Revelation 4:911

Wednesday Night Bible Study

March 5, 1997

Introduction

We see chapter four as being the things that take place after the age of the church on the earth.

John is called up into heaven to see what will take place, a picture of the church being raptured before the Tribulation.

What John now is going to experience is heaven itself.

We're going to be spending a lot of time in heaven, so we might as well find out what we have up ahead!

So far, we've seen:

God's throne.

God was like a clear, reddish light upon the throne.

There was a greenish halo ("rainbow") around the throne.

Around the throne were 24 smaller thrones, with 24 elders sitting on them (possibly representative of the leaders of God's people in heaven), clothed with white, wearing golden crowns.

Last week we saw the four "beasts", or "living creatures" that surround the throne.

They are known elsewhere in Scripture as the "cherubim", winged creatures that are covered with eyes, each having four different faces, and who worship God night and day.

Being full of eyes all over, and being constantly before God's throne, we understand that there are no creatures in the universe that see God and the things He does quite as much as these do.

And so we need to learn from these creatures, to realize that the ones who know God best, can only worship Him.

(Rev 4:8 KJV) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

You'll have to bear with me as I slow the study down a bit tonight as we look closely at the words used to describe the worship of God by the cherubim.

I think we can learn a lot about worship from those who know how to do it best.

4:9-11 The Throne of God (cont'd)

:9 And when those beasts

Meaning, the living creatures, the cherubim.

There are two different Greek words that are translated "beast" in the King James translation of Revelation.

The first word is the one used to describe these living creatures, the cherubim.

"beast" (living creature) - zoon - a living being - the word is based on the verb "to live"

It's found here in chapters 4, 5, and 6.

The second word translated beast is -

therion - an animal; a wild animal, wild beast, beast; metaph. a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious.

It's based on the word thera - a hunting of wild beasts to destroy them.

This word is found in chapter 13 and the rest of Revelation, and is used to describe the antichrist.

In the Greek, they are two totally different words, not even related, and it's unfortunate that our King James translation confuses us a little by using the same English word to describe both.

Here, it would be better to translate it "living beings".

:9 give glory

glory - doxa - opinion, judgment, view; in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory; it can mean splendour, brightness; but here it seems to carry the idea of praise.

Would it be correct to say that the cherubim have the opinion that God is "holy"?

After all, this is what they're declaring.

Lesson:

Worship involves having and declaring a high opinion of God.

God is different from us, He is "holy".

God is not like man.

Be careful of thinking that God responds to situations like you do, it may be possible that God looks at things far differently than you do.

He might not be angry with the person you're angry with, God may be weeping over their sin.

:9 and honour

honour - time - a valuing by which the price is fixed, attributing a high value to something.

This is the root for the name "Timothy", meaning "honored of God"

Illustration

If my watch is worth 50 cents to me, I don't care too much how I handle it.

But if my watch were worth $50,000, then I'd be VERY careful with what I do with it.

Lesson:

Worship requires holding a high value of God.

Just how much is God worth to you?

Is God like a present you wrap up in the funny papers, or like the present that you wrap up with cotton, tissue paper, extra ribbons, special paper, special boxes, etc.

We need to give God honor.

:9 and thanks

eucharistos - mindful of favours (mindful of "grace"), grateful, thankful.

To be grateful for what someone has given to you.

It comes from eu meaning "good" and charizomai - to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify; to "grace" someone.

Lesson:

Worship involves being aware of what you've been given.

I think this is one reason why it's so important that we understand God's "grace".

God's grace is when we receive some good thing that we didn't deserve.

Our salvation is based on grace.

We didn't deserve Jesus dying on the cross for us and paying for our sins.

Yet He did it anyway.

Our continuing relationship with God is also based on grace.

We were never able to "earn" or "deserve" our relationship with God in the first place.

(Gal 3:3 KJV) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

:9 to him that sat on the throne,

Meaning, the Father.

:9 who liveth for ever and ever,

There's a little play on words being done in the Greek here.

The word for "beast" (living creature) is zoon, which is based on the word zao, translated here "who liveth"

The "living creatures" are giving worship to the one who is "life".

He is our very source of life.

When Daniel rebuked Belshazzar for taking the cups from God's temple, and drinking wine to honor idols with them, he said:

Da 5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne

They do this in response to the worship from the cherubim.

Lesson #1:

Worship prompts worship.

When I see someone giving God glory and honor, it makes me realize that I too need to give Him glory and honor.

When you want to encourage someone to worship, sometimes the best thing you can do is to worship yourself.

This is important for worship leaders to understand.

If you want the people you're leading to worship, the best thing you can do is get your eyes off of the people, and worship yourself.

You need to "lead" the people into God's presence, to be the first one before the throne yourself.

Lesson #2:

Sometimes the best position for worship is face down.

When Abraham heard God speak to him:

Genesis 17:1-3 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

When Abraham's servant was successful in finding a bride for his master's son:

Ge 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

The Hebrew word for "worship" is shachah which simply means "to bow down" which is translated 98 times in the King James as "worship"

When Joshua met the Captain of God's host (Jesus):

Jos 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

When Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord:

Eze 3:23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

When the Magi came to Jesus:

Mt 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The one healed leper out of ten that came back to Jesus:

Lu 17:16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Starting to get the idea???

Have you ever gotten on your face to worship God?

Why not?

I think that the things that hinder us most from getting on our faces before God are:

    1. We haven't got a clue who God is, or that we're in His presence.
    2. We're afraid of what people will think.
    3. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves.

This last one is about the only one that's worth considering.

There are times when perhaps it might be inappropriate to fall on our face.

But you have permission on Wednesday nights to fall on your face!

:10 and worship him

worship - proskuneo - to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication

This is one of my favorite worship words.

It speaks of humility and being on your face.

But it also speaks of tenderness and adoration in worship (as in "kiss towards")

We see this also in the Old Testament:

In a Messianic passage, David writes:

(Psa 2:12 KJV) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Lesson:

Worship is filled with adoration and affection.

We see this pictured in the woman with the perfume:

(Luke 7:37-38 KJV) And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, {38} And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

In explaining the woman's actions, Jesus made it clear that her actions were done in pure love and adoration for Jesus:

(Luke 7:47 KJV) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Some of you may have a hard time with this.

You have a hard time loving anyone.

You expect them to slap you in the face or hurt you in return for your love.

Jesus will never betray your love.

(1 John 1:5 KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

:10 and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Crowns in the Bible speak of the rewards we are to receive when we get to heaven.

Re 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Yet here are these elders, taking the very things that they've worked so hard on earth to receive in heaven, and they're throwing them away.

Lesson #1:

Worship involves giving everything of value to the Lord.

This is the basis of worship.

If you hold anything of higher value than the Lord, that thing has become an idol in your life.

When something has come in between you and your relationship with the Lord, when something is keeping you from loving the Lord as you ought to, it has become an idol.

Rather than having things come between us and the Lord, we ought to be throwing them at the Lord's feet, giving Him honor by giving it to Him.

Lesson #2:

God gets the credit.

When we get to heaven, we're going to realize that anything worthwhile that we've done, anything that we get some kind of credit for, in reality, all the credit should go to the Lord.

We don't have to wait until we're in heaven to be giving God credit.

:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord,

worthy - axios - weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much; befitting

The idea is one of putting an item on one side of the scales, and putting your money on the other. Is the item "worth" the price? Is the item "worthy" of the payment?

Lesson:

God is worth all the worship we can give Him.

Take a lesson from the elders in heaven.

They realize that God is worth all the honor and worship that these cherubim are giving to Him.

:11 to receive glory and honour

We've already covered these terms.

God is worthy to be receiving glory and honour from the cherubim.

:11 and power

dunamis - strength power, ability

It's not that God receives power from us, but that we attribute all power to God.

Our worship must involve realizing that God is all powerful, as we'll see in the following phrases.

:11 for thou hast created all things

The primary reason for the worship of God is that He is our Creator.

There are many, many other reasons to worship Him besides this (like giving Him glory for what He does in our lives ).

But this is the bottom line.

Lesson:

You can always worship.

You may not be pleased with what you think God is doing in your life.

But He is still your Creator.

And you should worship Him.

He deserves it.

:11 and for thy pleasure

lit., "because of Your will".

pleasure - thelema - what one wishes or has determined shall be done

This is speaking of God's sovereignty, God's choice in what He does.

:11 they are

Or, "they exist".

It is simply because of God's wishes

:11 and were created.

Because of God's plan, His "will", we exist, that we are created.

Lesson:

Worship involves yielding to the King.

Frankly, sometimes we don't quite agree with the way that God does things.

Sometimes we kind of shake our fists toward heaven and say "Why God?"

(Rom 9:19-21 KJV) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? {20} Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? {21} Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

True worship must come to the place where we yield ourselves to God's right to do as He pleases.

Even as we don't understand what is going on, we have to come to the place of trusting that:

(Rom 8:28 KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.