*Worship in heaven – Revelation 4:1-5:14
*Worship of God who created all things – Revelation 4:1-11
v1 After these things, I looked, and there in heaven a door was open. And the same voice that I had heard before, sounded like a *trumpet. The voice spoke to me. ‘Come up here. I will show you what must happen after this.’ v2 At once, I was in the Spirit. And there in heaven was a *throne. And someone was sitting on the *throne. v3 And the sight of him who sat there was like the precious stones called jasper and carnelian. There was a rainbow round the *throne. The sight of it was like the precious stone called an emerald. v4 Round the *throne, there were 24 other *thrones. And 24 *elders sat on these *thrones. They wore white clothes and they had gold crowns on their heads. v5 Flashes of lightning came from the *throne. There was the sound of voices and *thunder. In front of the *throne seven lamps of fire were burning. These are the seven Spirits of God. v6 Also, in front of the *throne I saw something like a sea of glass. It was as clear as *crystal. In the centre, round the *throne, there were four *creatures. They were full of eyes both in front and behind. v7 The first *creature was like a lion. The second creature was like an *ox. The third creature had a face like a human face. The fourth creature was like an *eagle that flies. v8 Each of the four *creatures had six wings. They were full of eyes all round and inside them. They did not rest by day or by night. All the time they said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the *Lord God. He has all power. He was and he is. And he is yet to come.’
v9 The *creatures give *glory to God. They give him honour and they thank him. He sits on the *throne and he lives for all time. And he will never die. v10 When the *creatures praise God, so do the 24 *elders. They fall down in front of him who sits on the *throne. They *worship him. He lives for all time and he will never die. And they throw their crowns down in front of the *throne.
v11 They say ‘Our *Lord and our God you deserve to receive *glory, honour and power because you made all things. By your decision they existed, and you created them.’
Verse 1 Before he saw those future events, John saw the *throne of God. He tried to describe this in these two chapters. And from chapter 6, he writes about future events.
John saw a door that was open. It was the way into heaven. The voice that John heard before spoke to him again. It called him to come up through that door.
The *Lord told John about the events on earth. But before that, the *Lord showed John something of heaven. There, God is on the *throne. The control of all history is in heaven and not on earth. God has the end of history in his plans. His plans cannot fail. What the *Lord showed to John will happen.
Verse 2 The first thing that John sees in heaven is a *throne. The person on the *throne is the king of all. He is the *Lord God who has all power. This *throne is above all other *thrones. God is king above all other kings.
The *throne of God is the centre of heaven. All in heaven look to the *throne. God sits there on the *throne. All of them *worship and serve him.
Verse 3 John did not write about God as having a physical body. Rather, John gives an impression of God as bright light. This bright light shone as the light shines from precious stones.
The jasper was probably a clear stone like a diamond. The carnelian was red. The *throne was like emerald, which reflects green light. There was a rainbow, which glows with all colours. The effect of all these colours is to show the *glory of God.
John could not describe all that he had seen. He could only give us an impression of these things. The languages of earth are not able to describe what is in heaven. There are similar descriptions in Ezekiel chapter 1 and Isaiah chapter 6.
Verse 4 John does not tell us who the 24 *elders are. But they each sat on a *throne. Each time they appear in this book, they are praising God. They bring to God the prayers of his people (Revelation 5:8). In this, they serve the *church but they are not the *church. We think that they are special *angels. Their job is to serve and to praise God.
The white clothes show that the *elders are clean from *sin. Their crowns show that they are royal people.
Verse 5 The lightning and *thunder give an impression of the power of God. John hears these sounds as the voice of God. God speaks from his *throne.
We cannot see the Holy Spirit. He appeared as flames of fire on the day of *Pentecost (Acts 2:3). So here, the 7 lamps show that the Holy Spirit is there.
He is also the 7 Spirits of God. We should not understand this as 7 Spirits. These show seven views of the same Spirit. The number 7 in *scripture is the perfect or complete number. Here it shows that the person and work of the Spirit is perfect.
Verse 6 The sea of glass adds to the effect of what John saw in heaven. Its clear surface is spread out in front of the *throne. Like a mirror it reflected all the lights that flashed about the *throne.
The four *creatures were by the *throne. They were like an inner circle round about the *throne. They had eyes in front and behind. They saw all that happened. Nothing could hide from them.
Verse 7 John tries to describe the *creatures. They are special *angels. John says that their faces were like those of a lion, an *ox, a human person and an *eagle. They were strong like the lion. They were full of power as the *ox. They were wise as a wise man. They were as fast as the *eagle when it flies.
Verse 8 Each *creature had six wings. The wings show the speed with which they obeyed God. The eyes made them aware of all that was round about them.
Day and night the four *creatures praise God. They cry aloud that God is holy. They praise him for his power. Nobody else has power as strong as his. He is the God of all power. They praise him because he is God. He is the only God. There is no other real god. He has no beginning of life or end of life.
Verses 9-10 The four *creatures praise God because he is always the same. God was there at the start of time. He will be there after time has ended.
As the *creatures praise so the *elders fall down in front of God. They throw down their crowns as an act of *worship. They give all honour to God.
Verse 11 The *elders speak to God. They praise him for all that he has made. God made all things that exist. Because of this, God deserves to have all *glory, honour and power.
*Worship of the *Lamb – Revelation 5:1-14
v1 Then I saw a *scroll on the right hand of him who sat on the *throne. There were words on both sides of the *scroll. There were seven (7) *seals, which locked it. v2 I saw a strong *angel. With a loud voice, he asked this question. ‘Who deserves to open the *scroll? And who is able to break its *seals?’ v3 But nobody in heaven, on earth, or under the earth could open the *scroll. Nobody could look inside it. v4 And I wept much because there was nobody good enough. Nobody could open the *scroll or look into it. v5 Then one of the *elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the *tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome. He is able to open the *scroll and to break its seven *seals.’
v6 Then I saw a *lamb. It seemed as if it had been dead. It was standing in the centre of the *throne. And it was in the middle of the four *creatures and the *elders. The *Lamb had seven *horns and seven eyes. The eyes mean the seven spirits of God, which he sent out into all the earth. v7 The *Lamb came. He took the *scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the *throne. v8 And when he had taken the *scroll, the four *creatures and the 24 *elders fell down in front of him. Each one had a *harp and gold bowls full of *incense. The bowls of *incense mean the prayers of God’s people. v9 And they sang a new song. ‘You deserve to take the *scroll. And you are able to break its *seals. This is because you died. And with your blood, you purchased people for God. They come from every *tribe, language, people, and nation. v10 You have made them into a *kingdom. And you have appointed them to be priests to our God. They will rule on the earth.’ v11 As I looked, I heard the sound of many *angels. They were round the *throne, and the *creatures and the *elders. There were millions of *angels. v12 They sang with loud voices. ‘The *Lamb, whom people killed, deserves to receive power, wealth, wisdom and strength. He deserves all honour and *glory and *praise.’
v13 Then I heard every *creature in heaven and on earth sing. And all *creatures under the earth, on and in the sea sing with them. They sang a song. ‘This song is to him who sits on the *throne and to the *Lamb. To them belong *praise, honour, *glory, and power without end.’
v14 The four *creatures said, ‘*Amen!’ The *elders fell down and they *worshipped.
Verse 1 On the right hand of God was a *scroll. The *Lord had written on both sides of the *scroll. On it, there were 7 *seals. Each of these *seals locked a part of the *scroll. To read the *scroll someone had to break all 7 *seals in order.
The contents of the *scroll were secret. God’s plans for the end of the world were in it. After each *seal, the *scroll showed the events that would happen.
History and the end of the world are in God’s plan. All will happen as he has decided. Nobody can know what is in God’s plan. When someone opens the *scroll God will show us the future.
Verses 2-3 John saw a strong *angel. This *angel called out in a loud voice. He asked, ‘Who can open the *scroll? Who can break the *seals?’
The sound of his voice went to the ends of space, heaven and the earth.
In all that God had created, nobody could open the *scroll. There was no *angel who was good enough. No man or woman had earned the right to open it. So, nobody could read what was in the *scroll.
Verse 4 It was very important to know what was in the *scroll. A person had to be perfect in order to open the *scroll. There was nobody good enough. This made John so sad that he wept.
Verse 5 One of the *elders spoke to John. He told John not to weep. There is someone who can open the *scroll. He will break the 7 *seals. He has won the right to do it. He has overcome *sin and death. He is perfect and he is able to break those *seals.
This person is Jesus Christ. The *elder used two special names to describe Jesus. Jesus is the Lion of the *tribe of Judah. And Jesus is the Root of David.
Judah was called a young lion (Genesis 49:9-10). The great king would come from the *tribe of Judah. The *Jews understood this king to be their *Messiah. So, the *Messiah is the same person as the Lion who will rule the earth. He is the Christ. He came from the *tribe of Judah.
The Root of David shows that Jesus belonged to the family of David. The *Old Testament speaks about the king who would come. That king would be from the family of King David. That king would be even greater than David was. The *Lord Jesus is that king.
Verse 6 Then John saw the *Lord Jesus. He did not see Jesus as the king. He was not like a lion but like a *lamb. He stood in the centre of the *throne. He was with God. Round him were the *creatures and the *elders.
The *Lamb (in other words, Jesus) had been dead but was now alive. The marks of that death were still there. He had given his life for us and died. But death could not keep him. He had risen from the grave. We call Jesus, ‘the *Lamb of God’, because he died as a *sacrifice for us. He takes away the *sin of the world (John 1:29).
Normal *lambs have two *horns but this one had 7. He also had 7 eyes. The number 7 in the Bible often means that something is perfect or complete. So, this description shows that Jesus has perfect power and wisdom. Nobody can overcome the power of the *Lamb. Nobody can hide anything from the *Lamb. He knows all things.
The eyes are the 7 spirits of God (see 4:5). These 7 are the Holy Spirit. Jesus has sent him into all the earth. He is the agent of Jesus to bring people to God.
Verse 7 The *Lamb stepped forward. He had taken the *scroll from the right hand of God.
Verse 8 Then John saw the four *creatures and the 24 *elders fall down. They praised the *Lamb. They made music to the *Lamb on their *harps.
They gave to the *Lamb what was in the gold bowls. *Incense has a sweet smell. It gives pleasure to those who smell it. This *incense meant the prayers of God’s people. Their prayers pleased God.
The *worship of the *angels is for God alone. Here they *worship the *Lamb. Christ the *Lamb is one with the Father. Christ is God.
Verses 9-10 The four *creatures and the 24 *elders sang a new song. They sang this song to the *Lamb. The song was new not only in time. It was new in quality. It spoke about what the *Lamb had done. He had made a new contract between God and his people.
The *Lamb had earned the right to take the *scroll. He had done what nobody else could do. He alone was able to break the *seals.
They gave three reasons why the *Lamb could take the *scroll.
1. He died and he overcame death. Now, he is alive and he will always live.
2. When he died, he took away the *sins of the people. By his death, he purchased people for God.
3. He made God’s people a *kingdom. He made them priests to God.
Jesus has bought many people by his blood. They come from all the countries of the world. They are from all the nations. There will be in heaven those who speak every language.
All who believe in Christ are part of his *kingdom. Each one of them is a priest to God. As a *kingdom, they will rule with Christ. As priests, they serve the *Lord God. Because of Christ, they can come to God.
Verses 11-12 Then all the *angels joined in with those who were praising the *Lamb. There were millions of *angels. There were so many that nobody could count them.
This vast crowd of *angels live to serve God. They surrounded the *throne of God. And with loud voices, they sang to praise Jesus the *Lamb.
They sang that the *Lamb deserves to have seven qualities. These are power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honour, *glory and *praise. The *angels praise him because he has all these qualities. He always had them as the Son of God. But then he earned them. He died and he rose again from death. He now deserves that all people and *angels should praise him.
Verse 13 Then every *creature joined in the song of *praise. All that God had created sang. They sang to praise God and the *Lamb.
Verse 14 At the end of the song, the four *creatures said ‘*Amen’. The 24 *elders fell down and they praised God.