6 And [kai] before [enopion] the throne [thronos] there was a sea [thalassa] of glass [hualinos] like [homoios] unto crystal: [krustallos] and [kai] in [en] the midst [mesos] of the throne, [thronos] and [kai] round about [kuklo] the throne, [thronos] were four [tessares] beasts [zoon] full [gemo] of eyes [ophthalmos] before [emprosthen] and [kai] behind. [opisthen]KJV-Interlinear
6 and before the throne there
was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the
throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. NASB
The contrast between heaven and earth is one of
perfect peace and calm and stability and absence of confrontation,verses the total life on earth which is
burdened by constant pressures, unfairness, numerous opinions lacking wisdom, difficulties
galore, and certainly confrontations that never end.
And in the center of it all, in heaven, around and
about, in front and behind of Gods throne, are four beasts.
So what are these beasts that stand so prominently
In order to understand it all, we need to know that
many of the things we will read about in Revelation,
are symbolic of some principle or truth.This book unlike other books in the Bible, is
full of symbolism.
Sometimes the symbolism is defined, such as the lamp
stands or torches, or seven spirits, and sometimes the symbolism is not
defined.And in the case where
definition is lacking we have to go to other parts of the Bible to find the
answer and meaning of the symbolism.
This is one of those situations.
Most folks will relate this vision to the visions
of Isaiah or Ezekiel, or both.However,
those visions contained references to angels, namely cherubim and seraphim
respectively.This vision does not have
any such reference.
John’s vision has no reference to humanity, to
angels, or even to animals.But, you
say, what about the next verse?And in
that verse even that reference is one of similarity not to identity, which
excludes man, angels and animal, even though their appearances are used.But more on that when we
get to the next verse.
In ancient times, cherubim were used to symbolize
the protectors of Gods treasure, and the seraphim were used to symbolize the
power with which God used to maintain such protection.
Cherubim with the flaming sword are placed at the
entrance of the garden of Eden, Gen 3:24.Jehovah rode upon a cherub, and did fly, 2
Sam 22:11, Ps 18:10.He communes with
his people from between the cherubim, Ex 25:22.He is the Shepherd of Israel, who dwells
between the cherubim, Ps 80:1.The
temple in Ezek 41:18 is adorned with cherubim, as being the dwelling-place of
God; They are the attendants of the glory of God in Ezek 1:22-28; Seraphim fill an analogous position, Isa 6:2.
However, angels are not referenced here, but the
symbolism is consistent with that of the Old Testament passages.
The word for four beasts,
carries the connotation living, and more than that, the possession of life.
These living beings are not separate and distinct
beings, but they exist round about, or in the midst of, which means to exist
through and through, intermingled with, occupying the same space as
(omnipresence), the throne.
throne, as we have already studied is symbolic of Gods authority and power and
exists everywhere.And coming from
heaven it is the source, as God is the source, of all life.And, it is the support and provision as God
is the provision.And these that are
living life, are the sole support and sustainers of life. They are life,
itself, and more, much, much more.
Its eyes all around, see everything, omniscience.It, the source of life, sees not only what is
and what was, but what could have been, or what could be but will not be.The eyes see all of the actual as well as the
The four creatures are spoken of as one, in the
singular, not in the plural. They are the very basis, the very foundation, of
life and all that is truth.