A Systematic Expository Study on the book of REVELATION
STUDY 16: HEAVENLY PRAISE AND WORSHIP BEFORE GOD’S THRONE
As the throne of God is central in Revelation chapter four and in the whole book of Revelation, so is the praise and worship of God. Worship is the central activity in heaven, and this chapter introduces us to it. Here we see the place of worship and behold with John the One who sits on the throne, the Potentate to be worshipped, we recognize the people who worship the holy One, the Almighty God and have a new revelation of how worthy and exalted God is as we listen to the praise, which the redeemed offer to the God of heaven.
We are created to praise and worship God (Isaiah 43:7,21). Our salvation through Christ prepares and makes us fit to praise and worship God acceptably (1 Peter 2:9). Redeemed and raptured, the purpose of God for the people of God can now be fulfilled without hindrance or interruption. In heaven, angels and saints praise and worship God (Revelation 4:10,11; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 14:6,7; 15:4; 19:4-6). Praise and worship surround God’s throne and rise up constantly before the Almighty God who lives forever. Listening to the words expressing praise to God as the angels and the redeemed, raptured saints worship Him, the praise increases as we move on until it transcends time and fills all eternity; first the pre-tribulation saints, later joined by tribulation saints, then with redeemed Israel added to the number, until the whole universe praise and worship the only One who is worthy of worship.
THE WONDER OF SUPERNATURAL LIGHTNINGS AND THUNDERINGS FROM GOD’S THRONE
Revelation 4:5,6a; 11:19; 16:17,18; Exodus 19:16-18; Psalm 18:12-15; Hebrews 12:25-29; Zechariah 4:2-6; Matthew 3:11,12; Revelation 15:2; Exodus 24:10.
“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices”. This at once reminds us of the sublime scene that occurred at Sinai when God revealed His majesty and glory to Moses and to Israel. “There were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled”(Exodus 19:16). “And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake”(Hebrews 12:21). After reminding us of this scene at Sinai, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us and concludes, warning us, “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). The “lightnings and thunderings and voices” proceeding out of God’s throne are a preview of the explosion of God’s fury in judgment as the Judge of the whole world prepares to pour out His wrath upon the unrepentant world. And when the Almighty pours out His wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth during the great Tribulation, everyone will tremble. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man” will want to do everything to find a place to hide them “from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).
“And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” The number seven represents completeness, fulness, or perfection. There is only one Holy Spirit and number seven is symbolic of His perfection. The seven burning lamps, emblematic of perfect light reveal that there is no darkness or any hidden thing before or around the throne. And the fierce burning, blazing torches of the Holy Spirit add to the thundering judgment proceeding from the throne. The indignation of God with the wrath of the Lamb and the fiery, burning fury of the Holy Spirit all join together as the Comforter becomes the Consumer in the time to come.
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal.” Representing the floor or pavement on which the throne stood is this sea of glass, clear, transparent like pure, perfect crystal. Appearing like a sea, stretching afar, giving a sight of indescribable beauty, is the solid expanse of glass before the throne.
THE WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF ANGELIC CREATURES BEFORE GOD’S THRONE
Revelation 4:6b-9; Ezekiel 1:4-25; 10:15-17,20; 11:22,23; 28:11-15; Revelation 5:6-8; 7:11,12; 19:1-4; Isaiah 6:1-4; Exodus15:11; Revelation 11:17; 15:3.
“And round about the throne were four beasts.” The Greek word translated “beasts,” is “zoa” which means living ones, living beings or living creatures. These living creatures, close to the presence and throne of God are described by Ezekiel in a similar vision as cherubims. These glorious, unique, elevated creatures are higher than the ordinary angels. They are an exalted order of angels who guard God’s glory, power and holiness in blazing brilliance.
These living creatures, cherubims, are “full of eyes before and behind” as well as “full of eyes within” (Revelation 4:6,8) signifying that they manifest watchfulness and vigilance and nothing escapes their observation, nothing can be concealed from them. The faces of these living creatures appear as those of a lion, a calf, a man and an eagle separately. These are emblematic or symbolic of their strength and power (the lion), service (the calf), reason and intelligence (the man), speed and rapidity (the flying eagle). These exalted, angelic beings carry out the activities appointed by God with energy, power, and intelligence with rapidity. “And the four beasts (living creatures) had each of them six wings about him.” The seraphims, another order of angels seen by Isaiah in his vision, also have six wings each. “Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet and with twain he did fly” (Isaiah 6:2). Covering the face shows their reverence for God, covering the feet is emblematic of their modesty and humility in God’s presence while flying with the two wings emphasizes their swift response to God’s commands - their speed in executing the commands of God.
“And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come”. They “give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 4:8,9). Worship is their constant occupation as they praise God’s holiness. These living creatures, these angelic creatures constantly give glory, honour and praise to God; they fill up the whole time, employed day and night in the worship of God who is eternal - existing in all past time, existing now, and will continue to exist for ever.
THE WORTHINESS AND SUPREMACY OF GOD ON THE THRONE
Revelation 4:10,11; 5:8-14; 7:11,12; 19:4; 15:4; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13; Psalm 96:1-9; Jeremiah 10:10-12; 32:17; Colossians 1:16,17; Romans 11:36.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). As the chapter closes and this part of the revelation of glory comes to its conclusion, John sees and hears the twenty-four elders, representatives of the redeemed, raptured Church, praising and worshipping God. They extol the worthiness and supremacy of God who sits on the throne of universal power and authority. God, the Creator of all things, is worthy of universal adoration. No one can meditate on the vast and wonderful universe without praising God and acknowledging Him to be worthy to “receive glory and honour and power.” Whatever wisdom, power, goodness, beauty, glory is manifested or observed on earth or in the universe is to be traced to God, and is the expression of what is in Him from eternity. He is worthy of praise and honour.
The twenty-four elders fall down in humility and reverence before God and “cast their crowns before the throne”. The overcomers realize that they owe their triumph to the grace, strength and faithfulness of God to keep and preserve them till the establishment of His Kingdom, therefore they place their crowns at His feet and they worship Him.
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