Revelation: A Message for the Modern Church

Revelation 4:4, 6b-8a; 19:4
4:4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

6b In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8a Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings.

19:4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”

The Book of Revelation is full of these sorts of visionary images, depicting the otherwise unimaginable splendor of heaven and the various personages who dwell there. Though this book of the Bible is largely symbolic, it’s important as a rallying cry for Christians, reminding us of the glory we await and the power of the God we serve. It’s also meant to remind us of what is most important–pulling together as one family of God in worship.

In these passages, we first see 24 elders, either representing human believers or acting as angelic servants to God; the number 24 is important, hearkening back to the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples. Then 4 other creatures are revealed, creatures with eyes all around so that nothing deceives or passes by unseen, and with six wings; these sound both like the cherubim and seraphs described by the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Yet, as amazing and powerful as all these presences seem, they all worship God, as we see in 19:4. John, the writer of Revelation, strongly connects Old Testament to New Testament, asserting that the God of Israel is still in power and is still relevant, enough so that even the most fantastic beings we could ever imagine bow to Him. They are still gathered around His throne, still at His feet, just as we are; all are equal before Him, uniting in worship. What a message for the modern church, indeed!

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