Revelation 4:6-11

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Text: Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:6-11

THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS

INTRODUCTION:

I remind you of the verse in Revelation of Jesus Christ 1 which provides an outline for the Book of Revelation.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:19 - Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.

The things which thou hast seen refers to Revelation of Jesus Christ 1 .

The things which are refers to Revelation of Jesus Christ 2-3 .

The things which shall be hereafter refers to Revelation of Jesus Christ 4-22 .

Whereas chapters 2-3 concern the seven churches, beginning in Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:1 the church is not mentioned again in the entire book. It points to a time when the church will not be there. At the end of chapter 3 the rapture will have taken place. The church age will cease and the church will no longer be present on earth. God's program for the local churches on earth will be over, but His program for Israel will continue. The tribulation is the time of Jacob's (i.e. of Israel's) trouble.

Jeremiah 30:7 - Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

We have seen -

I. THE INVITATION FROM HEAVEN - 4:1

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:1 - (1) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

We have also seen -

II. THE VIEWING OF GOD'S THRONE - 4:2-3

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:2-3 - (2) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. (3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

This is God the Father's throne.

Next we saw -

III. THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS - 4:4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:4 - (4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats (i.e. thrones): and upon the seats (i.e. thrones) I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

We have seen that the twenty-four elders have already been rewarded at the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ and should, therefore, be regarded as a group representing the church as the Body of Christ just as the Old Testament priesthood was represented by twenty-four orders of priests.

We have also seen that all believers who have been raptured will eventually take their turns sitting on these twenty-four seats (or thrones).

Finally, we have seen -

IV. THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD - 4:5

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:5 - (5) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

The throne is the throne of God the Father.

The seven lamps of fire burning before (i.e. in front of) the throne are identified as the seven spirits of God, a reference to God the Holy Spirit.

We continue with -

V. THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES - 4:6-8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:6-8 - (6) And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. (7) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal.

Before the throne indicates the position of this sea of glass. It is in front of the throne of God the Father.

There was a sea of glass like unto crystal [i.e. (there was) a sea of glass similar to crystal].

No explanation is given; so, the reader is apparently expected to be able to figure out what it means.

There is no water in this sea. Instead, it is a glass sea, something which enhances the beauty of the throne. It also separates the throne of God from all else.

And in the midst of the throne is and in the middle of the throne.

And round about the throne (i.e. and around the throne or and all around the throne), John saw four beasts. It suggests and in a circle around the throne John saw four living creatures or four living beings: one of the four beasts was in front of the throne, one was on each side of the throne, and one was behind the throne, but all were in close proximity to the throne.

The four beasts John saw were four living creatures or living beings, which are described as being full of eyes before and behind, suggesting their ability to see everything in every direction.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:7 - And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

The lion is the king of beasts.

The calf, or ox, represents the most important of domestic animals and signifies patience and continuous labor.

Man is the greatest of all God's creatures, especially in intelligence. Man is the generic term for human being.

The eagle is greatest among birds.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:8 - And the four beasts (i.e. living creatures or living beings) had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

The four beasts (i.e. the four living creatures or the four living beings) had each of them six wings about him.

Each of them indicates that what was true of one was true of all four of them.

Each of them had six wings about him, is each one (of the living beings) had six wings apiece.

They were full of eyes within. In verse 6 the four beasts were said to be full of eyes before and behind. Here, they are described as being full of eyes within. Within means inside. Although it is unclear where all of the eyes were located, the concept is conveyed that these living beings can always see everything going on about them in every direction, no matter what position they take.

The ministry of the living creatures is designed to emphasize the holiness of God and His eternity, in that they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

They rest not suggests that they never cease or they never stop.

Day and night suggests daytime or nighttime; and since it is always daytime or nighttime, these four creatures never stop doing something.

What they never stop doing is saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Holiness is ascribed three times to the Lord. Although some may see in it a reference to the Triunity of God, the three-fold repetition of holy suggests that the word holy is being emphasized.

Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come reminds the reader of Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:8 where the wording is similar.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:8 - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Lord God Almighty is best understood as referring to God the Father.

Is must be supplied in the mind of the reader, most likely between the third holy and Lord so that it reads, Holy, holy, holy (is) the Lord God Almighty.

God is used to restrict the meaning of Lord, and Almighty is used to restrict it even further.

By the Almighty, the living beings mean the All-powerful One or the Omnipotent One.

Which is, and which was, and which is to come suggests God the Father's eternality. There has never been a time when God the Father has not existed or will not exist.

The six wings as well as the words holy, holy, holy are reminiscent of Isaiah's vision in Isaiah 6 just like what they cried is also reminiscent of Isaiah's vision.

Isaiah 6:1-3 - (1) In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train [i.e. the train of his robe] filled the temple. (2) Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain [i.e. with two] he covered his face, and with twain [i.e. with two] he covered his feet, and with twain [i.e. with two] he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Does this suggest that they are angelic beings? Yes, it does.

The description of the four living beings in Revelation of Jesus Christ 4 not only reminds one of the description of the seraphim in Isaiah 6 but also of the cherubim in Ezekiel 1:4-14 and 10:1-22, especially 10:1, 10:14-15, and 10:20.

The passages in Isaiah 6 and in Ezekiel 1 and 10 suggest that the four living beings are a high order of angelic beings like the seraphim and/or like the cherubim.

Ezekiel 1:4-14 - 4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself [i.e. a raging fire engulfing itself - I would describe it as a rolling fire.], and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof [i.e. out of the middle of it] as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Also out of the midst thereof [i.e. out of the middle of the fire] came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures [i.e. of the living beings], their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures [i.e. among the living beings]; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures [i.e. the living beings] ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

Ezekiel 10:1 , 14-15, 20 - (1) Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.

(14) And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. (15) And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature [i.e. the living being] that I saw by the river of Chebar (pronounced Ke-VAR).

(20) This is the living creature [i.e. the living being] that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar (Ke-VAR); and I knew that they were the cherubims.

VI. THE WORSHIP OF THE LIVING CREATURES AND ELDERS - 4:9-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:9-11 - (9) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, (10) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to God the Father Who is sitting upon His throne. The emphasis of their praise is on the divine attributes and worthiness of God.

In verse 9 is recorded the worship of the four living beings, continuing the description of what John saw in heaven.

When those beasts give glory and honour and thanks.

When is whenever and does not specify an exact time.

Those beasts is literally the living beings and refers to the four beasts or the four living creatures.

Give is will give.

What they will give is glory and honour and thanks.

To him that sat on the throne is literally to the One sitting upon the throne and refers to God the Father.

Who liveth for ever and ever indicates that God the Father, not only has no beginning, but that He also has no end. There will never be a time when He has not, does not, or will not exist.

The twenty-four elders worship and recognize these attributes of God.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:10 - The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Verses 10-11 indicate what happens whenever the four living beings give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne.

The twenty-four elders fall down, i.e. they throw themselves to the ground as a sign of devotion and submission to God.

Before is in the presence of or in the sight of.

Him that sat on the throne is the One sitting upon the throne. Inasmuch as in Revelation of Jesus Christ 5:7 , the Lamb, i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ, takes the book out of the right hand of the One sitting upon the throne, this One sitting upon the throne must be God the Father.

Not only do they fall down before Him that is sitting on the throne, but these twenty-four elders also worship him that liveth for ever and ever.

Worship means (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate themselves before, or do reverence to.

Him that liveth forever and ever is the One Who lives forever and ever and is again referring to God the Father. Since they are falling down before the One sitting on the throne, i.e. before God the Father, their worshiping or reverencing the One sitting upon the throne also refers to God the Father. The fact that He lives forever and ever implies that there will never be a time when He will not be alive. He is the living God.

A third thing these twenty-four elders do is cast their crowns before the throne. Cast means throw or put.

What they cast is their crowns. In Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:4 it was stated that the twenty-four elders had crowns of gold on their heads. These are apparently the crowns of gold they had received as rewards at the Bema Seat judgment for faithful service during their lifetimes on earth. It suggests that these twenty-four elders are all representatives of church-age saints.

Before the throne indicates where these twenty-four elders cast their crowns. It is in front of the throne.

While they were casting their crowns in front of the throne, they were also saying something; and what they were saying is found in verse 11.

The twenty-four elders cast their crowns in front of the throne, thereby testifying that if it had not been for God's grace, salvation, and goodness, they could not have had victory over sin and death.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:11 - Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Thou art worthy is, You are deserving.

The One sitting on the throne is addressed as O Lord and refers to God the Father.

What God the Father is deemed worthy to receive is glory and honour and power. In the Greek text the appears before glory, before honour, and before power, indicating that it is the sum total of each one of these things that the Lord is worthy to receive. God the Father is to be the recipient of all the glory that exists, of all the honor that exists, and of all the power that exists. He is seen as the creator of all things, about to bring judgment upon His creation, and as rightly able to do so.

For thy pleasure they are and were created.

For is on account of or because of.

Thy pleasure is Your will.

They are refers to the all things which God created and means they exist.

And were created. All things not only exist because of God's will, but they were also created because of God's will. He desired to bring them into existence; so He did.