Posts Tagged ‘the four creatures of Revelation’

Revelation Chapter 4 – Heavenly Throne

“After these things, I looked; and there before me was a door standing open in heaven; and the voice like a trumpet which I had heard speaking with me before said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” Instantly I was in the Spirit, and there before me in heaven stood a throne, and on the throne Someone was sitting. The One sitting there gleamed like diamonds and rubies, and a rainbow shining like emerald encircled the throne” (Revelation 4:1-3).

While the ‘door’ was shut on the foolish virgins, for the wise virgins, the door opened and they went into the wedding chamber of the Bridegroom. For the community of Philadelphia, Yeshua puts a ‘door’ in front of these believers that is open and will never shut. This door is the ‘pathway’ for entering the heavenly realm where the full unveiling of Yeshua begins.

“Let me say this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot share in the Kingdom of God, nor can something that decays share in what does not decay.  Look, I will tell you a secret — not all of us will die! But we will all be changed! It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Yochanan hears a voice that sounds like a trumpet and he is “instantly in the Spirit.” This is an allusion to the ‘blink of an eye’, at the last shofar blast, when the first resurrection, the transformation from flesh bodies to spirit bodies takes place in a ‘moment.’

The Amplified Version uses the word ‘quickly’ however, the Hebrew word for ‘moment’ is rega and means ‘just a moment, wait.’ The prophet Isaiah gives a little more perspective to ‘blink of an eye’ with regard to the coming judgment of the Lord.

“Pay attention to me, my people! My nation, listen to me! For Torah will go out from me; I will calm them with my justice as a light for the peoples” (Isaiah 51:14).

The word ‘calm’ in this verse is the Hebrew argia and has its root in raga or ‘rest’ or ‘break.’ It also means to ‘quiet’ as with the ‘wink of an eye’ as a parent would ‘wink’ at a child because they have a ‘secret’ understanding between them. The ‘wink’ gives the child ‘rest’ in the moment. The judgment of the Lord will be through His Torah and his nation Isra’el will be quieted, given a break with the ‘wink of His eye.’

An ‘Appointed Time’ for Everything

Though many teach that that the first resurrection of the dead can happen at any moment in time, the voice of the shofar reveals the appointed season for this event – the season of the fall mo’edim or ‘appointed times.’ “on the first day of the seventh month.”

On the ‘first day of the seventh month’ is the ‘appointed time’ for the blowing of shofars or Feast of Trumpets. The blast of the final shofar, the Tekiah Gadolah, will raise the dead and transform the living into eternal spiritual beings.

“For this perishable [mortal] must put on the imperishable [immortality], and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

This ‘first day of the seventh month’ is also known as Rosh Hashanah or the ‘head of the new year.’ This new year is used for counting the yearly reigns of the kings of Isra’el. It follows that if a king is crowned the day before Rosh Hashanah, then the next day, Rosh Hashanah beings their second year of reign. If they are crowned one day after Rosh Hashanah, they have to reign entire 365-day cycle in order to reign one year.

Yeshua, the King of kings, will begin his Millennial reign on Rosh Hashanah. With the sounds of shofars, he will be coronated not just the King of Isra’el, but the King of the whole earth. He will set up his throne in Jerusalem and his kingdom will be the shadow of what Yochanan sees in the heavenly realm.

The throne of Elohim, or the kise hakovod, meaning the ‘seat of the glory’ is encircled by an emerald rainbow. The emerald color suggests an all- encompassing quietness or shalom around the throne. The emerald was the third gem in the breastplate on which was written Levi. Aharon descended from the Tribe of Levi and became the lineage through which the high priests descended. The Levites became the priesthood that served in the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Levi – Levi – לוי

Lamed is a ‘shepherd’s staff’ and means to ‘prod forward’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘to bind together’

Yod is a ‘closed hand and means ‘a finished work’

LeviThose who prod forward and bind together a finished work

The Glory of I AM

In Hebrew, hakavod means ‘the glory.’ The ‘glory’ of Elohim appeared in a cloud and filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It so completely consumed the place that Moshe could not enter until it lifted. At the bottom of Mt. Sinai, the glory of Elohim in the cloud over the mountain looked like a raging fire. Yod hey vav hey tells Moshe that no man can look on His glory and live. Moshe begs Elohim to see His glory. As the glory of yod hey vav hey passes by, Moshe in the crevice of a rock and his eyes are covered by the hand of Elohim (Exodus 33:22).

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

“I am Adonai; that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol” (Isaiah 42:8).

The Hebrew word Shekinah is related to the kavod of Elohim and means the place where the divine presences ‘dwells’ or ‘rests.’ It is a visible manifestation of Elohim that is naturally understood or seen. With this understanding, Yeshua is the Skehinah of the kavod.

“He [Yeshua] is the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

“For the Son of Man will come in his Father’s glory, with his angels …” (Matthew 16:27).

“Now, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5).

In the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Testimony overlaid with pure gold was a shadow of the ‘throne’ of Elohim in the heavenly realm. The area between the two cherubim on the Ark was called the ‘mercy seat.’ It was at this place that the blood for atonement was placed. Within the Ark were the reminders of Elohim’s provision, instructions and priesthood: manna, the stone tablets and Aharon’s rod that budded. It was over the Ark that the cloud of Elohim’s glory remained while the Israelites traveled in the wilderness.

From the throne in the heavenly Tabernacle Elohim’s voice came with thunder and lightning. This can be compared to when Elohim spoke to the Israelites from His throne, they heard thunder and saw lighting.

“And His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it, a voice roars; he thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. “God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:3-5).

“The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice …” (Psalm 18:13).

The One sitting on the throne gleamed like rubies and diamonds. Rubies are known for being a blood-red color. Natural rubies are very rare and have great value, even more than a diamond. King Solomon compares finding an Eshet Chayil, an excellent wife, to be worth far more than rubies. The ruby was the first stone on the second row of the high priest’s breastplate. On this stone was engraved the name Y’hudah (Judah) which means ‘praise.’ It is from the Tribe of Y’hudah that Yeshua was birthed and not only did his ‘red blood’ cleanses the world from sin, but he will return and destroy the enemies of his people and will be wearing a garment soaked in their blood.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Judah – Y’hudahיהודה

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘bind together’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Y’hudah – The finished work revealed and bound to the pathway, revealed

Diamond crystals from carbon that is pressed and squeezed at a high temperature. The crystals have the ability to disperse light of different colors giving it an appearance of white or clarity. In Revelation 21:12, the New Jerusalem has Shekinah of Elohim, its brilliance like that of a diamond. On the breastplate of the high priest, the third stone in the third row is believed to be a diamond. On this stone was engraved the name Gad which means ‘soldier’ or ‘troops’ for the Tribe of Gad. Yeshua will return not as the lowly the ‘Lamb of Elohim,’ but as a ‘raised up’ warrior, the Commander in Chief of Adonai’s armies.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Gad – Gad – גד

Gimel is a ‘camel’ and means ‘to raise or lift up’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Gad – to raise or life up the pathway

“Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing and wearing gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God. In front of the throne was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:4-5).

Surrounding the Throne of Elohim were 24 thrones. Because 24 is a multiple of 12, the idea of the perfectly established government is symbolized. Twenty-four symbolizes the priesthood. King David created 24 divisions of Levites from the clans of Eleazer and Itamar, the sons of Aharon, that determined when each clan would serve at the Temple. Each division had chief or leader making 24 priestly leaders.

“The first lot drawn was for Y’hoyariv, the second for Y’da‘yah, the third for Harim, the fourth for S‘orim, the fifth for Malkiyah, the sixth for Miyamin, the seventh for Hakotz, the eighth for Aviyah, the ninth for Yeshua, the tenth for Sh’khanyahu, the eleventh for Elyashiv, the twelfth for Yakim, the thirteenth for Hupah, the fourteenth for Yeshev’av,  the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for HaPitzetz the nineteenth for P’tachyah, the twentieth for Yechezk’el, the twenty-first for Yakhin, the twenty-second for Gamul, the twenty-third for D’layahu, and the twenty-fourth for Ma‘azyahu” (1 Chronicles 24:7-18).

On the 24 thrones were 24 elders. In the Hebrew the same word zaqen means ‘elder’ as ‘beard.’ The Jews considered a full, flowing beard a sign of honor and dignity. Though a young man may have a beard because of the Levitical command not to trim the corners of the beard, he would not be considered ‘elder’ or ‘of greater age’ with the life experience and wisdom that comes from having a gray or even white beard. The 24 elders around the throne of Elohim are the elders from a priesthood created by Elohim who hold to wisdom that lasts through the ages.

“Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old; you are to fear your God; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:32).

The 24 elders wear white clothing and have gold crowns. Because the Levites wore white to serve in the Tabernacle, it is my belief that these 24 elders are the leaders of the Levitical priesthood who now serve in the Heavenly Tabernacle. Some suggest the 24 elders are the 12 sons of Ya’akov who became the Tribal leaders of Israel along with the 12 disciples. Though these may be valued interpretations, the only two from either group who had any connection to the priesthood are Levi and perhaps Matthew.

I lean toward the 24 elders being Levite priests for a couple of reasons. First, there were 24 Levite men from the Aharonic line who carried the Ark of the Testimony (4), the Table of Presence (2), the Altar of Incense (2), the Altar of Sacrifice (8), the Bronze Laver (4), the Golden Menorah (2) and all of the associated utensils (2) when transporting the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Everything in the Most Holy Place had to be ‘hidden’ under blue cloth.

Second, I believe the 24 elders were Levitical priests is because through Pinchas (Phineas) the covenant of the priesthood was made with Aharon and his descendants forever. The Hebrew word olam means ‘forever, eternal and permanently.’ There is no suggestion that Elohim’s covenant of shalom would end with the death and resurrection of Yeshua. That would not be an eternal covenant. Also, the prophet Malachi states that Elohim will purify the Levites like gold and silver so they can serve Him righteously. These 24 elders may be the evidence of the fire that refined the Levitical line through Pinchas.

“Adonai said to Moshe, “Pinchas the son of El‘azar, the son of Aharon the cohen, has deflected my anger from the people of Isra’el by being as zealous as I am, so that I didn’t destroy them in my own zeal. Therefore say, ‘I am giving him my covenant of shalom,  making a covenant with him and his descendants after him that the office of cohen will be theirs forever.’ This is because he was zealous on behalf of his God and made atonement for the people of Isra’el” (Numbers 25:10-13).

“He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly” (Malachi 3:3).

The 24 elders wear golden crowns which is a part of the priestly garments as well as kingly garments. These Crowns symbolize the victory, honor and the power given to these elders to rule and reign with the King of Kings in the heavenly realm.

According to the prophet Zechariah, a ‘crown’ or atarah will become a reminder in the Temple of “the man” who builds the Temple. He calls him a Branch or netzer in Hebrew. From the word netzer comes the word ‘Nazareth.’ This ‘man of Nazareth’ will be a priest on the throne bringing the counsel of shalom between the two offices of priest and king creating a royal priesthood (Zechariah 6:12-16, Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Crown – atarah – עטרה

Ayin is ‘eye’ and means ‘to see or look’

Tet is a ‘snake’ and means ‘twisting’

Resh is ‘head’ and means ‘head’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Atarahlook at the twisting on the head to reveal

Hebrew Word Pictures

Ark (of the Testimony) – aron – ארון

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first’

Resh is a ‘head’ and means ‘head’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Aronthe first head binding to life

Before the throne of Elohim were seven flaming torches. They are described as being the seven-fold Spirit of Elohim. Ezekiel saw something that looked like fiery coals burning like torches. The fire flashing from the coals was brilliant. Isaiah says that one of the creatures he saw brought him a glowing coal taken with the tongs from the altar. Taken together these imageries allude to the Altar of Incense in the Most Holy Place.

The Altar of Incense is the one on which Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aharon, offered ‘strange fire’ and immediately died. This Altar is where Zechariah received word that he would have a son (Luke 1:11). From this Altar, the seraphim brought a coal and touched it to Isaiah’s lips.

The imagery of the Ark of the Testimony and the Altar of Incense become the evidence that Yochanan is standing in the heavenly Tabernacle in the presence of the glorified Yeshua.

“With them [the creatures] was something that looked like fiery coals burning the way torches do, with the fire flashing here and there between the living creatures; the fire had a brilliance, and out of the fire went lightning” (Ezekiel 1:13).

“One of the s’rafim flew to me with a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar” (Isaiah 6:13).

“His face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult” (Daniel 10:6). 

Before the throne in heaven was a ‘sea of glass’ that looks like crystal. The Greek word for ‘glass’ in this verse is hualos and means ‘a clear transparent stone.’ This word is used twice to describe the brilliance of the New Jerusalem and the river of life flowing from the ‘throne’ of Elohim.

The word ‘sea’ is used two other times in Revelation that give the meaning of the ‘sea.’ The Beast comes up out of the ‘sea’ or comes from one of the nations, peoples and languages. At this time in the vision, the ‘sea’ of nations is calm and transparent. As the events in Revelation occur, the ‘sea of glass’ becomes mixed with ‘fire’ suggesting the nations, peoples and languages are tested with fire.

“In the center, around the throne, were four living beings covered with eyes in front and behind. The first living being was like a lion, the second living being was like an ox, the third living being had a face that looked human, and the fourth living being was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living beings had six wings and was covered with eyes inside and out; and day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is Adonai, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!” (Revelation 4:6-8).

Yochanan isn’t the first to witness the the worship around the throne of Elohim. The prophet Isaiah saw Elohim sitting on a high and lofty throne. The hem of his garment filled the Temple. Seraphim with six wings cried out to each other about the holiness of Adonai-Tzva’ot – the God of the Heaven’s armies. Isaiah hears the voice of Elohim ask him, “Who will go for us?” He responds, “Send me” (Isaiah 1:1-8).

The prophet Ezekiel witnessed a windy storm approaching as a huge cloud with flashing fire, glowing with the color of amber. Inside the cloud were four living creatures that looked like human beings, but each had four faces: a human face in front, a lion’s face on the right, a bull’s face on the left and an eagle’s face in the rear. Each had four wings, calf-like hooves, and glittered like burnished bronze. They moved in whichever direction the Spirit moved (Ezekiel 1:4-13).

His vision of the beings included more details about their movement by the Spirit using something that looked like a wheel within a wheel. The rims of the wheels had eyes all around. The beings had four wings and the sound of their wings was like rushing water, the voice of Elohim, the noise of an enormous army. When he saw the glory of Elohim as a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, he fell on his face and heard the voice of someone speaking.

The voice of ‘rushing water’ is the same sound that Yochanan heard when Yeshua came to him at the beginning of the vision. Hearing a voice that sounded like ‘rushing water’ says that both Isaiah and Ezekiel were in the presence of Yeshua before he left the heavenly realm to become human. By responding to the voice, each prophet had a conversation with the Word in the Flesh.

Both Yochanan and Ezekiel see the beings as having eyes. In Hebrew the word for ‘eyes’ is ayin and one of the letters of the alphabet.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Eyes – ayin’im – עיניים

Ayin is ‘eyes’ and means ‘to see or search out’

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Yod, Yod is a double ‘closed hand’ stressing the work is finished

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’

Ayin’imto see or search out the finished work of life, the mighty finished work

Having so many eyes obviously symbolizes Elohim as being the One who sees and tests everything. He watches over the righteous and discerns between good and evil.

“Adonai is in his holy temple. Adonai, his throne is in heaven. His eyes see and test humankind” (Psalm 11:4).

“The eyes of Adonai watch over the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

“But Adonai’s eyes watch over those who fear him, over those who wait for his grace to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19).

“The eyes of Adonai are everywhere, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

The word ayin also has a relative word mayin meaning ‘fountain.’ From the eyes come the fountain of life. When one is alive there is a light of life in the eye, when they pass away that light goes out.

“Look, and answer me, Adonai my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death” (Psalm 13:3).

Eyes are also related to one’s character.

“The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness.If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-34).

Having ‘lowly eyes’ means ‘humility’ (Job 22:39). Both Isaiah and Ezekiel saw creatures that covered their eyes with their wings – an even deeper sign of their humility. Like Isaiah’s creatures, the ones in Yochanan’s vision sang, “Holy, holy, holy is Adonai, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!”

The creatures cry out about the holiness of Elohim. Worshipping the ‘God of heaven’s armies’ suggests that this vision is not about redemption but the coming judgment. Even with His coming wrath on the whole world, His holiness remains. Just as there cannot be grace without Torah, there cannot be wrath without holiness.

In Greek, the word ‘holy’ is agiazo and means ‘sanctified.’ Sacred comes from this agiazo. Those believers who are being sanctified are saints. Sanctification is not given at the time of justification, it is a lifelong process of choosing to obeying the commandments of Elohim. Yeshua asks his Father to ‘sanctify’ his people through the Truth which is His Word.

In Hebrew, the word ‘holy’ is kadosh, but doesn’t actually mean ‘holy.’ It means ‘separated,’ specifically ‘separated from whatever is common.’ Elohim – the yod hey vav hey is not like any other god; there are NO gods before Him. He is the One who is sits high on a lofty throne. He is the One who created heaven and earth in six days and separated the seventh day out and called it ‘holy.’ He is the only One who determines what is righteous or what is wicked. He is the only One who determines what is clean and what is unclean. He is the only One who is deserving of our praise and worship He is like none other.

“For you, Adonai, most high over all the earth, you are exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9).

“I know that Adonai is great, that our Lord is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Holy – kadosh – קדוש

Qof is the ‘back of the head’ and means ‘what is behind’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘bind together’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consume’ or ‘the divine presence’

Kadosh – what is behind the pathway of the nails that bind the divine presence

The Four Creatures

These four creatures obviously represent Yeshua, but most interpret them with symbolism with his royal lineage, his humanity, his redemption through sacrifice, and his divine nature.  When looking at the ‘shadow’ of the Tabernacle on earth, each of these creatures were the tribal emblems of the lead Tribes of Isra’el when the Israelites trekked through the wilderness and set up camp.  These creatures also sing “Holy, holy, holy” to the One who is coming as the God of heaven’s armies suggesting the four creatures are proclaiming part of the vision of the coming Kingdom.

The Lion

The first creature has the face of a lion. According to Ya’akov’s blessing to Y’hudah, the lion will hold a scepter and a ruler’s staff which is evidence to his royal linage.  The lion became the symbol for the Tribe of Y’hudah when the Israelites traveled through the wilderness. 

“Y’hudah is a lion’s cub; my son, you stand over the prey. He crouches down and stretches like a lion; like a lioness, who dares to provoke him.  The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs, until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs; and it is he whom the peoples will obey” (Genesis 49:9-10). 

Also from this blessing came the prophetic hope that the Deliverer of Isra’el will act as a lion.  The Lion of Y’hudah is the Commander of the Armies of Elohim who will return to Jerusalem wearing a robe soaked in the blood of Isra’el’s enemies (Revelation 19:13).  The Lion of Y’hudah  is given the ‘right’ to open the seven seals of the scroll. The Lion of Y’hudah is Yeshua.

“One of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah, the Root of David, has won the right to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Y’hudah  had two other tribes under their banner: Issachar and Zebulun.  It was these tribes that would be the first line of defense against their enemies. 

“So they set out on their first journey, in keeping with Adonai’s order through Moshe. In the lead was the banner of the camp of the descendants of Y’hudah, whose companies moved forward; over his company was Nachshon the son of ‘Amminadav. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Yissakhar was N’tan’el the son of Tzu‘ar. Over the company of the descendants of Z’vulun was Eli’av the son of Helon” (Numbers 10:13-15). 

The Human Face

The Human Face became the symbol for the Tribe of Reuben. Reuben was the firstfruit of Isra’el’s flesh. Reuben was the firstborn son of Ya’akov through Leah. His name means ‘son of my sight,’ for the Lord saw Leah’s misery and gave her a son who would become a brother among many sons. As the firstborn, he became the head of the family who would receive the firstborn blessing. Unfortunately, he sinned against his father committed adultery with his father’s concubine and lost the firstborn blessing. The firstborn blessing went from Reuben to Yosef.

“Re’uven, you are my firstborn, my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood. Though superior in vigor and power you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end, because you climbed into your father’s bed and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!” (Genesis 49:3-4).

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Reuben had two other tribes under his banner: Simeon and Gad.  These tribes guarded the Tabernacle in the front as the Israelites traveled in the wilderness.

“The banner of the camp of Re’uven moved forward by companies; over his company was Elitzur the son of Sh’de’ur. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Shim‘on was Shlumi’el the son of Tzurishaddai. Over the company of the descendants of Gad was Elyasaf the son of De’u’el” (Numbers 10:18-20). 

Yeshua was the firstborn of Elohim, the visible image of the invisible Elohim. He had flesh and blood which was beaten, bruised and bled when he was on the cross. As a brother among brothers, he is the head of the family of God, he holds first place in all things. He was also the firstfruits of those raised from the dead. When his disciples saw him, they believed they saw a ghost, but he had them look at his hands and feet and see his ‘resurrected’ flesh. Reuben’s banner held the Human Face of Isra’el’s Deliverer, Yeshua.

Look at my hands and my feet — it is I, myself! Touch me and see — a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I do” (Luke 24:39).

“Because those whom he [God] knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).

“Also he is head of the Body, the Messianic Community — he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).

The Ox

The Ox became the symbol of the Tribe of Ephraim.  The Hebrew word for ‘ox’ is alef and is the first letter of the alphabet and means ‘first and strong.’  When Ya’akov was reunited with his son Yosef in Egypt, he blessed his two grandsonsons Manasseh and Ephraim saying Ephraim would become a great nation. 

“When Yosef saw that his father was laying his right hand on Efrayim’s head, it displeased him, and he lifted up his father’s hand to remove it from Efrayim’s head and place it instead on M’nasheh’s head. Yosef said to his father, “Don’t do it that way, my father; for this one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know that, my son, I know it. He too will become a people, and he too will be great; nevertheless his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will grow into many nations” (Genesis 38:17-19). 

Ephraim came Yoshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. It was in the tribal land of Ephraim where Ya’akov saw the angels ascending and descending the stairway in Beit-el.  And, Ephraim was called the firstborn son of Elohim.  However, Ephraim fell away from a pure worship of Elohim into paganism (Judges 17) and lost his place in the end times list of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.   

“They will come weeping and praying as I bring them back. I will lead them by streams of water on smooth paths, so that they won’t stumble. For I am a father to Isra’el, and Efrayim is my firstborn son” (Jeremiah 31:8). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Ephraim had two other tribes under their banner: Manasseh and Benjamim.  These tribes immediately followed the Tabernacle as it traveled with the Israelites. From this prophetic vision, it seems that Ephraim will be restored because of his position in the heavenly Tabernacle. 

“The banner of the camp of the descendants of Efrayim moved forward by companies; over his company was Elishama the son of ‘Ammihud. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of M’nasheh was Gamli’el the son of P’dahtzur. Over the company of the descendants of Binyamin was Avidan the son of Gid’oni” (Numbers 10:22-24). 

Yeshua is the ‘first and strength’ of Elohim, the alef of the alef and the tav.  Hewill be the One who restores Ephraim.  He will bring Ephraim back into Isra’el  by “streams of water and smooth paths.”  

The Eagle

“Dan will judge his people as one of the tribes of Isra’el. Dan will be a viper on the road, a horned snake in the path that bites the horse’s heels so its rider falls off backward.  I wait for your deliverance, Adonai” (Genesis 49:16-18). 

Ya’akov’s blessing over Dan seems to be backhanded.  Though he will be a judge of Isra’el, he is also called a ‘horned snake” that “bites the heels of the horse so its rider falls off backward.”

This ‘horned snake’ alludes to Dan’s falling away from a pure worship of Elohim.  According to Judges 18, the people of Dan worshipped the same idols that Micah of Ephraim created. And, like Ephraim, Dan is not listed in the 12 Tribes in Revelation 5:7-8.  

“The people of Dan set up the image for themselves. Y’honatan the son of Gershom, the son of M’nasheh, and his sons were cohanim for the tribe of the people of Dan until the day of the exile from the land. Thus they erected for themselves Mikhah’s idol which he had made, and it remained there as long as the house of God was in Shiloh” (Judges 18:30-31).

The Hebrew word for ‘judge’ is shaphat and means “to pronounce sentence by either vindicating or punishing the accused.” It appears that through Dan Elohim will judge His people and their idolatry. They will not be vindicated, but punished. The prophet Jeremiah gives a little more insight to Dan and the horses.

“From Dan can be heard the snorting of his horses; when his stallions neigh, the whole land trembles. For they come devouring the land and all in it, the city and those who dwell there. “Yes, now I am sending snakes among you, vipers that no one can charm, and they will bite you,” says Adonai” (Jeremiah 18:16-18).

The Hebrew word akal is ‘devour’ and means to ‘slay with a sword.’  In the words of Jeremiah, Elohim sends ‘snakes’ that will ‘bite’ and ‘devour’ the whole land.  When the land is ‘devoured,’ it will be left desolate.  This could also be a reminder to Isra’el about their rebllion in the wilderness when ‘fiery serpents’ bit and killed many of the people.

“Your land is desolate, your cities are burned to the ground; foreigners devour your land in your presence; it’s as desolate as if overwhelmed by floods. The daughter of Tziyon is left like a shack in a vineyard, like a shed in a cucumber field, like a city under siege” (Isaiah 1:7-8).

“In response, Adonai sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit the people, and many of Isra’el’s people died” (Numbers 21:6).

Though the banner of Dan is generally believed to be a snake to represent the ‘horned snake’ or a ‘set of scales’ to symbolize being a judge, it seems from the tribal symbolism of the four creatures,  the eagle represents Dan in the heavenly Tabernacle. The eagle is often symbol of the divine Spirit of Elohim.  As the eagle, Dan is restored to ‘life’ by the Spirit in order to warn the nations on earth about the coming judgment.  It is also possible that after slaying his own people, he will be given the honor of ‘flying’ them to a place in the desert where they will be protected from the final three shofar judgments (Revelation 8:13). 

“Then I looked, and I heard a lone eagle give a loud cry, as it flew in mid-heaven, “Woe! Woe! Woe to the people living on earth, because of the remaining blasts from the three angels who have yet to sound their shofars!” (Revelation 8:13).

“But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where she is taken care of for a season and two seasons and half a season, away from the serpent’s presence” (Revelation 12:14). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Dan had two tribes under their banner: Asher and Naftali.  These tribes made up the rear-guard tribes as the Israelites traveled with the Tabernacle through the wilderness. They also camped on the north to the rear of the Tabernacle.

“The banner of the camp of the descendants of Dan, forming the rearguard for all the camps, moved forward by companies; over his company was Achi‘ezer the son of ‘Ammishaddai. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Asher was Pag‘i’el the son of ‘Okhran. Over the company of the descendants of Naftali was Achira the son of ‘Enan” (Numbers 10:25-27). 

“And whenever the living beings give glory, honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne, to the One who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the One sitting on the throne, who lives forever and ever, and worship him. They throw their crowns in front of the throne and say, “You are worthy, Adonai Eloheinu, to have glory, honor and power, because you created all things — yes, because of your will they were created and came into being!” (Revelation 4:7-11).

The living beings, the faces of the Tribes of Isra’el give glory, honor and thanks to the One on the throne. The 24 leaders of the Levitical priesthood fall down before the One on the throne and worship Him. They place their golden crowns in front of the throne and laud the One who created all things, who brought all things into being including what is going to happen in the next chapters of Revelation.

In Exodus 3:15, the One on the throne gives His memorial character to Moshe. He calls himself Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the ‘I Am’. As Sha’ul states, “in him [in his being] we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is not a name, but a state of being in the present, the essence of who Elohim is and the expression of His existence.  He cannot give Moshe a finite name because Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is infinite and a difficult reality to comprehend.  Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is telling Moshe that He can be whatever Moshe needs Him to be; whenever he needs Him to be, wherever he needs Him to be and so much more.  No matter what happens in Egypt, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh will be present, seen and available.  

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the essence of Elohim can be the King of Salem,  a visitor with Avraham, an angel who wrestles Jacob, the commander of Elohim’s army, a smoking pot, a fire in a bush, a dove, a whirlwind, a Rock, a pillar of fire, a cloud or even parts of Himself – His right hand, His finger which writes, and His mighty arm which saves.  He can even become flesh in the body and person of Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

‘I Am’ – Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – אהיהאשׁראהיה

YHVH yod hey vav hey – יהוה

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

yod hey vav heythe finished work revealed in the binding [of nails], revealed

“A spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a very loud sound — blessed be the glory of Adonai from his place!” (Ezekiel 3:12).

Revelation 5 – The Scroll

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