Feb 2, 2011

11 Were the four Gospels predicted in Revelation

Believer states: The four living creatures around the throne in Revelation (4:7) are said to symbolize the four Gospels. 

But skeptic says: If you ask me, Bible interpreters have already turned the Book of Revelation every which way but loose. In fact some Biblicists have the opinion that the Book of Revelation should've been excluded from the biblical canon thanks to people making loose interpretations galore.

As for Revelation's four living creatures representing the four Gospels, it’s just one take on the verse. I like to include the Book of Acts among the Gospels. So I might just as easily say there should be five Gospels and thus five living creatures in the Book of Revelation. Not just the Man, Lion, Eagle, and Bull as the four living creatures. 

Irenaeus (c. AD 200), an early Christian writer, paired the Man (or Angel) with the Gospel of Matthew and the Lion with the Gospel of John. 

But Augustine of Hippo (c. AD 400) paired the Man with Mark and the Lion with Matthew. So his pair of creature with Gospel was different from Irenaeus'.  

And Jerome (about AD 400) paired the Man with Matthew as Irenaeus did, and the Lion with Mark as nobody else did. These interpretations remind me of the proverbial fiddle on which you can play any old tune.

There's another "ole tune," the interpretation which associates the four creatures with the seasons of the year. The four seasonal constellations of two thousand years ago were Aquarius the water bearer (a man), Leo the Lion, Aquila the Eagle (which lies above Scorpius the Scorpion), and Taurus the Bull. Four “living creatures” for four seasonal constellations. Should we buy it?

To further the mystery, the author of the Book of Revelation might well have drawn on the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of four creatures, the same four in the Book of Revelation:  

Ezekiel 1:10 Each living creature had four different faces: a human face in front, a lion's face at the right, a bull's face at the left, and an eagle's face at the back. 

Biblicists say the Ezekiel passage (about 550 BC) is a mystery or it’s something to do with representations of God's qualities. Meanwhile believers see it as an expectation of the four Gospels. Of course this view is a relative one, just more Christian interpretation. 

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