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In Ezekiel and in the book of Revelation of John, four beasts are mentioned. These are: the man, the lion, the ox and the eagle. What are they? How are they represented?
The above picture shows the four animals. Clockwise: human, lion, eagle and bull. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels. All of them have wings, which shows their divinity.
The above picture1 shows Christ. San Marco or Saint Mark is depicted as a lion, which stands on a book. The book tells us: PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEVS ('Peace unto you, Mark, my Evangelist').
Mark’s Gospel describes John the Baptist as “the voice of one who cries in the wilderness” reminding us of the lion’s roar.
The Four Evangelists
The four Gospels each talk about different aspects of Christ. Besides that, each of the Gospel writers is symbolised by one of the four animals. Matthew, is often associated with the humanly aspect. Mark with the Lion, Luke with the Ox and John with the eagle.
Matthew tells of the humanly aspect, beginning with a genealogy. Mark, the lion, because of the roaring power. Luke the ox, because of a temple sacrifice (Luke 2:24). John, the eagle, because it’s the most mystical of the books.
He was man by birth, bull by death and sacrifice, lion because of his resurrection and eagle because of his ascension.
A short note on the Eagle, the eagle is often represented as a heavenly animal, firstly because they can look directly into the sun. Similarly, Christ can look directly at the Father. The sun can overwhelm you if you stare directly at it, similarly God cannot be known directly.
A short note on the lion, which also can represent the sun. The head combined with its manes look similar to the sun.
The above image shows Christ in Glory. Surrounded are the four Animals, hinting at how Christ stretches out into the world (the four corners of the world). Secondly, the four animals together combine into the Christ. Similarly, the four Gospels give us the description of Christ’s ministry on earth.
By Petar Milosevic - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9655093