St Matthew – and the winged man from Revelations

Post 11 –

Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists who was definitely one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus – the youngest disciple John is generally believed to be the Apostle John, – but there is confusion and debate  about “which” John was the actual writer. About Matthew , also known as Levi , writing the Gospel of St Matthew  there is little doubt – but still some debate that it might have been dictated or re-written?

Matthew the Evangelist, is therefore the author of the first gospel, which is generally accepted to be the one written from first hand experience ! It would have been hand written on Papyrus , like the document below

Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament papyri, showing 2 Cor 11:33-12:9

Matthew , like all the Evangelists  is symbolised by a creature from the  Book of Revelation – in his case a winged man, or angel -the symbols are shown and described in more detail below .


  • Matthew the Evangelist, the author of the first gospel account is symbolized by a winged man, or angel. This represents Jesus’ Incarnation, and so Christ’s human nature and implies that we should use our power to reason to achieve salvation.
  • Mark the Evangelist, the author of the second gospel account is symbolized by a winged lion – a figure of courage and monarchy. Mark has John the Baptist preaching “like a lion roaring” at the beginning of his Gospel and this symbol implies that Christians must be courageous.
  • Luke the Evangelist, the author of the third gospel account (and the Acts of the Apostles) is symbolized by a winged ox or bull – a figure of sacrifice which suggests that Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves as believers.
  • John the Evangelist, the author of the fourth gospel account is symbolized by an eagle – which is reputed to be able to look straight into the sun, suggesting that  Christians should be able to look on eternity without fear or flinching. 

File:Pier Francesco Sacchi - Dottori della Chiesa - ca. 1516.jpg

Historians believe that Matthew preached the Gospel in Hebrew for 15 years to the Jewish community in Judea but may then have moved further afield  – no-one seems to know where or what he did – they think he probably died a  martyr (why should he be the exception?!) but don’t know where or how!