Why Do We Have Four Gospels? Tabernacle Series Part 5

Revelation 4:6-7
6 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were FOUR LIVING  CREATURES full of eyes in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a LION, the second living creature like a CALF, the third living creature had a face like a MAN, and the fourth living creature was like a flying EAGLE.”

seated around the throne
We saw in part 4 that the amazing Tabernacle of Moses gives us new and deeper understanding the statement Jesus made in the upper room: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Now, in part 5, we’re going to discover that it clearly demonstrates why we have four gospels. Why the opening verse from the last book: Revelation? Come and see! 👀
Symbols And Their Meanings.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could see exactly what John saw in his visions on the island of Patmos?  Many have tried to illustrate his words, as in the picture above.  But though he wrote of four living creatures and elders seated all around, that picture isn’t what his physical eyes saw.
How do we know that? Because Revelation is a book full of symbolic language.   It says so right in the very first verse below.
“1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and SIGNIFIED IT by His angel to His servant John…”

“SIGNIFIED” means “SYMBOLS,”…..unless you really believe that Jesus literally is a young lamb with seven horns and seven eyes.  Of course not!  He doesn’t really look like that in heaven.  The symbols do, however, tell us a lot about Jesus. When you can consistently interpret what they mean, you can decode the whole Book, and I’m not just referring to the book of Revelation. It applies to any book of the Bible.

1) Horn speaks of Authority.
2) Seven is the number of completion or perfection; seven horns means “Full authority.”
3) Eyes speak of discernment.
4) Seven eyes means “Full discernment.”

Jesus has FULL authority, FULL discernment and is FULL of the Holy Spirit.

(If you’d like to know more about numbers and their meanings in the Bible, you may follow the links below:



Why Four Gospels?

“What does all this have to do with why we have four gospels?” you ask. And another thing: “Why are there only four gospels? Why do we need four?  Why not one? Why not more?  After all, there were twelve apostles, right?  And how does the opening scripture fit in?” I’m glad you asked!
Paul told the Christians of Corinth in II Corinthians 3:18, “…we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

We are transformed by beholding Jesus.  So, the better, clearer picture we have of Him, the more like Him we become; the better for us! Well, the four gospels are Holy Spirit’s creative way of giving us that crystal clear picture.

The Four Living Creatures.
The four creatures mentioned here are found in several other places in scripture.  Maybe you’ve run across them in your Bible reading and wondered what they meant.  Notice, they also appear in the exact same order in every other passage as they do in Revelation. It is always the LION, the CALF or ox, the face of a MAN, and a FLYING EAGLE.  
John said he saw these creatures in the “Midst of the throne.” Such strange creatures! What are they? THE FOUR FACES OF JESUS, hence the four pictures on the veil of the tabernacle. Each picture represents one of the four gospels.


The first living creature was “like a “LION.” It represents the Gospel of Matthew.  The lion is the king of the beasts, a typology of Jesus as The King of Kings; King of the Jews.  The Lion also depicts “boldness.”

The LION represents Matthew because Jesus is portrayed most often here in His role as “King of the Jews,” though his Kingliness appears throughout all four gospels.

There are only two genealogies of Jesus documented in the Bible: One in Matthew and one in Luke. Matthew’s begins with Abraham.  Why him instead of beginning with Adam as in the gospel of Luke? Because it’s important to establish the lineage of a KING; to trace his pedigree and prove His legitimate claim to the throne.

Matthew 1:1
 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”
Matthew called Jesus, “The Son of “David, the Son of Abraham.”  Notice he listed David first then Abraham, who lived lived long before David.  Why?  Because this is the Gospel of the King.  It is King David’s Royal line to which Jesus laid claim.  Why is Abraham specifically mentioned?  Because it is through him that came the promise of land.  When Jesus comes to rule the world at His 2nd coming, He will rule from His land and His City:  Jerusalem.

The nation of Israel began with Abraham, of course.  God promised that from his loins would come forth kings.  But He also promised him lands and property.  King Jesus’ lineage came through him.

Double Claim.

Not only does Jesus have a legitimate right to the throne, He has a double claim!  Both Mary AND Joseph can trace their lineage back to King David.  Even though his earthly father did not contribute to His DNA, Jesus was born into his household. Joseph descended from Solomon; Mary from another of David’s son: Nathan.  For more on that topic and some interesting , though little-known history about the inn where Jesus was born, you may follow the link below:


TO The Jewish People.

This gospel was written TO the Jewish people specifically.  That’s why you see the phrase “Kingdom of heaven” everywhere.  Why?
Well for one thing, the Jewish people don’t like to say the name, “God” or “Yahweh,” for fear of blaspheming His Name.   Instead they say “Kingdom of Heaven,” or refer to Him as “haShem: The Name,” or they’ll write “G-d,” leaving out the “o.”  Matthew wrote his gospel the way he did out of respect for their reverence and fear of mispronouncing the Name of God.
Secondly, they were waiting for the literal, physical Kingdom to be established with a conquering King ruling from Jerusalem.  They didn’t understand that if they had recognized and accepted Jesus as their Messiah back then, He would have set it up at that time.  But because they rejected Him, it will now have to wait until after the seven years of tribulation when Jesus returns to earth.
There is more on this topic but it’s this article is long enough.  If you’d like to read more on that story, you may follow the link below:
In other gospels, a similar passage would use God’s name because Christians are not afraid to say “God, Yahweh (we insert vowels so we can pronounce it), or Jesus.”  We are not under any religious bondage or slavish fear about His Name.  After all, we are Sons, not servants.  Because we are sons, we also get to call God, “Daddy!”  That’s His favorite name and the one Jesus came to reveal.
(To read more about the difference between servants and sons, you may follow the link below:
Not The Gospel Jesus Preached.
The gospel we preach today is actually not the one Jesus preached.  He went about proclaiming,  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  That’s because, as I said, He would have set up His millenial kingdom and ruled the whole world from Jerusalem, seated on the throne of a His father, David, if the Jews had recognized and accepted their Messiah.
But they didn’t.  He was rejected and the rest is history.

Parable Of The Ten Virgins.

This also clears up the confusion regarding the parable of the ten virgins, which is about Israel, NOT THE CHURCH.  You see, we are not the only group the Bible calls, “Virgin.”  Israel is also called the “Virgin daughter of God” in several Old Testament references.  Those of natural Israel who are not ready, i.e. born again (lamps full of oil/the Holy Spirit) when the Bridegroom comes to call for His Bride at the time of the rapture will be left behind.  When it takes place, only about half the nation of Israel will be ready to go.

This passage of scripture is so often misapplied to the Church. But those who think it does must be consistent and say that only half of those who are honest-to-goodness, born again believers, are going up in the rapture.  The other half will be left behind.  That is not only cruel and doesn’t make ANY sense at all,  IT ISN’T TRUE.
(For more in depth information on this topic follow this link:
(Rapture: The snatching away of the Church.)

The Rapture.

Most people, being a bit more on the negative side, fear they are in the “left-behind group.”  Predictably, the ones who hold an erroneous view of this event most likely believe themselves to be in the going up group.

The truth is, Church, EVERYONE WHO IS BORN AGAIN, regardless of their level of faithfulness, or the lack thereof, IS IN THE GOING-UP GROUP, even if they don’t believe in the rapture.  They may, however, be a “bit” surprised!  According to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, the only qualification is that you be “alive and remain.”

The Ox.
The next living creature was like a “Calf or Ox.” This animal represents the Gospel of Mark because calf is an untiring servant; a laboring worker. You don’t see a genealogy written here because one doesn’t inquire about the pedigree of a servant.

Divine Servant.

Jesus is portrayed throughout Mark’s gospel as our Divine Servant.  He went about “Doing good;” ministering, healing, providing, saving, restoring, everywhere He went, always on the lookout for anyone who had needs for Him to meet.  He has eyes full of compassion!  He is our Servant King.

Mark opens with the word “Immediately,” a word or words to that effect which is used repeatedly throughout this gospel.  Why?  Because a servant does his master’s bidding “Immediately.”  Jesus Himself said He did not come to “Be served” but “To serve,” a difficult concept for us to grasp.

In the book of Revelation John saw Jesus with a “Golden girdle.”  This is the garb of a servant.  You see, in Bible times, servants wore flowing robes which had to be tied up with a girdle around their waist so they didn’t get in the way while they worked.  John saw Jesus in heaven with a golden girdle around His “Breast,” notice, not His waist because breast speaks of love; His love for us!

Mary And Martha.

Most of us prefer to think in terms of us serving Jesus.  But the truth is, you and I are bankrupt. We have nothing to give Him. The humblest thing we can do is to allow Him to serve us. That’s why he defended Mary when Martha complained about her.    Mary was allowing Jesus to serve her.  That is the “Good Part” she had chosen.  He gained strength as a result because she allowed Him to be God to her.

Empty Vessel.
Martha, who was worried about serving Jesus was in essence, “Pouring out of an empty vessel.”  The basis of true ministry is pouring out of ourselves what Jesus has first poured in.  Only then can it flow out effortlessly.
Attempting to serve without first being filled caused Martha to be angry and bitter.  She blamed both Jesus and Mary in one shot.  Jesus told her she was more worried about “Many things” rather than “THE ONE THING;” or should I say, the “One Person.”  She needed to learn the principle of humbling herself to let Jesus serve her.

Because Mary allowed herself to be served and sat at Jesus feet, guess who appeared at the foot of the cross, ready to minister to Him in His darkest hour?  Mary.  Martha was nowhere to be found.

Follow Mary’s example:  Sit at Jesus’ feet, and you, too, will be ready to be used by Jesus at the right time and place.

FULLY Human.
The next living creature was like a MAN. This is the Gospel of Luke where we see Jesus as the Son of Man.  Man speaks of intelligence; of human sympathies and emotions; of family and intimacy.
Why portray him as a man?  Because we can get so caught up in the deity, Lordship, and majesty of Jesus that we completely forget He is also 100% man.  He has feelings and emotions just like us.  He’s been through the same things.  He doesn’t merely understand what we go through; HE FEELS WHAT WE FEEL, and is full of compassion for us.  
How wonderful to know that there is an honest to goodness, real, live, beating human heart in heaven today, a perfect Man, seated at the right hand of our Father, interceding for us.  He understands us better than we understand ourselves.  That’s the kind of Great High Priest we have!
Lineage Traced To Adam.
The genealogy listed in Luke goes all the way back to Adam because it’s important to show that Jesus sprang from the human race.  He didn’t just take on human form like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”  NOPE!  He physically descended from Adam and, thus, is FULLY QUALIFIED to be our “Goel: Kinsman Redeemer.”
In order for one to qualify to be “Goel,” that man must be a close relative, be very wealthy, and be willing to buy back the inheritance that was forfeited.  He must restore it to the one who lost it freely and without charge.  Oh yes:  JESUS IS QUALIFIED!

The Eagle.

The last living creature is like a FLYING EAGLE.  You’ll notice that there is no genealogy is listed in this gospel either.   Why? Because Jesus is portrayed most often throughout the gospel of John as the “Son of God,” the One Who came directly from heaven.  Since God has no beginning and no end, NO GENEALOGY.

When you think of an eagle what comes to mind?  A creature with sharp vision that flies far above in the heavens.  Eagles can see far and wide, which is descriptive of both discernment and prophetic insight.  John begins by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God……..and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

Dual Nature.
Jesus was born of a human, yes, but He also came straight from God. He has a dual nature being both God and Man.  Like His Father, He is eternal.  Like the eagle who soars effortlessly in the heavens, Jesus is from heaven.  His divinity is portrayed most often in this gospel.
It is in John’s gospel where He says the most amazing things like:
“Before Abraham was, I AM.”
“I AM…..the Good Shepherd;”
“I AM…..the resurrection.”
“I AM…..the way, the truth, and the life!”
In the Old Testament, Abraham asked God at the burning bush what His Name was.  He told him, “I AM.”  But it was an incomplete name back then.  When Jesus came, however, He revealed His Full name as you read above.
When Walking on the stormy sea toward His disciples who were foundering in the boat He cried out to them, “Don’t be afraid; I AM.”  The word, “He” in your Bible is not in the original text.  It was added by translators.  THAT’S MY GOD!  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!

In the garden, big, strong, strapping soldiers came along with Judas to arrest Jesus. He stepped forward and said to them, “I AM (He).”‘ THEY ALL FELL TO THE GROUND BEFORE HIM!  He stood there, patiently waiting for them to recover.  When at last they picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, they didn’t really take Him captive:  He allowed them to arrest Him.

I can just picture Him as He patiently held out His hands to be shackled.  He is Majesty and Divinity through and through!

Complete Picture.

Again, the word, “He,” is not in the original text.  You can tell because the word is in italics.  Anything added by translators always appears that way.  These four accounts in the four Gospels give us the most complete picture of Jesus:

Matthew:  Our King
Mark:  Our suffering Servant
Luke:  The Son of man
John:  The Son of God
He IS the Lion, He IS the Calf {ox}, He IS the Man, He IS the Flying Eagle!
In case you are wondering why, throughout this article, certain words appear in different colors, we will be talking about the topic of colors in part 7 of this series!

The more we study Jesus in all His fullness in the gospels, THE MORE LIKE HIM WE BECOME.  We become leaders, bold as a lion, and as strong and as healthy as an ox, regardless of our chronological age.  In order to serve tirelessly, you need to be in good health.  Though not impossible, it is hard to serve others if you are flat on your back.  We also have the human feelings, the intelligence and sympathies of the Perfect Man.  Plus we have the discernment, prophetic insight, and keen vision of the flying eagle.

We become more and more like Jesus as we behold Him in all His beauty and fullness….and that, Church, is why we have FOUR GOSPELS.
Please follow the link below to Part 6 where we’ll enter the Holy of Holies and study the Ark of the Covenant:

4 thoughts on “Why Do We Have Four Gospels? Tabernacle Series Part 5

  1. In the 4 Gospels tabernacle series part 5, you mentioned the four pictures on the veil of the tabernacle. Is this a rabbinic tradition or is it implied in scripture? I cannot find this in the Bible

    Thank you


      1. Thank you for responding. I did find that some scholars believe the living creatures described in Ezekial 1 are Cherubs. They have four faces, lion, ox, human, eagle. So it makes sense they would be depicted that way on the veil. I’m learning so much about the tabernacle & temple. Every little detail has meaning. Everything is revealing God’s purpose & our relationship with Jesus. Amazing


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