Ezekiel Chapter One

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
How do I understand what the four the beings are that Ezekiel saw in chapter one? The four living creatures, four faces, four wings on each?


Is chapter 1 verse 10 in Ezekiel the same as the four camps flags in revelation, just wondering.
In both Ezekiel 1:10 and Rev. 4:7 we see the throne of God with four living creatures surrounding it. These creatures have four different faces, that of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle.
According to tradition, these faces were represented on the flags of the four camps of Israel during their time in the wilderness.

Commentary of Revelation 4 has additional info about these creatures:

.....Ezekiel’s vision of God’s Throne showed each cherub with four faces, Isaiah doesn’t describe their faces at all and John gives them each only one, but whether on one or all four, the faces are the same. A lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. They can be likened to the ensigns of the four camps of Israel.

The Four Camps​

When the Jews camped in the wilderness after leaving Egypt, they were instructed to set up in 4 sub-camps, one for each point of the compass with the tabernacle in the center. The first was called the Camp of Judah and included Issachar and Zebulon. Members of those 3 tribes would look for the ensign of Judah, a flag with a large lion embroidered on it, to locate their campground. It was always due east of the tabernacle. The second camp was called Ephraim and included Manasseh and Benjamin and was positioned opposite to the west. Ephraim’s flag depicted the figure of an ox. The third camp was headed by Reuben and included Simeon and Gad. Reuben’s flag showed the face of a man. They were located south of the tabernacle. The fourth camp was that of Dan with Asher and Naphtali included and was located on the North. Dan’s flag pictured a large eagle.

Looking down from above God would see the camp of Israel with the tabernacle in the Center and the four sub-camps around it. The large flag waving in the East pictured the Lion, and opposite it was the Ox. To the south was the face of a Man and opposite it was the Eagle. Was God modeling His throne in the Camp of Israel with the four flags representing the four faces of the cherubim?

The Four Gospels​

Some also see the four gospels symbolized in the four faces, the Lion for Matthew, the Ox, being a beast of service, for Mark, the Man for Luke and the Eagle, a symbol of royalty, for John.

Matthew was written to the Jews. His purpose was to demonstrate who Jesus was; presenting overwhelming evidence that Jesus was Israel’s long awaited Messiah: The Lion of Judah. The genealogy in Matthew begins with Abraham and runs through King David (Matt 1:1-17). The most frequently used phrase in Matthew’s Gospel is “it was fulfilled.” There are more references to events foretold in Old Testament prophecy and fulfilled in the Life of Jesus in Matthew than in any other gospel account. Partial copies discovered in the caves at Qumran suggest that Matthew may have originally been written in Hebrew. The first miracle, the cleansing of a leper, was highly symbolic for Israel. Leprosy was viewed as a punishment for sin, and cleansing a leper signified taking away the sin of the nation. Matthew’s gospel ends with the resurrection signifying God’s promise that David’s Kingdom would last forever.

Mark’s gospel is actually Peter’s account and was written to the Romans. His purpose was to portray Jesus as the obedient servant of God. Since no one cares about the heritage of a servant there is no genealogy in Mark. The most frequently used phrase in Mark’s Gospel is “straight away” sometimes translated immediately, so Mark is called the snapshot gospel, giving us picture after picture of Jesus in action. The first miracle is the casting out of a demon, demonstrating that the God whom Jesus served was superior to all other gods, a matter of great importance in Rome’s polytheistic society. Mark’s gospel ends with the ascension, signifying that the servant’s job was finished and He was returning home.

Luke’s account portrays Jesus as the Son of Man, a title Jesus often used of Himself, and was written to the Greeks. It presents the human side of Jesus and emphasizes his teaching. Greeks were famous for their storytelling form of oratory, so the most frequent phrase in Luke is “and it came to pass.” Most movies of the life of Jesus rely primarily on Luke’s gospel because of its flowing narrative form. Luke’s genealogy traces Jesus all the way back to Adam, the first man (Luke 3:21-38). Since the Greeks, like the Romans, were a polytheistic society, Luke used the casting out of a demon as his first miracle, and ended his gospel with the promise of the Holy Spirit, uniting man with God.

John wrote to the church describing how Jesus felt about peoples’ reaction to His ministry. His gospel is unique, based upon seven miracles, seven “I Am” statements and seven discourses. John pays little attention to chronology, sometimes placing events out of order (like the Temple cleansing in Chapter 2) for their effect in presenting Jesus as the Son of God. John’s gospel covers only about 21 days out of the Lord’s 3 ½ year ministry. Ten chapters are devoted to one week, and 1/3 of all the verses in John describe one day. His genealogy begins before time and identifies Jesus as the Eternal One Who was with God and Who was God (John 1:1-2). The most frequently used phrase in John is “Verily, verily,” or truly, truly. His first miracle was changing water into wine, an act of enormous symbolism by which He “revealed His Glory and His disciples put their faith in Him” (John 2:11). John’s Gospel ends with the promise of the 2nd Coming......

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Thank you for the detailed reply Everlasting Life. I knew the beings had to be symbolic. Your explanation of the four camps in the desert clarifies things for me and makes sense. You have been very helpful to me in my study of the book of Ezekiel.
Thanks again,

Your welcome and praise God this helps. :)

Jack Kelly is such a great resource on his grace thru faith site!


Well-Known Member
So in the thought that the four beasts in heaven are or are not symbolic here's my question..........are they symbolic and then further symbols are in the encampment/flags and gospels, etc..............or are they absolutely created and seen in heaven just the way they are described and not symbolic but the things on earth for the encampment/flags and gospels are in a manner of speaking symbolic of them?

I hope I didn't just confuse everyone that reads this? My thought is that they are literal beings in heaven around the Godhead and then symbolisms occur in the gospels and with the way Israel camps with each flag for each face as God looks down from above and sees on earth with Israel what He was seeing around the throne!