Who or what are the four living creatures standing before the throne of God?
Revelation 4:6-9 describes the four
living creatures as the following: "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. 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.
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes
around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: 'Holy,
holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!' Whenever
the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who
sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever... "
The four living creatures around the throne of God are, together with the 24 elders, the faithful ministers of God who always serve His will and praise His holiness and glory. When God works, He does not work by Himself, but He always works through His servants. The four living creatures, the ministers who are closest to God, have received the ability to always carry out all His wills.
Each of the four living creatures has a different form, signifying that the four living creatures serve God in different capacities. They are full of eyes around and within, meaning that these living creatures constantly pay close attention to God's purposes. As such, the four living creatures are the faithful ministers of God who always serve and carry out His will.
In addition, the four living creatures do not rest in their praise of God's glory and holiness, just as God never sleeps. They praise the holiness of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, who is God and the Lamb, and His almighty power. In this way, the four living creatures standing before God's throne praise Him out of their sincere hearts, not out of obligation. Why? Because for what Jesus Christ has done-that is, lowering Himself even to the form of a man and being born into this world through the body of the Virgin Mary; taking all the sins of the mankind upon Himself by receiving baptism from John; carrying these sins to the Cross and dying on it; and thereby saving all the mankind from sin-He now sits on the throne of God, and for these beautiful works of His, He is worthy to receive glory from all the creatures forever and ever.
The four living creatures thus exalt God high above by giving Him, along with the 24 elders, sincere praise out of the depth of their hearts.