Revelation 4: The Main Characters
Doing this post took me a lot longer than I expected. I did I lot of reading and a lot of studying but I now have a little better understanding of things.
This is what I learned about the main characters. Of course two of the main characters are the Lord Jesus and God Himself. But there are two other interesting groups of characters here. I have wondered about these beings for a long time. But first I must tell you what I have learned about the seven spirits of God. A commentary said the seven spirits were “various gifts, graces and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ.” After looking through the scriptures I found the 7 gifts of grace which are: prophecy, serving others, teaching, encouraging others, giving, leadership, and showing kindness. I found this in Romans 12:6-8 .
So let’s start with the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:4 and many other places through out Revelation. Who were they? And dare I ask, are they human? Or are they spirits? I read a commentary that said the elders were upstanding people from both the New Testament and Old Testament. If they’re human, why or how could they be so important to be elders in Heaven without having their names mentioned? If they were men like Moses or Elijah I would think they would be mentioned by name. (Yet the two witnesses mentioned later on, also were not named.) If these twenty-four elders are spirits… well I wondered if there were such elders anywhere else in the Bible.
I looked up elders and got 187 entries in the English Standard Version. (Different versions had different wording.) Every one of entries for ‘elders’ seemed to be very human except for Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
Yet Isaiah 24:23 in the New Living Translation says: Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.
There are a lot of prophecies in Isaiah I don’t understand, but there are some that I do. Reading Isaiah 24:23 in the New Living Translation reminded me of Acts 2:2 The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. Acts 2:2 is a quote of Joel 2:31 The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives.
So are the elders Revelation 4:4 men or angels? That’s up for you to decide. I say angels because of the four creatures in Revelation 4:6-8 , but of course I could be wrong.
In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.
In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
There are no creatures like these on earth. But what can we find out about them? Has anyone else seen them? Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Or at least I assume they are the same. They have six wings and they praise the Lord. I once heard they cover their face because the Lord is too holy to look at. They cover their feet because the floor was too holy for their feet to touch, so they fly. Sounds good. But when the guy on the TV show started talking about what the different faces mean, the close caption went goofy; so I don’t know what he said.
I read a couple of commentaries about the creatures and both of them basically agree that they are courageous as lions, mighty as bulls, wise as men (I question that one), and as swift as eagles.
Another passage that is interesting to me, is Ezekiel 1. They seem sort of the same but not really. Instead of six wings they only had four. One thing that really seems odd to me is that they were on wheels. If they could fly, why would they need wheels? What kind of vehicle were they on? They had a wheel within a wheel and they could not turn. If I didn’t know any better, I would say the vehicle or vehicles (four of them) had a gyro-compass in them. I couldn’t find a good picture of one, but I remember a little of what it looked like on the ship I was on nearly 40 years ago. I remember seeing a machine about 3 feet (1 meter) tall or more with a fast spinning wheel inside. The axles in the wheel always pointed true north. If these four creature couldn’t turn then they could only follow the longitude and latitude lines of the earth. I’m only guessing here of course.
Several times the last few days I have told my wife that I really wish I had a good Jewish Rabbi here to explain things to me. One more thing I wonder about. (OK, one of the hundred million zillion things) before the fall into sin, did Adam and Eve ever seen any of this?
Well that’s it for now. Please check out everything I have said. And if I am wrong, please tell me. After all I have no training in this at all. The two commentaries I used were Geneva Notes and Matthew Henry’s Commentary. If you find an error, please let me know, and I will check it out to the best of my abilities.