THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES
Ezekiel 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. 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. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
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. 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.
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. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Let us attempt to open up these Scriptures: Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Ezekiel prophesies to us what the Lord is going to do. John, in the Revelation, tells us what God has done. And Acts chapter two reveals God actually doing it! For the four living creatures are but the revelation of the life of God in the soul of man! 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The four living creatures appear in the infolding fire of the revelation of the person of God himself. He does not reveal himself to Ezekiel without these spiritual beings shown to be in the very midst of the fire. And we know that our God is that consuming fire. (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29) And we also know that God had from the beginning chosen you to you to salvation! (2 Thess. 2:13) For these were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
And as they are revealed as God is revealed, we come to see that these living creatures also reveal to us the four gospels by which they are brought to salvation. And they are also in the very image of Christ himself, who is revealed from their four different view points in those gospels. His life is their life. John 14:19 …because I live, ye shall live also. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Romans 8:29 …he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…
Their four faces reveal both the identities of the individual gospels, the character and work of Christ, and also the life of God within the souls of these believers! Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
We see the lion as the gospel of Matthew, who presents to us the king and kingdom of Christ. It also speaks of Christ’s as the Lion of the tribe of Juda. And also the boldness and courage of every believer, enabled by the Holy Spirit. 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.
Then as the ox, or calf, we see the gospel of Mark, the suffering servant. And it speaks of Christ as the Lamb of God, come to take away the sin of the world. Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. And it also reveals the believer as the “living sacrifice.” 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.
Then we have revealed the face of the man. This speaks of the gospel of Luke the physician. And also of the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; The believer is also born both of flesh and spirit. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. He is said to be the image and glory of God. 1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
And finally there is the face of the eagle. In Ezekiel he is seen as just an eagle. But in the Revelation he is presented as a flying eagle. For all believers are not able to mount up with wings as eagles (Isa. 40:31), until the coming of the Holy Spirit. For then the believer is said to sit in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6), like the eagles who build their nests in the heights of the rocky crags. And the eagles as set forth by the Lord as to the true identity of the organism of the church. They are not to be located by religious organization, but as a spiritual organism, for they hunger and thirst for righteousness. Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
And the eagle speaks of the unique gospel of John, which does not deal with the physical birth of Christ, but begins with Christ as the Word in the beginning as God!
Notice also the similarities of these manifestations of God as seen in our three passages:
In Ezekiel 1:1 we read that “the heavens were opened.” And in Acts 2:2 we see the words, “from heaven.” Then in Revelation 4:1 we see “a door was opened in heaven.”
Ezekiel 2:2 states, “And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.” In Acts 2:4 they were “all filled with the Holy Ghost.” And in Revelation 4:2 it states, “And immediately I was in the spirit.”
In Ezekiel 1:4 we read of the whirlwind. And in Acts 2:2 there was “a rushing mighty wind.” But in Revelation 4:6 we see that there was “a sea of glass.” Thus showing that all the winds of trouble and strife had ceased. Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
In Ezekiel 1:28 we read, “I heard a voice of one that spake.” In Acts 2:4 the voices were from the apostles who “begin to speak.” And in Revelation 4:5 there were voices which came from the lightening flashes of God’s brilliant revelation. “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.” Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
In Ezekiel 1:26 we are given an amazing glimpse of the Eternal Son of God prior to his Incarnation. He was above all, upon a throne! Ezekiel 1:26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
And in Acts 2 he is preached as the reigning Lord. Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Neither did John become aware of the Lord without his present reign! Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
In Ezekiel 1:10 we are introduced to the four living creatures. And the very same are seen in Revelation 4:7. Then in Acts 2 we actually see the permanent entrance of the life of God into the souls of these believers! There is that oneness of spirit but diversity of gifts and personal characteristics. 1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
And as we then proceed into the sixth chapter of the Revelation we are made to see just how the church is said to rule and reign with the presently reigning Christ during the church age, signified by the thousand years. Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
For each of these living creatures is said to call forth a specific horse rider to affect the earth as the Lamb begins to govern by the opening of each seal. The first seal is opened causing the lion beast to call forth the white horse and his rider. For they are bold as a lion to go into all the world to fulfill his command to preach the gospel to every creature. See Revelation 6:1,2. The words, “Come and see,” in the KJV should actually just be listed as, “Come.” For it is not an invitation to come observe this event. But it is the command for the horse and rider to come forth. For these believers indwelt by the Holy Spirit are God’s two witnesses! Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost,
And this white horse and rider represents none other that the Lord Jesus Christ beginning his work of conquering the souls of all mankind either in redeeming grace or in condemning judgment, if his gospel word is rejected. And we see him again in the nineteenth chapter of this book making war in righteousness. See Revelation 19:11.
And we notice that it is said that “he went forth conquering.” This he does constantly, as he cannot fail. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Then in Revelation 6:3 and 4 we see the second beast, the calf, calling forth the red horse and its rider. This trait of the living sacrifice in Christ’s believers shows up the world as enemies of the cross, resisting death to self and self love. For this rider takes away the peace mankind seeks in order to have their lives structured according to their own intentions. But consider Matthew 10:34-36.
Then the third seal is opened in verses 5 and 6 by the third beast which is the man. He calls forth the black horse and its rider. And we see his work is to see that the very necessities of life are refused to those who are not conquered by the white horse, gospel rider. For even if they spend their money upon bread, it will satisfy not! Isaiah 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. But the physical bread is not all that is included here. The spiritual bread for the feeding of their souls is also to be considered. Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Then in verses 7 and 8 we see the fourth seal is opened by the Sovereign Christ, with the flying eagle calling forth the pale horse. For the spirituality of the true believers witnesses against the deadness of mere church members, still dead in trespasses and sins! And the wages of sin is death! And this is not just physical death, but eternal, spiritual death. For Hell is said to follow this horseman!
May God have mercy upon lost church members!
Pastor Gene Breed
September 02, 2022