Revelation 4: The Throne of God

Revelation 4

Jesus has just given the letters to the messengers of the seven churches, and now John is summoned.

“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this,” John heard.

Accepting the angel’s invitation, John stepped through the open door. Instantly he found himself in the Spirit, before the throne of God.

The scene is described in my book ‘The End, the Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse’;

God sat on a massive throne in the midst of some kind of electrical storm, His presence generating so much power that the air cracked with flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. A rainbow shining like an emerald encircled the throne, while seven lamps blazed in front of it.  The throne overlooked a crystal clear sea of glass.

Kingly men dressed in white, wearing crowns of gold sat on thrones surrounding God. They were the twenty-four elders and they totally worshipped him.

In the centre, around the throne were four living creatures. They were covered with eyes, front and back, even under their wings. The first living creature was like a lion, the second an ox, the third had a face like a man and the fourth was like an eagle.  Each had six wings.

They worship God as much as the elders.

The seven lamps blazing in front of the throne are the seven spirits of God, the angels that sent their greetings in the first chapter (Rev 1:4). Jesus explains who they are in Rev 1:20. We know they’re before the throne of God but we only get to see them in their symbolic form. They’re messengers.

The twenty-four elders are men, the first to be made kings and priests to God, and they shall reign on the earth. They’ll play a part in the events that unfold.

The Cherubim

The four beings with different faces and six wings are Cherubim, a rank of angels. After the fall of man, Cherubim were posted to guard the Tree of Life.

As well as being guards, the Cherubim are used by God for travel; Psalm 18:9-10.

The prophet Ezekiel described them as having human hands under their wings. Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 10:14

John saw them with a face and Ezekiel saw then with four faces.

They struggled to explain what they saw as their vision was off world and in a different dimension.

Cherubim

If our pets could describe us getting into our cars, what would they say? I can just imagine it! “The humans got into a beast with round legs that moved without walking. It made strange noises and had smoke coming from its tail. It had four eyes, the top two were bigger than the bottom two. And it blinked orange while the eyes flashed white.”

Now imagine if the pets were two dimensional beings trying to describe it, they’d have no concept of width! How would they explain that? It’s the same with John and Ezekiel trying to describe the throne of God.

Signs and Symbols

It’s possible the four living creatures were represented by the lead tribes in Israel’s desert wandering.

Each of the twelve tribes bore a sign on its standard when they were travelling through the wilderness; Numbers 2:2

Four tribes were camped around the tabernacle at the cardinal points with two tribes behind them, forming a square. East was Judah-The Lion (Leo), West was Ephraim-The Bull (Taurus), South was Reuben-The Man (Aquarius) and North was Dan-The Serpent replaced by an Eagle (Scorpio).

The four great signs which thus marked the four sides of the camp, and the four quarters of the Zodiac, are the same four which form the Cherubim (the Eagle, the Scorpion’s enemy, being substituted for the Scorpion / Serpent).

The Witness of the Stars, EW Bullinger

Bullinger believes that if you match the blessings of Jacob and Moses with the signs the connection will be clearly seen. I don’t know, it’s only a two out of four from me as I’m not too sure about Reuben or Dan. Here are the relevant verses. You decide.

Perhaps the four living creatures represent God’s creation.

The number four is an earth number – there are four seasons, four points of the compass, four phases of the moon, four winds, four sides of a square, four elements (earth, wind, fire and water) and four corners of the earth.

If only we could ask the earth, ask the beasts.

Once you start noticing the four, you’ll notice it everywhere. The twenty-four elders are a multiple of four (four times six, the number of man), and this is the fourth chapter of Revelation.

Getting back to John, here’s a clip and an anointed song by the band Kutless.


Notes

Isaiah saw Seraphim, another rank of angels. You can read more about the Cherubim and Seraphim in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 and Isaiah chapter 6.

Related post

Through the Word: the Twelve tribes and Jacob’s blessing

Heavenly creatures

Birds sing hymns and crickets form choirs

Did you know birds, insects and fish form choirs?  Ask the animals, how great is God?

Birds

Songbirds ‘sing from hymn sheet’

Crickets

God’s Cricket Chorus 

When the song of the crickets is recorded and slowed down, they sing in perfect harmony like an angelic choir. The song pattern of each cricket species is stored in its genes. The sound has a four-part harmony.

They even have an area on the wings known as the harp. A cricket song is distinct for each species and when you get to know them, you can tell how many different species of crickets there are in an area simply by listening.

Fish

Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” 
Job 12:7-10

“Every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. Psalm 50:11

Humans, Home Free – How Great Thou Art


Links

The song pattern of each cricket species is stored In its genes.  The songs are thus clues to the links among genetic information, development, the organization of the nervous system and behavior.

Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/author/david-bentley/

House cricket: https://crawford.tardigrade.net/bugs/BugofMonth31.html


Heavenly creatures

Do you believe there are animals in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Let’s imagine we can have a peek in the Kingdom from the Bible. 

Here’s the throne of God, with a floor of sapphire, and encircled by an emerald rainbow.
In front of the throne on what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.” Revelation 4:6

Covered with eyes?  I can’t really picture it.  The creatures described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 aren’t like anything we have on earth.

Perhaps God has tried to show us with the peacock!

peacock-new-zealand_10933_990x742

These creatures are in the midst of the throne so we can see that God has his companion creatures, just as we do.

The living creatures are of four types, and of four in number.  Four is the “earth number,” for they have something to do with the earth.

The creatures on earth wait in hope for the children of God to be revealed.  “They wait in eager expectation for children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19.

Animals have a soul.  God had given his creatures breath, “ruach”, a soul – just as man has been given breath, a soul.  “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

Does God care about our animals?  I’d say yes, for he writes that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). He cares about us all.

He knows if even a sparrow falls.  He watches over them.  Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  Matthew 10:29

job-12-10-cat-550x320

The animals belong to God, and he knows each one.  “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  Psalms 50:10-11

It says in Revelation 4:11 that God created all things, and they were created for his pleasure.

Although the creatures are God’s, God placed them under Adam’s dominion.  After the fall of man, all creation suffered when the Earth came under a curse.

Job, the oldest book in the Bible deals with suffering.  Job spoke of the life of the creatures and the breath of all mankind being in God’s hand.  He said, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”  Job 12:7-10

Cat in arms of JesusThe creatures can’t tell us, but they have this hope of being released from suffering. They’re looking forward to the day when they can join us in the new Kingdom, where there will be no more death or suffering.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:19-22

Adam named the creatures.  When Adam, or mankind is restored, all creation will be restored along with man.  They will be brought into a world where they can live as God intended.

The wolf will live with the lamb, 
the leopard will lie down with the goat, 
the calf and the lion and the yearling 
together; 
and a little child will lead them.  
Isaiah 11:6

If you’ve lost a pet, I hope this comforts you.  It is okay to grieve for your animal, God understands.  There is a rest for the creature, for from God are all things, and to God are all things.  Worthy Of It All – David Brymer (David Elango acoustic cover)

Cat & Psalm 23


Downloadable Book: Animals, Their Past and Future By G. H. Pember, M.A.