I love the imagery of Chapters 4 and 5 in the Book of Revelation. See the four beasts as they give honor and glory to God on His throne. He Who is described in terms of bright jewels and Whose glorious throne only furthers the revelation of His majesty. All focus is on Him – Who alone is worthy of all focus. The beasts point this out to the Apostle John and to us and to the four and twenty elders who are surrounding the throne of God and who are clothed in white raiment and crowned with crowns. The reaction of the crowned elders? They throw down their God-given crowns before Him Who sits on the throne, casting themselves down before Him, and responding in adoring agreement with the beasts.
I love these beasts who rest not day and night giving glory and praise to God. What does this imagery of the beasts represent exactly? I do not know. But I can see that the one who is like a man is bowing to God; the one who is like the king of the forest is bowing to God; the one who is like that which soars above all is bowing to God, and the one who is like a lowly beast is bowing to God. There is no turning of this magnificent beast toward itself in worship. And the 24 elders, who represent the church of God in all ages, are not turning toward themselves in adoration and worship even though He has made them to be royalty and has given them rule (Rev. 5:10).
For what is God being praised in this single-minded worship? For being Holy. “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Rev. 4:8. It makes one pause and think. God is not first and foremost being praised because He is the Savior and has redeemed His people through the blood of His Own Son, The Lamb of God. He is being praised because of What He is – Holy. Is that thought not enough to compel us to bow in worship before Him just like the elders and beasts did?
How do the 24 elders respond to this declaration of Who God is? They praise Him for being the Creator: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Rev 4:11.
As if to stress the fact that God alone is worthy, a question is then asked of the Apostle John regarding a book in God’s hand: “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” John weeps bitterly because he knows that there is no man worthy to take the book from God’s hand and open it. No man. Not John. Not me, not you. Not anyone, not anywhere, never. It is enough to bring about bitter tears, because we know that it is our sin that makes us unworthy of this task.
In Chapter 5, God, again, is shown to be the only worthy One. Here we read of the entrance of the second person of the Trinity – the Lamb of God. And what is the reaction to this Holy Being, Who in appearance is like as One Who has been slain? Worship. Worship because this Being is found Worthy to open the book because He is the One Who has been slain for the sins of His people and Who has made us, who are not worthy, to be as kings and priests. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:9, 10. And how many are worshipping this Lamb? Can you picture this? The beasts are worshipping, the elders are worshipping, and then also – ten thousands times ten thousands and thousands of thousands of angels. Then we read that all beings, everywhere, worship this Lamb. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Rev 5:13.
I am thankful that God has given us this heavenly glimpse of the worship due to Him alone. It helps me to look into my heart to see who I am worshipping – myself, some other human or thing, or the One Who alone is due all praise and honor and glory: He Who is Holy, He Who is the Creator, and He Who is my Savior.