Friday, May 12, 2006

Worship is unending

In Revelation 4:1-11, The Apostle John hears a voice instructing him “come up here” to heaven. The Bible says that “in the Spirit,” John was experientially taken to heaven, though his body was actually still on the island of Patmos. John sees the throne of God standing in heaven. John describes the One sitting on the throne (v3-6). He uses the description of jasper, a crystal clear diamond symbolizing God’s glory. He uses the description of sardius, a fiery, blood red ruby, symbolizing God’s wrath. John also sees lightning and thunder, demonstrating God’s majesty and power and that there was a green rainbow present showing God’s faithfulness (Genesis 9). He also says in verse 6 that there was a pavement of glass leading up to the throne, like sparkling crystal (v6).

Next, John describes what is called the Twenty-Four Elders. Are these 24 Elders human or angelic? They are on thrones showing that they reign with Christ (angels are never seen on thrones or ruling). In the Bible, the word “Elders” is never used to refer to an angel, but it is used to speak of men. They are wearing white garments, which commonly is used to describe the dress of believers (showing righteousness). They also are wearing crowns which are never promised to angels but are promised to believers. The number 24 often represents a whole in Scripture (as in First Chronicles 24:4-18). Since saved Israel and the Tribulation Saints have not yet been resurrected, this description best fits the raptured, glorified church of the Lord Jesus Christ…that includes you and me!

John speaks of seven Lamps of Fire. This describes the Holy Spirit in His fullness (Zechariah 4:1-10; Is 11:2). This is not 7 different spirits. It is a 7-fold representation of the Holy Spirit including His wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, reverence and deity. John also speaks of four Living Creatures. These are special angels associated with God’s holiness (seen in Isaiah 6). They are full of eyes showing their watchfulness. Each one possesses 4 facial features (see Ezekiel 1:26-28), that of a Lion, a Calf (ox), a Man, and an Eagle. They have six wings used to constantly worship God.

It is at this point that the heavenly chorus of praise begins. A quartet starts the refrain as the 4 living creatures begin the chorus of praise. This focuses on God’s holiness (the only attribute seen in a threefold proclamation by angels), His power and His eternality. Next, the choir joins in as the 24 Elders fall down before Him; Worship Him; Cast their crowns before Him; and verbally acknowledge His worthiness. The chorus then builds to the grand crescendo as the rest of the angels join and all of creation worships Him as well (Revelation 5:11-13). You see, worship is not simply for usage in a church service. Worship is for every moment and every day throughout this life and into all of eternity. Worship is to be unending as seen in the last verse of the great hymn, Amazing Grace:

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Then when we first begun

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