In an attempt to keep things interesting, today we are going to take a small detour and explore the meaning of the vision of Ezekiel in chapter 1. If you remember, EZ had an LSD-type encounter where he saw the four living creatures with faces like a man, an ox, an eagle, and a lion. So enjoy the lesson from Dr. Stephen Jones in his book, Creation's Jubilee ...
The covenant in Genesis 9:10 was made with these four specific categories of living creatures:
1. Noah and his sons,
2. The fowls,
3. The cattle,
4. The beasts of the earth.
These four categories of living creatures symbolically represent "all flesh." The king of the fowls is the eagle; the king of the cattle is the ox; the king of beasts is the lion; and man is the overall king on earth, given dominion in Genesis 1:26-28. These are the four living creatures around the throne of God in Revelation 4:6 and 7. These are also the four living creatures in the vision of Ezekiel 1:10. These are also the four beasts pictured on the banners of the four leading tribes of Israel.
In the encampment of Israel around the tabernacle of God in the wilderness, the four leading tribes carrying banners were located on each of the four sides around the tabernacle. In the SOUTH the tribe of Reuben carried the banner of the man. In the NORTH the tribe of Dan carried the banner of the eagle (carrying a serpent). In the EAST the tribe of Judah carried the banner of the lion. In the WEST the tribe of Ephraim carried the banner of the ox (this can be verified on bible-history.com ).
This is a lengthy study in itself and is outside the scope of this book. For further information on this subject, we suggest that the reader see Bullinger's notes for the second chapter of Numbers in The Companion Bible. It is sufficient for our purposes to see that the four beasts around the throne in Revelation 4 are the heavenly reality of what was pictured under Moses around the tabernacle.
The prophet Ezekiel had a vision in the heavens as he looked to the north (1:4). As the "whirlwind" moved south toward the prophet, he saw first the face of a man (1:5) on the south side of it. Then on the right side (east) he saw the face of a lion. On the left side (west) he saw the face of an ox. Finally, as the vision came close enough for the prophet to see the far north side, he saw the eagle. This is all stated in Ezekiel 1:10: As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man, all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.
The position of each creature matches the positions of each banner of the tribes of Israel in their encampment around the tabernacle in the wilderness. Ezekiel was seeing a vision of the throne of God, as he tells us in 1:26. John saw essentially the same kind of vision in Revelation 4.
But what does all this mean? Genesis 9 shows us that these living creatures represent and signify all flesh, or every living creature. In Revelation 4:9 their job description is to "give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne." The final destiny is to say AMEN to God in His plan to restore all of creation to Himself. Hence, we read in Revelation 5:11-14,
11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen."
God created this earth to manifest His glory in physical flesh. He gave man dominion over the earth-authority under God-in order to give man opportunity to say AMEN to all that God does. At present, we do not see all things put under His feet, as Hebrews 2:8 makes clear, and for this reason the four categories of living creatures do not yet say AMEN to the plan of God. Enmity yet exists. Men yet disagree with God, thinking they have a better way to govern the universe. But the day is coming when the four beasts will say AMEN, for the whole earth will be filled with His glory.
The plan of God, as covenanted in the days of Noah, will not be fulfilled until every living creature in heaven, in earth, under the earth, and in the sea can give glory to the Father and speak the words that John heard in Revelation 5:13 (above). When all can do so, then the four living creatures will shout joyfully with a resounding, "Amen." This is the true Jubilee trumpet that God is waiting to hear.
11:13 (NAS) All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. I am not sure what the verse about Enoch means in Greek—that he was "translated" or "transferred." Clearly this verse says that he died without receiving the promises, so I'm not sure.
11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. In light of God declaring, "Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated," this verse is interesting. Both were blessed by their father, "even regarding things to come." And now I see that I have accidentally gotten into tomorrow's lesson. Oops.
110:2-3 (NAS) The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Your enemies." Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. The scepter of Christ (some of us have been learning) will be passed along from Jesus to spiritual Israel in the coming age (the scepter of Judah). As the body of Christ, they will rule His enemies with Him. I believe "In holy array" means that spiritual Israel will put on linen (symbolically) which are the priestly garments that are allowed in the presence of God. Wool is worn by those outside the Temple in the OT, linen was worn by the priests as they entered the presence of God. This theme is carried through Scripture. Clear as mud?