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Revelation 4:6b





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 heaven.


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.


Gods 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 possible.


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.



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