Revelation 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.

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.

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.

The Lion

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Revelation 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.

The Calf

Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.


MEMORY VERSE: 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. —Ezekiel 1:10


CENTRAL THOUGHT: The first two living creatures mentioned are the lion and the calf, each of which have characteristics of both Christ and His church; the lion depicting boldness and courage and the calf, or ox, depicting labor and sacrifice.




Revelation 4:6 “Full of eyes”: a term signifying sleepless vigilance and superior intelligence and discernment. This description corresponds with Ezekiel 10:12.




Our memory verse refers us back to Ezekiel’s vision which was very similar to the apostle’s, except that each of Ezekiel’s living creatures had four faces; in John’s vision each of the four had only one. Later in Ezekiel’s writings he names them cherubim. This also corresponds to the seraphim which Isaiah saw (Isaiah 6:1-7). A minor difference here is that John’s and Isaiah’s creatures each had six wings and Ezekiel’s had only four. It seems accurate to say they each were seeing the same spiritual vision.

In several commentaries I read that each of the four ensigns or banners used by the Israelites as they set up their wilderness camp around the tabernacle had depicted on them one of the creatures of Ezekiel and Revelation. The description of the camp arrangement is found in Numbers 2, but no particular description of the ensigns are given anywhere in the Bible. The only information I found was that “Jewish tradition” or “Jewish writers” said that Judah, with Zebulon and Issachar on either side of him, camped to the east of the tabernacle, with the ensign of the lion. Ephraim, with Manasseh and Benjamin, on the west, had the face of the ox. Reuben, along with Simeon and Gad, were located on the north side, with their banner depicting a man. Dan, with Asher and Naphtali, on the south, had the figure of an eagle. Judah, Ephraim, Reuben and Dan were considered “princes” in Israel and thus were the standard-bearers. This was pointed out by Sir Isaac Newton (Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, 1733) and interested me greatly; however, I could find no specific Jewish writer from which to obtain a quote. The commentators who emphasize this as important prophecy either lean heavily toward the view that Jesus’ second coming ushers in a literal millennial reign or were very much into “Hebrew Roots,” teachings which strongly advocate bringing the Hebrew diet, feasts, and holy days into Christian worship. If indeed the four faces were on the banners in the camp of Israel, their symbolic meaning would find fulfillment, then, in the New Testament church, which is spiritual Israel.

Another view which comes from the writings of early church fathers is that the four faces were pictured in the four Gospels and the way they presented Christ and His ministry. Their views varied greatly as to which Gospel writer corresponded to which creature. Some said Matthew was symbolized by the lion, others said his symbol was the man, etc.

Using the facts given in chapter five in which the twenty-four elders and the four creatures all sing the song of the redeemed, it seems best to find the meaning in that realm, using the four faces as symbols of the characteristics of Christ and also of His redeemed followers.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




1. The Four Living Creatures: Which Old Testament prophets had similar visions?

2. The Lion: In the lesson we included two scriptures that show how this characteristic is displayed by both Christ and the righteous man. Can you think of others?

3. The Ox or Calf: In the verses referring to attributes of this creature in the lesson, who are the speakers or writers? Where in the Old Testament are the two quotes found?




As I look into this chapter, the background of the previous chapters—the messages to the seven congregations—still in view, I am thinking once again of what it takes to be an overcomer. What does it take to stand before the throne in white robes and golden crowns, singing the song of victory and praise? Then a picture begins to form in my mind of a true child of God and all the qualities we can see in that godly life. I think of our precious Lord— the pattern, the example of a Perfect Man.

He was meek, lowly and humble; yet when faced with opposition, danger, threats, storms at sea, angry authorities, kings and death itself, He never backed down. He wasn’t intimidated, discouraged or frustrated. He looked them all in the face calmly, serenely, boldly. He was a lion! He was King! He says to us all, “Follow Me.” We’re going down the same road. We’re probably going to meet serious opposition at some time in our lives. Brother, sister, hold high your lion banner! Deep within you, even as you tremble, you’ve got the spirit of a lion. Christ has made you a king. “The Lion of Judah has broken every chain, and gives US the victory, again and again!”

Well, that may sound rather glamorous and exciting, but overcoming also means being like Christ in His humble servanthood and life of toil and sacrifice. He “took upon him the form of a servant.” As an ox plodding its weary way around the field, pulling the plow or reaper, our labors may seem monotonous at times; lonely, thankless, dreary. Yet we only follow Him; His life in us is a servant’s—a laborer’s—life. We might say, “Oh, that’s for the ministry to do.” No, the face of the sacrificial calf or laboring ox is for all the redeemed. We all have our work to do for precious souls, for the kingdom. In this we will overcome. Let us lift up the weary hands that hang down and strengthen our feeble knees. “By the living grace of God, I will labor on.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



I like the symbolism of the four living creatures. We may not feel like a lion or that we have the strength of an ox, inwardly; but as we yield to the Spirit of the Lord in fulfilling places of responsibility there is an empowering element of the Holy Spirit that takes over. Many times I have slowly, hesitantly, and yes, reluctantly plodded to service—fighting fear, discouragement, emptiness. Amazingly, the Lord would multiply, give, and open. It has happened over and over. I remember one of our older brother ministers mentioning that he had occasions of getting up feeling nothing, not even a verse, and the Lord would pour out. His strength is perfected in our weakness.

Paul mentioned, “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” It appears in different places of scripture that when we are in contact with the Holy Spirit the natural man gives way and Christ becomes all in all. John, when he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and saw his vision, fell down as dead.

Reading in Judges 6:12, “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” Gideon didn’t feel like a mighty man of valour. Verse fourteen says, “and the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might…” The Lord promised to bless and help and He did and He does.

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (II Corinthians 3:5).

—Bro. Bob Wilson