WORSHIP SONG TWO
After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 4
Composer George Frederic Handel’s life had sunk to its lowest point when he gifted the world with his masterpiece, Messiah. Hardly sleeping and eating, Handel composed the great oratorio in just 24 days and nights. One day while working, he is reported to have said to his servant with tears in his eyes: “I did think I did see Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of angels.” (Edward Blakeman, The Faber Pocket Guide to Handel)
It is the sight of God on His throne that so enthralls the apostle John in his worship song: “there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne!” Caesars and other despots have their thrones, but God has His throne in heaven. That which stands out to John in his vision of heaven is God’s throne. It is this throne that plays such a key role in The Revelation as the word “throne” is used 47 times in the book. John is struck by the vision of the throne. “John’s readers were evidently familiar with earthly thrones and they were troubled by all that Caesar’s throne meant. John will not let them forget that there is a throne above every throne.” (Leon Morris, The Book of Revelation)
This is the same throne that the Old Testament prophet Daniel saw many centuries earlier:
As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousand served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him (Daniel 7:9-10).
While many symbols in The Revelation prove difficult to interpret, the meaning of the throne seems clear: our God reigns! “Regardless of how rampantly evil seems to run and to cause God’s people to suffer, they can know that His hand superintends everything for their good and His glory.” (G. K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary) John’s vision of God on the throne prompts Eugene Peterson to write: “The throne of God – the fact of the throne, and the fact of God enthroned – is the revelation of the Bible. (Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination)
John hesitates in daring to describe God’s glory, calling Him simply the “one seated on the throne”. He can speak of God only in metaphor, so that the most he can say is, He “looks like” jasper and carnelian. What the ancients called jasper we know as diamond crystal (see Revelation 21:11), so that He appears to John as “the blinding flash of a diamond in the sun.” (William Barclay, Revelation: Daily Study Bible)
There is much in this passage and The Revelation that we cannot comprehend. But we can worship! We can stand back and let ourselves be caught up in wonder and adoration of the One who sits on the throne! We can join our voices with heaven’s choir singing: “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Revelation 4:8b).
READ ALOUD Revelation 4
HOW TO USE THIS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
This daily Lenten devotional takes up eight songs of worship from The Revelation. It is significant that this is the only book in the Bible promising a blessing on those who read it, specifically: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy” (Revelation 1:3 NRSV). Each section of this devotional presents a song for your audible reading, reflection and worship. Each day you will:
- PRAY asking God to bless this time you devote to Him
- READ ALOUD the worship song and text for the day
- REFLECT on the daily reading
- READ ALOUD again the worship song and text for the day
- WORSHIP God each day in a way that is meaningful for you. The way in which you worship might vary day to day. Depending on the day, you might choose to talk with God about what you are thinking and feeling about the song, or meditate on the worship song, or intercede for others, or sing, or be silent before God. Ask God to guide you.
We pray that God use these worship songs of The Revelation to reveal His glory to you and bless you as you center your life in Him.