The Way It Happened

Revelation 4:6-7, The Throne of God

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 

//In John’s vision while on the isle of Patmos, he visits heaven and spies the throne of God. Revelation mentions this throne 46 times! Jewish literature, for perhaps 300 years before Revelation, showed a great fascination with the throne of God. We don’t see this trend so much in canonical scriptures, but we do in other popular writings of that day, such as material from the Dead Sea scrolls. This fascination may have originated with the book of 1 Enoch, much of which was written in the third century B.C. or even earlier.

Carved animals of various forms customarily supported the thrones of monarchs in that day. John animates these carvings using imagery already familiar to his readers. His beasts blend together Isaiah’s seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) and Ezekiel’s cherubim (Ezekiel 1:5-14). He divides these two images into four creatures–matching the four faces of the cherubim–the lion, the ox, the eagle, and the man. 

These symbols, of course, are seen in the four corners of the zodiac. Abraham’s contemporaries visualized the constellation Scorpio as an eagle, according to the Chaldean system then in vogue. Thus, God rules over the entire heavens.

Revelation falls back on astronomy a surprising number of times, but if you aren’t paying attention, they go unnoticed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>