WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO: Revelation 5:1-14 – Worthy Is The Lamb

Grace For The Journey

We are continuing our series of studies on the Book of Revelation.  We are making our way verse by verse through this last Book of the Bible and God is going to be teaching us about the things that take place in the future.  In chapter 5 we are back at the scene of heaven.  Chapters 4 and 5 really go together.  John has been called up into the throne room of heaven.  He is called up in a vision.  He sees things that are beautifully symbolic of God and His creation. 

In chapter 4 we see God in His glorious splendor. 

The vision continues in chapter 5 as we read now

About John’s seeing the Lord Jesus Christ, described

In our text as the “lion of the tribe of Judah”

And as “a lamb who had been slain.”

John tells us that he sees God sitting on the throne.  And God has something in His right hand.  It is a scroll. 

Have you ever been so focused on the details of something that you completely miss something right under your nose?  Often, I will get my mind on something, or I will be thinking about what I have got to do.  I will be on my way to go see someone at the hospital or something and I will be thinking about things I have got to do and I will walk right by someone I know without even realizing it.  Have you ever done that?  What is really bad is when the person you walked right by is the person you were going to see!

In John’s vision in chapter 4, he tells us some of the things he sees as he is right there in the presence of God on His throne.  He tells us about seeing beautiful stones like jasper and sardius stones.  He sees a rainbow around the throne like an emerald.  Before the throne John sees a sea of glass like crystal.  He tells us about seeing four living creatures and 24 elders around the throne of God.  And yet, he has apparently missed something.  We find out what John missed in chapter 5.  The Bible says that in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the 24 elders stands the Lord Jesus Christ, described as “a lamb who had been slain.”

Wonder how John missed Jesus?!  He had seen precious stones in heaven, heard thunder, saw lightening, and gazed at a rainbow like an emerald and a sea of glass like crystal, but he missed Jesus.  I was listening to Adrian Rogers the other day and he said that one of the dangers of studying prophecy is that we can get so focused on the details of prophetic events that we can completely miss Jesus.

We must remember that . . .

The main point of prophecy is the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The main person of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have said many times that the Bible is a “Him book,” it is about Him.  Jesus Christ is the focus of all creation.  John reminds us of this in chapter 5.  We see some wonderful truths to grasp because of the Lord Jesus Christ.  First, because of Christ . . .

I.  We Can Know God’s Plan – Verses 1-5.

Verse 1 says, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.”  In John’s day they did not have books like you and I have, they had scrolls.  They had long pages – sheets from the papyrus plant – and these sheets would be written on, glued together from end to end and then rolled up into scrolls.  The scrolls were then sealed with a big dab of hot wax to keep the scroll from unwinding and to keep the scroll from being read until the proper time.  The scroll John describes has a lot of writing on it, front and back.  And it is sealed with seven seals.  It is a very important scroll.  Remember that John has been called up to heaven, in order to see the things that are to take place in the future and so this scroll represents the details of future events.  With the breaking of each seal, we learn of future things that will happen according to God’s plan, God’s perfect plan centered completely around the Lord Jesus Christ.  The seven seals teach us that it is God’s perfect and complete plan.  John sees this scroll in the right hand of God. 

Verse 2 continues, “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’”  We see again the importance of this scroll.  The contents reveal the perfect plan of God.  Not just anyone may open it.  God has a perfect plan for all of mankind as revealed through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals?

Verse 3 tells us, “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.”  No one in all of creation is worthy.  No angelic being is worthy.  No human being is worthy.  No great leader liker like Napoleon or Alexander the Great.  Not even a biblical leader like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, or the Apostle Paul is worthy.

Verse 4 shows us John’s response, “So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.”  It seems for a moment that God’s perfect plan may not be realized.  If no one is worthy to open the scroll, then the events may not be detailed.  This is why John weeps.  He is concerned that God’s perfect plan, including the ultimate righting of all wrongs, and the ushering in of a time of universal peace, may not be realized.  He weeps.

Verse 5 tells us, “But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’”  The Lord Jesus Christ is described here as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”  In In Genesis 49:8-10, Jacob gives to his son, Judah a prophecy.  Jacob tells Judah that the Messiah, described there as a lion, will come from his line.  The Messiah is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”  Another specific detail in disclosing Who the Messiah would be.

Jesus is also described as “the Root of David.”  Jesus comes from the line of David, too.  This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1.  It pictures the royalty of the Messiah.  He is the one who comes from the royal lineage of the great King David.  He is worthy because he “has prevailed.”  He has conquered Satan and won.  He has died for our sins and rose from the grave.  That is what it means when it says he “has prevailed.”  He is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. 

Because of Christ,

We can

Know God’s plan.

Remember that God has a perfect plan for all of His creation.  This world is not just rolling along with no rhyme or reason.  God is working out a perfect plan.  You may feel like John at times.  You feel like weeping.  You wonder if it is all going to work out, if God’s perfect plan is going to be realized and actualized.  You wonder if there will be any justice in your particular situation at work or home.  You may recoil at the events that are happening in the world and you may wonder if God really is on His throne.  But . . .

You must remember that

He is and He is in control. 

Because of Christ,

God’s perfect plan

Is being worked

Out and actualized. 

In the midst of

Uncertainty, God is there.

Because of Christ we can know God’s plan. 

Secondly, because of Christ . . .

II.  We Can See God’s Power – Verses 6-7.

John tells us in verse 6, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

It is a fascinating thing.  The mighty angel says, “Behold the lion of the tribe of Judah.”   John hears about a lion and he turns to see a lamb!  He sees “a lamb as though it had been slain.”  The mixed metaphor is intentional.  The point is that this strong powerful mighty lion conquers as a lamb. 

God defeats

The power of sin


The power of sacrifice.

The Greek word for “lamb” there is hardly used elsewhere in the New Testament.  It is used 28 times in the book of Revelation to describe Jesus.  It is the word for a “little lamb,” like a “pet lamb,” a lamb that was kept four days in the Jewish home before the family partook of the Passover.  During the Passover that little lamb was sacrificed as a reminder that our sins needed to be paid for.

This is why Isaiah, prophesying 700 years before Christ, described the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53:7 as, “a lamb being led to the slaughter.”  And when He was killed, Isaiah says in Isaiah 53:6, “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

That is why we read of John’s seeing a lamb “as though it had been slain.”  The Lamb had been slain, but He arose.  He died for our sins, but He was raised from the grave.  That is how the mighty lion conquers.  He conquers as a lamb.  Because of Christ, we can see God’s power.

You can also see His power in the way John describes what he saw in his vision.   Remember that this is a vision.  These things are not literal representations of Christ.   John sees the Lamb as having “seven horns” and “seven eyes.”  The horn represents strength and might.  Seven is the number for perfection and completion.  We see Christ has perfect might and perfect sight.  He sees everything.  He knows everything.

I heard about a bunch of children lined up in the cafeteria of a religious school for lunch.  At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The teacher made a note: “Take only one, God is watching.” At the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A boy wrote a note: “Take all you want, God is watching the apples.”  God is watching everything and everyone.  That is convicting and encouraging.  He knows what you need.  He sees you.  He will provide.  You can trust Him.

The “seven eyes” is John’s way of describing the Lord Jesus Christ Who sees everything and is everywhere present.  The “seven spirits” of God is a reference to the perfect, complete Holy Spirit.  God is everywhere present in perfect might and sight.   Because of Christ, we can see the power of God.

Verse 7 states, “Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”  This action represents power and authority.  The right hand is the hand of authority and power.  Only the one who is worthy can come and take the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne.  Because of Christ we can know God’s plan and see God’s power.

God’s power is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the One who, as a lion, conquers as a lamb.  He has won the battle at Calvary, at the cross 2,000 years ago.   All of history is to be interpreted by the cross.  That is why we need not fear the future battle of Armageddon, because the battle of Calvary has been won.  The war is over.  The Battle of Armageddon is just Satan’s last visible loss.  He is already defeated.  We need not worry about the future.  Because of Christ, we can know God’s plan and see God’s power. 

Thirdly, because of Christ . . .

III.  We Can Give Our Praise – Verses 8-14.

1) He Receives Praise For The Work Of Redemption – Verses 8-10.

Verses 8-10 tell us, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.’”

The four living creatures and the 24 elders praise the Lamb because of His work of redemption.  The harp is an instrument of praise and the bowls of incense were used during times of prayer.  The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of our prayers and praise.  Why?  Because of His work of redemption.

They teach us what to say: “You are worthy . . . for you have redeemed us to God by Your blood.”  Redemption describes the purchasing of a prisoner of war, freeing him from bondage.  The death of Christ is Christ’s “ransom payment,” a death that makes possible the purchasing of souls who are prisoners of sin, thus freeing them from the bondage of sin, including its penalty, power, and presence.  Christ has purchased us not with gold, or silver, or money, but He has purchased us by His blood.  We were bound to sin, destined to die for sin, destined to be separated from God forever.  But Christ freed us from the slave market of sin by shedding His blood for us, by dying for us, and by dying for our sins. That is why the four living creatures and the 24 elders say, “You have redeemed us by Your blood.”  You have redeemed us and “made us kings” (we will reign with Christ) and “priests” (we will serve) and we will “reign on the earth” (during the millennial reign).

Have you been redeemed?  Have you been saved from the penalty of sin by looking to Jesus, accepting His sacrifice for you, and asking Him to be your personal Lord and Savior?  If you have been redeemed, then you will love to proclaim it.  In the words of the hymn-writer, Fanny Crosby:

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.

Christ receives praise for the work of redemption and:

2) He Receives Praise From The Whole of Creation – Verses 11-14.

Verses 11-14 tells us how all creation praises Him, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands (the Greek word is “myriad,” literally, “without number), saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’  And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’  Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”  Notice that Jesus Christ receives worship, yet worship is meant only for God.  At the very end of the Book of Revelation we read that John is so carried away by what he has seen that he falls down at the feet of an angel.  The angel says, “Don’t do that!  Get up.  Don’t worship me.  Worship God.”  That Jesus Christ receives the worship of the whole of creation illustrates His deity.  He is worthy of worship, worthy of praise.

Worship literally means to recognize Christ’s “worth.”  That is what the Old English word means, “to describe worth.”  Jesus Christ is worthy.  Worthy is the Lamb.  When we worship Christ, we are ascribing worth to Him.

Do you really believe He is worthy?  Do you?  Is He worthy of your life?  Worthy of your time?  Is He worthy of your talents?  Is He worthy of your treasures?  Is He worthy of your faithful attendance to the worship services of your church?  Is He worthy of your witness?  In light of what Christ has done for you, what are you doing for Him?  When we remember what Christ has done for us, everything we do will flow from gratitude to Him.

I read about a tourist in a foreign country who was looking at unusual sights in the rural town he was visiting.  In this rural town he was attracted by a beautiful building there and as he was looking at that building he noticed something unusual.  Looking up to see it better he noticed about two thirds of the way up the building, on the outside of the building, there was a little stone lamb.  The man stopped a nearby citizen and asked him why this figure of a lamb was there on the side of the building.  A citizen then told the man that the lamb was there to mark a place from which a mason had lost his balance while working on the building and fell down to the earth below.  The tourist asked, “Was he killed?”  The citizen said, “No, it was a miracle.  When the mason’s fellow workers hurried down expecting to find his body crushed on the pavement, they found their co-worker shaken and badly bruised, but otherwise completely fine.”  The citizen then relayed how, at the exact same moment the mason had fallen, another man was leading several lambs off to be slaughtered.  As the mason fell he landed on the back of one of those lambs.  The lamb was killed but he had broken the mason’s fall and saved his life.  That worker was so impressed and so grateful that he had that stone lamb placed on the outside of the building as a lasting memorial to the sacrificial death of that lamb – he did not want anyone to forget how the lamb had died for him.

The Bible teaches that we all have this problem called sin.  We do things we are not supposed to do.  Our problem goes all the way back to what is called “the Fall.”  When Adam and Even sinned, they brought sin into the world.  Because of their sin, we sin.  Because of their fall, we fall.  The best news of the Bible is that God visits us in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the one John the Baptist describes as, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  While I rightly deserve the punishment of death for my sin, Jesus Christ dies for me.  He dies for my sins.  He takes my sins upon Himself.  He takes my place.  Like that little lamb upon which the mason fell, Jesus Christ takes my fall.  He dies but His death saves my life.  The Lamb of God dies for me.

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

What Is The World Coming To: Revelation 4:1-11 – God In His Glorious Splendor

Grace For The Journey

We continue our study this morning of the Book of Revelation.  We are making our way, verse-by-verse, through the Book, and this morning we are looking at chapter 4.  You will recall that chapter 1, verse 19, gives us our outline of study for the Book.  Jesus instructs John to write down three things: (1) The things he has seen; (2) The things that are; and (3) The things that must take place in the future.  We have examined the things that he had seen (chapter 1), we have looked at the things as they were in John’s day (chapters 2-3, as we looked at the seven churches in Asia Minor), and now we turn our attention to things that are to come – chapters 4 and following, and specifically the events of the time of Great Tribulation that begins in chapter 6.

John is invited to come up into heaven and see the things that will take place in the future.  Chapters 4 and 5 give us . . .

A glimpse of heaven

And exalt the grandeur

And glory of God.

In chapter 4 the focus is on the Father.  In chapter 5 the focus is on the Son.

Most of us have awaken from a dream that defied our ability to explain it to others.  Maybe you woke up and you tried to tell your husband or your wife, or your mother or father, about your dream but you just could not adequately describe it.  You grasped for words, but you just could not convey exactly what happened in your dream.  What is even funnier about that is that while you were having the dream, everything seemed to make perfectly good sense to you.  What you saw and experienced made sense at the time.  It was only when you awoke later and tried to explain the events that you found yourself coming way short of your ability to express yourself.

There is a sense in which John must have felt the same way as he tries to explain to us his vision of heaven.  Of course, his vision is different from our dreams in that this really happened to him.  We may dream in our beds at night, but when John had this vision, his very spirit was called into the presence of God. 

He enters a place we have not yet been,

And he sees things we have not yet seen.

We are going to take a journey with John as we see God in His glorious splendor.  In doing so, we . . .

I. Enter Into The Holy Place Of God – Verse 1.

Of course, the holy place of God is heaven, mentioned 50 times in Revelation. This morning we enter into the very place where God dwells on His throne.

The first part of verse 1 says, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven …”  John enters into the holy place of God.  He enters into heaven.  We will follow him there this morning and see what he saw.

In verse 1, John goes on to say, “And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me …”  This is the Lord Jesus Christ as we learned back in chapter one.  The Lord Jesus in His exalted state, speaks to John in an authoritative voice like a trumpet.  He says to John, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”  Jesus will now show John “things which must take place after this.”  These things are future events, things that must come to pass.  After the visions of the throne room in heaven, chapters 4 and 5, we are going to be looking at things that have not yet happened, things “which must take place after this,” future things, God’s judgments upon the earth, judgments known in the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls.  We will be studying these future events.  They must take place.

John is brought up into the holy place of God, into heaven itself.  Heaven is the place God dwells and the place from which God operates.  It is interesting to me that John is brought up into heaven to see how God will work out His future plans. 

This is a reminder to us that, from

The standpoint of heaven, God’s

Plan for mankind is crystal clear. 

Things may not always seem clear to us this side of heaven, but things are very clear from heaven’s side.

We are visiting heaven this morning by following John there in his vision.  But heaven is a place we are all invited to enter by faith in Jesus Christ.  Our church did FAITH Evangelism Training, and what is known as the “key question” to turn the casual conversation to spiritual things is, “In your personal opinion what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?”  The most popular answer is something like, “Well, you’ve got to be a good person,” or, “You’ve got to do good things so that the good outweighs the bad.”  The biblical answer, the right answer is, “I can’t be good enough, or do enough good things, to go to heaven.”  No matter how good I am, I still have this annoying problem called sin.  The only way to get my sin taken care of so that I can enter into the presence of a holy God is by going the way of Jesus Christ.  He is the One who paid the penalty for my sin, who took God’s judgment of my sin upon Himself, who died in my place.  By faith in Him I enter into heaven.  That is just what the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” and in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else.  For there is no other name under heaven whereby we are saved.”  Only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will we enter into that holy place of God, the place of heaven.

II. Enter Into The Holy Presence Of God: Verses 2-8a.

In verse 2, John states, “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”  John enters into the holy presence of God.  The “one who sat on the throne” is God the Father.  Chapter four could be called “the throne chapter.”  The word “throne” occurs 13 times in these verses, 11 of which refer to God’s throne.  We are in the very presence of God.

Verse 3 says, “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.”  John is trying to describe what he saw.  He says that God was “like” a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.  The jasper and sardius stones are translucent stones which seem to represent the glorious splendor of God.  John says there was also “a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.”  The emerald is a transparent rock crystal that is working like a prism, reflecting the colors of the rainbow.  This rainbow encircles God and His throne and pictures for us the glory and majesty of God.  What a mighty and awesome God is this!  What it must have been like to be in the holy presence of God!  Note the prepositions.  We have seen Who is “on” the throne. 

Revelation 4:4 declares, “Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.” The book of Revelation nowhere specifically identifies who the twenty-four elders are. However,

 In verse 4 we see, “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.”  John mentions twenty-four elders who sit upon twenty-four thrones before the Lord. Who are these twenty-four elders?

The Bible does not specifically provide the identity of these elders. However, some information is provided that allows us to rule out some possibilities and consider a few options . . .

1) These twenty-four elders are described as human, male elders. They are not angels, creatures, or females, but specifically use male terms to describe these beings. They are also distinct from angels in other places in Revelation (7:11).

2) The fact that they sit on thrones indicates that they reign with Christ. Nowhere in Scripture do angels ever rule or sit on thrones. The Church, however, is repeatedly said to rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).

3) The Greek word translated here as “elders” is never used to refer to angels, only to men, particularly to men of a certain age who are mature and able to minister in the Church.   The word elder would be inappropriate to refer to angels, who do not age.  

4) Their mode of dress would also indicate these are men.  While angels do appear in white; white garments are more commonly found on believers, symbolizing Christ’s righteousness imputed to us at salvation (Revelation 3:5,18; 19:8).

5) The golden crowns worn by the elders also indicate these are men, not angels.  Crowns are never promised to angels, nor are angels ever seen wearing them.  The word translated “crown” here refers to the victor’s crown, worn by those who have successfully competed and won the victory, as Christ promised (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12).

6) They are clearly believers in the Lord.  They are in heaven and wear white garments, something that symbolizes God’s righteousness. (Revelation 3:5, 18; 19:8).  They also wear crowns (Revelation 4:4), something not said of angels in Scripture and which believers are said to receive (1 Corinthians 9:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10;).  Further, the elders also worship the Lord (Revelation 4:11).

Based on these descriptions, these twenty-four elders represent those who worship the Lord.  More specifically, they may either represent: 1) the church, 2) representatives of Israel, or 3) the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles (Matthew 19:28).  One variation of these views is that the use of twenty-four elders may come from 1 Chronicles 24:1-5 in which the priests were organized into twenty-four groups.  If so, this represents the church that dwells in heaven with the Lord during the tribulation period.
Some people believe these twenty-four elders represent Israel, but at the time of this vision, Israel as a whole nation had not yet been redeemed. The elders cannot represent tribulation saints for the same reason—not all had yet been converted at the time of John’s vision. The most likely option is that the elders represent the raptured Church which sings songs of redemption (Revelation 5:8-10). They wear the crowns of victory and have gone to the place prepared for them by their Redeemer (John 14:1-4).  This would also help alleviate the concern of Israel being represented in heaven during the Great Tribulation period when Israel had not yet believed in the Lord on a large scale.  Furthermore, it would remove the problem of these elders representing the apostles since John himself, an apostle, was the one having the vision (Would he have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders and not mentioned it?).

While not specifically explained, the information in Scripture most likely identifies these twenty-four elders as representatives of the church, those who will dwell with the Lord during the tribulation period while God’s judgments take place on the earth. Further, this fits the historic view of elders representing leadership of local churches (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), offering a picture of God’s people worshiping God after escaping the tribulation as a result of the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

We have seen Who is “on” the throne and “around” the throne; in verse 5 we see, “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”  As we have entered into the holy presence of God we are met with His power.  Lightnings, thunderings, and voices all speak to the power of God, particularly as God prepares to execute His judgment upon the earth.  This is a foretaste of God’s judgment.  They signify that a “storm” is coming.  We will see these sounds again in the breaking of the seventh seal, the blowing of the seventh trumpet, and the pouring out of the seventh bowl.  They mean that judgment is coming.

The “seven lamps of fire” burning before the throne, John says, “are the seven Spirits of God.”  Remember that John’s favorite number is seven, a number which refers to completion or perfection.  Taken together with the lightnings, thunderings, and voices, we see that God’s “perfect Holy Spirit” will convict the world in judgment. 

We have seen Who is “on” the throne, who are “around” the throne, “what comes “from” the throne, and in verse 6 we see what is “before” the throne, “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.”  The sea of glass is a symbol of God in His glorious splendor – The glory and transcendence of God which separates Him from all other things.  He alone is perfectly holy and pure and righteous.

Verses 7 and 8 continue by saying, “And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.  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.  The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within …”  John is drawing upon Old Testament imagery found in Isaiah, chapter 6, and Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10.  I encourage you to write those references down and read them later.

These four living creatures are angelic beings of worship that apparently, in a general sense, represent the whole of God’s animate creation – the lion, the calf, man, eagle.  These living creatures are pictured as the cherubim and seraphim you will read about in Isaiah, and Ezekiel.  They have eyes all around them which tell us that they are unceasingly vigilant as they reside there in the presence of God.  They are nearest to God on His throne and so they seem to be the leaders of the heavenly court.  They represent the highest order of celestial beings and lead in worship.  Adrian Rogers calls these four living creatures, “God’s Cheerleaders!”

We must remember


God is center stage.

We have looked at things “around” the throne, “from” the throne, and “before” the throne, but we must remember Who is “ON” the throne! 

Far more important than who

The four living creatures are

Is what the four living creatures do.

They lead in worship and praise of the One who is “on” the throne.

We have entered into the holy place of God and the holy presence of God.  Thirdly, we . . .

III. Enter Into The Holy Praise Of God: Verses 8b-11.

Verse 8 declares, “The four living creatures … do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’”  Here is a slight modification of Isaiah 6.  What happens when the four living creatures worship God on His throne?  Verses 9 through 11 tell us, “Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, (the 24 elders want to get-in on this praise, too!) 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: ‘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.’”  The four living creatures praise God, which inspires the 24 elders to praise God, which inspires us to praise God.  The four living creatures and the 24 elders teach us to enter into the holy praise of God, too. 

There are several reasons why we should praise God . . .

1) For His Purity.

In verse 11, the Bible says those gathered around the throne were saying, “Holy, holy, holy.”  God is absolutely pure and holy.  There is no sin in God.  There is no sin in heaven.  He is holy.  He is pure.  Here again is a reminder of why we cannot enter into heaven.  We are not holy.  We are sinful.  In order to enter into heaven, we must have our sins taken care of.  We get our sins taken care of by trusting Jesus Christ to do the job for us.  Christ is Holy.  Christ is pure.  Our getting into heaven is not automatic.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ into our lives.  Praise God for His purity. 

We enter into the holy praise of God by praising God . . .

2) For His Authority.

Verse 8 tells us that the four living creatures are worshiping the, “Lord God, Almighty.”  God is the One Who is “almighty.”  He is all-powerful.  He can meet your needs.  He can provide you with that job.  He can get you through school.  He can save your marriage.   Those are small things to a God who spoke the entire universe into existence, a God who is “almighty.” 

We can enter into the holy praise of God by praising Him for His purity, for His authority, and . . .

For His Eternality.

In verse 8, the four living creatures declare that God is the One, “Who was and is and is to come.”  God is eternal.  He has always been, He always is, and He always will be.  That means you can count on Him.  He will be there for you.  He will be faithful to you. 

The One

Who controls the

Details of the future

Is the One

Who controls the

Difficulties of the present.

Finally, we praise God .  . .

4) For His Sovereignty.

Verse The four and twenty elders proclaim, “You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”  The word “will” can also be translated “pleasure.”  God not only determined to create all things, but by creating everything, God demonstrated His pleasure in doing it.  He created you for that reason, for His pleasure.  He willed you into existence and you exist for Him.  That means two things:

1)   The things happening to you are in perfect harmony with God’s purposes for

      your life. 

God is not just playing around, capriciously creating things with no rhyme or reason.  God is a God of order.  God is a God of plans.  That God created all things according to His perfect will suggests that God has a perfect plan for your life.  You continue to exist because God wills it.  He preserves you and sustains you, even through difficult times.  As God said to His people in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

2)  God is sovereign over you. 

He created you, so He is the One Who reigns over you.  What is the meaning of life?  For you to have a relationship with this Supreme God of the universe.  How does it happen?  Only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have seen God in His glorious splendor and we have seen, then, how we must praise Him.  Worship is a lifestyle, not just a scheduled service relegated to Sunday mornings.  We enter into the Holy Praise of God moment by moment.  We regularly thank God throughout the day and depend upon Him minute by minute.  We continually praise God.  Like the four living creatures, “we do not rest day or night.”  We continually praise God for His purity, authority, eternality, and sovereignty.  The 24 elders held nothing back.  They fell down before Him and they cast their golden crowns before Him.  They held nothing back.  We too must hold nothing back (tithes, time, trust).  Because of Who God is we must surrender all.

We have entered into the Holy Place of God, the Holy Presence of God, and the Holy Praise of God.  We could add a fourth point: Enter into the Holy Plan of God.  Verse 11 ends with these words, “For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”  Have you entered into God’s holy plan for your life? 

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”