The four living creatures in Ezek. 1 have four faces, but the face in the front is of a man; this indicates that we must have a proper humanity, bearing the appearance of a man, by living out the humanity of Jesus in our daily living.
The four living creatures bear the appearance of a man, and this is very significant, for there are three crucial matters concerning this.
First, the four living creatures are the means for God to manifest His glory, that is, for God to be manifested (Ezek. 1:28). God manifests His glory not only through creation but even more in the new creation, and more specifically through a group of built-up believers who are fully open to Him and are coordinated together, being living and active as the living creatures.
Through God’s judicial redemption and His organic salvation, He is bringing His chosen and redeemed people all the way into the expression of His glory, so that He may have a means to be manifested in man.
Second, the four living creatures are the means for God to move on earth; the way God moves on earth today is in and through man, in and through a group of people who are built together in His life and who are fully one with Him.
How can God move on earth? It is in man and with man; with the four living creatures there are four wheels, one for each face, and the Spirit is in the wheels. They move like lightning, and God moves in their move.
Third, the four living creatures are the means for God to administrate on the throne. Yes, it is God who is on the throne, but His appearance is of a man, and the four living creatures are the means for Him to administrate. Whatever God wants to do, the four living creatures are one with Him to carry out His administration.
God needs a group of people on earth who are one with Him to echo in prayer what He wants to do, so that He may accomplish His purpose and carry out His administration. It is amazing to see and realize that man is the means of God’s manifestation, man is the means of God’s move, and man is the means of God’s administration.
We need to be the living creatures bearing the appearance of a man with a proper humanity – the humanity of Jesus – so that the Lord may have a way to move, manifest Himself, and carry out His administration through us.
The Four Living Creatures have the Face of a Man: we need to be Human by the Humanity of Jesus
The four living creatures have four faces: at the front they have the face of a man, on the right the face of a lion, on the left the face of an ox, and at the rear the face of an eagle (Ezek. 1:6, 10). We should not be those who have a double face (a sign of falsehood and pretension) but four faces, being balanced.
The face of a man indicates that the living creatures live in a proper humanity, the humanity of Jesus. The dominant expression of the four living creatures is the face of a man; they all have the appearance of a man, which shows that the humanity of Jesus needs to be our dominant expression.
It was the same with the Lord Jesus: when He came and lived on earth, He was not primarily God but He was a man, and His glorious beauty was manifested in His humanity (Exo. 28:2; Rom. 13:14).
When people saw Jesus, they saw a proper and genuine man, and they were touched not only by the miracles He was performing but by what kind of Man He is. When He went to Samaria, He hungered and sent His disciples to buy food; then, when the sinful woman approached the well where He was, He conversed with her in a human way (see John 4).
When He was in front of Pilate the governor, being tried and tested, He was found to be without any fault. When He met a leper, instead of just healing him, He touched him with compassion.
The Lord lived as the most beautiful and precious man. In His salvation today the Lord wants to make us proper human beings; He doesn’t want the sisters to be angels and the brothers to be superheroes – He wants us to be proper men like Jesus.
The goal of His salvation is to make us proper human beings, not angelic or super-spiritual, “floating in the air” as we walk around “being spiritual”. Whether we are a husband, a wife, a parent, or a child, the Lord wants to make us a proper husband, a proper wife, a proper parent, and a proper child.
We shouldn’t try to be like the angels or to look spiritual as we pursue the Lord; we should allow the Lord to inwardly save us, renew our mind, and live in us His own humanity, making us normal human beings with the humanity of Jesus.
God needs man to be His corporate expression, so He wants us not to “be angelic” or be “like God” (in the sense of trying to be like Him) but to bear the face of a man, that is, being Jesusly human, living out the humanity of Jesus for God’s expression.
Lord Jesus, we love You! How we appreciate seeing Your glorious beauty being manifested in Your humanity. Lord, make us proper human beings, those who live out the humanity of Jesus. Save us from trying to be something we are not. Save us much more in Your life until we bear the face of a man, being proper and genuine men who live out Christ. Lord Jesus, we want to learn from You to live in God and by God – and yet live as a man, bearing the appearance of a man, for God to be manifested in us.
Being Proper Human Beings – being Jesusly Human – who live out the Humanity of Jesus
Some believers – especially young believers – love the Lord so much that they want Him to return as soon as possible; they may even give up their education and get a job only to survive, so that they would be ready for the Lord’s return.
Some think that all they have to do is enjoy the Lord and be filled with Him, yet they do not care about being proper human beings; however, the Lord wants us to become proper human beings who live out not by our natural humanity but by the humanity of Jesus.
The more spiritual we become, the more normal, ordinary, and human we will be; the more we love the Lord and pursue Him, the more we become “Jesusly human”.
We do not advocate studying hard and working to build a career, neither do we want to merely pursue the Lord and forget about our humanity; we need to be proper human beings who love the Lord, pursue Him, and care for our humanity, learning to be Jesusly human in everything we do and say.
The more we live in the Lord and with the Lord, the more He will cause us to live like a proper human being. The more we pursue the Lord, the more we will live not by our natural humanity (which is fallen and corrupted) but by the humanity of Jesus in our spirit, and the more we are not merely human but Jesusly human.
There are many people today who are not believers and yet have a good humanity, upright, and proper; however, all they have is humanity – and not Jesus living in them His humanity. The Lord is not after any natural, uplifted, upright humanity – He wants Jesus living again in us in His humanity.
The natural humanity gives out the fragrance of man, but the humanity of Jesus has the fragrance of resurrection, and is pleasing to God. We need to be able to discern what is the natural humanity and what is the humanity of Jesus, which bears the fragrance of resurrection life.
If we look at Paul’s epistles to Ephesians and Colossians, even though he wrote such high truths concerning God’s economy, the new man, the desire of His heart, and Christ living in us, he also wrote at length concerning how to be proper husbands, wives, parents, children, and slaves (employees).
In Eph. 5:22-6:9 we see that a husband should love his wife to the point of giving himself up for her (just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her), a wife should take her husband as her head and be subject to him in everything, the children should obey their parents in the Lord and honor them, the fathers should not provoke their children to anger but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord, the slaves (employees) should be obedient to their masters with singleness of heart as to Christ, and the masters in a similar way toward the slaves.
As believers, we are human beings, and we live with other human beings; we need to have a proper humanity and we need to take care of our relationships with other people. We need to be proper human beings by being Jesusly human, those living out the humanity of Jesus in our daily life.
Lord Jesus, may we be those who pursue You, love You, desire to be filled with You, and live not by our natural humanity but by the humanity of Jesus. Save us from not being proper human beings who don’t care for their humanity. Save us from merely living out our natural humanity. Oh Lord, make us Jesusly human, those who live out the humanity of Jesus in our daily life, so that You may gain a corporate expression in man! We want to be proper human beings living by the humanity of Jesus, living as Jesus did!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother James L. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, msg. 5 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Ezekiel (1), msg. 3 (week 3), The Four Living Creatures.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Christ is a genuine man, / The perfect and finest man, / Obedient, serving, no appearance of evil, / The finest personality, / Divinity expressed through humanity. / Christ is the pattern for our human living. / His perfect life is filling us. / Christ is the pattern for our human living, / The fine and balanced humanity of Jesus! (Song on Jesus as a pattern)
# Now I share Thy human life, Lord, / Filled with Thy humanity, / All of Thy complete obedience / Is available to me. (Hymns #474)
# In the ten commandments God gave us, / There’s a promise found in one: / If we honor both our parents then / our days will be made long. (Bible story song)