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  • Another question about Revelation

    Who are the 4 living creatures with many eyes that occur throughout the book of Revelations?

  • #2
    They are the cherubim, who comprise and surround God's throne.

    Read: Numbers 7:89, 1 Samuel 4:4, 2 Samuel 6:2, 2 Samuel 22:10-12, 2 Kings 19:15, 1 Chronicles 13:6, Ezekiel 1 (especially 1:22-28), Ezekiel 9:3, Ezekiel 10 (especially 10:20).

    The cherubim of Ezekiel and the four living creatures of the Revelation are the same beings. And given the similarities between the descriptions of them in Ezekiel and the Revelation and the seraphim of Isaiah, it is possible that the cherubim and the seraphim are the same beings.
    To This Day

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    • #3


      What MarkEdward said.
      ----------------------------------------------
      When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

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      • #4
        But if that's the case, how am I to interpret this?

        Rev. 4:8,9 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creaturesand the twenty-four elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation

        We know that the Lord did not die to redeem angels, so if these are angels, why are they praising Jesus for redeeming them?

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        • #5
          First: I think you're quoting from chapter 5, not chapter 4.

          Second: What Bible translation are you using?

          Your version:

          Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creaturesand the twenty-four elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation
          NIV, 5:7-10

          He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
          This shows both the living creatures and the elders falling down to worship. But the sentence about the harps and bowls of incense appears, to me at least, to be attributed to the elders alone, and the song they sang does not say anything about "you redeemed us". No instance of the word "us" is found here, so neither the living creatures nor the elders were claiming that they were redeemed by Christ; on the contrary, they (the NIV) use the word "them" and "they". Let me see if I can do some research.

          (And, just in case you were intending to quote from chapter 4, nothing along the lines of what you quoted is found in that chapter either.)
          To This Day

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          • #6
            Originally posted by markedward View Post
            First: I think you're quoting from chapter 5, not chapter 4.
            You're right. Sorry about that!

            Second: What Bible translation are you using? It doesn't appear that you quoted the whole of those two verses.

            Your version:

            NIV, 5:7-10

            This shows both the living creatures and the elders falling down to worship. But the sentence about the harps and bowls of incense appears, to me at least, to be attributed to the elders alone, and the song they sang does not say anything about "you redeemed us". No instance of the word "us" is found here, so neither the living creatures nor the elders were claiming that they were redeemed by Christ.
            I was originally quoting from the New King James version, which does use the phrase You redeemed us. After reading your version, though, I looked it up in the NRSV, and it reads like this:

            ....by Your blood You ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation.....

            So, then, it appears that the NKJV is the only one where the word us appears. Why would that be? I'm confused, because the NKJV is pretty reliable. If these are cherubim around the throne, why would they interpret the passage in this way? Did the translators believe that they were creatures other than angels?

            It seems like this would really throw the interpretation off.

            (And, just in case you were intending to quote from chapter 4, nothing along the lines of what you quoted is found in that chapter either.)
            Well, obviously, I made a mistake and put chpt. 4 instead of chpt. 5. Sorry about that!

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            • #7
              Hm: in searching the Greek, the words used are heimas and hemon, both of which mean "us, we, our". I did some checking between translations, and the word "us" does appear in more than just the KJV - I noticed "us" was used in the older translations. Older commentaries also quote it with the word "us".

              So it appears that your version may be the more accurate one. In such a case, I would thus apply the "you have redeemed us" to the 24 elders only, not the four living creatures. If we take into account the entire Bible, then the four living creatures, which are the cherubim, have been around since the time of Adam and Eve. Having faithfully served God for thousands of years, and the fact that Paul says Jesus' sacrifice was for fallen man and not the heavenly host, we should only attribute the "we" and "us" in the song to the 24 elders, rather than the cherubim.

              Or perhaps they, both the cherubim and the 24 elders, were simply singing praises to God on the behalf of redeemed mankind?
              To This Day

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              • #8
                Thank you for that.

                It seems to make more sense that the creatures would be singing on behalf of mankind, as the text clearly says that these creatures as well as the elders all sang this song. Is there any other passage in Scripture where an angel speaks on behalf of a person, or group of people?

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                • #9
                  Aha, I think I found an answer to our dilemma.

                  The use of the word "us" in Revelation 5:9,10 and "we" in verse 10 are found only in the King James Version of 1611. When the King James Version was translated only a small number of printed Greek texts were available to the translators. They include the 1567 edition of Theodore Beza and the third edition of Stephanus which was printed in 1550. These editions were the primary texts for the well known "Textus Receptus" which was actually printed in 1633 and was the dominant Greek text until the nineteenth century. Since that time, older and more textually credible Greek manuscripts than the ones available to Stephanus and Beza have been found. Two well-attested and authoritative uncial manuscripts [Sinaiticus, circa AD 350] and Alexandrinus [circa AD 375] are among these finds. The United Bible Society's fourth edition of the Greek New Testament corrects the readings of the Beza and Stephanus editions [and later, the Textus Receptus]. The following is the corrected translation based on these more accurate texts:
                  And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou was slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (NASB)
                  In A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament, Dr. Bruce M. Metzger explains the evidence for the change from the use of "us" and "we" found in the Greek texts used by the King James translators to "them" and "they" found in the fourth edition of the Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Society. Therefore, the translation of Revelation 5:9,10 as quoted above from the New American Standard Bible is the preferred translation.
                  It seems that the word "us" and "we" is found in the Greek, but apparently only in the Textus Receptus, the small set of manuscripts used for the KJV and the other older translations (as I pointed out before). But the usage of older Greek manuscripts show the usage of the words "men" and "them" and "they" in the text. So perhaps the translations that use "them" and "they" (as in the NIV) are the more accurate translations. (The Textus Receptus is known for at least a few other translational blunders, particularly in the Revelation.)
                  Last edited by markedward; Oct 12th 2008, 05:16 AM. Reason: [Grammar.]
                  To This Day

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                  • #10
                    GREAT!!!!

                    You are a wealth of information. Many thanks

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Welder4Christ View Post
                      But if that's the case, how am I to interpret this?

                      Rev. 4:8,9 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creaturesand the twenty-four elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation

                      We know that the Lord did not die to redeem angels, so if these are angels, why are they praising Jesus for redeeming them?
                      That is a mistranslation by the KJV. Try the NIV or some other more recent translation.

                      Here's the TNIV - Revelation 5:9-10 - "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
                      ----------------------------------------------
                      When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

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                      • #12
                        Oh, I see MarkEdward already beat me to it - and did a much more thorough job too. Thanks, Mark.
                        ----------------------------------------------
                        When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Welder4Christ View Post
                          So, then, it appears that the NKJV is the only one where the word us appears. Why would that be? I'm confused, because the NKJV is pretty reliable. If these are cherubim around the throne, why would they interpret the passage in this way? Did the translators believe that they were creatures other than angels?
                          The NKJV/KJV is actually one of the worst english translations now available. The NIV is a good dynamic translation, but not very literal. The most reliable literal translations now available are the NASB and the ESV.

                          Neither the NASB nor the ESV have the 'us' there, which probably indicates it is not in the Greek, but I don't have my copy of the critcal greek text with me, so I can't check right now. I would suspect, however, there is a varient reading in the Textus Recptus that contains 'us' from which comes the error in the KJV line of translations.

                          This error would probably result from adapting this passage to be read aloud in a service. That is, people would sing that poem or song, and substitute us for the saints, because they were the saints. It would be easy, then, for such a substitution to slip into a copy by a monk who was thinking of the ligurical adaptation.

                          Like I said, this is a guess, because I don't have my critical text with me, but I can check later if it really interests you. As it is, I would be fairly confident there is an error in TR, as that manuscript often has such mistakes, and is a major reason for the disuse of the KJV.
                          "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Mahatma Gandhi

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                          • #14
                            Dear Welder4Christ - We see them in Revelation 4:6 as the four beasts in the very midst of the throne with Jesus. Possibly a better description of these four beasts was given by the prophet Ezekiel when he described them as four living creatures in his view of the future. These four living creatures and the twenty-four elders are what we call the very bride that are ruling and reigning with Christ. They are present at the very first with Him as Jesus takes His throne and carry out the things we will see in much of the remainder of Revelation. One last bit of information though is very important to realizing who these two groups are is in Revelation 5:8-10. Especially note that they are redeemed, are priests and kings, and from every nation. 8 "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."

                            Now there are those who object to the words of the four beasts and the four and twenty elders in Revelation 5:9 referring to themselves as being redeemed, because some versions state that they are referring to others as being redeemed. I have to ask what an elder is if that be the case? Some sort of elder angel? A Bible is translated in the opinion of the translators when something can be interpreted in more than one way. For instance the JW's translate John 1:1 referring to Jesus, The word was a god." How in the world do they do that? Not knowing the plan of God for that scripture. Now I'm not trying to compare Christian translations with JW's. If the four and twenty elders are singing a new song about the redeemed, are they just observers or experiencing it?
                            Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chimon View Post
                              This error would probably result from adapting this passage to be read aloud in a service. That is, people would sing that poem or song, and substitute us for the saints, because they were the saints. It would be easy, then, for such a substitution to slip into a copy by a monk who was thinking of the ligurical adaptation.

                              Like I said, this is a guess, because I don't have my critical text with me, but I can check later if it really interests you. As it is, I would be fairly confident there is an error in TR, as that manuscript often has such mistakes, and is a major reason for the disuse of the KJV.
                              This is good info....especially the explanation about the reading aloud during the service. This really explains a lot. Thank you so much!!!!

                              One other question....why does John use the term living creatures? Are these angels who have physical bodies, who are alive physically, or are these spiritual beings? The fact that Genesis uses the term living creatures to describe physical beings who are created in the physical realm, yet angels were created in and for the spiritual realm. Could someone please clear up this anomaly?

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