THE FOUR BEASTS
Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Revelation 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. 7 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.
Revelation 4:8 ¶ 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. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
That word, “beasts” is defined as “a living thing.” It is listed in the Hebrew in Ezekiel 1:5 as “living creatures.” This language is not strange to us as we are familiar with 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And also in Galatians 6:15 we read: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Therefore we come to realize that these “beasts” are but the life of God in the soul of man!
Take careful notice that in Ezekiel 1:4,5 they are said to come out of a whirlwind and a fire. Then read Acts 2:1-3 and see that both those elements are present when the Holy Spirit came to make application of the Lamb’s accomplished redemption to those assembled at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 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. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. For the only hope we have of attaining the glory of God is Christ being formed in us. Colossians 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:
And this was heretofore unknown, even to the Old Testament prophets. 1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
This was also clearly set forth by the Lord Jesus! John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. And the Apostle Paul spoke of Christ living in us! Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
In verse six of our above listed text, they are said to be before the throne (which was seen in verse two, after the Holy Spirit was given) dwelling on a sea of glass. There are not even any ripples in God’s sea of providence upon which the believers dwell. Quite unlike the path of the wicked! Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. For even the believers individual steps, and not just his long paths are set forth by the Sovereign. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. And it is all for a proposed end! Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
And in that same verse they are said to be full of eyes before and behind. For the granting of the life in Christ came also with a spiritual “understanding.” 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. For they no longer lean to their own carnal logic, but depend upon the Lord for their direction. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Then in Revelation 4:7 we see that, although there is unity of spirit, there is a diversity of personalities! For just as in the four gospels, each of the four viewing but one and the same Lord, they all see Him in their own perspective. Matthew sees him from a view point of the kingdom. He is like a lion. Mark sees him as a suffering servant. He is like a calf. Luke, the physician, sees him as a man. And John, different from all the rest, sees him as glorious Lord God. He is as a flying eagle. He does not begin by mentioning Christ’s physical birth, just his being God from all eternity.
And all four of these are also represented within every true believer. For the born again believer is seen as having lion-like courage in the calling forth of the white horse rider of worldwide evangelism as shown in Revelation 6:1 & 2. Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Then we see the believer’s sacrificial spirit as the calf, as he lives the death-life. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And he is related in Revelation 6:3,4 as calling for the red horse rider, who allows no peace with the earth. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
And we can see the “third beast” recorded in Revelation 6:5, who is the “man” relating to the black horse rider, experiencing the scarcity of any satisfaction from all carnal supply. No one had more luxury in the things of life than Solomon. But listen to how he views it all: Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 2:1 ¶ I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
The Lord Jesus told the rich young ruler in order to be rightly related to his possessions was to give them all away! Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Consider Christ’s own life. Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
Then within every believer is also that portion of the Holy Spirit represented by the “flying eagle.” And we see this characteristic of the Spirit within the believer calling forth the pale horse with its rider as Death and Hell, as seen in Revelation 6:7,8. For when the believer is experiencing his relationship to Christ most strongly, he is seated in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) And this manifestation of spiritual strength is most disturbing to those who walk in the flesh. Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
You need but consider Stephen’s situation to see the reality of this circumstance. For as he soared spiritually into a higher consciousness of God, they were plunged into a deeper perdition of Hell as his murderers! Acts 7:54 ¶ When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Then lastly, we see in our text of Revelation 4:9,10 that it is only as those having the life of God within their souls worship the Lord that the collective church, represented by the four and twenty elders can actually attain true worship. For those who are but organized church members, never do attain to the worship of God. John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Brother Gene