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







Four (Part IV) Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures

Ezek. 1:10, “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”

The descriptions of the living creatures in Ezek. Chapter 1 given in figurative language are typical of the gospel ministry. The number four is often associated with the work of the Holy Spirit in the gospel. The four faces of the living creatures answers to four necessary characteristics of the ministers of the gospel.

First, it must be remembered that God, the Holy Spirit, calls men to preach the gospel. They are men both before the call and after the call. As men they have the trials and temptations of men and go thru the problems and affairs of men just as other men do. Preachers of the gospel are not to be exalted or worshiped. Peter, when Cornelius met him and fell at his feet and worshiped him, took him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” Men are not to be worshiped nor are to receive worship. Jesus said in Matt. 23:8-10, “But be ye not called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called master: for one is your Master, even Christ.” Thus the gospel ministry is not to be called Rabbi, Father, or Master! Similarly, the scriptures say that “God’s name is holy and reverend.” Since God’s name is “reverend” it would be wrong to call men “Holy Father or Reverend.” Such exalted terms are to be reserved for God only who is worthy of such praise.

Also it should be noted that the gospel preachers, being men, are men called of God and their work should be respected as such. When he preaches the word and it convicts or reprimands us, we shouldn’t respond saying, “well he is just a man.” Yes, he is a man, but he is a man called of God to preach the word of God in power and demonstration of Spirit.

Next, the gospel ministry, as men, are to be examples of how men are to live. Pete, when addressing the elders in1 Peter chapter five said to the elders, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Paul said in Phil. 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Additionally in 2 Thes. 3:9 he wrote, “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” Thus the gospel ministers, as men, are to live their lives in such a way as to be good examples of godly living unto those that they serve. To this end Paul told the young minister, Timothy, in 1 Tim. 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” James taught a similar lesson in James 5:10, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”

The second face of the living creatures was that of a lion. The lion is one of the most bold of creatures. The gospel preacher must be bold. This boldness, however, is not to come from the fleshly nature. Some men have fleshly boldness based on their position in life or society or based on their education or natural strength or on the size of their financial statement or political position and popularity. Paul said of such things, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Parisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blamesless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ...” Thus Paul concluded, “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Since the gospel ministers as well as all of God’s people, are to have no confidence in the flesh, then where is their boldness to come from? Paul said in 1 Thes. 2:2, “But even after we had entreated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much contention.”

In addition, in Acts 4:13 we read, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men, they marveled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” To the end that the gospel might go forth the disciples prayed in Acts 4:29, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” Then in verse 31 we read, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Thus we conclude that the boldness of the gospel ministry comes from a walk with the Lord and the filling of the Holy Ghost, so that they may speak in power and demonstration of Spirit as Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The disciples spoke boldly in the face of much opposition, persecution, and ridicule. To speak the word of God is to speak with the authority that God gives and to boldly proclaim his word. There is no place in the gospel ministry for a timid or cowardly preacher. We are to proclaim the whole counsel of God and some times those to whom we preach will find that offensive. Nevertheless our preaching is to be to the honor and glory of God, not to the pleasing of men.

Next, they four had the face of an ox. An ox is a burden bearer. There is much work and many burdens that the gospel ministry are called on to bear. Paul wrote, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” Thus the gospel minister is a laborer in the word and doctrine. As Peter was admonished of the Lord, he is to feed the lambs and the sheep. Thus they are to “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Likewise, Peter admonished the elders to “feed the flock of God which is among you.” Of course that food that is to be fed to the flock is the word of God. Likewise, the elders are to be overseers over the flock as recorded in 1 Peter 5:2, “taking the oversight thereof,” and Acts 20:28, “over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers.” Also Acts 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warm everyone night and day with tears.” Similarly Paul told Timothy, “But watch thou in all things...”

Addition parts of the work of the gospel ministry are set forth in Eph. 4:12, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The gospel ministry is to labor to “perfect the saints.” The word, perfect, here means “maturing.” We are to labor for the maturing of the saints that they may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Next, we are to labor to teach and encourage the saints of God to labor in their individual ministry. Thirdly, we are to “edify” or “build up” the church or “body of Christ” in the worship and service of God.

An additional work of the gospel ministry is to comfort the Lord’s people. Is. 40:1, 2, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” 1 Cor. 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort.” The gospel ministry are to speak comfort to the hearts of God’s people concerning their sins. Also, they are to speak comfort concerning the loss of loved ones as set forth in I Thes. 4:18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

The gospel ministry are to labor to the timely salvation of God’s people, teaching them to “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Also they are to teach them to save them from their ignorance and from going about to establish their own righteousness (Rom. 10:1-4). Also, they preach to save the Lord’s people from a condemning conscience (Mk. 16:15, 16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The fourth face of the living creatures is the “face of an eagle.” The eagle flies high and sees far. Similarly, the gospel ministry thru the leadership of the Holy Spirit are blest to “come up hither” that is to be lifted up in Spirit to the understanding of God’s word. Thru the leadership of the Holy Spirit the gospel ministers are given insights in the understanding of the scriptures and are blest to be lifted up in giving praise, honor, and glory to the Almighty God. In so doing thru their preaching they also raise up the congregations they serve to give praise, honor, and glory to the God of glory for his grace, mercy, and love toward them. The gospel ministry are blest to see the covenant of redemption God made before the foundation of the world and the end results of that covenant that will be fulfilled when time shall be no more. Thus they are permitted to see far off (eternity passed; eternity future) and to be lifted up to preach and lift up the Lord’s people to praise God for his goodness.


Four Part (V)  Four Faces of the Four Wheels

In our previous essay we explored the correlation between the four wheels in Ezekiel and the Lord’s church. In keeping with our contention that the bible number four is correlated to the subject of the work of the Holy Spirit, we will now look at the four faces of the four wheels. Ezek. 10:14 reads, “And every one had four faces: the first face was a face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Similarities with the four faces of the four beasts in Revelation and the four faces of the four living creatures are readily obvious. However, one difference is also readily obvious, that is, the first face of the four wheels is the face of a cherub. The cherub is used in the scriptures as a symbol of witness. In the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple , in the most holy place, there were two cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings stretched forth and their faces inward. These cherubim were witnesses of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.

The Lord’s people in the church are witnesses. First they are witnesses of the Lord’s glory by the holy lives that they live. The Lord said in Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Letting our light shine is the way we live our lives. If we live our lives bearing the fruit of the Spirit then we show forth the work of God within us to his name’s praise, honor, and glory. Thus our lives are a witness to others. In Acts chapter nine we read of a disciple names Tabitha who was full of good works and alms deeds that she did in making coats and garments for the poor widows. This she did to the honor and glory of God.

Second, we are to do as the Gadarean out of whom the Lord cast a legion of unclean spirits. The Gadarean was instructed of the Lord to “go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” Often we want to tell others about various doctrinal subjects before they are ready to receive them and this can serve to drive them away from listening to us at all. However, we can tell our friends how great things the Lord has done for us and had compassion on us. This encourages our friends along the path of life and opens up a common ground of discussion.

Third, we read in 1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Too often, I fear, that we want to tell people before they ask us! When they come asking us what we believe and why we believe it, it is generally because the Lord has touched their heart and they are inquiring in the way of truth. A person in this state is open to hearing and receiving the truth. However, we must wait till they ask.

Next, we read of a couple of disciples named Aquila and Priscilla who having heard a man named Apollos, who knew only the baptism of John, took him aside and taught him the way of God more perfectly. This also is a witness of the Lord’s people in the church to be able to teach others the way of the Lord more perfectly.

In addition, we read in the letters where the older sisters were to teach the younger sisters, and the older brothers the younger brothers. Also we are to admonish one another; to reprove and rebuke one another; to encourage one another; to teach one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; the mothers are to guide the household; and the fathers are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The second face of the four wheels is the face of a man. In the church we know that we have similar trials, conflicts, afflictions, persecutions, joys, sorrows, etc. as is common to man and we walk the pathway of discipleship in the condition of knowing we are sinful man faced with all the frailties, temptations, and conflicts of man. The scriptures carry us further with the church having the face of man in that the church is compared to the body of man in the following verses: Matt. 5:29, 30; 1 Cor 10:16, 17; 1 Cor. Chapter 12; Rom. 12:4, 5; Eph. 1:23; 3:6; 4:4, 12, 16; t:23, 30: Col. 1:18; 2:19; 3:15. Many thoughts can be derived from the above scriptures comparing the church to the body of Christ. A few we summarize below:

1. The body derives its government from its head, so does the church receive her government from the Lord.

2. The body derives its nourishment from its head, so does the church receive her nourishment from the Lord’s provision.

3. The body has many members and each member has an important function, although often different from the other members, so each member of the church has an important function which may be different from the other members of the church.

4. The Lord places us in the body of the church as it pleases him and gives each of us our spiritual gifts as he will.

5. The body is designed to grow so the church is to grow spiritually.

6. The body has work to perform, so the church has spiritual work to perform.

7. The body grows at the joints by that which each joint supplies. Thus each member is important in the overall spiritual growth of the church.

8. When a member of the body has gangrene, it must be cut off in order to save the body. A member of the church can behave in such a way that he must be removed in order that the church as a whole be saved.

The third face of the four wheels was the face of a lion. The lion is frequently used as the symbol for a king or kingdom. According to scriptures God has made us “kings and priests unto God.” As kings we are to reign over our mortal body, our carnal desires, our heart, and our spirit. In doing this we live and reign with Christ, the “King of kings.” The lion is also characterized by his boldness. Since the church collectively and her individual members are faced with many opposing enemies here in the world, a spiritual boldness is required in order to fight the good fight of faith, and withstand the onslaught of the devil, flesh, and the world.

Natural boldness consisting of such things as our natural resources, physical prowess, mental capacities, political pull, or superior personalities is of no value in this warfare. The devil and his legions would simply overpower us if we employ such means. The boldness we need must be from the empowering of the Holy Spirit who abides in each of us. This enabling of the Holy Spirit caused David to triumph over Goliath and caused Gideon with 300 to destroy a vast multitude of several hundred thousand filing the hills and valleys. This same Spirit enabled seven thousand of Israel to defeat the Syrian army and the armies of 32 kings who were following the King of Syria. Whether the foes are of our own household, our own carnal flesh, or false religions, or ungodly actions of secular governments, we can rest in the assurance that greater is he that is in us than all of our enemies combined.

The fourth face of the four wheels was the face of an eagle. The eagle flies high, makes his nest on high, and sees far. The church certainly compares to the eagle. The kingdom of heaven is not of this world. It is high above this world as it is a spiritual kingdom. When God’s children press into the kingdom they are making their “nest on high.” Their home is in the heavenly places. Furthermore, when the gospel is preached in power and demonstration of Spirit, the members of the church are frequently lifted up to exercise their minds and hearts upon spiritual things and to give praise, honor, and glory to God for his unspeakable gifts. They are permitted thru the Spirit to fly high above the vain and transitory things of this life and to feast upon heavenly manna.

Next in the Lord’s church, the members are blessed to understand God’s eternal covenant of redemption which he made before the world began and to understand the final result of that covenant which will have them glorified in heaven’s glory world. Thus they are permitted to see by an eye of faith that which took place in an eternity past and to see the results in an eternity future. They can see afar off as the eagle.


Four (Part VI) The Four Horses in Revelation

As we continue our study of the association between the bible number four and the work of the Holy Spirit, we next consider the four horses in the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation.

6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.  2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

In the 5th chapter of Revelation we read of a book sealed with seven seals that only the Lamb could open. In the 6th chapter we see the Lamb as he opens the first four seals and we see four horses and a rider or riders on the four horses. In Zechariah chapter 6 we see a somewhat similar set of four horses and the meaning of the horses is given us in verse 5:

5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.

Therefore we can conclude that the four horses in Revelation as well as the four horses in Zechariah represent the “four spirits of the heavens.” Also we will note but not now prove that bible colors are also associated with specific bible subjects. The color white is associated with righteousness. The color red is associated with war. The color black is associated with sin. The “pale” horse in verse 8 we are told is associated with Death and Hell. Based on the above we are brought to understand that the four spirits that the four horses in Revelation represent are the spirits of righteousness (white), warfare (red), sin (black), and death and hell (pale).

While I am not an experienced horseman (I have spent less that 5 min. on the back of a horse in my lifetime), it seems to me that there are at least two very important things that you want to do when you ride a horse. You want to stay on the horse without falling off and you want to complete your task(s). Staying on your horse and completing your task would seem to make for a successful ride on a horse.

We will now look at possible riders of the horses. It is easy to see where Adam rode all four horses, however, he didn’t ride them successfully. Adam began by riding the horse of righteousness, for God made man upright in the beginning. Adam, in a sense, went forth conquering and to conquer as he was given dominion of the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and the beast of the field. He gave names to all the creatures that God had made. He was doing okay in riding this horse for a short time, until the serpent engaged him in warfare, first, indirectly (thru the woman) and then directly.

When Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he fell off the horse of righteousness. He went immediately to the black horse of sin. He, however, could not complete the task of the rider of this horse as he could not balance the scale of justice or keep from hurting the healing ointments. Thus Adam failed to stay on the horse of righteousness and he failed to perform the assigned tasks. Subsequently, none of Adam multiplied can successfully ride the horses as Rom. 3:10 tells us, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Since we all fell under the law of sin and death, we cannot, in our natural state, ride the horse of righteousness.

There remains only one who can and did ride all four horses successfully. That one is the Lord Jesus Christ. According to the scriptures, Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He was born of a virgin and thus was born without sin, being conceived of the Holy Ghost. He kept the law to a jot and a tittle. He fulfilled all that was written of him. He rode the white horse of righteousness successfully. He also rode the red horse of warfare as he was engaged in the greatest of all wars. He fought successfully against sin, Satan, death, hell, and the grave. He successfully withstood the assault of the devil and his angels in all the temptations and trails hurled at him. He did this by taking the great sword of God’s word and yielding it against all our enemies. He did all this while successfully continuing to ride the white horse of righteousness.

Next, he mounted the black horse of sin, not that he ever sinned (he never did), but the scriptures say that he was “made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” On the cross Jesus took our sins upon himself and became sin for us. He rode this black horse successfully as he maintained the balance of God’s justice (a measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny), satisfying God’s justice on our account. He also “hurt not the oil and the wine,” that is the healing ointments as he healed us from our sins thru his atoning sacrifice. As he mounted the black horse, he also mounted the pale horse and suffered the wrathful judgment of God to atone for our sins. God executed his judgment of our sins on our sin-bearer, Jesus Christ. Thankfully, our Saviour successfully rode all four horses on our behalf and has made us righteous thru his atoning sacrifice.


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