Opening Prayer

Lord, you are the God of the ages, the Savior of all who trust in you. Speak to me now from your Word.


The Throne in Heaven

4 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 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. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’[b]

who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11 “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.”


  1. Revelation 4:5 That is, the sevenfold Spirit
  2. Revelation 4:8 Isaiah 6:3

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


May the Lord grant us, like John, the knowledge of his glory as we seek to live for him today.

Think Further

The words ‘After this’ (v 1) suggest that we are now at a crucial turning point in this book. We leave behind the terrestrial world in which the power of the Roman Empire seemed absolute and invincible and where the churches across Asia Minor were, with a few exceptions, in various stages of compromise and accommodation to the dominant worldview. John needed a vantage point from which to view this world from a different perspective, and that is granted to him by the invitation to ‘Come up here’ and pass through the door ‘standing open in heaven’.

Once through that portal, everything is transformed! John is taken ‘in the Spirit’ (v 2) into the heavenly throne room and glimpses the glory of God and the ceaseless worship of the ‘Lord God Almighty’ (v 8). Suddenly, the boastful claims of the Roman Caesars to possess absolute power are exposed for the blasphemy they were and the history of the world (‘what must take place after this’, v 1) is seen to be in the hands of the one who is alone worthy to ‘receive glory and honor and power’ (v 11). The book of Revelation gives an absolute priority to worship as the means by which we can transcend the brokenness and despair of the world and be renewed in holiness, love, and hope. The little churches described in the previous chapters are reminded that no matter how much they suffer, God reigns sovereign in heaven and ‘the point of the universe is not power but worship’.1

The question is: do we actually understand just how radical and subversive it is to practice regular acts of worship and praise? In Western cultures which have lost ways of accessing transcendence and so have become depressingly one-dimensional, to fold hands in prayer is itself a revolutionary act.


What changes might be needed in public worship for it to be a portal between earth and heaven?

Closing prayer

Living and loving God, when I feel overwhelmed, remind me that you are my fortress and I’m safe in your care.

Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by kingstar

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