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“Their faces had this appearance: Each of the four had a man’s face with a lion’s face on the right, a bull’s face on the left, and each of the four had an eagle’s face”

(Ezekiel 1:10)





The symbolism of creatures in the Bible

The context of this vision is the description of the presence of God, surrounded by the four spiritual creatures with four different faces. To understand precisely the symbolism of the four faces, we must know their role. According to a parallel view in Isaiah chapter 6: 1-4, where the prophet is describing the presence of Jehovah, where there are four seraphs (seraphim) who proclaim the holiness of Jehovah: "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The whole earth is filled with his glory" (Isaiah 6: 3). In Revelation chapter 4: 8, these four creatures proclaim the holiness of God: "And continuously, day and night, they say: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming"" (Revelation 4: 8). Nevertheless, unlike the vision of Ezekiel, in Revelation the four spiritual each have a different face: "The first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature was like a young bull, and the third living creature had a face like a man’s, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle" (Revelation 4: 7).

The descriptions are anthropomorphic, that is to say that one describes these spiritual creatures with human either animal characteristics. For example, in Revelation (4:7,8), in Isaiah (6:2), it is written that they have 6 wings, to make us understand that they have the ability to move at an extremely fast speed ( Psalms 104:3 "the wings of the wind"). It is interesting to note that in Ezekiel (1: 6) these same spiritual creatures are described with only two pairs of wings, which demonstrates that this is an anthropomorphic description of the ability to move extremely quickly (either by four wings or six wings). It is written that they are full of eyes to explain that their constant visual acuity is 360 degrees, that is to say there is no position where they could not see.

What do symbolically represent the four different faces? The central point of understanding is in what they constantly say: "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming" (Revelation 4:8, Isaiah 6: 3). The four faces represent four ways that Jehovah uses to maintain the holiness in all his creation, visible and invisible. They represent the four ways in which Jehovah exercises his sovereignty.

The man's face

The man's face (Ezekiel 1: 5; Revelation 4: 7): It represents the most important characteristic of God because man has been created in the spiritual image of God (Genesis 1: 26-28). This is why, unlike other faces, man is not an animal because he has a spirituality, a relationship with God. As the apostle Paul wrote, under inspiration, the man without this spirituality, is described as animal-man, while the man who has a spiritual relationship with God, is a spiritual man, devoid of any animality (1 Corinthians 2: 14-16 "the physical man" = animal man without spirituality the opposite of "the spiritual man"). The face of man represents that God is love: "God is love" (1 John 4: 8,16).

 The lion's face

The lion's face (Ezekiel 1: 10; Revelation 4: 7): The lion, with its abundant crown-shaped fur around his face, symbolizes in the Bible, the kingship as the sovereignty of Jehovah. The tribe of Judah, from which the representative of Jehovah's royal sovereignty would come, his son Jesus Christ, was called lion cub or lion: "Judah is a lion cub. From the prey, my son, you will certainly go up. He has crouched down and stretched himself out like a lion, and like a lion, who dares rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiʹloh comes, and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong" (Genesis 49: 9,10). King Solomon understood the symbolism of the lion representing Jehovah's kingship (2 Chronicles 9: 17-19 "two lions were standing beside the armrests" (of the throne), "And there were 12 lions standing on the six steps" (giving access to the royal throne)).


The bull's face

The bull's face: it corresponds to the face of a cherub. In Ezekiel (1:10), these four creatures with four faces, are designated by that of a man, a lion, a bull and an eagle. While in Ezekiel 10:14, the face of the bull is designated by that of a cherub. What is the function of a cherub? The first mention of the cherubim is in Genesis (Bible): "So he drove the man out, and he posted at the east of the garden of Eʹden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning continuously to guard the way to the tree of life' (Genesis 3:24). We understand that cherubim are powerful guardians with a symbolic sword. If the lion is the representation of Jehovah's sovereignty by the glory and authority of kingship, the bull is an expression of Jehovah's sovereignty by his almighty. Jehovah God, if necessary, imposes his sovereignty by war, the sword of the cherub, or the terrible power the symbolic horns of the bull. The horns are the symbols of the powerful sovereignty of Jehovah. The facts that two cherubim were on the ark of the covenant show that the cherubim are the guardians of Jehovah's holiness, through battle or war (if any) (Exodus 25: 17-22). The fact that the Jehovah's altar, from which the animals were sacrificed, had four horns, one for each angle, demonstrates that the bull's horns also symbolize the maintenance of the holiness of Jehovah's creatures by force or war (where applicable) (Leviticus 4: 7,18). It is therefore logical to think that the bull, in the context of sacrifices, whether atonement sacrifice or burnt offerings, is the representation of the righteous and pure human being (Exodus 29:11).

The eagle's face

The eagle's face: this animal symbolizes visual acuity: "From there it searches for food; Its eyes look far into the distance" (Job 39: 29). The ability to move and live in inaccessible places (or difficult to access) for man: "Or is it at your order that an eagle flies upward And builds its nest high up, Spending the night on a cliff, Dwelling in its stronghold on a rocky crag?" (Job 39: 27-28) These two exceptional abilities of the four spiritual creatures of God symbolized by the eagle's face, are simply described by their pairs of wings and the fact that they are covered with eyes: "As for the four living creatures, each one of them had six wings; they were full of eyes all around and underneath" (Revelation 4: 8). Also these two exceptional abilities of visual acuity and movement speed, are symbolically described in the Jehovah's celestial chariot, in Ezekiel's vision: This celestial chariot has "wheels", one of them on the earth. These wheels have an extremely fast movement capacity and on all angles with the ability to lift up from the earth. These wheels have eyes, which represent an extraordinary visual acuity:

“As I was watching the living creatures, I saw one wheel on the earth beside each of the living creatures with four faces. The wheels and their structure appeared to glow like chrysʹo·lite, and the four of them looked alike. Their appearance and structure looked as though a wheel were within a wheel. When they moved, they could go in any of the four directions without turning as they went. Their rims were so high that they inspired awe, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. Whenever the living creatures moved, the wheels would move along with them, and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels would also be lifted up. They would go where the spirit inclined them to go, wherever the spirit went. The wheels would be lifted up together with them, for the spirit operating on the living creatures was also in the wheels. When they moved, these would move; and when they stood still, these would stand still; and when they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels would be lifted up together with them, for the spirit operating on the living creatures was also in the wheels” (Ezekiel 1:15-21).

These four-faced spiritual creatures represent the expression of Jehovah's holy sovereignty, based on four fundamental qualities: love (the man's face), royal authority (the lion's face), the almighty sovereignty (the bull's face) and the wisdom, insight and action, anywhere and anytime (the eagle's face (the celestial chariot seen by the prophet Ezekiel)). However, the greatest of these qualities is love: "God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him" (1 John 4:8, 16).



EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 2: The future administration of the Earthly Resurrection

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 3: They righteous will not be judged

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 4: The Judgment of the unrighteous

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 5: The Heavenly Resurrection

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 6: The Earthly Resurrection

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 7: The welcome of the earthly resurrected ones

EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE PART 8: The “lot” of the earthly resurrected ones