Today we will complete our study of Revelation chapter 4. Have we exhausted every teaching possibility? Absolutely not, but we must move on after today. In our time in chapter 4, we have seen John called up to heaven. We have been given a glimpse of the throne of God. Today, we are privileged to witness the worship of God that goes on in heaven. What we see should inform and enliven our worship here on earth.
Consider with me Revelation 4: 6b-11. Oh, by the way, you might want to have your drawing of Revelation 4 handy. It may help you visualize what you are reading. Don’t have the drawing? Go HERE to download and print it.
6b 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!”
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.”
It is important for us to remember that John likely had to grasp for words to describe much of what he saw. His descriptions of the four living creatures might cause us to think they are grotesque and frightening. In fact, I do not think John was frightened at all by them. Let’s break down his description and see what we discern.
The four living creatures are described as:
- Living beings
- Full of eyes in front and behind
- Six wings on each
- One creature was LIKE A LION
- One creature was LIKE AN OX
- One creature had THE FACE OF A MAN
- One creature was LIKE AN EAGLE IN FLIGHT
- They worship God and cause others in heaven to do the same
If you are a student of Scripture, you will recall two other places where similar creatures were described:
Isaiah 6:1-7 – Isaiah merely mentions the creatures, giving a cursory description of them to include wings, face, feet, and hands. The words they call out in worship are slightly different than the words heard by John.
Ezekiel 1 – Ezekiel’s description of these creatures, called cherubim, and their actions is very detailed, taking up the entirety of the first chapter. He does not mention that the creatures speak in his vision.
Are the creatures that Isaiah, Ezekiel and John reference the same? Did all three men see the same creatures, or cherubim, but give more or less detail depending on the occurrence? It is certainly possible that they did and there is precedent for this in Scripture. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all close friends and disciples of Jesus, yet each of their accounts of His life and work differ a bit. Each told the story of Jesus from their personal perspective and out of their unique relationship with Him.
What we need to take away from this look at these heavenly creatures, these angels, is their function. Their sole purpose is to glorify God, and prompt others to do the same. They are part of the inner circle of God, along with the 24 elders, who worship God eternally.
Friends, heaven will be all about worship. We will not be cloud-potatoes in heaven. Among other things, we will be actively involved in the worship of our holy God, and the Lord, Jesus Christ. It will not be mindless, compulsory worship, but rather worship of the Redeemer that flows from the heart of the redeemed. The holiness of God will be front and center in heaven.
Now, let’s engage. Don’t forget that every comment you leave will be an entry into the monthly giveaway.
- Did something in today’s lesson encourage or challenge your faith?
- What is worship to you? When you hear the word ‘worship’, what comes to your mind first?
- In heaven there will be nothing to hinder our worship…no sin, no sorrow, no aggrevations….nothing. What is the greatest hindrance you experience to your worship?
Join me next week as we move into Revelation 5. Thank you for your presence here.