Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.







Four -- Spirit


There is a correlation in the scriptures between the number four and the work of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, there are four Hebrew and Greek words that are translated into the English word Spirit. Similarly, there are four Hebrew and Greek words that are translated into the English word spiritual. There are numerous groupings of fours in the scriptures that correlate with the work of the Holy Spirit. While our chief endeavor in these writings is to study the working of the Holy Spirit, we will be trying to accomplish this by studying the numerous groupings in scriptures of four things. Some of the groupings of four we will be looking at are:


River Parted into Four Heads   The Four Wheels in Ezekiel
The Four Living Creatures (Four Cherubims)   Four Faces of the Four Wheels
Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures   The Four Horses in Revelation
Four Chariots in Zechariah   The Four Beasts
Four Quarters, Four Winds, Four Directions  

Four Square

Four Carpenters   Gifts of the Gospel Ministry
Four Sore Judgments   Spirit

Four (Part I)  River Parted into Four Heads

In our previous essay we noted the scriptural correlation between the bible number four and the biblical subject of the work of the Holy Spirit.

(Four - Spirit)

In Gen. 2:10-14 we read, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”

Normally when we think of a river we think of streams or smaller rivers flowing into the larger river. The river mentioned above, however, parts and forms four other rivers. Ps. 46:4 speaks of such a river, “there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” This river had streams coming out of it that caused the city of God (church) to rejoice.

The word, Eden, means “delight.” The Lord delights to save his people from their sins. The first head of the parted river is “Pison.” The word, “Pison,” means “freely flowing.” God’s grace is free and flows down from God to his elect people. This river compassed the “whole land of Havilah.” Havilah means “circle.” In the scriptures a circle is a symbol of a covenant. In the covenant of redemption set forth in Rom. 8:29, 30, those that God foreknew, he predestinated; and those he predestinated, he called; and those he called, he justified; and those he justified, he glorified. Thus all He chose before the foundation of the world are completely encompassed by the grace of God freely flowing from God and imparted unto us by the Holy Spirit.

The name of the second river is “Gihon” which means “stream.” This river completely encompassed the land of “Ethiopia.” The word, Ethiopia, means “black.” Black is the bible color associated with sin. The atoning blood of Jesus is as a stream atoning for all the sins of all his elect people: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, thru sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:2).

The name of the third river was “Hiddekel” which means “rapid.” This river flowed to the “east” of Assyria. East is the bible direction of sin. Also “Assyria” means “plain.” In Eph. 2:1 we read, “you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The Holy Spirit as a (rapid) river reaches down and quickens us (gives us spiritual life) when we were dead in trespasses and sins (absent of spiritual life). This is the marvelous work of the Holy Spirit causing us to be born again.

The name of the fourth river is Euphrates, meaning “bursting” or “sweet.” The gospel or good news comes to those whom God elected and the Holy Spirit quickened and is indeed bursting or sweet news to the child of God who has come to realize his own condemnation and felt the depravity of his heart. This sweet news refreshes his soul and causes him to have hope of eternal life thru the redeeming blood of Jesus.

Surely these four streams of God’s grace, redemption, new birth, and the gospel flow out from God’s delight to save his people from their sins and make glad the city of God (his church) which is the holy place of his tabernacles.

Four (Part II)  The Four Living Creatures

The prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 wrote of four living creatures who were also called four cherubims. In our previous study we looked at the four beasts in Revelation chapter 4. While there are similarities between the four beasts and the four living creatures, there are also major differences. For instance, the four beasts each had a different face, whereas the four living creatures each had four faces. In our last article we noted the parallels between the four beasts and the four gospels. Similarly the four living creatures parallel the gospel ministry. As we look at the word description of the four living creatures we will note the parallels with what the scriptures tell us of the gospel ministry.

First, there were four living creatures. The word creature means that which is created. Only God can create anything. In natural creation God created the heavens and the earth and all things therein. God created Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he become a living soul. In addition, God created the spiritual inner man of the elect. We do not create ourselves. God alone is the creator. There would be no true gospel ministry today except God established it. God calls men to be preachers, he established the offices, he establishes their service and their qualifications. He directs their labors. Thus it can be easily seen that the true ministry of God has their ministry “created” of God and therefore they are living creatures of God.

Next in their appearance they had the “likeness of a man.” In Phil. 2:7 Jesus is said to be “made in the likeness of men.” Since Jesus Christ was a man as well as God the statement that he was “made in the likeness of men” serves to show that he was a man. Thus the living creatures are men, having all the attributes and characteristics, frailties, temptations, and problems of men. Being a gospel minister does not make one any more or less a man.

Furthermore, their feet were straight feet. The feet of a man are for walking. We are to walk thru the straight gate and the narrow path. The gospel ministry is to set an example for others to follow. Thus the gospel ministry are to walk straight forward in paths of uprightness and holiness. Also the “sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot.”

The sole of a calf’s foot is hard enough to withstand the rocks and thorns, but soft enough to have feeling. The gospel minsters in their walk must have enough hardness to withstand the trials, troubles, slanders, and persecutions that come their way and at the same time not become cynical, but have a feeling for the conditions of those they serve. Furthermore, their feet “sparkled like the color of burnished brass.” Brass is often associated with suffering and affliction in the scriptures. Gospel ministers have many trials and afflictions in life, but this is not to derail them, but to burnish their faith so that it sparkles or shines forth as an example of how to walk in the midst of trials and afflictions.

“And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides.” A man’s hands are for working. A gospel minister must work to provide for his family as Paul taught the elders by action and by precept in Acts 20:34, 35, “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Besides providing for ones own, the gospel ministers have a gospel work given them of God whereby they are to feed the lambs and sheep, be overseers over the flock, perfect or mature the saints, encourage the work of each member, edify the church, preach the gospel, etc. There is no room for laziness in the ministry of the gospel.

They each one “had four wings.” Now a gospel minister cannot fly except he is lifted up spiritually by the Holy Spirit. John was told to “come up hither” and so the gospel minister is sometimes lifted up in meditations of the glorious truths and wonders of an Almighty God. Furthermore, the wings of the living creatures “were joined one to another.” Oh how it should be in the mind of every true God called minister that we share a common calling and a common purpose and how we should strive to be of one mind working together for the furtherance of the gospel kingdom. “They turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.” Unfortunately, in our day there are those who started out on the right tract, but have become sidetracked by their own ambitions and have turned from the pathway of true doctrine and practice. We are to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and since the scriptures are a thorough furnisher, there is no need to try to change or improve the church. Our pathway has been laid out for us in the scriptures and it is a straight pathway. “And two covered their body.” The labor or work of the gospel ministers is not for their glory, but for the glory of God. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.” “Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This gift of the gospel ministry is not for man’s praise, but for God’s glory.

“And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went.” It is not up to the church to appoint the labors of gospel ministers or to send them to their labor. The Holy Spirit directs the labor of the gospel minister, giving him his messages and empowering him to preach in demonstration of Spirit and of power. Furthermore, it is not up to the preacher to decide his own course but to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

“As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire.” Jeremiah once said in Jere. 20:9, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” A preacher filled with the Spirit and not preaching will become weary with forbearing and like fire shut up will seek to vent. I don’t understand how a God called preacher could not become emotional about preaching the gospel. An unemotional preacher calls in question his very calling.

“And like the appearance of lamps.” A lamp gives light. Ps. 109:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” When the gospel minister preaches the word he is like a lamp giving light unto the ones he preaches to. Often we receive direction for our lives and instruction and understanding thru the preached word.

Four (Part III)  The Four Wheels in Ezekiel

God has so arranged the scriptures that there are numerous associations that help guide us in our studies of His word. There are associations between bible numbers and specific bible subjects. There are associations between bible colors and specific bible subjects. There are associations between bible metals and specific bible subjects. Also there are associations between bible geometric shapes and specific bible subjects. In our previous studies we have shown the association between the bible number four and the bible subject of the work of the Holy Spirit. Last issue in the book of Ezekiel we examined the four faces of the living creatures (who are a type of the gospel ministry) and the working of the Holy Spirit in the gospel ministry. In this issue we will examine the association between the four wheels in Ezekiel and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church.

In the scriptures things that are round or circular are often associated with covenants. Before I retired from my secular job, my job required me to make numerous airplane flights every year. I probably averaged about twenty five round trips a year over about 20 years. I would guess I made approximately a thousand flights. Occasionally the planes would fly over the top of thunderstorms. When we did we could see the rainbows in the clouds while we were above the clouds. Above the clouds, the geometric shape of the rainbow is circular. Below the clouds, of course the geometric shape is semi-circular. In Genesis chapter nine God made a covenant with every living creature that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood and he set the bow in the cloud as a token of the covenant that when he looked upon the bow he would remember the everlasting covenant. When God looks upon the bow from above he sees a circle which is a sign of his everlasting covenant with all living creatures.

In Genesis chapter 17 God made a covenant with Abraham and his seed. As a token of the covenant every man child of his seed was to be circumcised when he was eight days old. The word, “circumcised,” literally means circular cutting (circum=circular; cision=cutting).

In Exodus, the tabernacle, the furniture of the tabernacle, and the high priests garments testify many things to us in types and shadows of both God’s covenant of redemption and covenant of worship. In the pattern God gave, rings were used to couple or link together curtains, the furniture and staves to carry them, the various parts of the High Priestly garments. Similarly, Gods covenant of redemption is linked together such that his election, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification embrace all of the elect. The religious world stumbles when they try to unlink these parts, but God’s church rejoices to leave them linked together.

In II Chron. Chapter 4 we read of a circular molten sea connected with the temple that was founded upon twelve oxen. Similarly in Eph. 2:19-22 we read, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Thus the church is built on the covenant work of God and is founded upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone

In Ezekiel chapters one and ten the church is described as a wheel within a wheel. The Lord’s people who worship him in Spirit and in truth are embraced by two great covenants. The first is the covenant of redemption as stated for us in Rom. 8:29, 30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” According to Rev. 7:9 this covenant embraces “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues...” The second covenant is the covenant of worship as stated in John 4:23, 24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Also in Heb. 8:10-12 we read, “For this is the covenant that I will make with house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” This covenant of worship embraces only those who worship him in spirit and in truth to which the Lord said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Thus the wheel within a wheel would embrace only that portion of God’s people who worship him in the new covenant church.

Ezekiel chapters one and ten show a very strong relationship between the living creatures and the wheels. Similarly there is a very strong relationship between the gospel ministry and the church. There were four living creatures and four wheels. Each living creature had a wheel beside him. Please note the relative positions of the living creatures and the wheels. The wheel was located not under or over the living creature, but beside the living creature. This indicated they were partners in work and worship. Similarly the gospel ministry is not over the church and has no business “lording it over God’s heritage, but are to be “examples to the flock.” Also the work of the gospel ministry is not separate and apart from the church, but is a part of the church.

Next, the four wheels had one likeness (Eze. 1:16). Some people look at the great multitude of denominational religions and think that they are all part of the Lord’s church. If that were so then there would be thousands of likenesses, not one likeness. Song 6:8, 9 reads, “There are threescore queens and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one: she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.” The Lord’s churches (wheels) have but one likeness and that is the likeness given her in the new testament and they are not to deviate from it! The way to know if a group is a true new testament church is to compare them to the scriptures. There are no Sunday schools; preacher schools or preacher seminars; salaried ministers; tithing; raising money for foreign mission work; church auxiliaries; church sponsored schools, hospitals, day care, or nursing homes; youth camps; or organizations above or apart from the local church in the new testament church.

Eze. 1:19-21 reads, “And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.” The same spirit that was in the living creatures was also in the wheels. In most of the religious world man is exalted. The preacher’s work is exalted and man’s response to their teaching is exalted. The laborers and their labor in all their auxiliaries are exalted. In the Lord’s church there is no room for man to be exalted. The preacher is called by the Holy Spirit. He learns thru the leadership o the Spirit. He is given messages by the Holy Spirit. His field of labor is directed by the Holy Spirit. He preaches in power and demonstration of the Spirit. Likewise the members of the church have all been born of the Spirit and are thus enabled to receive spiritual things. They are given listening ears to hear the gospel and the spirit within gives them hearts to praise God. The Spirit gives them both the desire and the ability to worship and to serve God (Phil. 2:13). Therefore it is no wonder that when the gospel minister is raised up to praise the Lord and his work, they also are raised up to praise Him. Likewise when the gospel minister stands to defend and confirm the gospel, then the members of the church do also. Since the work of the gospel ministers and of the churches is under the leadership of the Spirit, then all the praise belongs unto God.

“The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of beryl.” The color of the beryl stone is green. “Green” is associated with “life” in the scriptures. The church is compared to the “body” of Christ in Eph. 4:15, 16 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” The church is more than just a bunch of individuals gathering to hear the gospel and then going home and going their own way until the next meeting time. Rather the church is a functional organism that grows in grace, knowledge, service; helps one another; prays for one another; loves one another; considers one another as brothers and sisters; admonishes one another; encourages one another; mourns one with another; rejoices one with another; labors together for the good of the cause; fellowships one with another. Now these things happen because of the indwelling of the Spirit. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 12:4-7, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administration, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the administration of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”

“When they went, they went upon their four sides.” One of the biggest enemies of the church and God’s people is pride. Some people thru pride are controllers. They want to control the actions of others and to have the attention and/or the lead on just about everything. They have a big I mentality. God’s church is not to be so. All the members have gifts and works to do in the church (thus all four sides). The Spirit divided spiritual gifts to every man severally as he will. Also “God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him.” All the members of the body have a function and a work to do and they all have gifts that God has given them.

“And they turned not when they went.” Just as the gospel ministry went forth under the leadership of the Spirit, so also does the church go forth under the leadership of the Spirit. When we are following the Spirit we shouldn’t ever turn back or turn away.

“As for their rings, they were so high, they were dreadful.” Rings are used in the scriptures to connect things together. We are connected to God and the Lord’s people by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave us spiritual life and enabled us to understand spiritual things. The fruits of the Spirit connect us to God’s love and to the love of God’s people. Thru the fruit of the Spirit we rejoice in a Savior’s love and rejoice in fellowship with the saints of God. Thru the Spirit we have peace with God and rejoice in the gospel of peace and have peace one with another.

“And their rings were full of eyes round about them four.” As the work of the Holy Spirit connects us to God and to the Lord’s people, He also gives us insight unto godly living, repentance, true worship of God, and the proper order and government of the Lord’s church.

River Parted into Four Heads   The Four Wheels in Ezekiel
The Four Living Creatures (Four Cherubims)   Four Faces of the Four Wheels
Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures   The Four Horses in Revelation
Four Chariots in Zechariah   The Four Beasts
Four Quarters, Four Winds, Four Directions  

Four Square

Four Carpenters   Gifts of the Gospel Ministry
Four Sore Judgments   Spirit