REVELATION 4: THE EXALTEDNESS OF GOD

Revelation 4 gives us a glimpse into the central aspect of the universe- the exaltedness of God; and the central theme of this universe- the worship of God.

John was given a vision of God in the spiritual realm, having a spiritual form and occupying the center of this vision as he sits on the throne.

2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4 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. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.

The form of God that John sees conveys to us beauty and glory in precious jewels and the rainbow but also unapproachable majesty as he observes thunder, rumbling and lightning emanating from the throne. Surrounding him we see the seven spirits of God who blaze forth light from the throne, the four living creatures who resemble living forms and must have been a model for all creation we see around us and the twenty-four elders who have thrones and therefore represent possession of authority in the universe.

8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “ ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, ’who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

Representing the core of the universe, the dynamic that keeps this core vibrant is the ceaseless worship of God. There is neither reluctance nor weariness in this exercise and it is the only thing that we see taking place in this spiritual community that occupies the center of all reality.

As we move forward with our human existence in the physical world we know, we deal with disease, pain and death. We struggle with the finite nature of all that we see around us and wonder what is beyond. There is a sense that we are meant for eternity, because finiteness troubles us. And here as John gives us an understanding of what truly lays beyond, it is also an understanding of what constitutes the centerpiece of all reality-the centrality of the spiritual powers that sustains and governs all of universe. Much like food sustains our physical existence, worship sustains this spiritual core. Constant worship of the One who sits on the throne and from whom all things flow maintains the sustenance of reality. Much as it is a need, it also appears to be the most natural thing for the spiritual core to do. It ought to be no different for man. Our sinful natures, originating in rebellion to God make it difficult for man to worship God as naturally as the spiritual core does. Yet as man finds God and draws close to God, it does become a most precious experience and in fact the basis for his life as he obeys and submits to God, depending on him and calling out to him constantly, which is the essence of worship.

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