Ezekiel 1: The Likeness Of The 4 Faces

Hey everyone, read this recently and just wanted to share it with you all. Hope it blesses you the same way it did me! Shalom.

Ezekiel 1:4-10

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. 5 And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, 6 but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like ezeburnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle.

We know what it means to be two-faced. But the creatures in the passage before us are four-faced beings, unlike anything we’ve seen on earth. This shouldn’t be surprising for Paul tells us God has prepared things that eyes have never seen in 1 Cor 2:9. We are unable to comprehend even the little tidbits we know of heaven. In this, we’re like unborn babies. You see, if it wasn’t for the contractions and the birthing process, a baby would just as soon stay inside his mom’s belly forever where its comfortable and safe. But once a baby is born, his eyes open to a whole new world of sights and sounds he had no idea even existed. That’s exactly whats gong to happen when we die. Death is simply a new birth.

Eight hundred years after Ezekiel described them, John saw the same living creatures (Revelation 4:5). What do these speak of? The rabbis said they are a representation of all God’s creation. The greatest creation, man, is represented by the face of a man. The greatest wild animal is represented by the face of a lion. The greatest domesticated creature is represented by an ox. The greatest flying creature is represented by the face of an eagle. Thus, all of creation, represented in these four living creatures, bows down, submitted to their Creator.

The rabbis also tell us that these four images were important in the travels of Israel through the wilderness. You see, the people of Israel were divided into four groups-three tribes in each group. When they setup camp, they would camp to the north,south,east and west of the tabernacle in groups of three. The group that led the eastern side was Judah. the emblem of Judah was a lion. To the south was Ephraim. The emblem of Ephraim was the face of a man. To the north was Dan, represented by an eagle. To the west was Ruben, represented by the ox.

But these creatures serve a much more practical purpose for us, for in them we see how we should serve and worship God on earth even as they do in heaven.

The lion speaks of authority. If we are to be effective in life, there comes a time when, like the lion, we need to roar with authority. I think of Joshua. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!. I like that! He took a stand, made a statement, and went on record. Husband, father, wife, mother there comes a time for you to make a statement of authority, saying, “As a family, we will serve the Lord!”

As the enemies of Judah surrounded Jerusalem, King Joash went to Elisha for counsel. “Open the window,” Elisha said. “Take your bow and this arrow and shoot it out the window.” Joash obeyed Elisha’s instruction and the arrow shot through the air. Elisha identified it as a picture of the Lord’s deliverance over Syria. Then Elisha instructed Joash to take the remaining arrows in his hand and strike them against the floor. Again, Joash obeyed, but apparently it was reluctantly for Elisha said the because he only struck the arrows half-heartedly, his victory over the enemy would be incomplete. (2 kings 14)

In prayer, in devotion, in service we need to move with boldness-not just tapping the arrows lightly, but with effectiveness, fervency, and lion-like authority as we approach our Father in the name of Jesus for the kingdom and causes of our Lord.

The ox speaks of humility. In the days of Jesus, a Roman coin depicted an ox surrounded by the inscription, “For service or sacrifice.” There come times in our service to the Lord when we have to say, “Regardless of whether I am rewarded, applauded, or even acknowledged, I’m going to serve You day by day.”

“It is required of servants”, Paul would write, “that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Even more than being men and woman of faith, may God help us to be faithful men and women.

You’ll always know if you’re being ox-like, if you’re becoming a true servant, by how you react when people treat you like one. When you’re plowing away day after day, pouring out your heart, giving your best without thanks acknowledgement or appreciation, how do you react? Servants are not honored or acknowledged. They serve anonymously, behind the scenes, out of sight. We need to have the kind of mentality that says, “when others don’t acknowledge me or even misunderstand me, Lord, help me to truly be an ox and continue on.”

Eagles soar higher than any living creature. The secret of their soaring is they know how to catch the thermal wind currents. Hang gliders employ these currents, as well. Neither hang gliders nor eagles can control the thermal winds-but they can take advantage of them. Spiritually, we’re to do the same. When the Lord wakes us at three in the afternoon when He asks us to spend time looking into His Word or at three in the afternoon when He asks us to go for a walk with Him, we have a choice to make. We can say, “Lord, I hear Your voice. I feel the movement, the wind, the breeze of Your Spirit and I’m going to spread my wings and catch it,” or we can say, “Lord, I hear You calling me. But the game’s on right now. I’ll be there as soon as it’s over.” If we choose the latter, we miss the moment.

In John 3, Jesus said the Holy Spirit is like the wind. No man knows form whence it comes or where it goes. We can’t control the wind. When it comes, we can only take advantage of it or miss out on it.

I must not only be one who roars with authority, serves with humility, and soars with spirituality, but I must always remember my humanity. We are people. We have frailties. If a Christian is always uptight, never realizing his own humanity, he will find himself burning out. We’ve all been around people with whom we must speak very carefully because they’re always on the edge of exploding. So often this is because they have not recognized their humanity and their need to slow down.

How freeing it is to recognize the need for rest, refreshment, and recreations. How freeing it is to realize we’re not the answer to everyone problems. Rather, we are simply to point people to Jesus.

There is only one way: Jesus. The early church fathers taught that these four faces represent the four Gospels. The lion speaks of Matthew, who portrays Jesus as King of the Jews. The ox speaks of Mark, who shows Jesus as a servant. Luke speaks of Jesus in His humanity as He is repeatedly refereed to as the Son of Man. John speaks of Jesus divinity, where He is refereed to as the Son of God.

To be sure, Jesus moved with authority. He overturned the tables and drove out a host of money changers from the temple. But He also served with humility as He washed the feet of His disciples. We see Him in His humanity as He would repeatedly call His disciples to a quiet place for rest. And we see His deity, for just as the eagle can look at the glory of the sun and  not be burned, Jesus could not only look at God, but was Himself God.

Authority, humility, humanity, spirituality-the only way we can incorporate these essential traits is through Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). You can take all the self-help courses you want, go to all the seminars you can afford, but the goals they present will only frustrate you until you realize you must turn your life over to the One who is perfect and let Him do His work in and through you.

Daily, immediately obey the Lord as He lives His life through you and you’ll be blown away by how balanced and beautiful your life will be because of Christ Jesus in you.

19 thoughts on “Ezekiel 1: The Likeness Of The 4 Faces

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, it’s such a blessing to know the Holy Spirit is helping His children understand the OT more fully. It definitely can be difficult to understand at times. Ever since i returned home from a trip to Israel I’ve had a great desire to understand the O.T. more and more and share it with everyone i know.

      May Gods face shine upon you sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “As a family, we will serve the Lord!” Yes, families do need to boldly proclaim this, and then abide by it. This Christmas since both my son and husband had given their hearts to Christ and we had a new resolve in our family. We boldly proclaim we will serve the Lord and we are living that out in our lives through God, only by his will for if it were up to us we would not be able to. We faced a hard year in many ways but it has also been our most richly blessed year. We have focused on heavenly things not worldly ones and have grown infinitely richer in a closer walk with God. A walk that was only possible because I have spent much time each day studying the word, delving into and surrounding myself with the inspired word of God, prayerfully asking Him to lead and guide me, to reveal His plan for my life. My husband and son have followed me down this path and it has brought us all closer to the Lord and one another. Thanks for a post that helped remind me why serving the Lord is so important after a hectic week when a friend informed me that it wasn’t because it is hard and it doesn’t help or fix things. It is hard, and sometimes the answers I get by following God’s will not my own are hard, they aren’t what I want to hear but I know that God works all things to the good of those who love Him and therefore I know that serving Him, trusting Him, and drawing closer to Him through study and prayer does work, is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a blessing a wife and mother like you are to their family! Your heart for the Lord is extremely evident! While reading your response I am reminded of the passage from Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” And your absolutely right, following Christ is hard and we often don’t want to hear the hard things the Lord may be trying to tell us. What a wise woman and blessing you are, your family is blessed by having you in it.

      May the Lord make His face shine upon you and your wonderful family!

      Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on You, because they trust in You.”

      Liked by 1 person

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