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.
Picture above is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/tcjakob/6908118647/
I would like for us to continue with the application of the throne room activities for us in the present Day church.
III. We should worship God in humility, like the 24 Elders do in the vision.
Animate creatures and inanimate creation worship God by performing their appointed ends by instinct.
In this passage we have the whole of created order represented by angelic figures in heaven worshiping God. Animate and inanimate creation worships God by performing the function for which they were created. What we call “instinct” is God’s creative order at work. There are modal spheres of creation expressed in the eternal law of God.
“Throughout Scripture we read that animals praise God. [We] don’t know exactly how animals praise God, but our inability to understand it shouldn’t keep us from believing it. Consider the psalms. Psalm 148 commands all of creation to praise the Lord, including the animals… .” (see Alcorn below.)
One biblical scholar says that “creation praises God by simply being itself.” Creation follows the built in instinct to act the way the Creator has “wired” each part. (see Bancewicz below).
vs. 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…
Man has the privilege and responsibility to worship God intelligently and freely.
A. W. Tozer said this about man in contrast to other created things and beings:
Man was made to worship God. God gave to man a harp and said, “Here above all the creatures that I have made and created I have given you the largest harp. I put more strings on your instrument and I have given you a wider range than I have given to any other creature. You can worship Me in a manner that no other creature can” (see Tozer below).
“[God’s] essence, indeed, is incomprehensible, utterly transcending all human thought; but on each of his works his glory is engraven in characters so bright, so distinct, and so illustrious, that none, however dull and illiterate, can plead ignorance as their excuse” (see Calvin below; Institutes, 1.5.1).
The Greek word for “worship” is proskunéō (from prós, “towards” and kuneo, “to kiss”) – properly, to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready “to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one’s knees”; to “do obeisance”. (see Bible Hub below).
The Twenty-four elders fall before God’s throne and cast their crowns at his feet in all humility.
The word for “crown” is stephanos, the victor’s crown in an athletic contest. (see image to the right) Bear in mind that it is made of laurel branches and leaves twisted together. It will not last.
The elders ascribe glory, honor, etc. to God because they realize he is the reason for their victory over sin, the world and the Devil.
vs. 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.”
IV. We should worship God as Creator and Ruler over all his cosmos as do all beings in the throne room scene.
The sovereign will of God is the real and ultimate reason for the existence of all things. All creatures “were,” that is, they existed ideally in the mind of God from eternity. They “were created,” that is, their real existence followed their ideal existence in the mind of God. (see Hendriksen, p. 88-89, below).
How Revelation Chapter Four applies to Christians then and now
We have three principle areas to concentrate on in Revelation Four, and we ought not to get caught up in the details beyond these—
1. The Throne and the One who sits upon it.
God is the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of all he has made. Both in the First Century and in the Twenty-First Centuries Christians must look to God as the Sovereign Ruler of their lives and all that concerns them.
2. The Angels in heaven and what they represent.
It is clear we are dealing in the vision with angels that are symbolic of things in our world. Christians are to take their lead from the angels in heaven. They like the angels are to serve God alone!
3. The two songs in the chapter like bookends—the Holy Hymn and the Creator Hymn.
The first song urges Christians’ constant attention to be fixed on God as Holy! He is Holy and wholly other than sinful humankind. Theologians call this the transcendence of God.
“When the Bible speaks of God as transcendent, it is not describing God’s location. It is not saying that God lives “up there” or “out there” somewhere. When we say that God is above and beyond the universe, we are saying that He is above and beyond the universe in terms of His Being” (see Sproul, below).
The Psalmist can say truthfully God is our Refuge and Fortress (Psalm 91). We can go to him in the midst of trouble and trial and find protection and shelter and provisions.
We as believers created by God, ought to render God the honor due his name. He alone has the right to direct how life is to be lived. Since He is Creator of all things.
I used to read this passage in my study just before entering into the Church to lead worship every Sunday. I reminded myself that people are there to worship God, and not to be entertained! He is Holy and we are to approach him with awe and reverence.
Chapter Five next time.
Alcorn, Randy. (2011). Quotation from Heaven accessed 10 October 2019 from https://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Jan/18/are-animals-capable-praising-god/ Note: Some passages in this book take apocalyptic passages from Scripture about heaven too literally. Care should be exercised in its use.
Bancewicz, R. M. (2015). “The Trees Clap their Hands: What does it mean to say that creation praises the Creator?” Blog post accessed 10 October 2019 from https://scienceandbelief.org/2015/02/10/the-trees-clap-their-hands-what-does-it-mean-to-say-that-creation-praises-the-creator/
Bible Hub. (2004-2019). Accessed 15 October 2019 from https://biblehub.com/greek/4352.htm
Calvin, John. (1559). Institutes of the Christian Religion, Trans. Henry Beveridge, 1845. Edinburgh, Scotland: Calvin Translation Society Publication. Accessed 11 October 2019 from https://beta.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes
Hendriksen, W. (1939). More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation (pp. 88-89). Grend Repids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Sproul, R. C. Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Kindle Locations 1434-1436). Reformation Trust Publishing.
Tozer, A. W. (1992). Worship: the Missing Jewel. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications. Accessed 15 October 2019 from http://hsraadio.net/raamat/Tozer-Worship%20The%20Missing%20Jewel.pdf