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Who Are The Four Beasts In The Middle Of And Around The Throne Of God?

Introduction

We saw last week that Christ is in these four beasts as the lion of the tribe of Judah, the legitimate legal heir of King David, in the gospel of Matthew. He is the ox, the tireless servant by whose strength is much increase, in Mark. He is the son of man, whose genealogy is traced all the way back to Adam in Luke, and He is presented to us from the view of the heavens, as the eagle, in John's gospel.

Today we will get a much more mature vision of who these four beasts represent, and in doing so we will see just how true is the statement of Christ "As My Father has sent me even so send I you," and we will see that our relationship to Christ is just as close to Him as His relationship is to His and our heavenly Father. By knowing who these four beasts represent we will also see what is meant by Paul's statement that Christ's inheritance is "in the saints," and that it is through that inheritance that Christ was delivered up "through our offences and was resurrected through our justification."
Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for [Greek, dia, through] our offences, and was raised again for [Greek, dia, through] our justification.
If God does indeed give us "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, then we will see that it is these four beasts and the four and twenty elders around the throne of God, who are used to symbolize for us "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," and it is the goal of this study to demonstrate that this is indeed the spiritual significance of this symbol of four beasts.

Who are these four beasts?
There is a very good reason why these four beasts are "in the middle of and round about the throne of God." Here is what these beasts tell us of themselves. We need not guess who they represent. They tell us plainly who they symbolize.
Rev 5:1  And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
Rev 5:2  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev 5:3  And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:4  And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:5  And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 5:7  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Rev 5:8  And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
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;
Rev 5:10  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
There it is, as clearly as it can be stated, these four beasts and these four and twenty elders are God's elect who have been "redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation to become kings and priest ruling this earth." That is who these four beast symbolize. But this revelation was not given all in one place in scripture. It has been given to us line upon line and precept upon precept, beginning in the garden of Eden, culminating in this "signified revelation of Jesus Christ"
Rev 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.
Rev 4:2  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Rev 4:3  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.
Rev 4:4  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.
Rev 4:5  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.
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 4:7  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.
Rev 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.
door was opened in heaven... in the spirit...  a throne set in heaven... one seated on that throne... the throne being like a rainbow and like an emerald...Around this throne in heaven are 24 elders wearing white raiment, and 24 golden crowns. Next we see a sea of glass before the throne, and in the middle of the throne and round about the throne are four beasts; a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle. Every beast has six wings and are full of eyes within, and they cry holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. What is all of this symbolism? Where does it all originate? It all originates with the cherubims with a flaming sword in Genesis three, when mankind was driven out of the garden:
Gen 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
But it is in the the tabernacle of Moses and again  in the temple of  Solomon that we see these same four beasts all around both the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon. Both the tabernacle and the temple show us that heaven and God's throne are symbolized by the holy of holies and the ark of the covenant with the cherubs overshadowing the mercy seat:
Exo 26:1  Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them.

Exo 26:30  And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount.
Exo 26:31  And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:
Exo 26:32  And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.
Exo 26:33  And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
Exo 26:34  And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
In the tabernacle the cherubims overshadowed the mercy seat and were on the curtains that made up the tabernacle and they were woven into the vail that hung on the four pillars which separated the holy of holies from the holy place. Later it is revealed to us that these same four creatures are carved into the doors and walls of the temple of Solomon. In either type, the message is clear; you must go through these four creatures in order to enter into the presence of God.
Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

Rev 3:9  Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Paul tells us that this is all a type and shadow of "heavenly things."
Heb 9:22  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
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:
Christ did not die to purify a physical temple with physical outward implements like candlesticks, tables, knives and tongs. He died and was resurrected to live His life in, and to purify you and me. Christ's elect are "the heavenly things themselves." The temple and its implements are figures of the true, they are figures of us, and that is where Christ went when He "entered into the holy places" made without hands.
1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [Greek, aion, age]. Amen.
God's throne is in His house, his temple, the heavens, and in Christ we are all of these:
1Pe 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Again, what do the four beasts say of themselves?
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;
Rev 5:10  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
What and where is heaven?

A door is opened in heaven... a throne is set in heaven. If we do not know where and what is heaven, then not one word of this prophecy will be understood. What and where heaven is, is a study we have already covered in depth, and we came to see that for the sake of communicating with us, we are informed that God dwells "in the heavens." For an in-depth study read What And Where Is Heaven on iswasandwilbe.com. Here are but a very few verses for the sake of this study.
Psa 2:4  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Psa 103:19  The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

Psa 115:3  But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Psa 123:1  Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
"God dwells in the heavens." There it is. This tells us where God dwells. Can we believe and receive what this reveals about the location of heaven? Here is where heaven is; here is where God dwells:
1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Heaven is not a physical, geographical planet because God is not physical God. God is spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in Truth.
Joh 4:24 God is spirit, and those who are worshiping Him must be worshiping in spirit and truth.(CLV)
The King James has "God is a spirit," but there is no article in the Greek. It reads simply, "God is spirit," and we are plainly told:
2Ch 6:18  But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a physical location. He is spirit and He dwells in His people. He dwells in heaven. "The spirit of God dwells in you!"
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
What are the cherubim?

We saw earlier that these beasts, the cherubims, are first mentioned in Genesis three, when God placed them as the door-keepers of the tree of life.  Just look at where else the Old Testament has these beasts. As we saw above, their revelation is in stages, starting with the Garden of Eden. In Eden and in the tabernacle and temple, there are only two cherubs and in the tabernacle the cherubs have but two wings.  But there are four cherubs around the throne of God in Ezekiel, and each cherub has four wings. Here again is what Genesis reveals.
Gen 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
The wings are not even mentioned in Genesis. The next place we see these cherubims is in the tabernacle of Moses. God spoke to Moses "from between the two cherubims" which overshadowed the mercy seat. Here in Exodus the cherubs are given  wings.
Exo 25:20  And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
Exo 25:22  And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

Num 7:89  And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.
It is the function of the cherubims to "keep the way of the tree of life," and as such they are on the doors of the temple of Solomon.
1Ki 6:23  And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
1Ki 6:24  And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.
1Ki 6:25  And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
1Ki 6:26  The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
1Ki 6:27  And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.
1Ki 6:28  And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
1Ki 6:29  And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
1Ki 6:30  And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
1Ki 6:31  And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
1Ki 6:32  The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.
When God's gold is "spread upon the cherubims" it is not covering our idols of our hearts, but it is serving as the channel through which others are brought to God.

In Solomon's temple the cherubims were carved onto the two doors of the temple, to "guard the way of the tree of life" symbolized by the ark of God.

The next place we see these beasts, these cherubs, is once again around the throne of God,  in Ezekiel one:
Eze 1:1  Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
Both here in Ezekiel  one and ten, when these creatures are mentioned they are always seen around the throne of God and are in the midst of and handling the fire of God. In Ezekiel 10 and in Revelation they are only seen within the context of  an "open heaven," meaning a spiritual mind being opened and enlightened to see and understand spiritual knowledge.
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 1:5  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 1:6  And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
Eze 1:7  And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
Eze 1:8  And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
Eze 1:9  Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
Eze 1:10  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.

Eze 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.
These are the exact same animals mentioned in Revelation four and five. In verse twenty  of Ezekiel 10 we find that the spirit of the four creatures is also in four wheels:
Eze 10:1  Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
Eze 10:2  And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight.
Eze 10:16  And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them.
Eze 10:17  When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
Eze 10:18  Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
Eze 10:19  And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
Eze 10:20  This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.
Eze 10:21  Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
Eze 10:22  And the likeness of their faces [was] the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.
 But who is it who is around the throne of God saying holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty? According to Revelation four, it is these four creatures. But in Isaiah 6 we see these same four creatures symbolized by one single creature, "more subtle than any beast of the field," and this time we see all six wings, just as they are given six wings in the book of Revelation, and they are performing all the same functions of being around God's throne and handling the fire of God.
Isa 6:1  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.
Isa 6:2  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.
Isa 6:3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isa 6:4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5  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.
Isa 6:6  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:
Isa 6:7  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isa 6:8  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Isa 6:9  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Isa 6:10  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Numbers 21 reveals that these seraphims are winged serpents.
Num 21:8  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent [Hebrew seraph], and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Num 21:9  And Moses made a serpent [nachash, serpent] of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent [nachash] had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent [nachash] of brass, he lived.

Conclusion

We have seen that the four beasts and the four and twenty elders all sing a song, proclaiming for the whole world who they symbolize:
Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 5:7  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Rev 5:8  And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
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;
Rev 5:10  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
In Ezekiel and Isaiah, we have all the functions of the four beasts of Revelation chapters 4 and five. But in Ezekiel and Isaiah these accomplishments are split up between cherubs with four wings, and seraphs
with six wings. In Revelation these beasts are all combined into the four beasts with six wings who proclaim that God is holy and that they have been redeemed to God out of every nation and they will rule on earth. It comes as a shock for us to realize that even in the heavens we are made aware of our earthly origins as serpents and as beasts.

But what is the function of these beasts. Yes, they are on the doors of the Tabernacle  of Moses and the doors of the Temple of Solomon, but what does that signify?

In our next study we will see why these beasts are in the middle of and around the throne of God, and we will see why they have been chosen to rule with Christ on earth. We will see that Christ has chosen these four beasts  and the twenty four elders as His channel through which He will bring all men to Himself. We will see that these four beasts and twenty four elders symbolize the Christ of Christ.