Supernatural Significance of the Number 4 in Heavenly Worship
“The four living creatures had six wings each, and they were covered with eyes all around. All day and night, without ceasing, they were saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come'” (Rev. 4:8).
In Scripture, the number four is a number for “whole,” such as when the “four corners of the earth” speaks of the whole earth. Because man was created on the sixth day, six is usually the number of man. Later we will see how the “man of sin,” who personifies the sin of man, has the number 666, or three sixes. This is a revelation of how the sin of man in its full maturity seeks to displace the worship of the Trinity with the worship of man. This is the ultimate maturing of humanism.
These four living beings are a prophetic metaphor of mankind as it is before the throne of God. With “eyes all around” we have been given a magnificent ability to see. The wings speak of the ability to soar above the earth. Even though these remarkable abilities of mankind are now marred and distorted because of the corruption of the fall, God gave these abilities to man. He put it in us to want to see, understand and explore things around us and in us. We also have a constant yearning to reach for the heavens. These are from God, and when mankind is restored and again abiding in His presence, they will be perfected.
The way that these attributes will be perfected is declared by these beings in this text—worshipping the Holy One by seeing His holiness, and seeing Him in our past, our present, and our future. This is to see Him as the ultimate understanding of everything. Once we see Him on His throne, we will not continue to worship the creation but only the blessed Creator. When we have a right relationship to God, we can then have a proper relationship to the creation, including to ourselves. Then we will, like the four living beings, be captivated night and day by our awesome, holy God.
We are created for God’s pleasure. Therefore, there is nothing that can be more fulfilling to us than doing the things that bring pleasure to God. This begins with loving Him. If we do this as we should, we will also love all others and will love the creation. “God so loved the world” not just mankind. As we see in Revelation 11:18, the Lord will “destroy those who destroy the earth.” Those who wantonly destroy the creation have lost the essence of who they were created to be.
As we grow in our love for God, we also grow in our love for all that He loves, and we will not needlessly destroy or mar what He loves. The first command given to man was to take care of the garden. This too is part of the purpose of mankind. As we are restored to who we are created to be, our care for the creation will grow with our love for the Creator.
Every love, or devotion, that mankind has will be distorted if we do not abide in the Lord. Although some things are distorted by fallen men, this does not mean that we avoid them. Rather, we must endeavor to do them in the right spirit with excellence that comes from being changed by the glory of the Lord and living in His presence.
He is declared to be the one “who was, and is, and is to come.” To know Him, we must see Him in all three. We come to know Him as the Creator who “emptied Himself” to become a man and live on earth among men to make the propitiation sacrifice for the world. He is no longer Jesus of Nazareth but is the Lord of Glory, sitting on His throne at the right hand of the Father. That is how we know Him now, but we must also know Him as He will be—the King of kings who will come again with His hosts to restore the earth. We will expand upon all of this as we continue our study of the awesome Revelation.
Rick Joyner is founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries. Rick is president of The Oak Initiative, an interdenominational movement that mobilizes Christians to engage in the great issues of our time. He has authored more than 40 books, including The Final Quest Trilogy, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, and A New America. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna Jane, Aaryn, Amber, Ben and Sam.