To recap briefly, let me set the scene…
In his blogspot of 2011 David Pike writes about the 1,500 year Christian history of the mountain upon a shoulder of which Ffald-y-Brenin nestles.:
“I find it very interesting that the place God chose as the location for the centre is on the side of Carn Ingli – the Hill of the Angels. It was so named because it was where 6th century Celtic saint Brynach who came from Ireland and settled in this area used regularly to ascend the mountain and spend time there communing with God. The people of the local community he served were clearly aware that his times of fellowship with God were special and supernatural times, and so the place got its name.”
“Roy and Daphne [the centre’s managers] are aware of this connection, and draw inspiration from the way the Celtic saints served their communities out of a deep and personal communion with God in which a regular rhythm of prayer is a key feature.
“In the meanwhile, the level of Holy Spirit activity at Ffald-y-Brenin has increased in the last months, especially after a pastor from Africa visited the centre to come and pray for God’s blessing on his nation. After some time alone in the chapel, he came to see Roy, looking somewhat startled and wide-eyed. He wanted to know for how long there had been a lion in the chapel.
“A lion had appeared while he was praying, and had stood on the natural rock that is the centre-piece of the chapel, actually part of the mountain on the side of which the centre is built. It had faced in each of the four directions of the points of the compass, and roared in each direction. The man was shaken to his roots! Since then  there has apparently been an intensification and a deepening of the effect of the power of God in Ffald-y-Brenin.”
Reading that whilst blogging upon return home, I noted his closing reference and used it as my closure to my account of the Christian retreat centre:
“There’s a lion’s roar going out of Pembrokeshire right now. I feel it will be heard to the ends of the earth, in all four directions in the coming days.”
In doing so, I noted his reference to ‘all four directions’ also relates to the worship at last month’s ‘Days of Wonder’ gathering in Cardiff.
There, the worship band declared the holy name of the LORD in its original Hebrew and done as practised by the priest in the holy of holies in the Temple. Each consonant of His Name, as revealed to Moses (in King James’ English, “Yehovah” – Exodus 6:3), was declared in turn whilst facing each of the cardinal points of north, east, south and west.
The Four Faces of God
The authors explain why God is represented by four creatures, four colours, four offices and four offerings in the Old Testament; why we celebrate Christmas one way when the Bible presents it in four; why there are four different Gospels, each with their traditional emblem.
They explain that, in the Gospels, “Matthew wants his readers to obey the king; Mark hopes his readers will allow His servant to serve them; Luke asks his readers to follow the perfect man; John writes about life, light, love, truth and glory so that his readers will love and believe in God’s glorious, light-bearing, life-bringing Son.”
The grounds for these scriptural concepts were enthusiastically taught by one of the elders at Tilehurst Free Church (Baptist), where I found the Lord had put me after He saved me. When an anti-Christian I’d vowed, “I wouldn’t touch Baptists with a barge pole, ‘cos they’re such Biblical bigots”. But I didn’t know God has a huge sense of humour and, as related in my story, was stunned to find myself at a Billy Graham event in 1989.
A few weeks later I rejected the Gospel but nearly died that night. After being personally rescued by Jesus himself, I decided to attend the church but couldn’t find out what sort they were. Unbeknown to me they were going through a crisis of whether or not to allow the charismatic gifts. Some went returned to the parent church but the ministers at TFC taught the Bible solidly and learned about and equipped members in using Holy Spirit’s giftings. So, it was as Smith Wigglesworth had foreseen – the proper balance of Word and Spirit in church. I was in the right place at the right time Thank you Lord.
I’m not going into the book in any depth, just providing an overview to reinforce my main point. After considering the Gospel writers different emphases upon Jesus’ mission, the authors look at the four-fold Jesus, the four-fold Gospel, four-fold discipleship, four-fold prayer.
Yahweh Sabaoth – ‘LORD of Hosts’
El Elyon – ‘God the Most High’
El Shaddai – ‘The Almighty’
El Qodosh – ‘The Holy One of Israel’.
After elaborating upon his mentor’s work, Pain considers Israel’s four-fold Messiah – “your God, your king, My Servant and the man”. Then, as in Isaiah – “Wonderful Counsellor”, “Mighty God”, “Eternal Father” and “Prince of Peace”.
They then consider Ezekiel’s vision of the four living creatures ‘of human form but the sight of them was like the glory of God’! These were later recorded in the revelation that came to Apostle John, but for 2nd and 3rd century theologians, Ezekiel’s vision is ‘the clinching and most important four-fold fore-shadowing of the four Gospels‘.
Those authors, however, don’t refer to what Ian Clayton elaborates upon the faces of God, eg. as in Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (KJV)
The original Hebrew of Gen 17:1 reads as follows (emphases added):
And he-is-becoming Abram son-of ninety and nine years and he is appearing Yahweh to Abram and he-is-saying to him, I El Who-Suffices walk-you! to faces-of me and become-you! flawless…
Apparently when the high priest declared the name of Yahweh as the ‘Tetragrammaton’ or four Hebrew consonants – ‘Yod’, ‘Heh’, ‘Vav’, ‘Heh’ – they not only turned towards all four cardinal points and sang out each consonant, but also imagined one of those faces of God in turn being before them.
You cannot imagine the effect of this sound during our worship. No wonder we went heaven bound ‘into orbit’ at that gathering in Cardiff…!!!
According to Ezekiel’s vision, the four living creatures each have faces of a man, lion, eagle and bull. It’s thought they’re like that because, being constantly before Him, they reflect all the Lord’s facial characteristics.
Hence, my amazement at learning about the African pastors’ vision at Ffald-y-Brenin of a lion roaring to each cardinal point.
Later, I will write how the Almighty’s personally descriptive name directly reveals Jesus’ fore-ordained sacrifice on the cross.
A closing thought: the cross of Calvary is also four-directional. like compass points!
In notes accompanying his painting Four Living Creatures, renowned prophetic artist James Nesbit states,
We have had the privilege of being in countless worship gatherings where we have joined with the voices of the four living creatures and twenty-four elders for hours on end…
(To read more click image to enlarge, and here to access James Nesbit gallery)
Top/closing images credit: Discerning the Times – the Return of the King is Near – ‘African Lion Roaring’ credit: Best stock pictures – ‘Preparing for the Roar’ credit: At The Father’s Feet