Morning Bible Study
We have come to that point in Revelation where we are looking into the
For John, the
future starts when a door is opened in heaven as he is caught up before the
throne of God. He begins to describe what
A throne. Someone on the throne. A green rainbow around the throne. Twenty-four elders with golden crowns. Lightning, thunder, and voices. Seven lamps of fire.
:6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.
:6 a sea of glass
We’ve seen how
the Tabernacle that Moses built was a sort of model of heaven.
In the Tabernacle, the “shadow”
of this glassy sea was called the “laver”, and it was made out of bronze. (Ex. 30:17-21)
“You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also
of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and
the altar. And you shall put water in it,
The pictures I’ve seen of this “laver” look like a bronze coffee pot. It was built to hold water to be used to wash
the hands and feet of the priests before they entered into the Holy Place.
Temple was an even bigger model of heaven.
He didn’t have a small portable laver for his big solid structure. Solomon built a bronze swimming pool that was 15 feet across, 8
feet deep, and contained 12,000 gallons of water (1Ki. 7:23-26).
It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped
like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained two thousand
It was called the bronze
“Sea” and sat in the courtyard of the Temple on the backs of twelve bronze
Pure at the throne
The Tabernacle laver provided water to wash the priests.
On this side of
heaven, we need the cleansing of the forgiveness of God.
The priests needed to be “washed” before entering God’s presence. So do we.
NKJV) Blessed are
the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
On the other side of heaven, everything is pure and holy.
Pursue peace with all
people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
:6 And in the midst
of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of
eyes in front and in back.
:7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living
creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the
fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
:8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes
around and within.
:6 living creatures
– zoon (“zoology”, “zoo”) – a living
being; an animal, beast
These are “living
:6 full of eyes
Eyes speak of
knowledge. We’ve been seeing how
sometimes the word for “to know” (eido)
can be translated “to see”
With these beings being “full of eyes”, you get the picture that these beings “see” or
“know” a lot of things.
It also makes
me wonder if at least one of them is a mom.
Don’t moms have eyes in the back of their heads?
:7 lion … calf …
man … eagle
At least initially it appears that each of these four living creatures has
a different face.
I’d like to
suggest that they might each have four faces, but because they are all “facing”
different directions, John sees a different face on each creature.
The other day I
saw an article
about a cat that has two faces. The phenomena
is called a “Janus Cat”. Usually cats
born with this genetic defect only live for a few days, but this one was 12
years old. His name is “Frank and Louie”, and he has two
mouths, two noses, and three eyes.
What’s the significance of these four different faces?
The early church
fathers saw these representing the four faces of Christ in the gospels. In Matthew Jesus is the “king” (lion), In Mark Jesus is the servant (ox). In Luke we see Jesus in His humanity (man). In John Jesus is God (eagle).
I wonder if
there isn’t a hint of the extent of creation in these “living ones”. The wild beasts (lion), domesticated animals (ox), man, and the birds (eagle). I hope the fish don’t feel neglected.
:8 four living
Isaiah had a
vision of heaven where he called these beings “seraphim”, or “burning ones” (Is. 6)
In the year that King
Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the
train of His robe filled the temple.
caught a glimpse of heaven.
(Eze 1:6–10 NKJV) Each one
had four faces, and each one had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and
the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They
sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. 8 The hands of a man were under their
wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. 9 Their wings touched
one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one
went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each
had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right
side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the
four had the face of an eagle.
John only saw one side of each of their faces while Ezekiel was able to see
that all four had four faces.
And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance
like a flash of lightning.
Later in his book, Ezekiel will again see these beings and identifies them
as “cherubim” (Eze. 10:15). These don’t look like your mother’s “cherubs”.
And the cherubim were
lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar.
were also a part of Moses’ Tabernacle. They were the beings
molded onto the lid of the Ark, the “mercy seat”.
The Jewish rabbis had names for these four beings around God’s throne:
Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael
“You were the
anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of
God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
Meet Him at the throne
God gives Moses an invitation concerning the “mercy seat”
NKJV) And there
I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from
between the two cherubim
which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will
give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
I think this same invitation has been extended to us as well.
4:15–16 NKJV) —15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our
weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet
without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and
find grace to help in time of need.
Because Jesus is our great High Priest who understands our
needs, we can come boldly to God’s throne. The throne in heaven.
find mercy and grace and help in our time of need.
:8 And they do
not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was
and is and is to come!”
:8 do not rest
– anapausis – intermission, cessation
of any motion, business or labor
I’m not sure this means that these fellows are saying these exact same
things every second of every day, thought they might be.
them saying something very similar.
NKJV) And one
cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is
full of His glory!”
Ezekiel’s vision has more details than John’s, but he doesn’t record them
If two of these cherubim are indeed Michael and Gabriel, we know that they
do other things than worship God in heaven.
But this does mean that this is the practice of their lives.
They live to give God glory.
Being “full of eyes”, they could be the smartest beings, and being around
the throne of God they would know God better than anyone.
And they worship God. It’s a smart
thing to worship God.
:8 Holy, holy, holy
An important part of worship is having correct theology. Worship starts by having a correct
understanding of who you are worshiping.
NKJV) God is
Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worshipping in “truth” requires that you have the correct view of God.
Know the God you worship
This speaks of God’s purity.
God is not like us. If we’re not
careful, and we can tend to “anthropomorphicize” God. We think of Him as “the big guy
upstairs”. We start attributing our
human qualities to Him.
does not think lustful thoughts. God does not get mad at people on the freeway. God does not talk about people behind their back. God probably does not enjoy everything on TV.
We need to
remember Nadab and Abihu. (Leviticus
These two sons of Aaron were killed by fire from God because
they didn’t see the difference between themselves and God. They had been tipping the bottle a little and
came rushing into God’s presence as if it didn’t matter.
(Le 10:3 NKJV) And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must
be glorified.’ ”
Note: There are three “holies”. I wonder if this isn’t hinting at the Trinity
– the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even
back in Isaiah, there are three.
(Lk 6:46 NKJV) “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I
You can’t call Him Lord if you don’t obey Him.
Worship involves LORDSHIP. Is He
How can you offer up true worship when you hold back a part of your life?
The Greek word here is pantokrator -
almighty; all powerful
In the midst of our hardest trials, we need to remember that God is all
powerful. He is able to deliver us.
There is nothing He can’t do.
(Je 32:27 NKJV) “Behold, I am the Lord,
the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
If you are struggling with difficult times in your life, look to God.
(Is 40:28–31 NKJV) —28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the
earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to
the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the
youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who
wait on the Lord Shall renew their
strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be
weary, They shall walk and not faint.
was – He
has a great track record.
is – He’s here. We can depend
is coming – He’s in our future.
He’s on His way.
In all your ways
acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
:9 Whenever the
living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne,
who lives forever and ever,
:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and
worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the
:9 Whenever the
living creatures give glory
Worship prompts worship.
Sometimes we do things in church just so people will notice. Jesus said,
NKJV) “And when
you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing
in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by
men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
I’ve been in churches where it’s very obvious that some of
the people are looking to get attention.
They might be jumping up and down, waving their hands, things that I
imagine they don’t do when they are alone.
But there is a balance with this. There is a place for
“corporate worship”, when we worship God with others. We don’t hide our worship to the point that
nobody around would have a clue that you love God.
The worship of the four living creatures prompts the twenty-four elders to
respond and worship as well.
When I see someone giving God glory and honor, it makes me realize that I
too need to give Him glory and honor.
the Light” – We teach by example.
When you want
to encourage someone to worship, sometimes the best thing you can do is to
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 set the example of worshipping God.
You “lead” the people into God’s presence.
Be the first one before the throne yourself.
:10 cast their
We’ve seen that the “crowns” in the Bible speak of the rewards we are to receive
when we get to heaven (Rev. 2:10)
Yet here are these elders, taking the very things that they’ve worked so
hard on earth to receive in heaven, and they’re giving them to God.
Worship is costly
This is the basis of worship.
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.
This is the concept
The idea of giving God a “gift” or an “offering” involves cost.
King David had
done a bad thing and had brought trouble to the nation of Israel. When David found out that the Angel of the
LORD was up on the hill overlooking the city of David, he went out to where the
angel was and prepared to give a sacrifice to God to atone for what he had
The fellow that owned the property, Araunah, offered to give David the wood, the animals,
and even the property for the sacrifice, but David refused and insisted on
buying what was necessary for the sacrifice.
(2 Sa 24:24 NKJV) Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it
from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings
to the Lord my God with that
which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the
oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
David knew it was a cheap sham if he offers a sacrifice
and he hasn’t paid anything for it.
The property that David bought would be the lot where
Solomon would build the Temple.
Whether it’s learning to give financially to the Lord, learning to give my
time by giving up a Saturday to help with the Second Harvest outreach, or
helping my next door neighbor with a project, our worship of God is costly.
Worship is more than just singing a song.
“Do not lay up for
yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves
break in and steal;
So let each one give
as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a
:11 “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.”
– axios – having weight, having the
weight of another thing of like value, worth as much; befitting, corresponding
to a thing
In the ancient marketplace
you come to buy a pound of grain. The merchant gets out his
scale and puts a one
pound weight on one side of the scale.
He pours out the grain until the scale balances and you get your pound
Farmer Jones got out of his car and while heading for his friend’s door,
noticed a pig with
a wooden leg. His curiosity roused, he ask, “Fred, how’d that pig get him a
wooden leg?” “Well Michael, that’s a mighty special pig! A while back a wild boar attacked me
while I was walking in the woods. That pig there came a runnin’, went after
that boar and chased him away. Saved my life!” “And the boar tore up his leg?”
“No he was fine after that. But a bit later we had that fire. Started in the shed up
against the barn. Well, that ole pig started squealin’ like he was stuck, woke
us up, and ‘fore we got out here, the darn thing had herded the other animals
out of the barn and saved ‘em all!” “So that’s when he hurt his leg, huh,
Fred?” “No, Michael. He was a might winded, though. When my tractor hit a rock and rolled down
the hill into the pond I was knocked clean out. When I came to, that pig had
dove into the pond and dragged me out ‘fore I drownded. Sure did save my life.”
“And that was when he hurt his leg?” “Oh no, he was fine. Cleaned him up, too.”
“OK, Fred. So just tell me. How did he get the wooden leg?” “Well”, the farmer
tells him, “A pig like that, you don’t want to eat all at once!”
A pig like that you don’t want to eat at all. He’s worthy of living.
I think that sometimes
we fail at recognizing just what God is “worthy” of.
We are grateful that He created
us. That He has saved us.
That He answers
So what’s that “worth” to you? How
do you show your appreciation?
God is “worthy” of every bit of praise and worship that we can give Him.
He is worthy of our “crowns”. He is worthy of our lives.
For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have
even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.