3-1 The Four Living Creatures
There seems to be an association between the "four winds", the four "living creatures" and the four "beasts" mentioned at various points in Scripture. It is suggested that these all refer, even if indirectly, to a literal four cherubic Angels. Rev. 7:1 is the clearest evidence: "I saw four Angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth". The stress is on "the four winds".
Dan. 7:2,3 connects the winds and the beasts: "Behold, the four winds of Heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea". The "four winds" may refer to Angels- God makes His Angels spirits or winds. Other passages possibly connect the four winds and the Angels:
- Zech. 2:6: "Flee from the land of the north (Babylon). . for I. . spread you abroad as (by?) the four winds of the Heaven". The Jews who returned from exile to Jerusalem came from one place- Babylon; not the four corners of the earth. The Angels had scattered or "spread abroad" Israel at the captivity (see notes on Zech. 1 and 2 in Chapter 11).
- Ez. 37:9: "Prophesy unto the wind. . . and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; come from the four winds, O breath (wind), and breathe upon these slain, that they may live". Is this the command to Michael, Israel's Angel which comes into action for them in the last days (Dan. 12:1) to start to regather Israel? He is called forth from his exalted place dwelling between the four cherubim Angels. The language is reminiscent of that in Gen. 2:7, where the Angel breathed into man the breath of life, which caused him to stand up upon his feet (cp. Ez. 37:10)- and here the Angel is being asked to do the same, to Israel. Further connections between the "wind" and Israel's Angel are in Jer. 4:11-13: "A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people, not to fan, nor to cleanse. . . he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles". Chariots, horses, whirlwind and clouds are all the language of Angelic manifestation (e. g. Ps. 104:1-4; 2 Kings 6:17; 13:14; Job 38:1), and are here equated with "the wind". The word for "dry" in Jer. 4:11 literally means 'dazzling white'- a connection with the white garments of the Angels?
- The horse rider of Zech. 1:8 is defined as an Angel in v. 10. This vision is the basis of that in Rev. 6, where a different one of the four beats is associated in turn with a different horse rider. This further links the four beasts with Angels. The beats are "full of eyes"- i. e. Angels.
- Is Mt. 24:31 relevant? "He shall send His Angels. . . and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds"- their personal Angels extract them from the control the other Angels have over them at the moment of Christ's return?
If these connections are valid, then the beasts and the four living creatures of the prophetic visions should be seen as referring on one level to different Angels controlling the various political or religious systems represented by the beats. Thus the four horns of Zech. 1:19 would equate with the four living creatures of the cherubim and also of Daniel, and therefore the four nations of Dan. 2. Dan. 8:8 provides an example of these links: "When he was strong, the great horn was broken (see the link between horns and the cherubim- Angels in Hab. 3:3-5; the Angel behind Alexander); and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of Heaven". This would therefore describe the division of Alexander's Kingdom between four Angels- the "notable ones" or "winds", each of whom controlled one of Alexander's succeeding generals. His Kingdom was "divided toward the four winds of Heaven" (Dan. 11:4)- the Kingdom was not literally scattered throughout the world, but divided to four Angel-winds.
Often, Angels are described in terms of the men, empires or armies they control- the frequent descriptions of human armies in language which refers to Angels too provides proof of this (e. g. Is. 66:15; Ez. 26:7,10; Joel 2:5; Nahum 2:3,4,13). Nahum 3:3 RV speaks of how the Assyrians will come with the noise of wheels, as pransing horses, jumping chariots, and “the flashing sword” (RV). This is all cherubim-Angel language. The Angels behind those nations and armies were manifested through them, and this there is the use of such similar language. In the same way, the description of the beasts are relevant to the nations they represent, and also to the Angels which control them. Rev. 9:11 provides another example: "They (the Arabs?) had a king over them, which IS the Angel of the bottomless pit". This Angel is both a Heavenly Angel and the earthly leader over which the Angel has charge. Rev. 9:16 says that "the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand"- cp. "thousand thousands" of Angels in Dan. 7:10. Rev. 9:17 continues: "horses. . . and them that sat on them". Horses and riders in Rev. 6 and Zechariah have clear Angelic connections (Chapter 11); "the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions"- lions and Angels are linked in Rev. 9:17; 10:1,3. John Thomas rightly observes that the rider of a horse must have control of the horse, and whatever the horse represents. The Angels have control of the nations under them, in the same way as Angels stand beside rivers (representing nations) in Daniel, to show their control over them. Thus again we see that the system of God's manifestation has remained constant- both through the Angels in Heaven and the organizations of men on earth. Thus 1 Chron. 12:8 describes David's ecclesia in the wilderness as having faces "like the faces of lions" (Angel-cherubim language?), being "a great host, like the host of God"- David's host became increasingly in line with God's Heavenly Hosts of Angels, the four living creatures.
It is worth noting too that Ez. 14:21 talks of God sending "My four sore judgements upon Jerusalem, the sword and the famine and the noisome beast, and the pestilence". These are four similar judgements to those ministered by the four living creatures in Rev. 6 and by the four Angel chariots of Zech. 6. Later we will see that these creatures and chariots represent Angels; so it is worth speculating that whenever a group of four judgements are mentioned, there is a reference to the four cherubim Angels bringing them. Ezek. 6:15,17 mentions the same four judgements as 14:21, and describes them as "the evil arrows" sent by God- His "Angels of evil" (Ps. 78:49)? The context in Ez. 14 is God saying that even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in the land, they would not stop the judgements coming (v. 14,20). This seems to be directly referring to the Angels deciding to bring their judgements on Sodom (which typifies Jerusalem- Is. 1:10) despite a handful of righteous being there (Gen. 18:24). It is even possible that the "noisome beasts" of Ez. 14:15 which were to spoil the land in judgement are the four beasts/ living creatures of Dan. 7 controlling the various nations used to execute these judgements. The the four living creatures of Daniel's visions had eyes on them (Dan. 7:8,20; 8:5,21), surely reminding us of the Angel-cherubim four living creatures covered with eyes in Rev. 4:6,8- cp. the cherubim wheels also full of eyes in Ez. 1:18; 10:12. Thus the Assyrian invader is described as having wings and "glory" (Is. 8:7,8), both of which are terms associated with the Angel-cherubim, seeing that they were ultimately behind the invasion.
The idea of an Angel representing political powers has interesting implications in Dan. 8:8-12: "four notable ones toward the four winds of Heaven (the number four and "winds" we have seen to both have Angelic connections). And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which. . . waxed great, even to the host of Heaven (the Angels controlling the Jewish people); and it cast down some of the host and of the stars (both "host" and "stars" are Angelic words), and stamped upon them; Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host (the "Most High" Angel, the Angel of Jesus, who was the real prince of the Angel hosts), and by him. . . the place of His sanctuary (i. e. the temple, where the "Most High" Angel dwelt) was cast down. And an host (of Angels controlling the Romans and perhaps the Papacy too) was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the Truth to the ground. " "The Truth" here does not necessarily refer to a set of doctrines or people holding them which comprises the true Gospel. This can never be thrown down, and in any case "the Truth" in this sense was not thrown down after the destruction of the temple in AD70- it grew then as never before. "The truth" being thrown down may parallel the host and stars being cast to the ground in v. 10- in which case "the truth" represents the Jews- or it may hint at the Mosaic Law being "thrown down" by the Angelic destruction of the temple and the Mosaic system. "Thy Law (of Moses) is the Truth" (Ps. 119:142). This all lays the basis for Rev. 12 describing the conflicting groups of Angels in Heaven at the time of the final abolition of the Mosaic system (see 'Angels and the ending of the Law' in Chapter 12). In preparation for this, the reader may like to ponder whether there are many examples of 'Angels' in Revelation not referring to literal Heavenly Angels.
We thus see different groups of Angels controlling various political powers, in conflict with each other and deposing each other from authority, in so far as the powers they control are in conflict with each other. Even without the preceding Biblical arguments, this is surely the conclusion to be drawn from the glib statement that 'the Angels control the nations'- but the nations are in conflict with each other! Obviously the Angels personally are working together in a spirit of loving unity and co-operation, although the short-term results of their work may appear superficially to be at tangents to each other.