What Are The Four Living Creatures In Revelation?

What Are The Four Living Creatures In Revelation? December 27, 2015

What or who are the four living creatures in the Book of Revelation?

The Four Living Creatures

The first appearance of the four living creatures comes in Revelation 4:8 where the Apostle John writes about “a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Rev 4:1) and John saw “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal” (Rev 4:4-6a). The “twenty-four elders” who are “clothed in white garments” and had “golden crowns on their heads” may well symbolize the believers who have repented and trusted in Christ and as such, may represent the church. They could also be angelic messengers but other theologians, such as Dr. R.C. Sproul, feels that they are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them which Jesus spoke about to the disciples in John 14:1-4.

The Four Living Creatures Purpose

As we continue in Revelation 4, “the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). These creatures could be cherub angels whose job is to worship God non-stop, 24/7 and “whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying” (Rev 4:9-10). Like the angels, the twenty-four elders also worship Him Who is seated on the throne” and Him “who lives forever and ever” clearly meaning Jesus Christ. Their praise ought to be our praise too as they proclaim “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:11). Since Jesus is also known as the Creator, this seems to be angelic beings those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who are worshiping Christ.


John’s Vision

In Revelation chapter 5 we read where, in the Apostle John’s vision, he “saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev 5:1-5). Of course, this “Lamb” is Jesus Christ who was the only one worthy to open the scroll for Jesus is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and “the root of David.” No one else “in heaven or earth or under the earth (the dead) were “able to open the scroll.” Jesus alone is most worthy.

Who are the Four Living Creatures?

Next, John continues to write about the “four living creatures” in the Book of Revelation chapter 5 where the Apostle John writes that “between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev 5:6-8). Ezekiel also mentions four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:5 where he writes about four living creatures so these creatures are not confined to the Book of Revelation.


All I know for sure is that those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, will join with the four living creatures and they will also worship the Lamb of God for ever and ever for as John writes, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:11).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    “All I know for sure is that those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, will join with the four living creatures and they will also worship the Lamb of God for ever and ever ”

    No jack you do not KNOW any such thing. You “believe” this utter mythical superstitious nonsense. You do not KNOW anything. If you KNOW something then you can SHOW it. Claiming it, asserting it is not KNOWING it. You have to be able to DEMONSTRATE that your claims are true you cannot just assert them to be so. Nor can you use “personal experience” or the delusions, visions or babble from no name sources long since dead. If all you can cite as “evidence” for the truth of your claims is the buybull then every single religious person on earth can equally cite their holy book with exactly the same validity. What part of this don’t you understand?

    No “jesus” ever existed. Blood sacrifice does nothing, it does not alter the workings of the universe and you CANNOT show otherwise. Human sacrifice is detestable and reduces your “god” to a bubbling impotent creepy sociopath. You don’t even get that do you?

    Tell me what’s so great about eternal worship of this invisible celestial dictator? Tell me what the first trillion years of praise would be like. Tell me why your all powerful “god” “needs” “praise” “Gods” do not “need” anything. They have no needs, desires, wants…they are not, by definition, lacking and therefore do not “need” for anything. What don’t you get about this simple logic?

    • Wes Jackson

      Hi Pud
      “Tell me why your all powerful god needs praise gods do not need anything.”
      Who says God needs praise? Show in my my useless scriptures where it is written by anyone God needs praise.
      It says God deserves the praise of creation. That God is set apart and above all else. That when others come into God’s presence they cannot help but fall down and worship. But nothing about God needing it.
      You wrote a lot… But instead of reading the passage quoted and replying on its merits, you, in just this point, throw in your own views instead.

      You have however hit the nail on the head. God does not need anything. For certain.

      What would the first trillion years be like? Probably a fantastic period of understanding a heck of a lot more than we all do now mate. Will time even be something considered? Maybe not.

      Lastly… Perhaps try understanding a little of what you are reading before you lambast those who see differently to you. Then perhaps your approach might seem less arrogant and others may listen to you argument more.

      • pud

        You are all demented lunatics. Adult children who worship a book! You can demonstrate NOTHING about which you claim and instead live in a fantasy make believe reality. You are full of ridiculous absurd claims out of pathological fears and abusive indoctrination. Don’t tell me BS about your gawds “needs” and “wants”…you bleat them from sun up to sun down! “Gawd” wants you to do this…gawd doesn’t want that….gawd likes this…gawd doesn’t like that….YOU and your sick twisted cult have ascribed every single human trait to this invisible thing in the sky. Grow up.

        • Wes Jackson

          Sir I agreed with you. You stated God doesn’t need anything and I agreed, and yet you still carry on like you do.
          Not everything in this life is attributable to some physical demonstration of existence. Love, personal taste, desire for this or that…. Are those things real?
          Tell me, if we were related and you perceived love from our mother and I did not, who would be wrong? Say she passed away, you told me she loved you, and you knew it was true. You felt it, experienced it, thought it. And I did not. Who is wrong out of us both?
          Demonstrate it for me, you demented lunatic! That is what I would shout at you, as you ‘shout’ at myself and others like me. You ramble on and on like a fool about our mother loving us both, I would say. Show me. Prove it! Unless you can physically demonstrate it to me there is no way I could believe that!
          You cannot, except to tell me of your experiences. How you saw it.
          It is not demonstrable.
          That doesn’t make you wrong.
          That means quite possibly that I lacked the experiences you did. That I did not perceive things the same as you did.

          It doesn’t mean it was not true and correct though.

          But therein, Sir, lies the issue, and why I will not comment further after this. Unless I am willing to learn and hear and alter my view to try and see differently how it could be that my mother loved me as she did you, I will never see that. Not give myself the opportunity to understand. It is useless for you to try and convince me when I have already convinced myself I know better than you.

          Sir, you seem to know everything already… And you shout it gleefully from the rooftops.
          You are not worth discussing anything with. You make no logical argument, nor carry any courtesy in your speech.

          • pud

            Everything is physical. Everything is the result of natural laws and the principles of chemistry and physics. That include “concepts” like love.

            “Concepts” do not exist…only “objects” exist. Concepts are relationships between objects. Perception is not reality but it is entirely possible to measure the brain chemistry and associated neural activity that takes place when one “feels” love etc

            Thank Zeus we’re not related

          • Today Is Monday✔ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Ignoring all the physical manifestations of God’s power (miracles) that happen using his name…yeah, I guess your right

  • pud

    Schizophreniform psychosis has been described as “crisis behavior” exhibited by susceptible individuals under emotional and physical stress. It is reported, for instance, in cases of Typhoid fever, and is distinguishable from true schizophrenia on the grounds of the briefness of the attack.

    Schizophreniform psychoses, in people under severe emotional or psychic stress has a sudden onset, characterized by florid hallucinations, delusions and extreme behavioral disturbances. Hallucinations are very often visual and usually involve fantastic animals with frequent religious and magical content. Psychiatrists consider prognosis very good for this condition, for symptoms very often subside quickly with no residual personality effects as is usual in true schizophrenia.

    John’s phantasmagoric visions of heaven, angels and fantastic beasts are remarkably schizophreniform in character. The identification of who the John of the “Book of Revelatoin” was is, however, of paramount importance to our “diagnosis.”

    Was the John of Book of Revelation, presumably on exile on the Isle of Patmos, the same person as the Apostle John? That the writer of the Revelation is the same as the Apostle John has for centuries been the common assumption of the Christian Church. But some early Christian authorities had challenged the view.

    Eusebius, the early Christian historian, refers to an oral tradition, in the early Church, that John the Elder and the Apostle John were distinct individuals, though the opposing view that the two were one and the same person finally prevailed in Church history. There is, however, no conclusive internal evidence in theBook of Revelation identifying the author either with the Elder or with Apostle John. Some commentators have noted the significant difference in style between the writer of the Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. Others have correctly pointed out that the difference could easily have arisen from an amanuensis, or otherwise, the unique circumstance in which the Book of Revelation was written.

    A rather intriguing question with regard to the Book of Revelation is: what was John (whichever John he was) doing on the Isle of Patmos? But as it often is with early Church history we have no clear evidence.

    The significance of the identification of the “John” of the Book of Revelation with the Apostle John is that an old man is his nineties forcibly exiled to a derelict island by the Roman authorities may be considered a susceptible subject for schizophreniform “crisis behavior” under emotional and physical stress.

    In considering the possibility that the Book of Revelation was the record of John’s schizophreniform phantasmagoria, we keep in mind the fact that a work like that might have been produced by a “sane” writer deliberately composing a religious book in the tradition of Jewish works of the Apocryphal Apocalyptic genre (the “Book of Daniel” being the best example of an early form of this genre that later became very popular in Jewish religious tradition). A work such as the Book of Revelation could have been composed by a writer wishing to encourage the Christian community in a time of crisis under persecution by the Roman government of Emperor Domitian.

    The strongly schizophreniform character of the visions in the Book of Revelation is exemplified by the strange, wild and fantastic animals described in chapters 12, 13, 16 and 17, and by their strongly persecutory theme.

  • pud

    The Effect of Religous Hypnosis & Indoctrination: Inducing the Symptoms of Religoius Schizophrenia and Paranoia (Flase Fear).

    Part of the problem is that models of relgious fanaticism, such as Jesus and Mohammad, display the classic symptoms of a religious type schizophrenia (hearing voices, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations, sociopathy, paranoia, believing that they have supernatural powers, etc.), thus religious fanatics model themselves on classic religious schizophrenics and consider them to be models of an ideal and godly person. This can be infectious since many of these religious schizophrenics can go on to become evangelists or Internet propagandists (which is apparent on this fourm, for example) and attempt to convince others that unless they are behaving like a religious schizophrenic, they are abnormal and destined for the eternal tortures of hell; this of course can lead to an advanced form paranoia which totally overwhelms their consciousness for the remainder of their lives.

    Archetypal Religious Paranoia

    With the religious paranoid, they are under the delusion that they being watched 24 hours a day, however this watcher is not only observing their behaviour, but is inside their mind observing and judging their every thought. Even perfectly natural thoughts, such as erotic desire, are considered to be “sinful” by the 2000 year old dead religious fanatic who lives inside their mind. Since this sadistic, jealous, genocidal Biblical deity is capable of abandoning them to hell for the least infaction, they can live their entire lives in a state of fear. Unfortunately this is infectious, and they often seek to evangelically spread their fear, often to children and those who are vulnerable to suggestion. In the world of psychiatry this disorder is considered to be the symptoms of paranoia, but on the world of religous fanaticism, this type of paranoia is encouraged and considered “normal.”

    The Delusion of Exorcism and Supernatural Powers

    The Biblical fanatic is further offered the promise by his dead god (Jesus) of supernatural powers, such as curing leprosy, blindness, raising the dead, miraculoulsy answering prayers and even the power to move mountains into the sea. Of course this is a complete fantasy, just like the child who fantasises that he is “Superman” or “Spiderman.” No amount of rational argument or scientific argument is usually sufficient to prove to the religious psychotic that leprosy and blindness are not caused by a person being “possessed by demons.”