The Throne of God (Rev. 4:1–11)

 

The Throne of God (Rev. 4:1–11)

The New Testament records two people who ascended to heaven in visions, Saul and John. In (2 Cor. 12), The apostle Paul wrote of being caught up to the third heaven and heard inexpressible words (2 Cor. 12:4). However, he could not speak of what he saw there.

The apostle John also had the privilege of visiting heaven. Unlike Paul, John could describe his vision in figurative language, which he did in chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation. After John saw “the One like the Son of Man” (Rev. 1:9–20), received the seven-letter to the angels of the churches (Rev. 2 and 3), He saw God’s throne (Rev. 4:1-11).

The Bible refers to “heaven” more than five hundred times. In addition, Paul and Ezekiel wrote some detailed descriptions of it (2 Cor. 12; Ezek. 1). Yet, the description of heaven in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is the most complete and informative in all of Scripture. 

Circumstances of the Vision

4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 

The first occurrence of the phrase “after these things” (Rev. 4:1) relates to St. John’s chronology. It notes this second vision followed immediately after St. John’s vision of the risen, glorified Christ (Rev. 1:9–20) and the letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2–3). “After these things” is used throughout Revelation to mark the beginning of a new vision (Rev. 7:9; 15:5; 18:1; 19:1).

Door in Heaven

As John “looked,” to his astonishment, he saw a door standing open in heaven (Rev. 4:1). The Spirit of God admitted John into the very throne room of the Father through the open door.

John did not simply watch these things happen through an open door; the Spirit of God took him in through the door into the heavenly realm. In (Rev. 3:20), the Lord Jesus Christ stood knocking on the door; now John passes through an open door.[1]

John received the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ in His glory  (Rev. 1:9–20) before seeing God’s throne in chapters 4 and 5. Heaven is where Christ ascended after His resurrection and where He has been since He was seated at the right hand of the Father.[2] 

The open door symbolizes Christ because we come to the Father and His revelation through Him. Therefore, Christ said, “I am the door” (John 10:7,9); and “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). 

Come Up Here!

After noticing the open door, the first voice John heard was the voice, like the sound of a trumpet that had spoken to him in his first vision (Rev. 1:10). It was God’s voice, and it was like a trumpet because of its commanding, authoritative quality. The Lord called John to “come up here,” that is, to heaven. Thus, John was caught up spiritually in the reality of heaven and the totality of the kingdom of God.

It is comforting to know that God called St. John to ascend to His throne despite his distress in exile with his infirmities and limitations as a human. John had access to heaven through Christ’s blood (Heb. 9:24). We are now free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear through a new and living way that the Lord Jesus Christ opened for us by that same blood (Heb. 10:19–20). 

The Lord Jesus Christ desires that His children might be with Him where He is, to see the glory that the Father has prepared for Christ before the foundation of the world (John 17:5,24). Where Christ is, there His servant will also be (John 12:26).

Living in the Kingdom Now

God invited John to ascend that He might show him “things which must take place after this” (Rev. 1:1; 22:6). The Spirit of God carried John away to a great and high mountain where John saw the holy Jerusalem descending from heaven (Rev. 21:10–11).

Commentators look at these things as future events at a certain point in history. However, we can view them as spiritual happenings that occur through life, death, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glories that follow. 

The fulfillment of God’s coming kingdom is not only a future event chronologically, but it is also a relevant and living experience in pure hearts spiritually. Some of the Pharisees asked the Lord Jesus Christ, “When will the kingdom of God come?” the Lord Jesus Christ answered, “God’s kingdom is within you” (Luke 17:20–21, NCV). The Lord Jesus Christ also said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8, ESV).  God’s kingdom begins its present here and now, in the hearts of the believers.

The Divine Liturgy, the Mass, is a foretaste of the kingdom of God. In the presence of God, we share in  ”the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). Likewise, in the liturgy, we have the fellowship of the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:16).

The features of the Divine Liturgy depict the same picture of God’s throne, described in (Rev. 4 and 5). In the Spirit, you cannot tell whether you are on earth or heaven: “When we stand in Your holy sanctuary, we are considered as those who are in heaven.[3]

4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 

In the Spirit

“Immediately” means “at once.” So as soon as God invited John to come, he was “in the Spirit” (Rev. 4:2). That phrase “in the Spirit” occurs again in (Rev. 17:3; 21:10).

“In the Spirit” means that God, by His Spirit, captured St. John’s mind and opened his spiritual eyes to receive what He was about to show him in the visions. According to the Amplified Bible, John “came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power” (Rev. 4:2, AMP). We need the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” that God may reveal His kingdom within us (Eph. 1:17).

Description of the  Throne

The keyword in (Rev. 4) is ”throne.” It is used sixty-two times in the New Testament, four times in the gospel of Matthew, and forty-seven times in the Book of Revelation. Out of the forty-seven times, it is used fourteen times in (Rev. 4) alone to indicate that the focus of this chapter is God’s throne in heaven. It is in the temple in heaven.[4] God’s throne expresses His sovereign rule and authority (Ps. 11:4, 103:19; Isa. 66:1). The vision of the throne in heaven reveals that God is eternal, unchangeable, and in complete control of the universe. 

4:3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 

God on the Throne

John does not name the One sitting on the throne. In (Rev. 5:6), the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the vision approached the One seated on the throne and received the scroll from His right hand. The act of handling and receiving the scroll confirms that the One sitting on the throne is the Father.

The psalmist said, “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Ps. 47:8). Isaiah also saw the Lord God sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple (Isa. 6:1). Micah also saw the Lord God sitting on His throne and the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and His left (1 Kings 22:19). Daniel also saw a heavenly throne room where God, the Ancient of Days, was seated (Dan. 7:9-10).

Jasper and Sardius

John struggled to find the exact and adequate words to express what he saw. He used the terms “jasper,” “sardius,” and “emerald.” It is not possible to describe God fully in human language because He is unspeakable. John could only use comparisons, words that may express the likeness of the glory of  God that he saw.

“Jasper” is a transparent gem (Rev. 21:11), and “sardius” is red. Therefore, seeing the Father in the likeness of these two precious stones has a broad meaning in terms of God’s nature and His works.

First, the transparent color of jasper refers to the purity and holiness of God (Rev. 4:8). Relative to His holiness, the heavens are not pure in His sight (Job 15:15).

Second, the red color of sardius is the color of blood. Since blood represents life, the sardius represents eternal life with the Father (1 John 1:2). In the Old Testament, because the high priest was God’s messenger (Mal. 2:7), he had a breastplate attached to the front of his ephod (Ex. 28:15–30). The breastplate had twelve precious stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The jasper and the sardius were in the high priest’s breastplate (Ex. 28:17–21).

The Rainbow

Around this throne is a magnificent rainbow (Rev. 4:3) in shades of emerald green, the color of which expresses the majestic glory of God.

The rainbow reminds us of the covenant that God made with Noah and every living creature. God will never again destroy the earth with a flood (Gen. 9:11–14). 

God’s throne is the place of eternal peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). According to the new covenant with God, we have such peace by the blood of Jesus Christ. He is our peace, and through His death on the cross, He abolished our enmity with God so we could have access to the Father (Eph. 2:14–18).

The Twenty Four Priests

4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones, I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. 

Their Identity

The Greek phrase “πρεσβύτεροι” translated is “elders” or “priests.” The Orthodox Church favors the term “priests” and celebrates a special feast for the twenty-four priests. As the number 24 is symbolic, so they include every faithful priest.

The commentators disagree about the identity of the twenty-four elders. Some see them as an order of angelic beings. But, this identification is unlikely for many reasons:

·        Angels do not have thrones. Nowhere in Scripture do angels sit on thrones, nor are they pictured ruling or reigning. Instead, their role is to serve as “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14; Matt. 18:10).

·        Angels do not age. Scripture never uses the word “elders” to refer to angels, but always to men. It refers to older men in general and the rulers of both Israel and the church. There is no indisputable use of “elders” outside of Revelation to refer to angels.

·        Angels do not have crowns. The fact that the elders wore golden crowns on their heads provides further evidence that they were humans. God never promised angels to have crowns, nor are angels ever seen wearing them. Holy angels do not personally struggle with and triumph over sin. Thus, the overcomer’s crowns are not for them.

·        The number of angels is enormous (Heb. 12:22). They are ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands (Rev. 5:11).

·        The elders are distinct from the angels (Rev. 7:11, 5:8–11). 

Their Number

The number twenty-four is used in Scripture to speak of completion and representation. Thus, twenty-four officers of the sanctuary represent the twenty-four courses of the Levitical priests (1 Chron. 24:4–5; 7–18). There were twenty-four divisions of singers in the temple (1 Chron. 25).

Since there were twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles, the number twenty-four symbolizes the totality of the faithful priesthood in the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, they also may represent the totality of true worshippers of God through the entire history of humanity.

Their Description

The twenty-four around the throne are “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:6). They are reigning and serving with Christ. The Book of Revelation tells us more about them.

First, the elders’ praises indicate they have been redeemed and made kings and priests because of the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 5:9–10).

Second, their twenty-four thrones indicate that they reign in the kingdom of God. Christ made them kings and priests to His Father, and they would reign on earth (Rev. 5:10).

Third, their white garments symbolize God’s righteousness imputed to them in Christ. They dressed in the white clothes of the redeemed.

Christ promised the believers at Sardis they would be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:5). He advised the church’s angel at Laodicea to buy white garments from Him so that he might dress (Rev. 3:18). At the marriage supper of the Lamb, His bride will clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean (Rev. 19:8). 

Fourth, the twenty-four priests wore golden crowns on their heads as a sign of their victory. Likewise, Christ promised the church’s priest in Smyrna the crown of life if he remained faithful until death (Rev. 2:10).

God will award the crown of righteousness to all who have loved Christ’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). So James wrote of the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12), and Peter wrote of the unfading crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4). 

From the Throne

4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thundering, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Out of the glory of God’s presence on the throne, John saw flashes of lightning and heard sounds of thunder (Rev. 4:5).

Lightning

Light refers to the illumination of God. James calls Him “the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God is clothed with light (Ps. 104:2) and lives in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16).

The Bible frequently presents God and His word as lights or lamps to enlighten and guide the believer (1 John 1:5). The psalmist also declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Ps 27:1), and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105).

The New Testament presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the personification of light of the divine illumination: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Christ plainly stated that those who rejected this divine light would bring judgment upon themselves (John 3:19-21).[5]

Light also symbolizes holiness and purity. Paul counseled the Christians at Rome to “put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). Throughout the Bible, light represents truth, goodness, and God’s redemptive work in Christ. On the other hand, darkness symbolizes error, evil, and the works of Satan. Christ and the New Testament writers extended the figure of light to include faithful Christian witnesses called “children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

Thunderings

Thunder is the sound that follows a flash of lightning. It is associated with the Lord God’s presence (Ex. 19:16) and Ezekiel 1:13. Thunder represents His voice and messages from His throne. David said, “The Lord thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice” (2 Sam. 22:14), and He also declared, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders” (Psalm 29:3).

The imagery of thunder speaks of the powerful presence of God. When Samuel called upon the Lord, thunder and rain came during a notoriously dry season during the wheat harvest. The people greatly feared the Lord (1 Sam. 12:17-18). When Moses stretched his rod toward heaven, the Lord sent thunder and hail (Ex. 9:23-34); this was the seventh plague upon the land of Egypt. God sent thunder at the giving of the law at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:16; 20:18) when the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel (1 Sam. 7:10) and at David’s deliverance (2 Sam. 22:14-15).

The Bible writers often associate thunder and lightning with revealing God’s power, majesty, and glory (2 Sam. 22:15; Job 36:32; Ps.18:14; Jer. 10:13). Lightning flashes, thundering, and smoke accompanied the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:16; 20:18). The Second Coming of Christ will be like flashes of lightning (Matt. 24:27).

When the Lord Jesus Christ predicted His death on the cross, a voice came from heaven as God’s seal of approval upon His redemptive mission. Some people who heard the divine voice said it had thundered; others said, “An angel has spoken to Him” (John 12:27–29).

Most of the New Testament references to thunder are in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 4:5; 14:2; 19:6). The imagery of thunder speaks of the powerful presence of God. When the seven thunders uttered their voices, John was about to write, but he heard a voice from heaven saying to him, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them” (Rev. 10:4).

In (Rev. 8:5), the angel took the censer, filled it with the altar’s fire, and threw it to the earth. There followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning.

There were lightning flashes and sounds and thunder peals when God opened the temple in heaven (Rev. 11:19). When the seventh angel pours out his bowl, there will be flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder (Rev. 16:18).

Before the Throne

The Seven Lamps

The Seven  Lamps of Fire symbolize the seven angels and are mentioned in the Bible.[6]  Psalm 104 makes a direct reference to the angels as “spirits.” David said God “makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire” (Ps.104:4). Angels give blessings to the people of God by serving them according to the will of God. They “all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).

Some see “the seven Spirits” as the fullness of the Holy Spirit described in the sevenfold expressions in Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:20, NIV).

In Bible times, people used “lamps,” oil-burning vessels used for lighting houses and public buildings. Lamps could be held by hand or placed on a shelf or a lampstand. For example, a seven-branched lampstand of pure gold stood in the tabernacle (Ex. 25:31–40). Solomon also made ten similar lampstands for the temple (1 Kings 7:49).

Zechariah saw in his vision a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl were seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks (Zech. 4:1–10). The angel who talked to Zechariah interpreted the vision as representing the power of the Lord God’s Spirit. So He said to him, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). 

Isaiah 11:2 presents the Holy Spirit in a sevenfold representation: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. The Sea of Glass” (Isa. 11:2).

4:6a Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.

The Sea of Glass

As John looked at the scene in heaven, a sea of glass-like crystals was in front of God’s throne. That sea of glass is symbolic since there is no sea in heaven (Rev. 21:1). In another vision, John also saw “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). The Lord Jesus Christ used the word “rivers” to symbolize the Holy Spirit (John 7:38–39).

At the throne’s base, John saw a vast pavement of glass shining brilliantly like sparkling crystal. Ex. 24:10 records a similar scene when Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel saw the God of Israel. Under His feet, there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire as clear as the sky itself.

As a type of the sea of glass, the Lord God commanded Moses to make a laver of bronze, with its base also made of bronze, for washing (Ex. 30:17–21). So there was the sea of cast metal in Solomon’s temple, circular and measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high (1 King 7:23–37).

Then, both the “sea of glass” (Rev. 4:6) and the “pure river of water of life” (Rev. 22:1) are expressions of the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father (John 15:26).

Mingled with Fire

Daniel saw a river of fire pouring out, flowing from God’s presence (Dan. 7:10). John also saw the sea of glass mingled with fire, where the victorious stand, having harps of God (Rev. 15:2). Fire is an expression of God’s nature; He is “a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24). So the Spirit of God descended on the disciples as “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3).

The Baptism

Bishop Victorinus of Pettau (AD 303) says the sea of glass points to “the gift of baptism” God sends through His Son.[7] Therefore, everyone who desires to meet the Father, who sits on the throne, must pass through baptism. In doing this, the grace of God fills their inner being to get them prepared for the kingdom.

Christ baptizes the believers in His firey Spirit (Matt. 3:11) to become members of Christ’s body. In baptism, God shatters the power of sinful nature by His fiery Spirit. He buries our old sinful nature with Christ and raises us with Christ into the newness of life (Rom. 6:2–4). Those who stand on the sea mingled with fire are born of God’s Spirit (John 3:6), and they have become a new creation in Christ  (2 Cor. 5:17).

The Four Living Beings

4:6 And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

In the midst of the throne and around the throne, John saw “four living beings” (Rev. 4:6, NLT). The translations of the Greek word ζα zoóa” in the English Bible versions obscures the understanding of (Rev. 4:6). They are: “four living creatures” (NKJV, NIV, NABU, AMP, NRSV), “four animals” (MSG), and “four beasts” (KJV).

The Cherubim

They resemble the cherubim the Prophet Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 1:4–14; 10:20–22). However, in (Rev. 4:8), their praise reminds us of the seraphim of Isaiah 6.

Ezekiel pictured the Cherubim as “wheels within the wheels.” It seems they are involved in the providential work of God in the world. He uses them to accomplish His will.

In God’s Presence

These four living beings are not just around the throne where the twenty-four elders and the angels are (Rev. 4:4; 5:11). They also appear in the middle of the throne. (Rev. 4:6).

4:7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.

Having the Breath of Life

There is only one Spirit, The Spirit of God, who gives the breath of life to the living creatures (1 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 4:4), but with four facial manifestations (Ezek. 1:15; 10:14,21). It seems these four living beings represent the different kinds of living creatures: the human, the birds, the cattle, and the wild beasts (Gen. 7:22; Rom. 8:2).

In our minds, we should not limit the vastness of the throne of God and the worship around it. Worshipping God includes, but is not limited to, all the living beings.  The four living beings represent the totality of the living creatures offering their worship before God. The psalmist said, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (Ps.150:6).

In Covenant with God

The Lord God has made a covenant with the living creatures, represented in Revelation by the four living beings. After the flood, God said to Noah, “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth” (Gen. 9:9-10).

The Fullness of Eyes

John saw the four living creatures “full of eyes.” The eyes express the ability to see, having knowledge and awareness. God has given to every living being a certain degree of the ability to see Him, know about Him and feel His presence. With this ability, they can know the will of God, obey and worship Him. Thus, the dove (Gen. 8:8-12), the lions (Dan. 6:22), the whale, and the plant (Jonah 1:17- 2:10;  4:6-10) could understand and submit to the will of God.

The Four Gospel’s Accounts

Some commentators see the fourfold picture of Christ in the four gospel accounts pictured in the four living creatures. Matthew is the royal gospel of the King, illustrated “like a lion.” Mark emphasizes the servant aspect of the Lord’s ministry, represented “like a calf.” Luke presents Christ as the compassionate Son of Man illustrated “like a face of a man.” Finally, John magnifies the divinity of Christ, demonstrated “like a flying eagle.”

Worship Around the Throne

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!”

Revelation as Hymnology’s Reference

Hymns and praises offered to God are essential in the Book of Revelation.[8] The emphasis on praise is significant because John wrote this book to encourage the suffering people! It is the book of hymnology during the trials, just like the three young men in the fire, in the Book of Daniel.

The Cosmic Worship

There are five great hymns of praise in Revelation Chapters 4 and 5. The size of the choir gradually increases while singing these hymns. They begin, in (Rev. 4:8), with the four living beings.

The twenty-four elders are, in (Rev. 4:10), and (Rev. 5:8) adds harps to the vocal praise. The rest of the angels add their voices in (Rev. 5:11). Finally, in (Rev. 5:13), all created beings in the universe join in the mighty chorus of praise to God. 

Worship is reserved for God alone, through His Son, since no one in the universe is like Him. Thus, in (1 Chronicles 17:20), David prayed, “O Lord [O Yahweh], there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” (Ps.86:8–10; 89:6–8). 

Praising God

The four living beings begin the worship by focusing on God’s holiness. Day and night, they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God [Yahweh the Elohim]” (Rev. 4:8).

We also find the threefold repetition of “holy” in Isaiah 6:3. The Bible repeats the attribute of God’s holiness so many times since it is the summation of all that He is. God has no form of evil, error, or wrongdoings, unlike angels and humans.

In (1 Sam. 2:2), Hannah declared, “There is no one holy like the Lord,” because He alone is “majestic in holiness” (Ex. 15:11). The prophet Habakkuk praised the Lord God because “[His] eyes are too pure to approve evil, and [He] cannot look on wickedness with favor” (Hab. 1:13). The psalmist declared, “God sits on His holy throne” (Ps.47:8) and “Holy and awesome is His name” (Ps. 111:9). The Lord God commands, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44, 19:2, 20:7).

Praising the Sovereign God

The remembrance of God’s holiness inspires the living beings to worship and remember His power. In their song of praise, the four living creatures refer to God as the Almighty, a title by which God identified Himself to Abraham (Gen. 17:1). That term “Almighty” identifies God as the most powerful being, utterly devoid of any weakness, whose conquering power and overpowering strength none can oppose.

Because God is the Almighty God, He can do whatever His holy will (Isa. 40:28). During Job’s trials, he affirmed, “If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one!” (Job 9:19). The psalmist declared, “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps.115:3). God said, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isa 46:10).

After experiencing God’s devastating and humiliating judgment, King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the sovereignty of God. He said, “He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?” (Dan. 4:35).

The creation manifests God’s power. Psalm 33:9 says, “He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Having created the universe, God also controls it.  The Lord Jesus Christ taught that “with God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

4:9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

Praising the  Eternal God

The four living creatures also praise God for His eternity, extolling Him as “He who was and who is and who is to come” and “who lives forever and ever” (Rev. 10:6, 15:7; Dan. 4:34). Moreover, scripture repeatedly affirms God’s eternity, that He transcends time, having no beginning or end.[9] 

To know that God is eternal provides comfort for His children since, unlike a human father, He will always be there to take care of them. God’s eternity guarantees that our eternal life in heaven will never cease, that we will receive “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). 

4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

The Response of the Twenty Four Priests

The praise of the four living beings, as they give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne (Rev. 4:9), triggers a response from the twenty-four elders, who fall down before Him and “worship Him [God] who lives forever and ever” (Rev. 4:10).

The twenty-four priests cast their crowns before God’s throne, prostrating themselves before God (Rev. 4:10; 5:8, 14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4). All other glory pales in insignificance and becomes meaningless in light of the glory of God.

Such prostration is reverential worship acts, a natural response to God’s majestic, holy, awe-inspiring glory.[10]

4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord,

To receive glory and honor and power;

For You created all things,

And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Praising God as the Creator

The twenty-four priests’ hymn theme is God the Creator, while the elders praise God the Redeemer (Rev. 5). They offer their praise to God (Rev. 4), to the Lamb (Rev. 5), and the closing hymn to God and the Lamb (Rev. 5:13).

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the holy people should join the chorus. Creation bears constant witness to the power, wisdom, and glory of God (Psalm 19). Acknowledging the Creator is the first step toward trusting the Redeemer (Acts 14:8–18; 17:22–31).

But sinful man worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator, and such worship is idolatry (Rom. 1:25). Furthermore, the wicked men have polluted and destroyed God’s wonderful creation.

Creation is for God’s praise and pleasure. Man has no right to usurp that which rightfully belongs to God. Men plunged creation into sin so that God’s good creation is now groaning (Gen. 1:31; Rom. 8:22). The creation will be delivered and become glorious by God’s redemptive work in Christ (Rom. 8:18–24).

The honest answer to the ecological problem is not financial or legal, but spiritual. Only when men acknowledge the Creator and begin to use creation to God’s glory will the issues be solved.

Excerpt from: Revealing the Father through the Book of Revelation, by Hegumen Abraam Sleman, With God's grace, the book is available on Amazon. I would be blessed if you could get a copy of the book and review it. For more information about the book, please visit frsleman.net. I am looking forward to hearing your feedback. Pray for me!

Blessings to you,

Fr. Abraam Sleman
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[1] Simmons, Brian. Revelation: The Unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ, The Passion Translation. Broad Street Publishing Group LLC.

[2] John 14:2–3; Acts 1:9–11, 3:20–21, 7:55–56; Rom. 10:6; Col. 3:1; 1 Thess. 4:16

[3] The Coptic Book of Agbyiah, the Tithrd Hour Parayer

[4] Rev. 7:15; 11:19; 14:15,17; 15:6–8; 16:17

[5] Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Rev. 8:2,6; 15:1,6,7, 8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9

[7] Commentary on the Apocalypse (Victorinus), www.newadvent.org/fathers/

[8] Rev. 4:8,11; 5:9–13; 7:12–17; 11:15–18; 12:10–12; 15:3–4; 16:5–7; 18:2–8; 19:2–6

[9] Ps.90:2, 93:2, 102:24–27; Isa. 57:15; Mic. 5:2; Hab. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:17, 6:15–16

[10] Gen. 17:3; Josh. 5:14; Ezek. 1:28, 3:23, 43:3, 44:4; Matt. 17:6; Acts 9:4

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