The Four Faces/Standards of Encampments

I found the previous cross shaped drawing online and copied it for interest in the discussion of the camp locations relative to the tabernacle. I am not clever enough to make any changes in it, but if I could, I would reorient it such that east is on the right, north on the top, etc., as this is the way maps are always made. What I found interesting is the four “faces of living creatures” as found in Ezekiel 1: 4-14 and again as “beasts” in Revelation 4: 6-9. While the scripture tells us that each tribe had a standard (or flag), it does not tell us what they were. The author says that it is taken from Jewish tradition. If the drawing were to be oriented properly, at least two of the faces would be in accord with Ezekiel 1. God, for some reason, set these four tribes as a chief over each of these four directions. So, let us take each of these four tribes and see if there is any scriptural basis for the face being assigned to that tribe.

Again, we lead with Judah on the East, the most favored position. The name Judah means “praise”. And there are several references to Judah as the lion: In Genesis 49:9 Jacob prophesied that “Judah is a lion’s welp”. Hosea 5:14 says: “For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion and as a young lion to the house of Judah”. Revelation 5:5, referring to Jesus Christ is referred to as the “Lion of the tribe of Juda”. So, I believe a good case is made for Judah as the lion.

The name Ruben means “See, a son”, which is a man child. He is the firstborn to Jacob and to Leah. A man would be a fitting symbol.

The name Ephraim was the second born son of Joseph, but was prophesied by Jacob to be the favored one. His name means “fruitfulness or double fruitful”. Moses prophesied (Deut. 33:17) of the seed of Joseph that “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns” … Hosea 10:12 prophesies that “Ephraim is as a heifer that is taught (trained)” … So, Ephraim can be referred to as an ox or a calf.

Dan means “judge” and refers to judgment. There are about a dozen references in the bible associating God’s judgment with the eagle. One is found in Hosea 8:1: …” He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord” … See also Deut. 28:49, Jer. 48:40, 49:22 and Hab. 1:8. So perhaps Dan can be associated with the eagle.