After a beautiful Easter season together, we are ready to dive back into our series in Revelation together. This Sunday, Patrick O’Rourke will unpack Revelation 4 for us with Worship Gatherings at 8, 9:30, and 11:15. We have provided a study guide* to help you prep before the sermon or reflect and study deeper afterward. Below you will find a curated collection of commentaries on Revelation 4 that we hope you will find helpful, as well as some reflection questions that we hope you take the time to discuss, pray, and journal through. We are looking forward to continuing this journey through the book of Revelation with you!
“The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’” -Revelation 4:10b-11
John is taken in the Spirit to the throne room of God and shown the center of all reality. When the veil is pulled back on the universe, there is God on His throne accomplishing His purposes and receiving praise from all of creation because He is the source of all things.
This scene precedes all of the chaos of the dragon, the beast, and the judgments, reassuring John and everyone that would read this letter after him that this is all part of God’s plan even when it seems like things are out of control.
“’After these things’ John sees a door opened in heaven, initiating a new series of visions that will reveal ‘the things that must occur after these things’ (Rev. 4:1). John has seen and heard the Son of Man diagnose the ‘things which are’ in his letters to the churches (1:19). Now the focus of attention shifts to the future of the seven churches and the forces that assault them.”1
“These chapters, moreover, do not give us a picture of heaven. They describe the entire universe from the aspect of heaven. The purpose of this vision is to show us, in beautiful symbolism, that all things are governed by the Lord on the throne. ‘All things’ must include our trials and tribulations. That is the point. That is why the description of the throne precedes the symbolic prediction of the trials and tribulation that the church must experience here on earth.”2
“The living creatures worship God for attributes central to John’s vision and most applicable to the churches undergoing severe testing: holiness, power, and eternity.”3
“God is holy, almighty, and eternal (4:8), in contrast to the pretense of the mortal human frame, so easily reduced to dust. Imperial choirs throughout Asia were hailing the mighty emperor as god in their own hymns. Before John’s portrait of the most majestic throne room of all, however, the emperor’s claims fade into absurdity, and worshiping Christians find strength to withstand the falsehood of the emperor’s claims.” 4
“If God’s grandeur dwarfs the emperor’s majesty, it also challenges in a different way the numbing triteness of modern Western culture. God’s greatness summons our attention: Who are we to be overwhelmed by the mortal emperor or our present trials? That God is Lord of history and has everything under control helps us view everything else in life the way we should. Praise puts persecution, poverty, and plagues into perspective; God is sovereignly bringing about his purposes, and this world’s pains are merely the birth pangs of a new world (Rev. 21-22).5
Pray and ask the Lord the show you the things in your life that you worship in place of Him. Consider how insignificant they are compared with the One on the throne.
Take some time this week to think and pray about God’s holiness, His worth, and His power in creation. Ask the Lord to help your heart worship as you think about these things.
*Hard copies of the Revelation Study Guide will be available for free at Redeemer Church the first weekend in May.
- Johnson, Dennis E. Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation.
- Hendriksen, William. More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
- Duvall, J. Scott. Revelation
- Keener, Craig S. Revelation
- Keener, Craig S. Revelation