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Spoke 4 - Dalet

Numbers, Ezekiel, Galatians

Ezekiel: The Four Living Creatures

The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest ... And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself ... 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. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. ... And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. ... 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.

Ezekiel 1:3ff (Spoke 4, Cycle 2)

Christ enthroned amongst the Four Cherubim/Evangelists
Christ enthroned amongst the Four Cherubim that
represent the Evangelists: Codex Bruchsal, ca. 1220 This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window

The opening vision of Ezekiel here on Spoke 4 contains the greatest density of the Number 4 in the entire Bible. This is one of the most stunning examples of God's perfect and precise integration of content with form (BW book pp 40, 75). Its significance is greatly amplified by the correlation of the Four Living Creatures with the fourfold pattern of the camp revealed in Numbers (BW book pg 173). It is one of the richest visions given in Scripture; a revelation of the pre-incarnate Christ sitting in all His glory upon His Throne (Ezek 1:26). There is no plumbing its depth, its symbols come straight from the Mind of God and so have infinite ramifications. But one thing is clear; it is a fourfold revelation of the character of God and in many ways echoes the structure of His Holy Word. There are two obvious correlations with the pattern of the Bible, one ancient and one new. The new correlation derives from the "wheel in the middle of a wheel" (Ezek 1:16) which immediately evokes a sense that it must be some sort of prophecy of the Bible Wheel. This is explored in Part III of the BW book (pg 382). The ancient correlation recognizes the four faces of the living creatures as emblems of the four views of Christ given in the Four Gospels. This tradition can be traced back through early Church fathers such as Irenaeus (AD 170), Jerome (AD 420), and Augustine (AD 430), and is enshrined in countless Christian artworks such as the thirteenth century Munich Psalter shown above (note the tri-radiant halo). Here is how Philip Schaff explained it in his History of the Christian Church:

The Christian church, looking at the origin of the Four Gospels, and the attributes which God has in rich measure been pleased to bestow upon them by his Holy Spirit, found a prophetic picture of them in the four living cherubim, named from heavenly knowledge, seen by the prophet Ezekiel at the river of Chebar. Like them the Gospels are four in number; like them they are the chariot of God, who sitteth between the cherubim; like them they bear him on a winged throne into all lands; like them they move wherever the Spirit guides them; like them they are marvelously joined together, intertwined with coincidences and differences: wing interwoven with wing, and wheel interwoven with wheel; like them they are full of eyes, and sparkle with heavenly light; like them they sweep from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven, and fly with lightningís speed and with the noise of many waters. "Their sound is gone out into all lands, and the words to the end of the world."

The correlation of the Four Gospels with the Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures naturally links to the meaning of the Number Four as fourfold extension, like the four arms of the cross pointing in the four directions. This idea is fully developed in the article on The Fulfillment of Ezekiel's Prophecy of the Wheels.

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