The first living creature was like a lion. The second living creature was like an ox. The third living creature had a face like a human being. And the fourth living creature was like an eagle in flight.
The last book of the Bible can be understood as primarily a Revelation of Jesus Christ’s identity and character. So a Christicentric reading of today’s text will recognise the four facets of Jesus’ nature embedded therein. No wonder some see a striking similarity between the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus and the four living animals encircling the heavenly throne. The four forms represent whatever is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in nature. Thus, the Gospels portray Jesus as the promised King, the Lion of Judah (see Mat 2:2, 27:11). He reigns supreme over the perilous realm of spiritual rulers, principalities and powers. Then the Evangelists also portray the Son as the diligent Servant, with ox-like strength and devotion to duty (see John 4:34, 5:17, Mat 20:28). Thirdly, Jesus is depicted as the Son of Man, who possesses superior wisdom and identifies with humanity’s plight (see Lu 2:52; 4:36, Jo 7:46). Just as man is the crown of God’s creation as well as His image and likeness, Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Fourthly, our Saviour is portrayed as the One from Above, with an eagle-like vision of the world (see John 3:31; 8:23). In this sense therefore, the Throne of Grace is all about Jesus. As we approach it we encounter the presence and personality of the Son of God. We cannot know the Father without encountering His Son. He’s still the Way, Truth and Life (Jo 14:6).