Revelation 4-8 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him

From Revelation 4-6

In the throne room at heaven the LORD is seated. Immediately around him are four amazing living creatures. They worship the LORD without ceasing. Whenever they worship the elders of the worldwide church around them also cry out in worship. Their praises complement one another. Heaven is filled with the never ending praise to the holy creator of the universe. Have you praised the LORD today?

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

John has just finished passing on Jesus’ instruction to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. He now has a word of encouragement for all.

4 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!

And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (Rev 4:1)

John still in the thrall of his vision sees a door in heaven. The door as it will turn out leads to the throne room of God. It must be big and majestic. The voice like a trumpet calls out to John again (cf. Rev 1.10) and escorts him in.

2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. (Rev 4:2–3)

In the Spirit, John is moved into the throne room in heaven. There is a throne room because God is king. God is described having an appearance of jasper and carnelian. These are varieties of  quartz, usually colored red. In this case Rev 21.11 suggests the stones are more like diamonds.

“The rainbow, composed by the joint influences of shower and sunshine, is an emblem of Divine severity, blended with Divine love; a symbol of the dark shower of Divine judgment illumined by the bright beams of Divine Mercy. Comp. the vision of Ezekiel, 1:28. The Bow is a record of the deluge, in which the world was drowned for sin, and speaks of sunshine after storm; and of the Divine Promise that the world should never more be destroyed by water; and yet it is also a silent memento of another judgment (see Gen. 9:13–16, and 2 Pet. 3:7.” (Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 151). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)

4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. (Rev 4:4–6)

Twenty four thrones. There were twelve tribes of Israel. The number represents the entirely of the tribes in the Old Covenant. Here there are twelve by twelve thrones. The tribes of the old covenant are added to the tribes of the new. In its entirety, twenty four thrones represents the people of God throughout the ages.

The elders representing and ruling (‘crowns’) each of the tribes wear white garments. The colour is associated with purity. In Revelation those with white robes have been washed by the blood of the lamb and do not continue in sin. Hence they are worthy (Rev 3.4-5; 7.14 cf. Rev 3.18; 6.11; 7.9,13; 19.14).

The throne itself is alive with power and energy. Lightning and thunder emanate from it. There are seven torches and they represent the seven spirits of God (cf. Rev 1.4; 3.1; 5.6). These seven Spirits most probably refer to the Holy Spirit and his illuminating work through creation.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:

7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:6–8)

The four living creatures are powerful, majestic and a bit strange. They are full of eyes in front and behind. They can see everywhere. They each have six wings. Two is not enough. Six looks more impressive. They express different aspects of all creation.

Day and night they keep on praising the LORD. All creation praises the LORD God all the time.

“The throne room scene reaches a climax in a description of the worship of God. The worship by the living creatures takes the trishagion (threefold declaration of God as “holy”) from Isa 6:3 as its point of departure (4:8b)” (Stuckenbruck, L. T. (2003). Revelation. In J. D. G. Dunn & J. W. Rogerson (Eds.), Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (p. 1545). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.)

9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:9–11)

The praise of the living creatures sets off a chain reaction in the throne room. ‘Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne. … The twenty-four elders fall down and cast their crowns before him.’ Then they too praise the LORD.

Since the four living creatures never cease to give glory and honor and thanks to the LORD God. The twenty four elders likewise never cease to give him glory and honor and power.

The never ending praise is due the LORD God because he is the creator of all things.

For Believers

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Click to enlarge

The LORD God is creator. He is Holy. He is eternal. He is worthy.

The Christian life should never cease giving glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4.11)

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.