Sunday, August 4, 2013


In Ezekiel 1:4-28, there are four, four-winged beasts, each having the likeness of one of God's creatures:  a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Ezek. 1:10).  In Ezekiel 10:1-22, there are four listed as having the appearance of a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle (Ezek. 10:14).  Each had four wings, and are called cherubims (Ezek. 1:6; 10:1, 21).  [Note:  In Daniel 7:3-17, there are four beasts, but they are not cherubims; they are symbols representing four world kingdoms:  a lion (Babylon - Dan. 2:38), a bear (Medo-Persia - Dan. 5:28), a leopard (Greece - Dan. 8:21), and a dragon (Rome - Dan. 9:26-27; Rev. 13:4; 20:2).]

In Revelation 4:6-11, there are four, six-winged beasts surrounding God's throne.  These are not called cherubims, but in that they have six wings, it is likely that they are seraphims (Isa. 6:2).  Revelation 4:7 says, "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."  Of the eleven references to these four beasts in the Book of Revelation, six of them are specifically mentioned in relation to the "four and twenty elders" (Rev. 5:6, 8, 14; 7:11;  14:3; 19:4). 

In comparing the lists of the appearances of the four beasts, one quickly notices that all three have a lion, a man, and an eagle, not necessarily in that order.  The other identity, that of the fourth beast, includes an ox (Ezek. 1:10), a cherub (Ezek. 10:14), and a calf (Rev. 4:7).  I cannot be dogmatic as to why this is, or what the three have in common, but might I suggest they all three had to do with sacrifice.  An ox and a calf were both used in sacrifice (numerous references including Ex. 20:24 and Lev. 9:2).  Cherubims were represented at the ultimate in ceremonial sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, in that they were part of the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:22; Lev. 23:27-32).

All that being said, many have noticed, and a few have written about the imagery of the four "beasts" and how they seem to picture how each of the four Gospels depict Christ.  Matthew clearly presents Jesus as Israel's King, and He is called the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" in Revelation 5:5!  Luke presents Jesus as the "Son of Man" (he used the phrase 28 times, a number equal to that of Mark and John combined).  Of course, John's Gospel reveals Jesus as being more than just a man; he presents Him as Creator and God, One capable of soaring into the heavens (Jn. 1:1-3; 14:1-3).  In John's Gospel, Jesus is clearly pictured as an Eagle! 

That leaves but one Gospel:  Mark.  In addition to presenting Jesus as God's sacrifice for the sins of man (ox, calf), He is presented as a Servant (Mk. 9:35; 10:44-45).  And, a cherub is literally a "servant of God."  Both Scofield and Ryrie introduce the Gospel of Mark as depicting Jesus as God's Servant.
He is my King, my example as a servant and a man, and He is my God! 

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