End Time Study–Pt.11

Having seen the twenty-four elders around the throne of God, John now notices that there are seven Spirits also around the throne as well. The number seven, meaning complete or finished, shows us that the fulness of the Holy Spirit is present with God. John sees the vastness of heaven as a sea of glass. He then gazes upon four living creatures who appear to be “full of eyes.” These represent the universal watchfulness from God’s throne, that these eyes see towards God and towards His creation. They are ever seeing. Nothing can be hidden from them. Thus, God sees all and knows all. These seven creatures symbolize the four divisions of the tribes of Israel around the earthly tabernacle.
The “lion” represents Judah which occuppied the land along the east side of the tabernacle along with Issachar and Zebulun. The lion represents government administration. It is God who sets kings and governmental leaders. The lion also is the king of the beast. This signifies God’s dominion and authority. The lion shows that He who sits on the throne is the ruler of all and that His dominion is absolute and complete.
The “calf”, i.e. ox, bullock or heifer, was the emblem of Ephraim who occupied the land west of the tabernacle along with Manasseh and Benjamin. It represents firmness, endurance and strength, meaning He who sits upon the throne is firm, strong, and has stability.
The third creature was like the face of a man. This was the standard of Reuben who shared the land to the south of the tabernacle with the tribes of Simeon and Gad. “Face of man” denotes intelligence which is what distinguishes man from all other creations. He who sits upon the throne conducts His government with intelligence and wisdom.
The “flying eagle” is the emblem of Dan to the north of the tabernacle along with Asher and Naphtali. The eagle is known for its speed, power and ability to soar to great elevations. This shows that He who sits on the throne carries out His government and judgements quickly. His will is executed swiftly. He rules with power and is high and lifted up. The eagle also shows God’s protection of His own. “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself.” (Ex.19:4). “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.”(Ps.17:8). “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him.”(Deut.32:11,12).
Each of these creatures have six wings. Isaiah in his writings (Is.6:2) saw the seraphim which had six wings. Two wings covered their face denoting profound reverence for God. Two wings covered their feet, their lower parts, which denoted great modesty. And two wings with which to fly showing their quickness in executing the command of God.
These creatures cry out continually, “Holy, holy, holy—,” meaning separate from all others, completely pure. The first thing John encounters in heaven is the holiness of God which is expected of all who call themselves by His name. “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”(Lev.11:44).Even the twenty-four elders recognize God’s supremeness as they cast their crowns at His feet as though saying, “Our crowns are meaningless, for you alone reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” He is worthy of all our praise and worship. The highest praise that we can offer Him is living lives that represent His holiness, righteousness and purity to a world in rebellion, sin and darkness.
John gets his first glimpse of heaven and beholds the total holiness of God and His throne. This sets the stage for John to receive the complete Revelation. He had to fully understand God’s omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience before he could comprehend what he was about to receive, the conclusion of the history of man.

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