The Four Living Creatures

(Ezekiel 1:5-21; Revelation 4:6-8; 14:4)

The first four seals in Revelation 6 were announced by four living creatures.
These four living creatures were first described by Ezekiel. He said, “Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went.”1Ezek 1:20 The four living creatures are the saints. John said they “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”2Rev 14:4 Ezekiel described them as “full of eyes all around.”3Ezek 1:18 They are full of truth. Zechariah called them the “four craftsmen” who terrified the four horns that scattered Judah, the four beasts of Daniel.4Zech 1:20-21

The time periods of the Book of Revelation help us understand the meaning of the four living creatures.

The first living creature was a lion. Jesus is called the Lion of Judah in Revelation 5.5Rev 5:5 He represents the apostolic saints.

Daniel said the kingdom of heaven would be corrupted for “a time, times, and half a time,” the period of the ox, the second living creature. An ox in the Old Testament was an animal for sacrifices. It represents the saints, who were killed by the beast.

The third living creature was a man. He appears after “a time, times, and half a time.” King Nebuchadnezzar remained as a beast until seven times passed over him. Then he was given the heart of a man.6Dan 4:32; 7:4

The fourth living creature is an eagle. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says the eagles will be gathered when He returns.7Matt 24:28 cf Isa 34:15 The eagles are the end-time saints who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They are described as flying in “midheaven” in Revelation 8:13 and 19:17. Isaiah said those who wait on the Lord “will soar on wings as eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”