Did you ever think about the four creatures in Ezekiel? Did you know that they are also found in Revelation? You did? Good. However, did you also know that you can see this same picture in Numbers? No? Well read on.
Let’s start by taking a look at the four faces of the creatures found in Ezekiel 1:10, “as for the appearance of their faces, they had human faces [in front], each of the four had a lion’s face on the right, each of the four had a bull’s face on the left, and each of the four had an eagle’s face [toward the rear]” (CJB)
In Revelation 4:7 we also see four living creatures, but each has its own face. However, we still see the face of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle.
Keep this in mind as we look at how God set up the camp in the wilderness, described in Numbers chapter 2.
In verse 3 we see that on the east side, under the banner of Judah, are the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
In verse 10 we see that on the south side, under the banner of Reuben, are the tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Gad.
In verse 18 we see that on the west side, under the banner of Ephraim, are the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin
In verse 25 we see that on the north side, under the banner of Dan, are the tribes of Dan, Asher and Naphtali
Reading into chapter 3 we see that the tribe of Levi was set between the 12 tribes and the tabernacle:
The family of Gershon is stationed behind the tabernacle toward the west. (v 23)
The family of Korath is stationed next to the tabernacle toward the south. (v 29)
The family of Merari is stationed next to the tabernacle toward the north. (v 36)
Moses, Aaron and his sons are stationed in front of the tabernacle to the east. (V 38)
The last thing we need to see before pulling all this together is that God was in the middle of the camp. His presence was in the tabernacle dwelling with His people!
So here we have God in the middle of the camp, surrounded by the tribe of Levi. And just beyond the Levites, we see the banners of Judah (the lion), Reuben (the man), Ephraim (the ox), and Dan (the eagle). Each of these faces correlates to the same position of the faces found in Ezekiel.
And even more interesting, we read in Numbers 9:15-23 that when the cloud lifted, the camp moved – always in the same order as that listed in Numbers 2. And when the cloud rested, the camp stopped. The camp moved wherever the presence of the Lord moved, just like in Ezekiel, “Wherever the spirit moved, the four creatures moved.”
So there you have it, the same beautiful picture in Numbers, Ezekiel, and Revelation. All revealing a very important lesson for us:
Wherever the Spirit moves, we should move.
Wherever the Spirit stops, we should stop.