Revelation 4:5–11 (NKJV)

In this passage, John continues his account of the vision of heaven. He offers further description of the throne, and adds the features of the seven lamps, the living creatures, the response of the elders. He starts by describing the throne further, and then the activity around the throne.

5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Revelation 4:5-8

In this continued description of the throne, John speaks of the lightning, thunder, and voices coming from the throne. He saw seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, perhaps the same lamps described in the letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 & 3. However, it could also represent seven angels, as Jewish thought said that angels were made of fire, or simply seven torches signifying the victor of all conflict, God Almighty. Either way, the seven lamps are before, or in front of, the throne.

John describes a sea of glass, perhaps reminiscent of the bronze sea before the temple in Jerusalem. Whatever the significance of the sea, it was clear like crystal, and smooth as glass, like ice. In the midst of–or around–the throne were four living creatures covered with eyes front and back. These were supposed by some scholars to be in the form of humanity, but they are described here as a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle. They flew around the throne on six wings, flying constantly while watching the throne, and did not rest day or night. They said as they flew:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

They flew in honor of the Lord and in worship of Him. They declared His greatness, and ascribed to Him power, position, and eternity (almighty, Lord, was an is and is to come).

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Revelation 4:9-11

In this passage, John moves to a discussion of the reaction of the elders around the throne. He first states that the living creatures perhaps give the verbal praise at intervals. However, whenever they offer their praise to God, the elders respond with grand actions. When the Lord receives glory and honor and thanks as the one who sits on the throne and lives forever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him on the throne and worship Him who lives forever. They additionally cast their crowns before the throne. While their crowns are on the ground in front of them, they chant or sing of His worthiness to receive glory, honor, and power. They recognize Him as creator and sole source for the existence of the earth. This act of homage or submission is telling, for the Lord is the greatest being to ever exist. They recognize His superiority and give Him glory. They take the crowns of victory and cast them before the feet of the Lord, for He is the only King, the only one worthy of their submission. This is a powerful posture, and should be considered appropriate for believers today. Bow before the King. Cast your accolades and victories at His feet. Worship the Lord, and Him only!

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