Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Revelation 4 - The Heavenly Throne

Worship in Heaven

In our studies of Revelation so far we saw that John wrote to the 7 churches as directed by Jesus.  He was told to write the things he saw, what is now, and what will take place later.  The letters to the churches are what is now.  Now John is shown the heavenly throne in Revelation 4.  This is the start of visions shown to John starting with a description of heaven, including the throne, elders, creatures, and what they are doing.

John heard a voice calling him to come up to heaven so he could be shown what will take place next.  John enters heaven and was in the Spirit - meaning he was in a vision.  He describes what he saw.  John saw God sitting on His heavenly throne.  God is the King of all kings and is the One with all power.  He is the One who controls all of history in heaven and on earth.  He has the end of history planned and He shows John what will happen. 

The throne is in the center of heaven and all of heaven looked to the throne and all worship Him.  God seems to not have a physical body, but one as a bright light shining through precious stones, which showed the glory of God.   Before the throne he described the floor of God’s throne room as a sea of glass.   (Rev. 4:1-3).  This was only John’s impression as he was probably unable to really find words to describe what he saw.  Can you image?  I am sure he was in awe of God’s glory.

In these first verses we can see the Trinity.  I see the door as being Jesus, the One on the throne of course is God and the 7 lamps of fire is the Holy Spirit.

Around the throne were 24 elders on 24 thrones.  These are heavenly beings who serve and worship God.  Some say these are the 12 patriarchs of Israel (the 12 sons of Jacob) and the 12 disciples of Jesus, but we really don’t know exactly who they are.  They wore white clothes and crowns.  The white clothes mean that are clean from any sin and symbolized their purity and victory in Christ.  All believers are promised white garment of righteousness.  Their crowns show they are royalty.  (Rev. 4:4) 

There was lightning and thunder indicating the power of God.  This is the sound of God’s judgment.  God is beautiful yet terrifying at the same time.  There were 7 lamps of fire which represent the Holy Spirit.  He appears as fire in other places in the Bible.  The number 7 means perfection or completeness. (Rev. 4:5-6a).

In the center around the throne were 4 living creatures - a lion, an ox, one with a face one like a man, and an eagle.  They were possibly located in four directions: north, east, south, and west.  This shows that they were strong like a lion, full of power like an ox, wise like a wise man, and fast like a flying eagle.  Each had eyes in front and back and 6 wings.  The eyes could mean they could see everything.  Nothing was hidden from them.  The wings could mean they had speed when obeying God.  These creatures represent the entire created order of animals and mankind.  The creatures constantly praised and gave glory, honor and thanks to the Lord saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”Rev. 4:6b-8  They express praises of the holy, powerful, and eternal nature of God.

What do these words really mean? 
Holy, holy, holy  - God is perfect and without flaws.  Every part of God’s nature is holy.
Lord God Almighty – God is in control and has His hand in everything.  It shows His power and authority over all.
Who is, and is and is to come - God has always existed and will always exist.  He is active and present.

How do you give glory to God?   We can give Him glory and worship by acknowledging Him, by worshipping, by our gratitude, by recognizing and submitting to His authority, by repenting of sin and following His Word.  He is the object of true worship in heaven and it should be here on earth for us as well.  He is worthy of our worship.

The elders lay their crowns before the throne.  This is an act of honor and respectfully acknowledges God is the source and authority over everything we have.  He is the giver of every gift.  Crowns will be given to the faithful and we will lay our crowns at His feet, because all our rewards come from Him.  No one else, not any king or anyone is worthy of such honor and praise as God.

When the creatures praised God, the elders would fall down before the throne and worship the Lord, because He is the supreme Ruler, the King of Kings and Creator of all things.  The job of these elders was to solely give praises to God.  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you crated all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”Rev. 4:11.

Can you image standing before the throne a seeing and worshiping the one true living God?  One day we will be right there in heaven before His throne.  Oh, what a day of glorious worship that will be!  Wait until you see Him!  We will be like the elders and creatures and never tire of giving Him praise.  That will be our job to worship Him.

How often do you think of God?
What is worship to you?
How do you worship God?
Are you frightened by John’s vision?
What do you think you will do when your see God?

God is Creator of all things, and everyone and everything owes their existence to Him.
God has always existed and will always exist.
The throne of God reveals God’s limitless power and eternal rule.
Our Creator God is worthy of all honor, glory and worship.

Next week we will study Revelation 5 where John’s vision continues.  Hope to see you here.


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