Revelation - Chapters 4 & 5
The Sea of Glass
Revelation 4:6 – and before the throne [is] a sea of glass like to crystal, and in the midst of the throne, and round the throne, [are] four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind; (YLT)
This “sea of glass” is a place for cleansing. This can be seen in the Old Testament as well:
Exodus 30:18 – ‘And thou hast made a laver of brass (and its base of brass), for washing; and thou hast put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and hast put water there; (YLT)
1 Kings 7:23 – And he maketh the molten sea, ten by the cubit from its edge unto its edge; [it is] round all about, and five by the cubit [is] its height, and a line of thirty by the cubit doth compass it round about; (YLT)
In both the Tabernacle and in Solomon’s Temple, a basin with water was placed outside. This was done because priests were required to cleanse themselves before entering, where they would be in God’s presence. Cleasing is also mentioned in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (NIV)
Ephesians says that we are to clease ourselves through an understanding of God’s word. The more we read and understand the Bible, the more we will be cleansed and holy, thus presentable in front of God. Therefore, before we can stand before God’s ultimate throne, we must be cleansed. This is not a cleansing of the body with water, but a cleansing of the spirit with God’s word. This is the same concept as the second flood, which I talked about in the Rapture.
The Four Creatures
Revelation 4:7 – and the first living creature [is] like a lion, and the second living creature [is] like a calf, and the third living creature hath the face as a man, and the fourth living creature [is] like an eagle flying. (YLT)
What are these four living creatures? First of all, do not confuse this with the four beasts in Daniel 7. Those are completely different and we will talk about Daniel 7 another time. Getting back to topic, here are some passages that are similar to the four creatures in Revelation:
1 Kings 7:25 – It is standing on twelve oxen, three facing the north, and three facing the west, and three facing the south, and three facing the east, and the sea [is] upon them above, and all their hinder parts [are] inward. (YLT)
Ezekiel 1:10 – As to the likeness of their faces, the face of a man, and the face of a lion, toward the right [are] to them four, and the face of an ox on the left [are] to them four, and the face of an eagle [are] to them four. (YLT)
From these verses, we can determine the positions of the creatures. John is looking at them from the east, while Ezekiel is looking at them from the south, so the order in which they are seen are different. But from these two views, we can determine that the eagle is north, man is south, the lion is east, and the cattle (ox, calf) is on the west. See the picture below.
Now that we know the positions, we can go into what they represent. In the Old Testament, the twelve tribes of Israel were each located in different areas around the Tabernacle and they each had a banner to represent their tribe. From the Old Testament, we know the four tribes that were north, south, east and west:
1. North – Dan (Num. 2:25) with its banner of the eagle carrying the serpent (Gen. 49:17)
2. South – Reuben (Num. 2:10) with its banner of the man (Gen. 49:3,4)
3. East – Judah (Num. 2:3) with its banner of a lion (Gen. 49:9)
4. West – Ephraim (Num. 2:18), with its banner of the cattle (Deut. 33:17)
From this knowledge, it seems that the four creatures have to do something with God’s people. For another clue, look at this verse:
Genesis 1:25-26 – And God maketh the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, and God seeth that [it is] good. And God saith, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.’ (YLT)
God tells us that he made man in His image, while He made all the other living creatures for man to rule over. This includes the beasts of the earth (cattle), the king of the fowls (eagle), and the king of the beasts (lion). Therefore, the cattle, eagle, and lion symbolize all living creatures. To take this further, look here:
Genesis 9:15 – and I have remembered My covenant which is between Me and you, and every living creature among all flesh, and the waters become no more a deluge to destroy all flesh; (YLT)
This verse took place after the flood. Most Christians believe that God is promising never again to flood the entire earth. However, there is a lot more to it then that. It is a promise from God that He will never destroy any living creature, including mankind. Destruction is not referring to physical death, but spiritual annihilation. Instead, every living creature will be restored as explained in the next chapter of Revelation:
Revelation 5:13 – and every creature that is in the heaven, and in the earth, and under the earth, and the things that are upon the sea, and the all things in them, heard I saying, ‘To Him who is sitting upon the throne, and to the Lamb, [is] the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the might – to the ages of the ages!’ (YLT)
In the end, all living creatures will worship God. The Annihilationist view is that non-Christians will be annihilated, thus “all” existing living creatures will worship God. However, this is a loophole that man created. It is not Biblical, nor does it match the nature and spirit of God’s love. Instead, God will use the lake of fire to purify those that lack understanding so that full restoration can be achieved.
What does this mean for animals? I believe that animals do not have souls, and thus cannot be “saved” from the lake of fire. However, they have spirits which have the ability to worship God as the Bible says. Therefore, I believe animals will be resurrected in a spiritual form.
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