"As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle." (Eze 1:10)
When the Israelites were in the desert they were divided into companies that camped around the tabernacle (Num 2). The tabernacle was completely surrounded by these companies and the Levites. Each company had its own standard or banner.
According to Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament:
"Neither the Mosaic law, nor the Old Testament generally, gives us any intimation as to the form or character of the standard. According to rabbinical tradition, the standard of Judah bore the figure of a lion, that of Reuben the likeness of a man or of a man's head, that of Ephraim the figure of an ox, and that of Dan the figure of an eagle..."
Towards the east (right) was Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. (lion)
Towards the south was Reuben, Simeon and Gad. (man)
Towards the west (left) was Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. (ox)
Towards the north was Dan, Ashur and Napthtali. (eagle)
"Out of the well of the Bottomless Pit issued a smoke, so great that the sun and the air were darkened (v. 2), and out of the smoke came 'locusts upon the earth.' We regard these locusts as identical with the creatures referred to in the prophecy of Joel (2:1-11). By noticing what is said of them in Joel 2 and Revelation 9 it is at once apparent that they are no ordinary locusts. Joel says of them, 'A great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it' (2:2). It is said, 'When they fall upon the sword they shall not be wounded' (2:8). The fact that they issue from the Pit also denotes that they are supernatural beings. In the description furnished in Revelation 9 they seem to be a kind of infernal cherubim, for 'the horse' (v. 7), the 'man' (v. 7), the 'lion' (v. 8), and 'the scorpion' (v. 19) are combined in them."
(The Antichrist, Arthur W. Pink)
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. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.--Rev 4:6,7
The Assyrian kings had stone sculptures guarding their throne rooms. These guardian figures were known as lamassu. King Sargon II's (721-705 BC) was composed of the head of a human with the ears and body of a bull and the wings of a bird. These attributes were chosen to represent the most desirable aspects of each. Carved on the back and front are 2 inscriptions in which the king boasts of his accomplishments. (Archaeology Odyssey Magazine, Sept/Oct 1999)
Another king, Ashurnasirpal II, had both human-headed winged lions and bulls. (http://www.metmuseum.org/htmlfile/gallery/second/near1.html)
See email post on Ezekiel One.
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