Thoughts on Revelation (8)
Following the messages to the seven churches found in chapters two and three, we come to a turning point in chapter four. The voice which had spoken to John at the beginning speaks to him again saying. “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately John finds himself in the throne room of heaven. He says that he was in the Spirit. This is reminiscent of the experience of the Apostle Paul, who was caught up into heaven and heard things, which in his own words were, “…so astounding that they are beyond a man’s power to describe or put in words (and anyway I am not allowed to tell them to others).” (II Cor. 12:4 TLB)
Unlike Paul, John is allowed to describe what he sees. Even so, he can only use imagery to portray the glory that is beyond description. John sees One seated on heaven’s throne, and he could only compare Him to precious and valuable jewels. The details of God’s appearance are not described, reminding us that His greatness and glory always exceed human comprehension.
John not only sees, he also hears, and what he hears is continual worship. Day and night there is praise, the same praise the prophet Isaiah heard centuries before in his vision of the Lord, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” At the end of this chapter, John hears twenty four elders praising God with additional words of worship. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev. 4:11)
The elders in this scene have crowns, but they willingly cast them down at the foot of the throne. This, along with everything else John experienced speaks to us. It reminds us that our God is sovereign and holy. He alone is worthy of ultimate praise.