Author: Ron Graham
The Revelation of Christ (Revelation 1-5) >Seven Scenes in Heaven >Scene 2 >The 4 Creatures
We now look at the second scene in the vision of heaven, recorded in Revelation chapters 4 and 5.
The four living creatures that were before the throne are explained as follows...
A lion One creature was like a lion, symbolising the kingship of Christ. Christ is the conquering Ruler of all. He, as the promised son of David, received the authority to sit enthroned at God's right hand. Before him all crowns must be thrown down. He is the supreme King of kings and Lord of lords (1Timothy 6:15, Acts 2:30-36, Revelation 19:16).
A calf The second creature was like a calf, symbolising the priesthood of Christ. Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. He can wash away our sins in his blood. Christ is the almighty King-Priest, who has made us kings and priests (Hebrews 8:1-2, Hebrews 9:24-28).
A man The third creature was like a man, symbolising the humanity of Christ. He is Son of Man, one of us, born of woman, God made flesh, and he precedes us as the firstborn from the dead, yet remains close to us, knocking at our door, seeking to sup and abide with us (Revelation 3:20, Galatians 4:4, John 1:1,14).
An eagle The fourth creature was like an eagle, symbolising the divinity of Christ. He was truly God from eternity, heavenly, and having risen from the dead and ascended on high, lives forever far above all things (John 1:1, 1John 5:20, 1Timothy 6:16, Revelation 19:11-16).
living It may seem odd to describe the creatures as "living creatures" (Revelation 4:6b) since we would hardly expect them to be dead creatures. However this emphasises that Jesus (whom each creature portrays) "was dead" but is now is "alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:18).
six wings, full of eyes Each creature had six wings and many eyes.
who was... is...is to come The significance of a similar title of God was dealt with fully in the lesson on John's introduction to Revelation. In particular we noted the connection with the title "the Alpha and the Omega" and that such titles belong also to Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:12-13,16).
Glory and honour John is being given an understanding of what is going to take place in the second scene. God is going to be worshipped and given praise and glory and honour.
And thanks Thanksgiving to God comes from a grateful heart, for his love such that he gave his only begotten Son to become the Lamb, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We also thank God for the shepherding we receive through life so that we may be brought safely into his eternal kingdom.
Cast their crowns The crowns represent eternal life. By casting their crowns before the throne, the elders obviously do not relinquish eternal life. A crown, like a throne, is a symbol of authority. However these elders are going to give glory to God. Therefore they dismount their thrones and fall down before God. They cast their crowns, as it were casting their authority to God, in order that he might be recognised as all in all, and the Source of all authority and power and dominion.
Worthy art Thou This song of praise addresses God. In the next scene, described in chapter five, the worthiness to receive the same glory and praise will also be ascribed Jesus Christ the Lamb .