The Seraphim

“In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the centre and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the One who always was, who is, and who is still to come.””
‭Revelation‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NLT

John saw, in his vision, four living beings. He couldn’t really work out what they were but he managed to find enough similarities to associate them with earthly creatures. He could see features he identified with a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle. But there the similarities ended. 

We must pause for a moment, to reflect on what is really happening. God graciously gave John a glimpse through a door into Heaven, which is a place we will only be eligible to enter once we have left our earthly lives. It’s perhaps a place we can consider as being like a parallel universe from a science fiction novel, but, most importantly, it has a spiritual basis, which provides us with quite a few ideas about Heaven. So John was seeing a spiritual environment, a world if you like, through a human, earth-bound, lens. A bit like a translator hearing someone speak one language, and then translating it to another. The translation can be straightforward while on familiar and simple linguistic grounds, but the translator will start to struggle when ideas or strange concepts are needing to be communicated.

So, bearing that in mind, we have four living beings. Two Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel and Isaiah, also had a glimpse of them. We read in Ezekiel 1:10-12, “Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.” And in Isaiah 6:2, “Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.” So these living beings were perhaps angels, the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision, with a special job to do. They were, in this glimpse, leading Heaven in the worship of God and His Son Jesus. 

What do we pilgrims make of all this? I suppose we can only continue to marvel as we try to get our human minds around the Heavenly vision. But one thing we mustn’t do is to discard these verses and ignore or reject them as being irrelevant. They are are included in the Bible for a reason. And one day what that is will be revealed.

Dear Heavenly Father. As we unfold these pages in Revelation, we pray that You help us understand what is there. We thank You for Your love and care, helping us in our daily walk towards our Heavenly home. Amen.