Four (Part IV)
Four Faces of the Four Living
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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