Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Harmony of the Gospels: The Four Evangelists and the Four Cherubim

2. Jerome thinks that they are adumbrated by the mystical four-Cherub Chariot of Ezekiel. The four living creatures were contrived by the ancients themselves in diverse ways.



That the Four Evangelists were adumbrated by that mystical four-cherub chariot of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1; 10, Saint Augustine also asserted. And that also Saint Jerome, in Epistle 103 ad Paulinum, explains in these words: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four-cherub chariot of the Lord, and true Cherubim, which is interpreted as a store of knowledge, have eyes throughout their whole body;[1] they leap out like sparks,[2] flash forth like lightning,[3] and have feet straight and lifted on high,[4] backs winged and flying in all directions.[5] They hold themselves together, and are interwoven with each other;[6] and they roll along and proceed like wheels within wheels,[7] wherever the breath of the Holy Spirit might blow them.[8] But the ancients also adapted the living creatures of Ezekiel’s four-cherub chariot to the Evangelists, but not all in the same way. For the Greeks associate the man with Matthew, the eagle with Mark, the ox with Luke, and the Lion with John. But Augustine joined the Lion to Matthew, the man to Mark, the calf to Luke, and the eagle to John. Finally, Jerome, who order most follow today, in his Proœmia in Sanctum Matthæum, connected the man to Matthew, the Lion to Mark, the calf to Luke, and the eagle to John. The rationale for this combination the same Jerome renders in these words: The first face of the man signifies Matthew, who, as it were, began to write of man: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The second signifies Mark, in which the voice of the Lion is heard crying in the wilderness: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye a way for the Lord, make His paths straight. The third of the calf, which prefigures that the Evangelist Luke took his beginning from Zacharias the priest. The fourth signifies the Evangelist John, who, hastening to heights upon wings, disputes concerning the Word of God. We receive these things, not so much as intended by the Holy Spirit, as piously accommodated by men.

[1] See Ezekiel 1:18; Revelation 4:6, 8. [2] See Ezekiel 1:7. [3] See Ezekiel 1:14. [4] See Ezekiel 1:7, 19-21. [5] See Ezekiel 1:6, 9. [6] See Ezekiel 1:11, 23. [7] See Ezekiel 1:16. [8] See Ezekiel 1:12, 20.

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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