The Four Bodyguards around God’s Throne

HEBREWS 13:8   Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

MALACHI 3:6   For I am the LORD, I change not;

God has a certain pattern to His behavior. The details change with different circumstances but the basic pattern remains unchanged.

Let us consider the four spiritual bodyguards that stand around God’s throne. God does not need their protection but His people do.

These creatures represent a range of spiritual responses that God uses to deal with changing conditions as the Devil tries new tactics in his endless attacks on God’s people.

Heaven is a higher spiritual dimension, so it is not easy to describe these spiritual beings in our human terms.

PSALM 99:1   The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.

God has cherubims (a special kind of angel or spiritual creature) around Him.

John was caught up to heaven and saw God on His throne with four spiritual creatures around Himself.

Their function is to protect and inspire and guide God’s people.

REVELATION 4:2   And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

REVELATION 4:6   And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

(“eyes” represent intelligence. These creatures are super bright, they are full of intelligence.

“Before and behind”, they know the future and they know the past)

:7     And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

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It is difficult to describe heavenly beings in our words which usually describe physical beings.

John uses symbols to describe their attributes. The lion has power. A calf is a young ox which is strong. Man has wisdom and an eagle represents a piercing supernatural insight that comes from above as well as the ability to move up higher into heavenly places.

This pattern in Heaven was also revealed in the Old Testament.

EZEKIEL 1:1   Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

EZEKIEL 1:4   And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

(these events tended to focus inwardly)

5:   Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

EZEKIEL 1:10   As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

The face of the eagle is not on the left or the right, at ground level, so it seems to be above.

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EZEKIEL 10:20   This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.

:14    And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

The ox is also called a calf (a young ox) and in this vision appears as a cherub. We are not sure what a cherub looks like.

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Ezekiel’s Old Testament vision showed each creature to be a combination of their four spiritual attributes.

Remember the Israelites were confined to their promised land.

So God used these four attributes interchangeably to guide and protect them during their history.

  1. Prophets with their piercing eagle-like insights kept appearing on the scene and speaking to the Israelites to tell them God’s Word and show them the way.
  2. The calf / ox symbol had two meanings. A calf always keeps close to the herd, following the same trail and never straying from the Word that the prophets revealed. The ox-like strength of their armies, when they served God, would disperse their enemies.
  3. Wisdom from David’s psalms and Solomon’s proverbs matched the timeless beauty of Isaiah’s sentences, the strong and rugged faith of Job in the face of endless disasters, and the brilliant insights of Genesis, to mention just a few sparks of Jewish wisdom.
  4. Then there was the majestic, lion-like power of God that opened the Red Sea, cooled the fiery furnace, slaughtered 185 000 Assyrians in one night in order to save Jerusalem and got Cyrus the Persian to release the Jews from their Babylonian captivity.

John’s New Testament vision saw the four bodyguards as separate creatures.

It is as though the church in the New Testament went through different stages in its history which led to each attribute being emphasized at a different time. The Gentile church spread through the world and encountered different stages of human history.

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The early church emphasized the spirit of the Lion of Judah, the truth about Jesus being the Word of God which was written down by the apostles and writers of the New Testament. The early church believed only what the apostles wrote.

After the Nicean council of 325 AD the church was forced to accept doctrines that were not written in the Bible. Arguments over the Godhead led to Christians beginning to kill Christians. Any religious disagreement began to justify murder. Tens of millions died in these Dark Ages and their aftermath. This sacrifice was endured by Christians who were sustained by the spirit of the ox which symbolizes an animal that is born to labour and be slaughtered.

Then God began to bless the wisdom of man with the emergence of the Renaissance around 1400.  Printing was invented around 1440 so they were able to produce Bibles. Printing Bibles and literature enabled the Reformation to get started just after 1500 as the teachings of the reformers could rapidly spread.  God blessed human scholarship and wisdom.  Talented artists, writers, musicians, and scholars began to emerge. An age of learning flourished which saw Martin Luther in Germany start in 1517 to bring back the doctrine of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Reformers used human wisdom and scholarship to launch the Reformation to bring Christians back to the Bible rather than just following church traditions. In 1610 the King James Bible was written which was the peak of creative English literature. This became the backbone of the spread of Christianity.

Man began to develop scientific wisdom and the Industrial revolution started around 1760. Steamboats were able to travel around the world so that people could go to other continents. Steam engines and railway lines opened up the continents and enabled people to travel inland. This was also the time when the great reformer John Wesley, in England, using God-inspired human wisdom began to preach holiness and brotherly love. Wesley avoided politics and saved England from the excesses of the French revolution. Then Wesley’s outreach activities blossomed into the great missionary age that started just before 1800. Human wisdom then took the Bible around the world and converted the heathen.

Just after 1900 God launched the Pentecostal revival in America which saw the Holy Spirit baptism restored to the church.

This was like a flying eagle.

Christians moved up into a higher spiritual dimension of gifts and callings. At this time human knowledge advanced to the internal combustion engine that made cars and aeroplanes available. Man could now literally fly into the air like an eagle.

Electrical energy was harnessed. Then science and technology knowledge exploded as the atom yielded many of its secrets that enabled the development of computers, nuclear power, the internet, and mobile phones.

The information age hit us like a tidal wave of rapid change. We all have to learn, unlearn and re-learn as information changes the way we think and do things.

But one aspect was still lacking. As scientific knowledge revealed the mysteries of the atom and expanded rapidly since the end of the first world war,  so our understanding of the Bible remained relatively static as we still could not uncover its basic mysteries. Today we know little more than what the Bible scholars knew in 1920. Too many mysteries in the Bible remained unexplained. Too many prophetic symbols were just being guessed at. Bible knowledge had increased from Luther who restored justification by faith to Wesley who stressed holy living, the Baptists who revived full immersion of adults and the Pentecostals who restored spiritual gifts and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But we have made little progress in resolving the Biblical disputes and mysteries that existed at the end of the first world war.

Scientific knowledge has soared like an eagle. Knowledge of the Bible has crawled along slowly.

The piercing insight of an eagle eye was needed to explain the mysteries of God.

REVELATION 10:7   But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Our knowledge of the Godhead remains locked in the thinking of the Dark Ages. Those theologians were unable to come up with one Name for the three Persons they believed formed the Godhead. So they evaded the name of God by stressing the three titles Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sixteen centuries later the churches are no closer to solving the mystery.

Why then do we have to stay at their Dark Age level of knowledge and why do we have to describe God using their unscriptural ideas like “Second Person of the Godhead”, “Three Persons of the Godhead”, “One-in-three”, “Three-in-one”,  “Father and Son are of the same essence” etc.

Billy Graham, that greatest of evangelists, admits that the Trinity is a mystery.

So we need the arrival of the seventh angel or messenger to finish the mystery of God.

We need an eagle insight to clarify our hazy and blurred misconceptions about original sin. For example, why did God not tell Adam and Eve to repent?  Why does the blood of an animal atone for sin? We know that is true, but cannot explain why God demanded that.

Why was Eve punished in childbirth? Why was her punishment to have her conception multiplied? What conception? If she had to multiply and replenish the earth then she would have to have many conceptions.

Plus all the other areas where we have no real clarity and merely avoid the issues.

We still struggle to explain why the wise men went into a house not a stable.  They saw a young child, not a baby. But no-one seems to acknowledge these facts as if there is almost a conspiracy of silence imposed by some fear of having to disagree with the church world.

When they brought a sinful woman to Jesus because they wanted to kill her, He ignored them and wrote with His finger in the dust, twice. Why did He do this? When will we be able to resolve these issues?

There are so many new insights into scientific issues. But there are so few new insights into the disputes and mysteries that have bugged Christians for centuries.

 

MATTHEW 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

Jesus is referring to an Elijah who shall come in the future.

Jesus was not talking about John the Baptist. John had been killed and his ministry was past tense.

John the Baptist restored nothing. He introduced a new doctrine of baptism. He then introduced the Messiah.

All this was new and revolutionary.

The early church, under the guidance of the apostles had the truth. But the truth was lost in the dark ages. Human reformers like Luther, Wesley and the Pentecostals started to bring Christians back to Scripture. But human wisdom and scholarship are insufficient to explain all the mysteries of the Bible.

It will require God to send the spirit of the eagle with its clarity of vision where others just see a vague blur that they ignore as unimportant.

John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as a Man walking amongst men. We need the promised Elijah to point out to us how Jesus walks through the pages of His Bible. That is the flying eagle spirit with its incredible eye for detail which God promised for the last age of church history.

We have to unlearn many old ideas that are not strictly Scriptural. Then we have to re-learn the better ideas.

If we cannot unlearn and re-learn, as we have to do in the working world, then we will miss the revelation of Scripture and stay with the knowledge of previous centuries. Imagine where we would be if our science knowledge had stayed at the level of steam engines.

If we think we know it all and have need of no correction, then we have missed the plot and are liable to be left behind.

 

EZEKIEL 10:10   And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.

EZEKIEL 1:16    The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

The focus of the spiritual creatures goes inward rather than outward. There is a deeper wheel within the obvious outer wheel.

There is a deeper insight behind the obvious outer vision.

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We have to explain the truth of a Scriptural fact by referring it to a deeper truth or pattern that is hidden in Scripture.

For example, The Jewish tabernacle had a fence around it and only one door.

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Going through this door brought a person to the altar of sacrifice where his innocent sacrifice was slain and burnt.

Then there was a laver of water to wash in and beyond that was the holy place which was a wooden structure covered by veils and skins. (The picture shows the veils as if they have been pulled aside to reveal the wooden structure.)

Why was this the layout that God demanded in the Old Testament?

Because this is the pattern of New Testament redemption.

There is only one Door to Heaven, Jesus Christ.

JOHN 10:7   Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

Look how Peter introduced salvation to all the people on the day of Pentecost.

ACTS 2:38   Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“Repent”. The Blood of Jesus, our innocent Sacrifice, was shed to wash away our sins.

“be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ”.  The washing in the laver.

“ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”.  Entry into the holy place.

ACTS 2:39   For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

There is no other plan that God will approve.

Each Scripture flows into a deeper picture, like a small stream flowing into a bigger river.

We explain a Scripture only if we can refer to how it reflects a deeper truth in God’s Bigger Picture.

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The Book of Acts is actually the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the church. If this Book represents God in action then there must be four guards around the Book of Acts.

These guards are the four Gospels.

Matthew represents Christ as the Lion of Judah, the King of the Jews.

Mark represents Him as the hard working Ox that was doomed to be slaughtered.

Luke represents Him as the ideal Man, our perfect example of human wisdom.

John represents Him as the Spirit of God, the great flying Eagle with His supernatural insight and powers.

These four Gospels form a foundation upon which God began to build His church during the next two thousand years. The church has grown into the Body of Christ over the ages and is now at the neck stage, waiting for our Head which is the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament God had four patriarchs as a foundation for His Jewish church. Abraham (faith), Isaac (love), Jacob (grace), and Joseph (perfection). Over almost 2000 years He built up the Jewish church. The Jewish church was in the neck stage just waiting for their Head when John the Baptist came on the scene. When his head was cut off, his corpse represented the Jewish church. But instead of accepting their Head, Jesus, the Jews rejected Him. So then He began all over again to start building up a Gentile church over the next 2000 years.

Why four Gospels?   The four Gospels tell the story of the cross.

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From a cross we can draw a four.                                                                               Or we can draw a heart.

So the four Gospels represent the heart of God’s plan for humanity.

When you repent and accept Christ into your heart,

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then the four chambers of your heart represent the four living creatures that are around the throne of God.

Thus your heart becomes God’s throne when you are born again and He dwells within you.
REVELATION 4:4   And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

 

REVELATION 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,

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The Lamb, Jesus, was in the midst of the throne. Four beasts were around the throne.  Twenty four elders (the 12 patriarchs from the Old Testament where the Jewish tribes got their names, and the 12 disciples from the New Testament where Paul replaced Judas) formed a further ring around the throne.

In the human rib cage there are ten fixed ribs and two floating ribs on both the left hand side and the right hand side. So this adds up to twenty four ribs which represent the twenty four elders.

So when Jesus dwells in your heart He is surrounded by four chambers and twenty four ribs. This accurately reflects what His throne in Heaven looks like.

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So on earth there is no longer a holy place where God dwells. The Roman general Titus destroyed the Temple where God had dwelled in the Old Testament. Only God is holy. So when He dwelt in the Temple, that was His holy place. But there is no more Temple.

So now God’s dwelling place is in  human hearts. Instead of dwelling in a holy place, He now dwells in the hearts of holy people. Each born again person thus becomes a living stone in God’s great New Testament spiritual Temple that He has built up over the last two thousand years.

 

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Blood flows into chamber one of the heart from the body. Then it passes into chamber two where it goes to the lungs to get oxygen. Then this blood enters chamber three.

So blood only flows into the heart chambers one and three.

The four Gospels are the heart of the Bible.

Matthew Chapter one has the blood line of the King Jesus traced from king David, the most famous king of the Jews,  and from Abraham who met the great king Melchizadek.

Luke Chapter three has the blood line of the perfect or ideal man Jesus traced from Adam, who was the first perfect man until he messed up. Jesus, a perfect man like Adam had been, coming to clean up the mess that the first Adam made.

Mark and John have no blood lines. Why?

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Taking the four chambers in the same order as the four beasts.

Mark represents Jesus as the Ox, the Servant of mankind Who carried our sins far away and dumped them on the Devil down in hell.

Servants are signed on to do a job if they are qualified. No one asks them who their ancestors are.

John represents Jesus as God, the great Holy Spirit represented by the flying Eagle.  The Spirit of God has no blood line that He came from because He is the eternal Spirit.

So Jesus somehow holds impossible abilities and ministries together in one Person.

He is the King but still acts as a Servant to carry our burdens and sort out our problems. So He is above us and below us at the same time. He tells us what to do as King but happily supplies our needs and looks after us as a dedicated Servant or Care giver.

He is also the ideal or perfect Man (in His flesh) yet at the same time He is God (in term of the supernatural Spirit that dwells within Him). As a Man He is compassionate and understands us and helps us but as God He demands perfection and refuses to lower His standards. That this Man can also be God is truly mind boggling. Yet He somehow does it.

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So our part of the salvation plan is to invite Him into our hearts of our own free will.

Then, if we have any sense, we will surrender our free will to Him so that we can be ruled by His will, not our will.

If we achieve that, then this Powerhouse Who can do the impossible, will control our lives and make us part of His Big Picture which is His great plan for saving mankind.

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With Jesus in control of our lives, we will then become the human being that He intended us to be.

If we are part of His Body, then these four bodyguards are available to protect us. That is an exciting thought.

 

God never changes His basic patterns of operation.

God uses the Book of Genesis as His seed chapter. All His doctrines start here like a germinating seed and then develop as He runs the concepts through the Bible until they produce their flower in the Book of Revelation.

So if God has four bodyguards around Him in Ezekiel and Revelation, where were these bodyguards in Genesis?

GENESIS 3:24   So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Cherubims are special angels that are around God.
II KINGS 19:15   And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims,

In Eden these cherubims were around the tree of life. This is not an ordinary tree as we cannot get eternal life by eating some fruit. The longest living thing on earth is a type of tree, the bristlecone pines in America, that are dated at about 4 500 years old. So God used a tree, the longest living physical thing, to symbolize eternal life.

I JOHN 5:11   And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Eternal life only comes from Jesus Christ.

GENESIS 3:22   And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Adam could get eternal life from the tree of life. Thus the tree of life had to be Jesus.

So in Eden, there were cherubims standing around the Spirit of Christ, Who was the tree of (eternal) life.

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GENESIS 3:24   So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

They could only turn four ways, north, east, west, and south. So there had to be four cherubims guarding those four ways. So four cherubims, acting as bodyguards,  stood around the Spirit of God in Eden. This has always been God’s plan.

“to keep the way of the tree of life”. An ordinary tree is fixed in place and does not have a way, which implies movement. The tree of life had been in the centre of the garden of Eden and now it was at the east of the garden, so it had moved. Christ was the centre of attraction in Eden. Now He had moved to the eastern edge in order to be the Door whereby fallen man could return to his former position. This is the way that Jesus works. He makes a way of escape from hell so that we sinners can return back to paradise.

JOHN 14:6   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Only Jesus has a way of saving us. No one else can do it.

In the Old Testament there was a flaming sword that killed you if you approached God. This sword represented God’s anger against sin and the requirement of the Law that every soul that sinned had to die. God will not let sin into His presence.

EZEKIEL 18:20   The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

 

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All through the Old Testament people were scared of getting close to God because of that sword that would kill sinners. And all men have sinned. So God had to stay hidden behind a veil or curtain in the holiest of holies.

What happened to this deadly sword?

When Jesus died at Calvary He volunteered to take our sins upon Himself. So God then poured out all His anger and wrath onto Christ until Jesus had fully paid for all our sins. In the old days a man fought with a sword and when he had fought his final battle and died, they stuck his sword, sharp point downwards, into the earth as a marker on his grave.

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That sword then looks like a cross.

So the cross symbolizes a sword with its sharp point stuck into the ground. That means that the battle is over and there is no more fighting. God was happy with the death of Jesus because He had fully paid the price for all our sins. God had no more fighting to do against the sins of repentant sinners. The price was paid, the battle was over.

The cross symbolized the sword of wrath stuck into the ground.

Where was the fire at Calvary? In Genesis it had been a “flaming sword”.

Where was God when Jesus died? He was in Christ.

II CORINTHIANS 5:19   To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,

ROMANS 5:10   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,

The Holy Spirit was in Him, but not communicating with Him.

ISAIAH 59:2   But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

The supernatural Spirit that lived in Christ refused to communicate with His humanity. As a Man, Jesus felt rejected of God. If you turn your back on a person and refuse to talk to him, you can both be in the same room but he will feel completely rejected and forsaken by you.

The Holy Spirit that was in Jesus was the flaming Fire that burned out sin and won the battle against Satan.

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Fire can only be released from a material object by destroying the material object as it burns.

So Jesus had to die to release the Fire of the Holy Spirit which came back into the disciples on the day of Pentecost.

God cannot die. Death is the separation of the spirit from the body. So the Holy Spirit of God won the battle against Satan in the weakened Body of Jesus. Then the Spirit left the Body of Jesus. Thus God did not die. Jesus the Man died when His Spirit left Him.

 

When Jesus hung on the cross, who were the four guards that stood around Him?

They were four Roman soldiers. Although Rome was God’s enemy, God made four Roman soldiers stand around the cross. Why? To keep His plan intact and to show that He has complete control even over His enemies.

JOHN 19:23   Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part;

When the Roman soldiers thought that they were wrecking God’s plan, they were actually fulfilling God’s plan.

Such is the power of God. Even His enemies have to serve Him.

 

In the Old Testament the Israelites, as they travelled through the wilderness towards the promised land,  had to camp in a fixed military-style formation.

The tabernacle was in the centre. Three tribes were camped east, three were south, three tribes were west, and the last three tribes were north.

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Only four of the tribes had banners or standards.

In the days when there was no radio or mobile phone communications, leaders would put up a standard or banner with their tribal logo on it. Then their followers could see in what region they were expected to gather together and pitch their tents. So the 12 tribes camped around their tabernacle.

The Book of Numbers places the Jews in groups of three tribes to the east, south, west, and north of the tabernacle.

Each group of three tribes had only one banner. So the 12 tribes had four banners or standards that stood around the tabernacle.

NUMBERS 2:3    on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies:

NUMBERS 2:5   And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of Issachar:

NUMBERS 2:7   Then the tribe of Zebulun:

 

NUMBERS 2:10   On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies:

NUMBERS 2:12   And those which pitch by him shall be the tribe of Simeon:

NUMBERS 2:14   Then the tribe of Gad:

 

NUMBERS 2:18   On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies

NUMBERS 2:20   And by him shall be the tribe of Manasseh:

NUMBERS 2:22   Then the tribe of Benjamin:

 

NUMBERS 2:25   The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies:

NUMBERS 2:27   And those that encamp by him shall be the tribe of Asher:

NUMBERS 2:29   Then the tribe of Naphtali:

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This arrangement gives us a fascinating insight into human leadership.

Judah’s banner was a lion, the king of the beasts, a fabulous and magnificent symbol of power.

GENESIS 49:9   Judah is a lion’s whelp:

The Lion of the tribe of Judah is Jesus.  He is the only human leader that we can fully trust with power. Power easily corrupts and pollutes.  Human leaders are easily prone to error.

JEREMIAH 10:23   O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is the only Leader Who can handle power without making mistakes.

REVELATION 5:5   And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

REVELATION 5:6   And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

The tribe of Judah with their lion  banner always camped on the east of the tabernacle. This faces the rising of the sun as it brings light for the new day. This represented Jesus as the Light of the world Who came to illuminate the way to Heaven.

NUMBERS 2:2   Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.

:3    on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies:

NUMBERS 2:5   And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of Issachar:

NUMBERS 2:7   Then the tribe of Zebulun:

So on the east side was the banner with the lion of Judah.

And when they marched, Judah and his standard or banner always took the lead.

The Israelites always followed the Lion of Judah. Christians can learn a big lesson from this.

NUMBERS 10:14   In the first place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies:

From this we learn that we must always follow Jesus. Whatever the Bible says, we must follow It because Jesus is the Word of God.

 

Then we come to three other banners that represent the failure and errors of human religious  leadership.

NUMBERS 2:10   On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies:

NUMBERS 2:12   And those which pitch by him shall be the tribe of Simeon:

NUMBERS 2:14   Then the tribe of Gad:

GENESIS 49:3   Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

:4     Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

Only man can be immoral. We humans are born in sin as eternal life cannot be transferred through the sex act.

The  banner of a man on the south side was thus a constant reminder of sexual sin, man’s biggest downfall. Reuben lost his birthright because of this.

Man was created as the peak of God’s creation. But his ability to be immoral destroys him.

Sexual scandals have plagued human leadership down through history.

Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel. Thus when Reuben, firstborn of Leah, lost his birthright, which was the symbol of a strong example of leadership, the birthright then went to Joseph as the firstborn of Rachel. This entitled Joseph to a double portion so he was replaced by his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Through his sons, Joseph thus acquired two tribal territories in Israel. The birthright then passed from Joseph to Ephraim.

The birthright was a symbol of the power of strong leadership, passing from father to son.

 

For an agricultural people, the strongest animal was the ox. An ox has immense strength and can labour all day. A lovely symbol of a strong and dedicated leader.

The ox symbol was also described as a calf. When they marched, Judah went first and Ephraim had to follow. A calf always stays with the herd, following the same trail and never strays. A good example of following the Lion of Judah, the Word.

But a calf knows little and will get hopelessly lost if it heads off on its own. Having the birthright made Ephraim a strong leader of the other tribes, but only if he followed Judah.

NUMBERS 2:18   On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies

NUMBERS 2:20   And by him shall be the tribe of Manasseh:

NUMBERS 2:22   Then the tribe of Benjamin:

Man needs food, so farmers are essential. The immense strength of an ox was an essential factor in food production.

DEUTERONOMY 25:4   Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

PROVERBS 14:4   Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox

Ephraim had the firstborn birthright of his father Joseph. This powerful privilege was symbolized by an ox on his banner which was the strongest animal that served to help the farmers. Oxen keep working and produce the food that the nation depended on.

An ox picture on the standard or banner was thus the symbol of strong leadership that served in the interests of the agricultural Israelites.

But, as with all human leadership, when leaders get onto the wrong path, then an ox becomes a symbol of slaughter.

There is too much valuable meat on an ox. When it gets too old to work, the owner slaughters it for its meat.

So the ox is a symbol of strength, hard work, and slaughter.

PROVERBS 7:9  In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

:10  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

:22  He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter,

:27   Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

When the ten tribes of Israel split off from Judah it was a disaster. Ephraim forgot that their ox-like strength actually came from following God. Their symbol was also a calf. A calf knows little and has to follow the leader (Judah who had the Temple). Once a calf heads off on its own it soon gets hopelessly lost. Ephraim soon got lost in idolatry.

Ephraim went wrong through idolatry which is spiritual adultery.

HOSEA 4:17   Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

EZEKIEL 23:37   That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery

Warning: Roman Catholic churches are full of idols. Christians either follow the Word of God, or we end up involved in spiritual adultery with some variation of the denominational religion of the mother Catholic harlot and her Protestant daughters.

The ox in Ezekiel was also described as a calf in Revelation, which would be a young ox, as a calf has the likeness or similitude of the ox that it will grow up into.

PSALM 106:19  They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

:20     Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

EXODUS 32:8   They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

The golden calf was idolatry, made by their religious leader Aaron in the absence of the prophet Moses.

A calf is young, as it has only lived for a short time.

Thus the calf banner or standard symbolizes how quickly believers can be led astray from God’s Word in a very short time by their own religious leaders.

The same people who cheered Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as King of the Jews, were the same people who listened to their religious leaders and crucified Him the following Friday.

The ox or calf banner thus represents how human religious leadership quickly goes wrong.

EXODUS 32:3   And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

:4    And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

NEHEMIAH 9:18   Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;

The pagan calf made by the high priest Aaron was called both God (one) and gods (plural).

This is the first hint of the mysterious trinity doctrine of Babylon that spread to Egypt, whereby a group of gods was somehow fuzzily introduced as one God. This was a major error that would be introduced by religious leaders.

Trinity was introduced at the Nicean council in 325 AD. Being an unscriptural word, it represented Christianity inflicting a grievous self-wound on itself as Greek philosophy married Christianity and morphed with the pagan religion of Babylon, thanks to the smoothly-worded compromises of the powerful and dictatorial emperor Constantine. He offered the threat of death to dissenters.

This Trinity concept wrought great provocations as Christians tried to puzzle out the fuzzy ideas of one-in-three and three-in-one. The Trinity doctrine was the first official doctrine that the church accepted that they knew was not actually written in the Bible. Having accepted that “Jesus is the second Person of the Godhead”, without that sentence being written in the Bible, the door was opened to believing all the other unscriptural doctrines that entered the church. They changed the “Son of God” (Scriptural) into “God the Son” (unscriptural) which was Nimrod’s Babylonian title “El-Bar”.

The Man Jesus was the Son of God. The supernatural Spirit that lived inside Him was God. His human Body had a beginning, and was not God. Jesus had to be a combination of both man and God. Just like light is a combination of both wave and particle, two opposites.

More and more unscriptural terms entered the fallen Christian church as theology (clever philosophical arguments), replacing what was written in the Bible.

Today we happily call a religious leader Pope or Pontif or Holy Father without even asking where the Bible speaks of such a title.

Everyone has a biological or adopted physical father. But we are told to call no man our spiritual father.

MATTHEW 23:9   And call no man your father upon the earth:

EXODUS 32:35   And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Aaron was the high priest. The second most important leader. He was influenced by the people to lead them astray. They wanted to disobey God. Aaron clung to power by granting them what they wanted.

The calf banner reminded the people that human religious leadership is prone to error and mistakes.

These mistakes that religious leaders teach us cause the plagues that God punishes us with.

The earth struggles with floods and drought. It is clear that God is punishing us. But Christians still refuse to believe in the possibility that they could be holding onto wrong beliefs. There are about 30 000 different kinds of denomination today. They are all different, yet they all believe that they have the full truth and are in need of nothing. But they cannot all be right.

ACTS 7:41   And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

Humans had developed their own way of serving God. They did not want to do it God’s way. They thought that God would accept their ideas. Today we prefer church to the Bible. We put our religious traditions and human opinions above Scripture. Our clever arguments have led us away from Scripture.

 

Then there was the fourth banner.

This was an eagle, a symbol of help from above; supernatural help.

EXODUS 19:4  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

An eagle is symbolic of God’s help that can quickly arrive in a supernatural way, as when He opened the Red Sea for them, and fed them with manna and water in the wilderness.

NUMBERS 2:25   The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies:

NUMBERS 2:27   And those that encamp by him shall be the tribe of Asher:

NUMBERS 2:29   Then the tribe of Naphtali:

GENESIS 49:17   Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

Dan, instead of following God and soaring like an eagle, turned to idolatry by making golden calves, and thus sank to the level of a snake by misleading the people, much the same as the serpent misled Eve.

This banner is a final warning. Dan does not manifest the attributes of an eagle. He spreads the poison of a venomous puff adder.

Dan, the northern leader, is not even associated in this Bible verse with God’s help from above (the eagle) but rather with the destructive power of the serpent from below. This represents how far human leadership had sunk under the flying eagle banner.

An eagle can destroy a serpent simply by lifting it high up in the air, and then letting it drop to break its bones on the rocks below. The banner of the flying eagle thus represents God sending judgement on the snake-like Dan.

Who told the Jews to condemn the innocent Jesus in Pontius Pilate’s judgement hall? Their own religious leaders.

II KINGS 10:29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.

Dan became the home of the golden calves that took Israel into idolatry, and finally into captivity by Assyria.

DEUTERONOMY 28:47   Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;

:49        The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;

Babylon was the nation that conquered and enslaved the Jews of Judah. Under Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonians were swift and strong like an eagle in flight as they zoomed in to punish the Jews.

The eagle also represented God’s judgement on the people who forsook God’s path.

PROVERBS 23:5   Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Hezekiah, a good king of Judah made the fatal mistake of showing off all his wealth to Babylon when it was still a small city. Babylon grew to be rich and powerful under Nebuchadnezzar, who then came and conquered and looted all the wealth of Jerusalem. Getting involved with Babylon was the fatal mistake that was made by Hezekiah, and it ended up with Babylon enslaving them.

The eagle represents the rapid material loss suffered by many who rely on the uncertain wealth of this world.

Remember, the church world has become big business.

Jesus only got really angry when He chased the money lenders out of the Temple. He detested people who made money out of religion.

Nebuchadnezzar saw a statue in a dream that had a head of gold. The head represented the wealth of Babylon. Babylonian stress on money and financial success has undermined Christianity with its focus on the prosperity doctrine. Christians now want the crown (all the benefits) without the cross (the suffering and hardship).

Jesus pronounced a blessing on the poor.

LUKE 6:20   And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Jesus never said “Blessed be ye rich”.  He said the opposite.

LUKE 6:24   But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

 

The next curse of successful leadership is pride. “I am the greatest,” say the successful.

Competitive Christianity grows as individuals seek to outdo each other for fame, fortune, and females as Christians divorce and re-marry. Not to mention those who just live in sin.

Conspicuous consumption is emphasized as we flaunt our wealth to impress others how much better and richer we are than them.

JEREMIAH 49:16   Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.

OBADIAH 1:4   Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.

The eagle symbolizes the vanity of elevating self as high as possible.

But in God’s own time He breaks down our human pretensions and self-obsessed vanity. Notice how the powerful kingdoms of the past, with all their might and power, have faded away.

Hitler, one of the cruelest leaders, promised that his very powerful German empire, the Third Reich, would last 1 000 years. It only managed 12 years.

LAMENTATIONS 4:19  Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven:

God’s punishment will come quickly from on high like an eagle.

An eagle has incredible eyesight to see fine details. Thus God knows precisely what sins man has committed. No details or motives are hidden from him.

God raised up Russia and America to defeat Hitler.

HOSEA 8:1   Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

The banner of an eagle — It means that God is willing to help us supernaturally from above, but if we turn away from His Word (as Dan did) then the eagle symbolizes the strong punishments that God will direct towards us from above, until our enemies overpower us, our insecure wealth is taken away, and defeat causes our self-pride to be knocked down.

The eagle banner represents a greater and more piercing spiritual insight into truth, or it represents the swift and sure arrival of judgement to condemn our sins and unbelief in Scripture as saved Christians go into the great Tribulation.

Accepting the Sacrifice of Calvary saves us from hell, but we also need to know the truth of Scripture if we are to avoid the Tribulation.

 

 

So an idea starts in Genesis and then this same basic pattern repeats in different places until it finally unfolds in Revelation.

This is how we can establish the truth of an idea.

Does the idea repeat itself by running through the Bible?

Did it start in Genesis, and come to its completion in Revelation?