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The Four Beasts

16 Jun
Four Beasts

from Google Images

We are considering the things that John saw in his vision known as the Apocalypse or the book of Revelation. I’m presently finishing up on chapter four, and I believe this will be the final study of this series. Looking back, I must confess that I’ve been presented with several surprises that I hadn’t considered before embarking on this study, but I could probably say that about each of the four chapters we’ve studied thus far. For example, although I had thought that the one seated on the throne was Jesus our High Priest, I didn’t realize he was set for judgment of his people. Moreover I never considered the similarity between the scene here with that of the Lord coming down to Mount Sinai to establish the Old Covenant with Israel, which also indicates that that was what he was about to do very shortly with the New Covenant.

I’ve also been presented with some very mysterious creatures, whose appearance it is difficult to wrap my mind around, and it is at this point that I shall begin my final study on chapter four of the Apocalypse. At the center and round about the throne were four beasts (G2226) or living beings.[1] These seem to be the seraphim of Isaiah 6:1-7, for they have the same function of praising God: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3), and each has one face but six wings (Isaiah 6:2; cf. Revelation 4:8), and they are represented in carrying the throne of God wherever the Lord pleases to go. If we contrast this with the cherubim in Ezekiel, we would see that the faces of the living creatures in Isaiah 6:2 are probably the same faces of the living beings in Revelation 4:6-8. Notice in Ezekiel 1:1-11 the four living creatures have only four wings (Ezekiel 1:11), but they also have four faces each (Ezekiel 1:6, 10). Their kind is not identified in Ezekiel chapter one, but they are identified as cherubim in Ezekiel 10:14-21.

Each living creature had six wings and their bodies were full of eyes—within, before, and behind (Revelation 4:6, 8). John tells us these living creatures never cease their praise: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”[2] The idea is not a continuous litany of the same words repeated over and over without ceasing. After awhile such praise would be meaningless. Rather, their function is to praise God, perhaps to even teach others to praise God by their very manner, as the Greek word, according to Thayer, could mean. I believe the idea of their praise is a continuous function, but not always in the same manner, just as God, himself, continually works (John 5:17), but his labors are diverse and new in the morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), therefore, so are the praises he enjoys (cf. Psalm 33:3; 40:3).

Whenever the living creatures praised God, the twenty-four elders fell on their faces and worshiped as well, casting their crowns before the throne of God, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:9-11). The crowns that the elders cast before the throne are that of a victor, who had overcome his struggle and won his race or battle etc. They are victor’s crowns (G4735 – stephanos), a kind of wreath worn by those who were victorious in the Greek games (cf. 1Cointhians 9:25). Believers have overcome the evil one in their struggle through the blood of the Jesus (Revelation 12:11). Therefore, they cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet, in praise and acknowledgment of his redemption, because they owe all to him.

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[1] Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines zoon (G2226) as “a living being; an animal, brute, beast.”

[2] According to Thayer, the Greek word for ‘saying’ –  lego (G3004) means: “to say, to speak; affirm over, maintain; to teach; to exhort, advise, to command, direct; to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say; to call by name, to call, name; to speak out, speak of, mention.”

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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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