The Awesome Song Before the Throne

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"
-Revelation 4:8, emphasis added

Night and day "the four living creatures" focus solely on God's holiness. In Hebrew, when something is repeated three times (as in "Holy, holy, holy!") it indicates an utter and complete emphasis. "Almighty" is used nine times in Revelation; the only other time in the New Testament is in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 where our utterly holy "Lord God Almighty" tells us that if we will separate ourselves from false religion and sinful practices, He promises: "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters." Oh, how getting to experience the full richness of being His child should prompt us to worship and adore our almighty God!

Worship of God is to be centered on Him. Isaiah told us that with two wings the living creatures covered their feet, with two they covered their face, and with two they flew. This speaks of total submission before God-utter humility seeking holiness and utmost service to God.

If you want to enjoy God's presence by lifting your heart and voice in worship to Him, avoid anything that will detract from your relationship with Him and His holiness. Instead, expose yourself daily to His Word. For if you hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness, and separate yourself from the world, He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4b). If you do not want God's presence on earth, however, you will not have it in eternity. The Lord will give you what you want.

Worship of God is to always honor and glorify Him: Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, . . . the twenty-four elders fall down before Him . . . and worship Him . . . , and cast their crowns before the throne (4:9-10). In verse 10, the twenty-four elders are saying to the Lord, "I don't want the crowns; I am not in charge of my life any more. God, You are the One who deserves all that I have!"

A popular notion is that "cast their crowns" refers to giving our rewards to the Lord, but that is not all that the Apostle John meant. To understand that verse, we need to apply the first law of interpretation: What did the author mean, and what did the primary audience understand it to mean?

In the first century, the Roman Empire was approaching its zenith. When a kingdom was conquered, the Romans had triumphal processions that began with all the conquered citizens, soldiers, and the spoils; then the conquering general followed in his chariot. When the Roman general got to the center of the Forum before the emperor, the conquered king was brought in and, on his knees, would cast his crown at the feet of the general, who then put his hobnail-sandaled foot on the defeated king's neck. Afterward, the king was executed.

 It will be a far different scene for us when we appear before the Lord God Almighty. We won't be marched in with chains; we will come before Him saying, "You don't have to put Your chastening foot on our necks or drag us with chains. We willingly and lovingly want to serve You!" Worship demands our total submission to God, which says to Him: King of my life I crown Thee now-Thine shall the glory be; Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary.

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