In Revelation 4:6-8 and Ezekiel chapter 1, the Scriptures present a picture of four interlocked beasts around the throne of God. The creatures have the face of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. A close study of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John will reveal that each gospel rhymes with a living creature. The first chapter of Ezekiel treats the subject in some detail. These beings are also Cherubim connected to the tree of life. Scriptures in Genesis 3:24 show that Cherubim guard the way to the tree of life; thus, they deny or give access.
Lion and Matthew
A look at Matthew reveals the creature with the face of a lion, as the book reveals the authority of Jesus. As a lion is known for being the boldest and most authoritative animal, this book reveals the unquestioned authority of Jesus Christ. It is herein that Jesus features as King more than in the other gospels. In this book, the title Son of David is frequent to signify kingship.
The Gospel of Matthew was written for the Jewish people, who knew their Messiah would be a king. However, we understand that ultimately the gospel goes to all races. God represented this Gospel book as the face of a lion. The color purple, as the tabernacle veil on the eastern side had, characterizes this book. Purple is the color of royalty.
Ox and Mark
Mark is the shortest gospel, where Jesus is often in activities rather than sermons. By nature, the ox is a beast of burden among humanity. Jesus came to bear the burdens of humanity, by his service and sacrificial death. This Gospel presents Christ as the universal Pastor, since the latter is a burden bearer.
This book shows Jesus going from one activity to another consistently. The lengthy teaching sessions are lacking. That informs us that the ox is the living creature that rhymes with the Gospel of Mark. Labor is prominent all through. Red is the color that corresponds to this book.
Face of Man and Luke
Luke presents to us the humanity of Jesus in detail than in the other three books. In it, the birth, growth, and entry into ministry of Christ are clearer than in the other books. Although Jesus was God, he also had the human side, which is most prominent in this Gospel.
The color that goes with this Gospel is white, signifying righteousness. Jesus was the righteousness of God in expressed in flesh.
John and the Eagle
The book of John is different from the first three or synoptic gospels. Whereas the synoptic books start with the nativity of Jesus, John starts with the pre-incarnate Christ. A flying eagle is the creature that goes with this book. It stands for divine revelations of God vested in Christ. The eagle is the symbol of a prophet, to whom the revelations of the word come and he conveys the same to the people.
The eagle has a reputation for sight, fearlessness, and longevity. The most profound teachings about eternal life and the person of Jesus are in the book of John. It is usually good for a new Christian to start their Bible reading with this book. The color that goes along with the book is sky blue, to signify celestial reality and revelation.
The Church Age
This article at the beginning stated that the four creatures are connected to the tree of life. During the Church Age, they have given believers access to the tree of life by a new birth. In addition, these creatures came as the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament era to combat the spirit of the anti-Christ in the church. The book of Isaiah 59:19 records that God raises a standard against the enemy.
In the period from the apostles, through Irenaeus to Martin of Tours, the church received a lion anointing to stand against false Christians and heathens. The boldness they had against false teachings attests to this. The church then entered another period of intense persecution for about 900 years, from the time of St Columba until about the time of Martin Luther. Millions died for their faith. God’s Spirit assumed the ox attribute in anointing the believers. This ox anointing from the throne strengthened them to die without recanting their faith. They died victorious.
Martin Luther emerged from this era of persecution as the first major reformer. He started restoring some of the original Bible truths that were lost in the church ages. In this work, he had contemporaries who helped him to restore the truth of justification by faith. In the 1700s, John Wesley added sanctification to justification, which restored more truth. The Pentecostals, who started out in 1906 at Azusa Street, restored the spiritual gifts on top of the other reformation doctrines. This period of the church needed the Spirit of God to come as the face of a man to give the reformers wisdom. It was the most scholarly Christian age. However, the restoration was incomplete with it.
The final move of God was going to be a prophetic dispensation under the anointing of an eagle. In Malachi 4:5, God promised the Spirit of Elijah for full restoration to the original apostolic essence. The true believer today is under the eagle anointing which leads to consummation and the rapture.
Old Testament Arrangement
Back in the Old Testament (Numbers 2) where God dealt with national Israel, the four living creatures camped together with the tribes of Israel. On every side, one of the living creatures would be the standard for three tribes. The standard of the East was a lion, under which Judah led Issachar and Zebulun. On the South, the standard was man’s face where Reuben led Simeon and Gad. Ephraim led Manasseh and Benjamin as they camped under the ox in the West. Finally, Dan led Asher and Naphtali on the North under the eagle standard. This arrangement foreshadowed both the New Testament and the New Jerusalem
The study of the four gospels in tandem with the four beasts is most interesting. Every Christian should take time to engage in this study, to get wonderful insight into the working of God. It is important to note that at every stage of the New Testament church, one of the four living creatures has been present to anoint the Saints, give them rebirth, teach, and protect them. It is important for every Christian to value the study of these four supernatural beings in order to comprehend God’s program for their age, and access the tree of life: Christ.