Revelation: Four Living Creatures



Scripture Verse (Rev. 4:8): “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!”



  1. Students should memorize the verse.
  2. Students should understand the context of these words in the Divine Liturgy.


Background of the book:

            The Revelation was written by St. John the Apostle while in exile on the island of Patmos during the fierce persecution of the Emperor Diocletian around AD 95. The early Church believed that the second coming of Jesus Christ was near, especially in these times of persecution. John is reminding them to hold fast their faith in tribulation and assuring them of the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God. While chapters 2 and 3 are clearly letters written to individual churches of the day, much of the book is prophetic and is full of vivid and sensational imagery. Because this book can be so easily misinterpreted (and has been in Church history), it is the only book not read publicly in the services of the Orthodox Church.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Review the background of the book. Find Patmos on the map.


  1. Read through chapters 2 and 3, assigning one church to each student:

Ephesus                 2:1-7

Smyrna                  2:8-11

Pergamos               2:12-17

Thyatira                 2:18-29

Sardis                    3:1-6

Philadelphia          3:7-13

Laodicea               3:14-22

Find those places which still exist on a map. What is the Lord’s major message to each?


  1. Read Revelation 4:6-11: There are Old Testament references to the four living creatures in Ezekiel (1:5,18,21) and Isaiah (6:2). Who are represented in traditional icons in the form of man, lion, calf, and eagle? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). A long verse to memorize. After reciting it a few times, get your beach ball out and toss back and forth, with each student giving the next word as he receives the ball.


  1. Look at a book of the Divine Liturgy. Read the “Cherubic Hymn”: “Let us who mystically represent the cherubim and who sing the thrice holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity now lay aside all earthly cares…” and the Trisagion Hymn: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal…”, another version of the thrice holy hymn. So in Liturgy we join the heavenly liturgy of the angels. Sing both hymns if so inclined to review them with the students.


  1. On November 8 the Church celebrates the Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Hosts. This is the ninth month (counting from March, the beginning of the year in antiquity) to represent the nine ranks of angels – seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, powers, authorities, principalities, archangels, and angels. Angels are seen as pure spirits, but created spirits, created to worship and reflect the divine beauty and also sent forth to do the divine bidding. When have angels appeared in the Old Testament? The Archangel Michael, leader of the heavenly hosts, whose name means “like unto God,” is mentioned in both the Old Testament book of Daniel and the Revelation of John. Which archangel announced the birth of Jesus? (Gabriel) Angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness, at Gethsemane, and announced His resurrection to the myrrhbearers. The Church also teaches that each of us, at birth, is given a Guardian Angel as guide and protector. According to the Revelation, seven angels serve before the throne of God and take part in the final woes of the world; in church tradition these are named Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel.


  1. The 4 living creatures do not rest night and day in their praise, but pray unceasingly. This is the ideal of the Orthodox Christian, approximated in many monastic communities. How can we enter into this divinely unceasing cycle of worship? How is worship different from prayer of petition? Brainstorm a list of some ways we can pray unceasingly. Are there times and places where prayer is difficult? At school? In the car? At home? At mealtime? Can prayer be included even at these times? Use today’s verse for worship. Have each student find another example of worship from chapters 4 and 5 and write it on a card. Can we remember to worship at least once an hour? Twice an hour? Why or why not?


  1. Bring your boom box and play the last part of Handel’s “Messiah”. Where is the reference that Handel used?


  1. Close with prayer. Encourage students this week to join the four living creatures in praying unceasingly – or at least throughout the day.