The Connection Between Ezekiel’s Cherubim and Revelation’s Four Living Creatures

The Biblical books of Ezekiel and Revelation present fascinating visions that have captivated people for centuries. Among the most intriguing of these visions are the creatures described by Ezekiel as cherubim and by John in Revelation as the four living creatures. This article delves into the identities of these beings, exploring their descriptions, roles, and the intriguing question of whether they are the same one.

Who are the Cherubim in Ezekiel?

In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet provides a detailed account of his visions of Cherubim. Ezekiel’s description paints them as creatures of awe-inspiring appearance, each with four faces—that of a human, a lion, an ox, and an eagle—and equipped with wings and wheels.

Ezekiel’s first vision of the Cherubim

Ezekiel’s second vision of Cherubim

The Prophet emphasizes that the four living creatures he saw by the river Chebar in the first vision are the same as the cherubim he saw in the second vision. This fact on the part of the Prophet indicates that the four living creatures we read about in the Book of Ezekiel are Cherubim.

Characteristics of Cherubim from Ezekiel 1 and 10

  • 1. They have four wings (Ezekiel 1:6; Ezekiel 10:21).
  • 2. Each of Cherubim have four faces: a man, lion, ox, or Cherub and eagle (Ezekiel 1:10; Ezekiel 10: 14).
  • 3. They are full of eyes all around (Ezekiel 10:12).
  • 4. They seem to have a humanlike form and a man’s hand (Ezekiel 1:5; Ezekiel 10: 8)
  • 5. They are under the throne of God holding it up (Ezekiel 10:1).
  • 6. The Cherubim are also called four living creatures (Ezekiel 1:5; Ezekiel 10:20).

Who are the “Four Living Creatures” in Revelation?

Even though apostle John had recorded several visions about the four living creatures in Revelation, the vision that he describes these creatures in depth is the one found in Revelation 4:6-8. This text reads:

1: After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

2: At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3: And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

4: Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

5: From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,

6: and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:

7: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

8: And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Characteristics of the four living creatures from Revelation

  • 1. They have six wings (Revelation 4:8).
  • 2. Each has a different single face. They are described as having the faces of a lion, calf, man, and eagle (Revelation 4:7).
  • 3. They are full of eyes around and within (Revelation 4:6, 8).
  • 4. They are called the four living creatures (Revelation 4:6, 8).
  • 5. They are amid God’s throne and round about it.
  • 6. They praise God continually and say the words: “Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty” (Revelation 4:8).

Are Ezekiel Cherubim the same as Revelation’s four living creatures?

From the texts of Ezekiel and Revelation, we can find a striking similarity between the Cherubim and the four living creatures, although the details are different, naturally, the question arises: are the Ezekiel Cherubim the same ones as the four living creatures of Revelation? Scholars and theologians have long debated this question, leading to various interpretations:

First interpretation: the four living creatures are Cherubim

A prevalent view is that the four living creatures are a specific type of cherubim. This interpretation is supported by the striking similarities in their appearances and roles:

  • They are all known as the four living creatures
  • The elements of the four faces of a man, lion, ox, eagle
  • They are all covered with eyes
  • They are all in the midst and around the throne of God

Granted, there do appear to be a few minor differences between the creatures John and Ezekiel saw (six wings and four wings; one face and four faces).

But here’s what we need to know: angels are spirit beings, existing in a spirit dimension not bound by the physical laws of our physical realm. They are capable of shifting appearance or form in the spirit realm—sometimes having six wings and sometimes four, sometimes having four faces and sometimes one. Though we may not be able to ascertain a reason for this, we should not suppose it out of the question.

In that case, perhaps the four living creatures are a class of Cherubim, yet different from the class Ezekiel saw.

Second interpretation: the four living creatures are Seraphim

Conversely, some argue that the creatures are more closely aligned with seraphim, especially given their ceaseless proclamation of God’s holiness—a characteristic prominently associated with seraphim in Isaiah. Let’s review the characteristics of a Seraphim:

  • Seraphim have six wings.
  • Seraphim cover their faces with a set of wings.
  • They cover their feet with a set of wings.
  • They fly with a set of wings.
  • Their form may resemble a person standing upright—but with wings.
  • They hover above God’s throne.
  • They worship and praise God a lot!

when we compare the characteristics of the Seraphim and the four living creatures, we recognize that the two beings have basic similarities:

  • They are all found before the throne of God.
  • They all have six wings.
  • They all worship God by attributing to God His perfect holiness as they proclaim: “Holy, holy, holy”.

From the characteristics above, we have reason to believe that the four living creatures are Seraphim.

Third interpretation: the Revelation combines the descriptions of Cherubim and Seraphim

Other commentators believe that these creatures combine the descriptions of different angelic entities in the Old Testament- especially the Seraphim of Isaiah 6 and the Cherubim of Ezekiel.

In terms of external features, Revelation incorporates the most distinctive features of each of the Old Testament Cherubim and Seraphim, respectively:

  • Six wings (Seraphim)
  • Constant chanting of “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Seraphim)
  • Four symbolic faces (Cherubim)
  • Covered with eyes (Cherubim)

On the other hand, a predominant view is that Revelation alludes to the Old Testament. Of the 404 verses in the book of Revelation, seemingly 278 of them make some allusion to the Old Testament. Revelation rarely quotes directly from the Old Testament, yet almost every verse alludes to or echoes ideas of older scriptures. Over half of the references stem from Daniel, Ezekiel, Psalms, and Isaiah.

Personal understanding of the four living creatures

I believe that Ezekiel’s Cherubim are the Same as Revelation’s Four Living Creatures. While the “four living creatures” of Ezekiel do not exactly resemble the “four beasts” in Revelation, similarities abound. In addition to the ones mentioned above, three other favorable pieces of evidence support this view.

  • Every Appearance of the Living Creatures in Both Revelation and Ezekiel is Associated in Some Way with Judgment: Both Ezekiel and Revelation depict these beings in contexts heavily associated with divine judgment and sovereignty. Their presence underscores God’s omnipotence and His active role in the unfolding of cosmic events and the administration of justice.
  • Ezekiel and Revelation Both Describe the “Crystal” Above the four living creatures’ Heads: “And before the throne, there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind” (Revelation 4:6). Ezekiel also mentions the “crystal” above the four living creatures’ heads: “And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above” (1:22).
  • Ezekiel’s Cherubim and Revelation’s Four Living Creatures: Their Function is to Support and Transport God’s Throne: One of the functions of both the four living creatures and the cherubim is to support and transport the throne of God, serving as the foundation of His mobile presence among creation.

If you compare Ezekiel’s vision of the Cherubim and the four living creatures in Revelation, the Book of Revelation could almost be a companion book. There is no reason not to believe that the four beasts in Revelation are also Cherubim who are in the presence of the throne of the Lamb of God.


The exploration into the identities and roles of Ezekiel’s cherubim and Revelation’s Four Living Creatures reveals a complex and profound narrative woven into the fabric of biblical theology. While interpretations vary, the evidence strongly suggests a deep connection between these celestial beings, underscoring their significance in the divine narrative. Whether viewed as the same entities or as closely related, their depiction in Scripture provides invaluable insights into the nature of God’s presence and governance of the universe. Through their ceaseless worship and service, these beings invite believers to reflect on the majesty and holiness of God, encouraging a deeper engagement with the divine mystery at the heart of faith.

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