The Vision Of The Throne Of God - Rev. Herman Hoeksema
1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8 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.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive, glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
The Theme Of This Section Of Revelation
The Book of Revelation may most conveniently be divided into two main parts. The first part we have thus far treated; it includes the vision of Christ and the seven churches. The second part embraces all that is still to come and pictures the displacement of the kingdom of Satan by the kingdom of God in Christ. Or, if you please, in 1: 19 John had been commissioned to write the things which are and the things which shall come to pass hereafter. In the previous chapters we have discussed the things which are. We saw Christ in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. We obtained the description of the seven churches as they manifest themselves upon earth. In the part which is still to be discussed we are called upon to consider the things which shall come to pass hereafter, that is, the future from John's vantage point. In the part we have discussed thus far there were, besides the superscription and introduction, two parts: the first containing the revelation of the glorified Christ as the great King and Priest, ready for judgment and walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, as well as holding the seven stars in His right hand; and the second part containing a seven-fold picture of the church of all ages as she becomes manifest in the midst of the world in this dispensation with all her weaknesses and strength, the good and evil properties.
It is well, before we enter upon a discussion of the rest of the book, which is often difficult and which requires diligent and prayerful study, to have the main theme of this portion of the Apocalypse clearly before your mind. Also in the part which is still before us there are numerous separate visions, in which you will perhaps get lost, as in a labyrinth, if you do not hold before your mind's eye continually the main theme of the book. That main theme is the certain displacement of the kingdom of Satan by the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ, a displacement which in its process will follow the line of historical development, but which will find its final consummation in the great world-catastrophe which will accompany the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge the quick and the dead. The displacement of the old and sinful order by the new and perfect one, the displacement of the satanic kingdom of darkness by the glorious kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ,-such is the main theme of the rest of the book. All the visions which are recorded in the second part of the book bear upon this theme, serve to throw light upon this general subject. There are in this world two orders, two kingdoms, between which there is continual warfare, even though the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ already has gained the victory in the exaltation of the Lord at the right hand of God.
On the one hand, therefore, we shall find in the battle which is pictured to us in the Book of Revelation the force of the devil, Satan, the Antichrist, the beast and the false prophet, Babylon, and Gog and Magog. On the other hand, we shall find the Almighty God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lamb, the holy angels, the church, and the new creation, with all its powers battling for victory, even though on the part of Christ the victory is not only sure but is also already won. Hence, the ultimate result will be that the force of the kingdom of Satan is hopelessly and definitely defeated forever, while the glorious kingdom of our God has the eternal victory.
One thing we must be warned against as we follow the discussion of this most intricate, but at the same time most beautiful, part of the Word of God. That is that we have in the Book of Revelation, no more than in any prophecy of Scripture, not a mere history written beforehand. If such were the character of the book we are studying, the matter would be quite simple indeed. In that case you would simply be able to turn page after page, just as you peruse the pages of history, in order then to find scene after scene of the world's history depicted in this book, and that too, just in the order in which they will take place. In that case you would, of course, also be able to identify the fulfillment of every portion in actual history, and point out very definitely how far we have already advanced on the road which leads to the end of time and to the victory of the kingdom of God. Even though many interpreters of the Book of Revelation entertain this notion and insist that only in this way can we properly understand the book, this conception is nevertheless very false.
We must rather present the whole book to your attention as a picture of all that must still come to pass, a picture thrown on the screen of symbolism. No attempt is made at all at following the historical order of things. At no time does the book present the chronological order. The element of time is wanting. John merely perceives different scenes, and he relates those scenes as they are held before his vision. No attempt is made in the book to point out historical causes and effects, so essential in the record of any history worthy of the name. John merely presents to us the scenes which are presented to his vision and which picture the future as they are all connected with their main cause, the Almighty God and His eternal decree as revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
This, therefore, you must remember as we shall study in the chapters which follow the gradual displacement of the sinful order by the perfect one as pictured to us in the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials which represent the general outline of the second part of the book. Even as we have already maintained in connection with our discussion of the seven churches, so also in relation to the second part of the Book of Revelation we must remember that what is pictured in this part is both contemporaneous and consecutive. History repeats itself. And in that ever-repeating history you will see the recurrence of the scenes pictured on this screen. Only you must remember this, that they develop and repeat themselves with ever increasing force and vehemence, till finally Christ shall come to establish His own kingdom forever and in perfect righteousness.
There is a parallel noticeable between the first part of the book, which we have already discussed, and this second part. You will remember that in the first part, before the letters to the seven churches were written, we found the vision of the Christ, the head and the very life of the church. Thus it is also here, in the second part. Before the Lord shows John the actual battle between the two opposing kingdoms in history, He reveals to him in Chapters 4 and 5 the eternal and unconquerable power which shall surely have the victory. In these two chapters He gives us the picture of the battling force of the kingdom of God from its ideal point of view. In these two chapters, therefore, there occurs as yet nothing which relates to the battle as such. But they give us the picture of the eternal power and control of the world's history as it will display itself in the new dispensation. We shall find that they give us a picture of the new order of the kingdom as it must surely battle on to victory throughout this dispensation, even unto the end. In Chapter 4 we have the vision of the throne, of God, an ideal representation of the new order which is to come at the parousia, in the day of the Lord, the realization of which is the efficient cause of all that is revealed in the rest of the book.
A New Vision Introduced
"After this," so John tells us, "I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."
There is no reason to believe, as some have it, that there was a long interval between the time that the first vision was finished and the time that the second vision began. However, John was conscious of a change, as is evident from the entire description, and especially from the words of verse 2, "And immediately I was in the spirit..." We remember that he told us with respect to the first vision that he was in the spirit on the Lord's day. It seems that after that first vision was finished he returned to the natural state. And now, at the call of the same voice he had heard before, the voice as of a trumpet, he again is translated in the spirit, so that he can behold the things which natural eye cannot perceive. Although, therefore, we must not suppose that there was a long interval of time between the first and the second visions, there is nevertheless a decided transition from the first vision to the second, a transition of which John is very definitely conscious. The difference between the first and the second vision is characterized especially by the change of scene. The first vision was on earth, and for that reason had a very definite historical background, which made it rather easy for John and also for us to understand and comprehend its meaning. John was acquainted with the seven churches. And those seven churches, as we know, were a picture of the whole church as it exists throughout the ages, as it also exists today. But in the second vision John is called to heaven. Heaven is opened to his spiritual eye, and a voice calls to him, "Come up hither." Of course, we do not understand this to have been a literal and bodily translation; but it was a translation only in the spirit. It was a being called to heaven in the vision; and it was for that same reason also that the obedience to the call was visionary, or, if you please, in the spirit. The door, the voice that called him up hither, and the obedience to that call, - all were visionary. Nevertheless, we must remember that what we are to see and to study in the future is shown from the viewpoint of heaven, and especially from the point of view of Him that sitteth on the throne. In harmony with this, all that is recorded in the future is more idealistic and symbolic than that which we have studied in the past.
The things revealed in this second part are things which must come to pass hereafter. This "must," you understand, is a divine must. It implies the necessity of God's counsel. God has decreed the entire course of history, and because of that decree things must necessarily come to pass,
and that also, exactly as decreed, and not otherwise. It is because of this fact of the decree of God that only the Almighty possesses the power to reveal what must come to pass in the future. Nothing that is revealed in this book can fail to come to pass, because behind it all stands the unchangeable counsel of the Almighty which has determined the end from the beginning. And when these things are further described as things which must come to pass hereafter, and, therefore, in the future, we must in no wise understand this to mean after the church has finished its history. Thus, indeed, some would have it. They present the course of events and the outline of the Book of Revelation as follows. First there is the history of the church in the world, as pictured in the first three chapters of this book. Then follows the rapture of the church, the church's being caught up into heaven. This is supposed to be described in Chapters 4 and 5. After this, according to these interpreters, follows the period of the great tribulation for the world, when all the woes and afflictions which are predicted in the main body of this book shall be realized. But the church shall have no part in this great tribulation. For from the time that is pictured in Chapters 4 and 5 the church is no more in the world, but in heaven. Thus these interpreters picture the order of this second part of the Book of Revelation. Evidently, however, this is a mistaken notion. The church is spoken of several times, also in the remaining portion of the Book of Revelation. Besides, John never tells us that the church is caught up into heaven. He merely informs us that he himself was translated, and that too, only in the spirit. But above all, if that were the. case, if the church from this time forth would have no part in all the tribulations which the world must suffer, what would be the use and the purpose of the rest of this book, which is plainly written for the comfort of the church in the midst of the tribulation of this present time?
Hence, we will have nothing of this interpretation, but maintain that all that is recorded in the rest of the book concerns the whole church in the world and is written for the joy and comfort and hope of the church of Christ in this present time. And when the text says that these things must come to pass hereafter, it does not mean after the church has finished her course, but simply after the present time from John's point of view. John was to record the things which are and the things which will be in the future, according to 1: 19. The things which are he has recorded with a view to the seven churches of Asia. In the rest of the book he is to receive the revelation of the things which must come to pass in the future, and then again, not merely things which happen only toward the end of time but in the entire future, in this entire new dispensation, from the time that John receives his vision even unto the end. But again, we must remember that these things shall come to pass in this dispensation with increasing force as the day of the Lord draws nigh.
The Throne In Heaven
Having thus introduced the vision and prepared our minds and hearts to receive it, John informs us about the things which he saw in heaven. The first object which draws his attention is a throne. It is indeed the central figure in the whole vision, the chief element of it. It, above all, draws his attention. All the rest is grouped around that throne.
A throne, as we have had occasion to remark before, is the symbol of royal sovereignty and majesty, and therefore, at the same time, of the supreme power of judgment. Here, of course, as we learn from the rest of the vision, it stands for the highest sovereignty of heaven and earth. For He Who sits on the throne is none other than the Triune God. It is true that John simply speaks of one sitting on that throne. He does not attempt to describe Him And this is perfectly appropriate: no one has ever seen God, and John could not definitely describe His form. He merely states the general impression which he received of His holiness and righteousness and glory and majesty in general, when he tells us: "He was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone." A sardius is a stone of bright red color, and therefore is representative here of the fire of God's holiness and wrath. Exactly what was the appearance of the jasper which John here mentions cannot be ascertained. But in connection with elements of other visions of God, in Ezekiel and Daniel, we may probably think of a bright, crystal-white stone, something like the diamond, thus indicating the righteousness and purity of God, as well as His glory and victory. These stones, shining together and their glittering view intermingling, present a beautiful picture of the righteousness and holiness of God in themselves, as well as in their action against a sinful world, shining forth in their majesty and sovereignty, and therefore also in His holy wrath.
But there are still more elements to be considered.
Round about the throne John saw a rainbow. It calls to our mind every time it stretches forth its beauty in the heavens the gracious covenant which God made with Noah, promising him that the world should no more be destroyed as in the flood. In general, therefore, the rainbow is a symbol of God's grace with a view to all His works. And if we read, as we do in this section, that this rainbow round about the throne of God was like an emerald to look upon, we find in it especially the symbol of hope. The emerald is green. It is the symbol of nature budding forth and renewing itself in the time of spring, the symbol also of the new creation, and therefore the symbol of hope with respect to the coming of the day of the Lord. Together, therefore, the vision of the throne, with God to look upon as a jasper and sardius, and with the rainbow round about the throne, represents God in His righteousness, holiness, purity, grace, and majesty, and at the same time in His wrath against sin and Satan, and as promising the coming of the new and sinless order in the new heavens and the new earth. It is a throne of righteousness and grace, holiness and purity, wrath against the world and hope for the people of God.
Still more. Out of the throne proceed lightnings and thunderings and voices. Voices here does not stand for anything definite, as if the voice of God or the voice of any creature were meant, but simply indicates the impression John received over and above that of the lightnings and the thunders. They were accompanied, no doubt, by the roaring noise of the, stormy sea, which John calls the voices. They are as the voices of many waters. What is more important is that in this description we find once more a symbol of the majesty of God, both in itself and in its terrible activity against the sinful world as the Judge of an. When we read of these lightnings and thunders, we naturally think of Mt. Horeb, where God appeared in His majesty as the King of Israel and its Lawgiver. We may also think of the many psalms which describe the Lord in His majesty and coming for judgment in lightnings and thunder.
But there is still more. Before the throne are seven lamps burning, which are the seven Spirits of God. These seven Spirits, as we have already explained in connection with 1:4, are indeed the Holy Spirit, but then as the Spirit of Christ as He dwells in the church of God forever. The Triune God sits on the throne. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in their essential divinity are enthroned as the Lord God Almighty, thrice holy. But here, before the throne stands the Spirit of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit as He dwells in Christ as the head of His church, and therefore, the Spirit Who dwells also in the church. It is also the Spirit of God in Christ through Whom the kingdom of God will be perfected and in its perfection will exist forever. This, therefore, is the place of the seven Spirits in this beautiful vision which is symbolic of the new order that is to come.
There is still more. Before the throne John beholds as it were a sea of glass like unto crystal. Some have made of this sea of glass the realization of the brazen sea in the temple, connected with the altar of burnt offering in the court. Others are of the opinion that this sea of glass represents the sea of nations, because in the Book of Revelation the term sea always refers to the nations of the world. However, neither of these explanations can satisfy us. For the brazen sea there is in this scene no place, no more than for the altar of burnt offering. For it is plainly the picture of the ideal new order, as it will ultimately have the victory. And although it be true that the term sea in the Book of Revelation generally symbolizes the nations, it must be remembered that for such nations there is no room here. Nor is the picture of the crystal sea very appropriate to indicate the sea of the rebellious nations. Secondly, John does not say that he saw a sea, but as it were a sea, something like it. We therefore rather fasten our attention on the glass and crystal, and explain that this sea is a symbol of the splendor, as well as of the transparency, of the entire new creation. In the sea of glass and crystal before the throne the new creation in all its glory and beauty must have been reflected. So in the new creation all things shall reflect the glory and beauty, the holiness and righteousness and grace of Him Who sits on the throne. In that creation there shall be no more darkness. There nothing shall hinder the beauty of God from shining forth gloriously. And there all things shall reflect His glory, where we shall know even as we are known.
The Twenty-Four Elders
John in his vision, however, beholds still more. Round about the throne of God he beholds twenty-four different thrones. On those twenty-four different thrones he perceives twenty-four elders.
It is not difficult to understand the symbolism of all this and to be convinced as to the identity of these twenty-four elders. Literally, the term elders refers to older men, and therefore to the heads of tribes and families. Here, in the words of our text, it is to be understood in that sense. It does not mean elders as officebearers of the church, or elders in any official meaning of the word; but it simply refers to older people, first of all,-heads of the tribes, heads of families, heads of a certain people.
And as far as the number twenty-four is concerned, immediately you observe that it is twice twelve, and that as such the number will have to be explained. Twelve tribes, there were, of the people of Israel. And in the church of the new dispensation there were also twelve apostles. There can be no shadow of doubt that these twenty-four elders here must be taken as representatives of the church and of the people of God of all ages, both of the old and of the new dispensation, of Jew and Gentile. How, in the face of this symbolism, people can possibly maintain that there was no church in the old dispensation, how, in the light of this symbol, people can possibly maintain that Jew and Gentile shall not be one in the kingdom of heaven that is to come, we confess is a mystery to us. Evidently these twenty-four elders represent the entire church of the old and of the new dispensation, the church as she was redeemed and washed in the blood of the Lamb throughout the ages of history.
For notice, further, that these twenty-four elders sit on thrones surrounding the great throne in the midst of them. This symbolism, which means that also they possess royal glory and dominion, at the same time makes it very plain that their royal dominion, the royal dominion of the church, is dependent upon the throne which they surround. Moreover, wreaths, or crowns of victory, they wear. For the church is, of course, here pictured from its ideal point of view: not as the church in tribulation, but as it exists in the decree of God, looked at from the point of view of eternal glory in heaven, and therefore as having already overcome. And garments of white these elders wear: for they are washed in the blood of the Lamb, Who is still to appear on the scene of this vision. Round about the throne, therefore, the church, washed in the blood of Christ, having overcome in the battle of faith, and being set in royal dominion and glory in dependence on God Almighty, appears here in the vision which John beholds.
The Four Living Creatures
More difficult it may seem to explain the appearance of the four living creatures. John informs us that he saw "in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four beasts ("living creatures," ARV) full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within."
Innumerable explanations have been given of these four living creatures. We shall not consider them all here. Only two of them deserve our consideration. In the first place, there is the interpretation which explains these four creatures to be mere cherubs, heavenly beings, angels of a specific class. And in the second place, there is also the interpretation which refers these four creatures to all living creation and its powers.
It appears to us that we must rather combine these two as they are in the vision and say that they are cherubim which, however, in the vision are made to represent the entire fulness of creation in all its various powers from an ideal point of view. When the kingdom of Christ shall once be completed, the sigh and groan of the brute creation which is mentioned in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans shall also cease; and all creation, with all its powers and with all its forces, shall be delivered actually from the bondage of corruption and shall share in the glorious liberty of the children of God. This ideal creation, with all its fulness of life, with all its powers and gifts, these four cherubim represent in the vision. Especially if we compare this vision with that in Ezekiel 1, this is clear. The prophet there also has a vision of four cherubim with faces of a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle. The two visions, therefore, are strikingly similar. It will not do to interpret the one without the other. What is the purpose of the vision in Ezekiel? It forms the basis of the entire prophecy. Ezekiel was commissioned especially to prophesy the destruction of the old temple and the rebuilding of the new, that is, of the ideal temple of God. Or, if you please, he was to predict the displacement of the old temple which was made with hands by the new temple which would consist of the new creation, of the new heavens and the new earth. Just as John must prophesy the displacement of the sinful order by that of the perfect order of the new creation, so also Ezekiel. And even as John, so also Ezekiel at the outset receives a vision of the perfect order which is to replace the old and where God shall dwell among His people in all the new creation. In Ezekiel, therefore, as well as in John, you may call the beings, the four living creatures, cherubim. But in both these visions the cherubim are made to represent the fulness of the life of creation as it will shine forth in the new heavens and the new earth.
If we bear this in mind, we shall be able also to explain their appearance.
In the first place, we must consider their number. John saw four of these creatures. Four is the number that is symbolic of creation in all its fulness. Think of the four winds of heaven, and the four corners of the earth. In their number they therefore represent the entire creation. Then we can also explain their appearance. These four creatures present the appearance of a lion, of an ox, of a man, and of an eagle. They are therefore four royal representatives of the animate powers of creation.
What the lion is among the beasts of the field, the ox is among the cattle, man among the intelligent creatures, and the eagle among the birds. They represent, therefore, the powers of creation in their physical strength, in their daring courage, in their keen intelligence and intuition, in their freedom of movement and development with majestic flight. In a word, once more, they represent creation in all the fulness of its power and talents, as once it shall develop to the glory of Him Who sits on the throne.
Then we can also understand the symbolism of the eyes and of the six wings. As to the latter, the wing is the symbol of free flight and movement, as well as of ascent and development. Six is the number of the creation as it originally received its power from God. The six wings of every creature indicate its power of development to its full extent, unhindered and unhampered. In the new world all creation shall mount up with its six wings and reach the fulness of its development to the glory of God. And as to the former, namely, that these creatures were full of eyes, we must not refer this symbol to their ability of looking and moving in every direction, but much rather as revealing plainly their inmost nature and being. All creation is to reveal itself plainly and openly to God's glory, and the nature of creation shall no more be under the veil of sin. That this is the meaning of the symbol is plain to us from the following chapter, where we read of the Lamb that has seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits. In the eye the creature reveals his spirit, his nature, and, therefore, his name, above all other features. In the seven eyes the seven Spirits that dwell in the Lamb shine forth. In the eyes of these creatures their real nature, their spirit of life, under the influence of the Spirit of all creation, is revealed. Once more, therefore: in these four creatures, cherubic though they be, we see a representation of all the fulness of power and glory of the new world as it shall be completed when the kingdom of God shall have come in all its perfection.
Thus the symbolism is complete. In this vision of the fourth chapter of the Book of Revelation we have an ideal picture of the kingdom which is to displace in history the kingdom of Satan and sin and which is to have the complete victory in the end. We may even say that in this vision we have a picture of the battling force which will come up against Satan and his host. In that kingdom God and His throne of righteousness and holiness and majesty and grace shall be the central figure. For He shall be all in all. In that kingdom the church shall be enthroned forever, delivered from all the power of sin and darkness, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and crowned with wreaths of victory. For the elders are clothed in white raiment and have golden wreaths upon their heads. In that kingdom all creation shall be delivered, and shall be allowed to exist and to develop in unhampered flight of development and to reveal itself in all the fulness of its life to the glory of Him Who sits on the throne. In that new creation all things shall reflect the glory of the Most High God through Jesus Christ our Lord and in the seven Spirits which are before His throne. All shall be glory and life and bliss. And all shall reflect the holiness and righteousness and glory of Him Who sitteth upon the throne forevermore. That kingdom exists ideally in God's decree. That kingdom must go through a process of battle before it can reach its historical realization. But that kingdom shall surely come! For God Almighty is on our side, and the Lamb is our King! For that kingdom of light and glory and bliss we long, we hope, we fight. For that kingdom we gladly sacrifice all, and glorify the Lord our God, also in the present dispensation of spiritual realization.
The Praise Of The Creatures And The Elders
That this explanation of the vision is no mere philosophy or human fancy, but the actual interpretation of the text in Revelation 4 is for us, at least, corroborated by what the text tells us of the activity of the creatures and of the elders. We read: "And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."
Here we have what we consider the song of the new creation, anticipated in the vision, and that too, in the most beautiful symbolism. Remember, as we have emphasized repeatedly, the purpose of all things is the glory of God. For that glory all the world exists. All the world, and all the fulness of the world, and all the powers of the world, and all the beauty of the world, -all exists to reflect the glory and the majesty of Him Who sitteth upon the throne. In brute creation, as well as in man, God is to be glorified. But there is a difference. Brute creation glorifies God unconsciously. It is as such a reflection of the majesty and power and glory of God. But man stands in the midst of this silently adoring creation and consciously takes note of God's glory. He knows that all creation has been made by Him. He knows that it all is a reflection of God's glory. He knows that they and he were created for the purpose of being a name unto the Most High God. And therefore, he understands creation round about him. He sees how the creatures glorify God. And standing in the midst of this glorifying creation, and beholding the beauty of the Lord his God in all the creatures, he falls down in adoration, and exclaims, "0 my Lord and my God!" Such is the original intent and purpose of the existence of all things.
And what now do you see in the vision? The same thing. The creatures give glory and honor and thanks to God in the highest, to Him that sitteth on the throne and liveth forever and ever. That is, all creation here gives praise to God. The fulness of creation ascribes glory to Him. It all sings of the holiness of the Most High: "Holy, holy, holy," thrice repeated to express the divine fulness of the holiness of God, of the Triune. But in this connection we must remember that also the power of sin and the whole sinful order still exists. And that power of sin and Satan must be opposed and overcome before the kingdom of God and of Christ can be perfectly realized. In the vision the creatures and the elders sing of this power. All creation shall presently show forth the power of God. But again, we hear also a battle cry in this song of the creatures and of the elders. The Lord God is almighty; and therefore, His is the victory over all sin and over all the power of darkness. They sing of His eternity. For He is the One Who was, and is, and is to come. And also in this we hear the battle cry, announcing a sure victory. For it tells us that God is eternal, that therefore His kingdom ruleth forever and ever, while the powers of darkness shall surely suffer defeat. And as all creation thus sings of God's glory, the redeemed shall look and listen and see the beauty of their God, and worship and adore. For the elders fall down at the voice of the creatures. And acknowledging that their royal power and glory are but a reflection of the sovereignty of Him Who sitteth upon the throne, they cast their diadems before Him, descend from their thrones, fall in the dust, worship, and say: "To Thee, 0 Lord our God, belongeth the honour and the glory and the power: for thou hast made all these things because and on account of Thine own will." Thus shall they glorify their God in all His works. And God shall be all in all!