Part Two: Creatures and Worship in Heaven
This part is pretty psychedelic… I really like it! The next section describes all the things/ people/ beings dwelling and worshiping in heaven (chapters 4 and 5).
It is important that we understand the who, what, where, why, and how of heaven and worship. This section paints that picture for us. [This is a brief overview/ outline as you read along chapters 4 and 5; not much commentary but just a basic foundation to build from in future chapters and lessons.]
The Glory of God: “as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled His throne like a rainbow” (Rev 4:2-3). Could we even imagine it? Surely there is nothing in this world beautiful enough to encapsulate or compare His glory and beauty and majesty to, so we are left grasping at straws to understand the fullness of this picture and this moment. Safe to say, it’s the most breathtakingly beautiful thing we will or could ever experience.
Spirit of God: “7 torches with 7 flames represent the Sevenfold Spirit of God”—moving and speaking, perhaps, to the world through the 7 churches (also represented by fire/ torch-like structures in heaven) (Rev 4:5). This “Sevenfold Spirit of God” means that the Spirit has been made new or has changed or somehow increased in power. It’s very interesting that the Spirit’s name is different and that the characteristics that describe Him are new.
24 elders sitting on 24 thrones that surround God’s throne and fall on their faces continually in worship—clothed in white with gold crowns on their heads (Rev 4:4).
4 animal-like creatures in heaven that love and worship the Lord: a lion, an ox, a human-faced animal, and an eagle in flight—each with 6 wings and completely covered in eyes (Rev 4:7).
Jesus—the Lion and the Lamb
The Lion: “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory!” (Rev 5:5).
The Lamb: this is Jesus, the perfect Lamb of Atonement; “Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the 4 living beings and among the 24 elders.” What a strikingly different appearance to the Glory of God—a slaughtered Lamb, covered in blood, yet standing and talking among them. But there’s more: “He [the Lamb] had 7 horns and 7 eyes which represent the Sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out to even part of the earth” (Rev 5:6), representing the precious pairing of Jesus, the Lamb that was slaughtered, and the Holy Spirit, who is manifested 7x in the end times.
Worship: Harp and Bowl—what’s mentioned here is the “harp and bowl” style of worship that incorporates music and singing with intercession and prayer in the Spirit: “…the 4 living beings and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song…” (Rev 5:8).
Angels in Heaven: “thousands and millions of angels around the throne” worshiping the Lord (Rev 5:11).
The Multitudes, aka, us: “I saw a vast crows, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. There were clothed in white robes and held palm braches in their hands…these are the ones who died in [come up out of] the great tribulation…That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve Him day and night in His Temple…He is their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:9-17)—this comes later in the book—and if you have questions about this, you are not alone!