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understanding the four beasts Rev 4:6

Beginning at the 6th verse of Revelation 4, there is a detailed description of "the four beasts". Literally, it should be translated "living ones" or " living creatures" rather than "beasts".

There is a symbolism here that demands close attention.

The First beast was like a LION

The Second was like a CALF

The Third was like the face of a MAN

The fourth was like a flying EAGLE.

To understand the meaning of these symbols, we need to go back to the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 1, we have a description of "four living creatures". In Ezekiel 1 : 10, we are told that on the right side they had the face of a man, and the face of a lion. On the left side they had the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle. These are the identical symbols of the Living Creatures in Revelation 4. As in Revelation so in Ezekiel "there was by them the likeness of a throne" (Ezek 1: 26). In both visions the glory of the Lord is manifested (Ezek 1: 28). In both cases there is a rainbow about the throne, These angelic creatures in Ezekiel were CHERUBIMS ( See also Ezekiel 10).

Notice that John does not describe these beasts except to liken them to something that we would be familiar with. Especially notice the words "like" and "as" in Rev 4 : 7. The first part of Verse 8 adds to this description when it says, "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within".

While John could only describe the beasts by comparison, he is very precise in telling what they do, And they rest not day and night, saying, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,which was, and is, and is to come" (Rev 4 :8).

The four LIVING CREATURES are CHERUBIMS (Refer Ezekiel 10 :20, 21).

In describing the four living creatures, John says that the first "beast" was like a LION. A LION is the "King of the beasts" and represents majesty. Thus Christ is portrayed in the Gospel of Mathew as "King of Kings".

The Second living creature is said to be "like a calf". The word translated "calf" can also be translated as "bullock" or "heifer". This of course, was an animal frequently used for sacrifice. CHRIST here is portrayed as "Sacrifice" for our sins. Mark in his Gospel presents "CHRIST as the SERVANT who was to be sacrificed."

The Third living creature "had a face as a man". The third creature would represent CHRIST as a MAN. The Gospel of Luke presents CHRIST as the Perfect Man. Also, as described in Philippians 2, Christ left His position of Glory with the Father and became a man so that He might die on the cross for our sin.

The fourth living creature was "like a flying EAGLE". The eagle symbolizes Sovereignty and Supremacy. Thus the living creature represents CHRIST in all his DEITY. The Apostle John in his Gospel presents JESUS CHRIST as the SON OF GOD and shows His relationship with heaven.

These four living creatures do not rest day or night as they protect the throne of GOD in its holiness. In the old testament we read something very much similar to Rev 4. When Israel was camping in the wilderness, there were special precautions taken with the tabernacle which was the habitation of God in their midst. The Tabernacle was always in the center of the camp and was surrounded by 12 tribes.





On the east side was Judah which had a banner of a Lion. Ephraim was on the west with a standard of the ox. Reuben was on the South with the standard of a Man and Dan was on the north with a standard of an eagle.

FOUR LIVING CREATURES:: The True Meaning Revealed

"And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind" Rev 4:6

Beginning at the 6th verse of Revelation 4 there is a detailed description of "The Four beasts". Literally, it should be translated as "Living creatures" rather than "beasts" The translators called them "beasts" probably because of Ezekiel. (Ezekiel - 1 ). The word "Cherub" is used 27 times in the Old Testament and the word "Cherubim" (plural of "cherub") 65 times in the Old Testament.

The meaning of the word "Cherubim" is uncertain. However cherubim are a special class of ANGELIC BEING - they have 6 wings and eyes before and behind.Their feet are "straight feet" and the sole of their feet is like the sole of calf's foot and they sparkle like bumished brass (Ezek 1:7). They have the hands of men under their wings (Ezek. 1:8). Their wings are joined together (Ezek 1:9, 11). They are like the burning coals of fire, like lamps. The light (or fire) go up and down in them and out of fire go flashes like lighting and is likened to a flash of lightning (Ezek 1:14). The noises of their wings are like the noise of great waters (Ezek 1:24).


"And one of the elders saith unto me, weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals there of". Now let us look at the characteristics of lion, taking comparison with our Lord Jesus, the lion, of the tribe of Judah

i) Lion is a kingly beast. Jesus is the King of kings.

ii) Lion is a majestic creature. Jesus is full of majesty I Corinth 1:24, "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God, and the wisdom of God".

iii) Lion is very strong - Jesus is mighty to save, Isa.9:6 "... .For unto us a child is born .. -. .the mighty God".

iv) Lion is very fierce strong in its nature - fearless and terrible creature, especially when provoked by enemy, our Lord Jesus is consuming fire.

v) Lion's voice is a terrible voice. Our Lord Jesus roars like a lion as we read Joel 3:16, "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel".

vi) Lion is very sharp-sighted creature. Nothing could be hidden from the eyes of our Lord Jesus.

vii) None can take the prey from a hungry Lion. No one can pluck us from His hands. Amen! Hallelujah!


(i) Calf (or ox) is a domestic animal, a symbol service. The Son of man Came not to be ministered unto but to minister.

(ii) The ox is accustomed to yoke. Jesus did the work of God willingly, with much delight. He said, "Not my will let Thy will be done".

(iii) The ox is a patient creature labors hard, and carries heavy burdens. Jesus labored hard and never complained.

(iv) The ox is a faithful animal. Jesus was faithful in all respects.

(v) The ox is a very useful creature, especially in plowing the field. Jesus work on the cross was the most useful finished work for the redemption of all human beings. He shall save his people from their sins. He is doing plowing work now, plowing the stony hearts and changing them into fleshy hearts.

(vi) Another significance of ox is recorded in Deut. 22:10, "Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together". An ox will do work willingly, subjecting to the will of its master where as an ass is an unwilling animal, which will do in its own way. If God has to use us, we must be like an ox but not as an ass.

(vii) The flag of Ephraim had the symbol of the ox. Ephraim means 'doubly fruitful'. If we have to bear fruits unto the Lord, we must possess the character of an ox, serve the Lord willingly and gladly and according to his will and plan. Praise the Lord!


(i) What is man? In Hebrews language four different words are used for 'man"

1. Ahadahm - man
2. Ish - man having pre-eminence.
3. Enosh - Very weak man.
4, Gehever - Mighty man.

(ii) Further, songs of Solomon reveals the portrait of man. S.O.S. 5:10, Says,"My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand". Our Lord Jesus is white and ruddy. His countenance was like the sun. 'Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors"

(iii) Songs of Solomon 5:11, "His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy and black as raven". This verse explains, our beloved's head is like fine gold. Jesus is the "Head of the church" Gold indicates Divinity."For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col: 2:9). Black hair indicates our Beloved Jesus is everlasting and eternal.

(iv) S.O.S 5:12, "His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk and fitly set". The dove is always looking at the partner. The eyes of the Lord are always upon us. In Psalms 34:15 we read, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry". Hallelujah! Holy Spirit is compared to a dove. When Jesus took baptism and came out of the water the heaven and earth met together as we read in Mark 1:10, "And straightway coming up out of water, He saw the heavens open, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him"'. It was a marvelous scene.

(v) S.O.S 5:13, "His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; His lips like Lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh". His lips are like Lilies, Lilly is a white flower, a symbol of purity. The people marveled at His teachings while he was on the earth as we read in Luke 4:22, "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which procedeth out of his mouth, and they said, is not this Joseph's son". We also read in Psalm 45:2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men grace is poured into thy lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever"'.

(vi) S.O.S 5:14, "His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl; His belly is as bright ivory over laid with sapphires". The belly is a symbol of affection. Ivory stands for purity. Saphire is a blue colour diamond. Blue speaks of grace of our Lord Jesus who loved us with an everlasting love. "Unto him who loved us and washed us from sin, unto Him be Glory for ever. Amen".

(vii) S.O.S. 5:15, His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars". His legs are as pillars of marble, which speaks of power and stability.

Cedar is a strong and mighty tree. It grows very tall - a heavenly outlook. Be ye Holy even as I am Holy.


It is specially mentioned that the Eagle is flying but not resting. Its wings are outstretched.

(i) The eagle is called the Lord of the air and it is a royal bird. Our Lord Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. It is recorded in Rev. 1:5. "And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the Kings of earth"....

Our Lord is supernatural and super powerful. The sovereignty is revealed here. We also read in Rev. 19:16. "And he hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS".

(ii) The Eagle is a very strong bird. Hebrew name for the Eagle is NASHER, which means tearer of the enemy. Psalms 89:19... I have laid help upon one that is mightily: I have exalted one chosen out of the people".

(iii) The familiarity of this bird is, it mounts up very high and out of the sight of man. Job 39:27, "Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her if nothing nest on high". Our Lord Jesus went up to heaven." He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things".(Eph 4:10)

(iv) The eagle can sweep in a fraction of a moment, it is a mighty swift bird. Jesus can solve your problems instantly.

(v) The eagle has piercing eyes. It is able to see and pick up even a very small object from the top. We cannot hide any thing from Jesus.

(vi) The eagle can fight with the serpent and overcome it. Jesus fulfilled the words mentioned in Gen. 3:15! "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel". Jesus crushed all the works of the devil on the cross.

(vii) The Eagle is a heavenly bird. It has long and strong wings. Malachi 4:2 indicates to us, "But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healings in His wings; ..." Refer Exodus 19:4.

(viii) The Eagle disturbs its nest. Sometimes God may disturb our nest to teach us some lessons.

(ix) The Eagle's way in the air cannot be predicted, so also God's dealings. He works in mysterious ways.

(x) The Eagle tenderly takes care of it's young ones. John 21:15.

Lord Jesus told Simon Peter,"Feed my lambs". Lord takes care of the young ones. The young lions may lack - but they that fear the Lord will lack in nothing. ) The Eagle will give its own blood to the young ones. Jesus himself came down from heaven to shed His precious blood for us. In John 6:55, Lord says, "For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."

(xi) The Eagle can directly fly towards the sun light. In the name of Jesus, principalities and powers of darkness will tremble. Amen! Hallelujah!

(xii) The Eagle is a symbol of long life. There is no beginning and end to our Lord Jesus Christ.

All the four beasts indicate our Lord Jesus' unique characteristics. Every good thing attributed is true of Him to an unlimited extent, and Human words are inadequate to describe the greatness of our Lord!
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