], and shall reproach [ you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man‘s sake.

This phrase “son of man”  is found over 90 times in the book of Ezekiel, and it is the exact same phrase that is found so often in both Matthew and Luke. It actually occurs 32 times in Matthew and 26 times in Luke, yet it is Luke who is the one non- Jewish author of one of the gospels, and it is Luke alone who traces Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam.
In the New Testament the phrase “son of man” occurs 86 times. The phrase “son of God” occurs 46 times. Both give us the sum of God’s Word, but the overwhelming emphasis is that Christ was our fellow human being who struggled against the same weak flesh and blood with which the children of Abraham struggled.
The word ‘man’ here in Ezekiel is the Hebrew word ‘adam.’ The Greek translation of ‘Adam’ is ‘anthropos.’ But every time Christ tells us He is “the Son of Man”, He is telling us that He is the son of Adam, just as we all are. This is a concept which is blasphemous to a world which wants desperately to separate Christ from Adam, but Christ Himself is not ashamed to call us His brothers in Adam:

Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom [ are] all things, and by whom [ are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Heb 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

It is Luke who shows us Christ as “the Son Of Man.”
John is the eagle

It is the gospel of John that gives us Christ in “the face of a flying eagle.” Only in the gospel of John do we see the whole world from an eagle’s heavenly perspective. John is not even a synoptic gospel, and its very beginning typifies its whole:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

The gospel of John is the face of a flying eagle, and approaches the revelation of Jesus Christ from that perspective. There is not even the thought of His physical genealogy, either from King David or from Adam. The entire perspective is from a much higher plane. It is the perspective of “a flying eagle”.
We have to have all four faces to know who is Christ and who is His Christ. So we are given the four faces of the four living creatures who make up the whole Christ and the whole of those who are Him and who are His body. That is Christ’s own perspective and He made that clear, both in the gospels and in this statement to Saul of Tarsus.

Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

Christ told Saul of Tarsus that when Saul was persecuting His disciples he was persecuting Jesus Christ Himself. What pray tell, does that make the body of Jesus Christ? What does that make these four creatures who have His spirit in them and who tells us that they are those who have been redeemed to God out of every nation?

Eze 1:6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
Eze 10:14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

These four faces are “patterns of the heavenly things themselves.” They are the patterns of “our Lord and His Christ.”

>Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Does any of this lend itself to believing that these four creatures are nothing more than what they tell us they are; the redeemed of every nation?

Summary

The spiritual significance of the the first pattern we saw today was the cloud on which Christ sits. We saw that this cloud is both a cloud of witnesses and the throne on which Christ sits. Since the four beasts are also in the throne on which Christ sits, these four living creatures are also the very clouds in which they are “enfolded.”.

Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

Christ is seated on his white cloud wearing his “golden crown” because that white cloud is also the “great cloud of witnesses” who are also the four beasts who are in the throne on which He also sits.
The second thing we saw was that there are four living creatures for the purpose of telling us that these four creatures are the patterns of the whole of Christ’s elec t body, and that it is through these four creatures that the whole of mankind will be brought to their Creator and to our Lord in their time. Four is the spiritual pattern of and the spiritual figure of the whole.
Finally, the third thing we saw was that the four faces of these four living creatures show us who is Christ as He is presented to us in the four gospels. Matthew presents Christ as “the lion of the tribe of Judah.” Matthew traces Christ’s linage only to Abraham, with the emphasis being on the fact that Christ came out of Judah, and is “the son of David.” As such Matthew shows us Jesus as “the lion.”
Mark presents Christ to us as the tireless, powerful, wealth- building ox. This gospel is typified by the use of the phrases “and immediately… and straightway.” Mark is the ox.
Luke, the only gospel writer who is not a physical Jew, presents Christ to us as “the Son of Man.” It is Luke who traces Christ’s genealogy all the way back to the very first man, Adam. The phrase “the Son of Man” is in this gospel many more times than the phrase the Son of God. Luke is the man.
The gospel of John gives us the view of Christ from the heavens. John is not a synoptic gospel and concerns itself entirely with spiritual principles and spiritual realities. John is the eagle.
Next week, Lord willing, we will continue to cover the spiritual meaning of the remaining eleven patterns of the things of the heavens which are given us in Ezekiel, chapters one and ten.

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