end times prophecy

Four Living Creatures

Written by Charles Bedwell

Scripture gives a small insight into what magnificence and glory resides with God's government in Heaven. If we can plainly see God's awesome power here in this world of sin and destruction, then how much MORE is His glory shown in Heaven above?!

One topic of wonder has always been The Four Living Creatures in Heaven mentioned in Bible prophecy. Just what is the identity of the living creatures? What do they do? Why are there four of them? Are there "only" four of them? It may be assumed that the Four Living Creatures mentioned in one area of the Bible are the only four it is referring to, but a much more interesting revelation is made as we study a few passages.

Ezekiel 1 gives this description:

Ezekiel 1:5-28 ...'Also from within it came the likeness of four living four living creaturescreatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces ... As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings. And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.'

Daniel 7 tells us this:

throne of GodDaniel 7:9 ...'I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.'

And Ezekiel 10 says:

Ezekiel 10:2-22 ...'Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city. And he went in as I watched. Then it happened, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim, that he went in and stood beside the wheels. And when I looked, there were four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub and another wheel by each other cherub; the wheels appeared to have the color of a beryl stone. As for their appearance, all four looked alike, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. And the cherubim were lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar. When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them. This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim. Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. And the likeness of their faces was the same as the faces which I had seen by the River Chebar, their appearance and their persons.'

1 Kings 8:7 ..
'For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.'

cherubim

In reference to Lucifer (Satan) before he fell, Ezekiel 28:14 says ...'Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.'

Isaiah 6:1-6 says:
'In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.'

Revelation 4:2-8 reveals:
'And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 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. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.'

What Did we Learn About these Creatures?

As scripture shows, the same 4 living creatures from Ezekiel 1 are the same beings as in Ezekiel 10, and they are truly Cherubim. Look closely at Ezekiel 10:14 again: the faces were of a Cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle. Ezekiel 1 gave the faces the description of an ox (calf), a man, a lion, and an eagle. This seems to make a connection between the basic appearances of an ox and a cherub. There seem to be different cherubim for different responsibilities in Heaven. Some cherubim, as we see from 1 Kings 8, have TWO wings. Those 2 particular cherubim with 2 wings are responsible for covering the very Throne of God. However, the four cherubim from Ezekiel 1 and 10 have FOUR wings, their wings having different roles and responsibilities, just as these particular cherubim themselves have a different role.

Satan was referred to as "The anointed cherub who covers", before he fell to sin. We can assume from this that Lucifer had two wings as well.

Isaiah 6 shows that the Seraphim have SIX wings, two of those wings being for flying, which would explain why they are referred to as "above the throne" from Isaiah, "in the midst of and AROUND the throne" from Revelation, and that "one of them FLEW to me" (Isaiah).

Closely observe the connections between Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 - These particular beings, these seraphim, are NOT given the same description as the four cherubim from Ezekiel 1 and 10. The four cherubim are described as having FOUR faces each - the cherub (ox), man, lion, and eagle. However, the four seraphim from Isaiah and Revelation are described as having A FACE - with one being LIKE a lion, one being LIKE a calf, one being LIKE a man, and one being LIKE an eagle. Also having six wings instead of four.

The four seraphim from Isaiah 6 and from Revelation 4 seem to be shouting the same praises to our Lord God, beginning with "Holy, holy, holy", which even further connects the two scriptures and shows distinction from Ezekiel's four cherubim.

Thus, it really appears that the four living creatures from Ezekiel 1 and 10 and the four living creatures from Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 are two totally different sets of four angelic beings - Cherubim and Seraphim. All having different responsibilities, seeing in all directions with wisdom and abilities beyond our imagination. Do you think God knows what is going on everywhere and is in control? Most definately! Praise God for His diversity in creation!

The number "4" in scripture has a pattern of identifying the covering of all sides, or going in all directions, such as:

- The "Four Winds" of Heaven, representing the Resurrection of the Saved from all directions of the earth, mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:31.

- The Four Angels holding the Four Winds of Destruction back in Revelation 7:1 until the 144,000 are sealed with God's Seal on their foreheads.

- Satan going out into the Four Corners of the world to gather the Resurrected Lost for one last attempt to attack God and His people after the 1000 year millenium of peace (Revelation 20).

- The sheet full of four-legged animals coming down from Heaven, bound at the Four Corners of the earth, representing the gospel going out to the Gentiles (Acts 10:11-16).

God has a unique and powerful structure behind everything He does in Heaven above and here on earth! I hope this message has blessed you in some way and that you continue diligently in your walk with our Lord Jesus.