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Previous: Revelation 4:9

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:
"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 4:10-11

Again we see the twenty-four elders, who represent the Church in this scene (see notes on chapter 4, verse 4). They fall down before Him who sits on the throne. In the throne room of a powerful king, it was customary for his subjects to bow, kneel, or even fall on their faces, waiting for the king to acknowledge them and give permission to speak.

In this case, the king is the greatest of all potentates -- God Himself! And the subservience of these elders is not merely a matter of fear and obedience to him, but in adoration they worship Him. The word for "worship" is the Greek verb proskuneo, which means "to prostrate oneself in reverence or adoration." The word is actually formed from pros (meaning "towards") and kyneo, ("to kiss"). According to Helps Ministries, this image has been is interpreted by some as a metaphor of "'the kissing-ground' between believers (the Bride) and Christ (the heavenly Bridegroom)." (Helps Word-studies, copyright 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc. Accessed Aug. 7, 2014, (See: The Church as the Bride of Christ -- Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:2; and The Marriage Supper of the Lamb -- Revelation 19:7-10).

It is interesting that in the Bible, worshippers are seen in various postures: standing, kneeling or, as in this verse, on their faces before the Lord, but they are never portrayed as just "sitting." On the other hand, we do not assume that it is wrong to pray while sitting, because, as we have just noted in the previous verse, Paul taught us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and sitting is part of every person's daily routine.

Again, as in the previous verse, God is described as He who lives forever and ever. This expression is literally "living unto the ages of the ages."

Then the elders cast their crowns before the throne. See the notes about the crowns and rewards of believers in Vol. 1, Chapter 2, verse 10.

Our one opportunity in all of eternity to show the Lord that we loved Him during this short earthly lifetime might be this future moment when we will place our crowns at His feet. This will be the proof of our gratitude, to him. This raises the issue of giving, or making an offering to God. It should be obvious that He does not need any material thing that we could give Him. In the 50th Psalm He says plainly that He does not need our sacrifices.

"Hear, O My people, and I will speak,
O Israel, and I will testify against you;
I am God, your God!
I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices
Or your burnt offerings,
Which are continually before Me.
I will not take a bull from your house,
Nor goats out of your folds.
For every beast of the forest is Mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
"If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.
Will I eat the flesh of bulls,
Or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." - Psalm 50:7-15

Nevertheless, amazing thought that it is, He craves our love and wants our worship.

We come now to the apparent purpose of this insight into the heavenly throne-room. These verses prepare the reader to trust God's goodness and His judgments in the terrible events that will soon be revealed. It is wise to focus on the holiness of God before viewing the dreadful events He will permit.

The elders were saying: "You are worthy, O Lord." The Greek word for worthy is axios, meaning "of weight," "of worth." It comes from the concept of measuring out a product with a weight on one side of the scale and the product on the other side. If the scale balanced it was axios: a fair trade. Our God is the only true God. He is the real thing, and is worthy of our praise. Whatever He does, even in judgment, is a result of His holiness.

The Elders agreed that Jesus was worthy to receive glory and honor and power. In verse 9 we considered that God's worshippers ascribed to him glory and honor and thanks. In this verse it is affirmed that he is worthy of those accolades, but in place of thanks, this verse focuses on His power. As MacArthur points out in his commentary, God's power was often exhibited in judgment in the Old Testament - during the Flood of Noah's day, fire and brimstone in Sodom, the destruction of Pharaoh's army at the Exodus, and destruction of Israel's enemies. MacArthur wrote, "Many times God's power has destroyed the wicked. And it will be God's power that unleashes the terrible, irresistible judgments on sinful mankind during the Tribulation before the Lord's return." (MacArthur, ibid. p. 157.)

What would be the very greatest demonstration of God's power? Surely it would be the Creation itself!

For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.

This great truth is given simply and without fear of contradiction. In both the Old and New Testament there are numerous references to a literal supernatural process of creation of the Universe out of nothing (Genesis chapters 1 and 2; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 19:1-6, Isaiah 40:26; Job 38; John 1:1-14; Romans 1:18-23; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 5:12-19; Colossians 1:15-16; Hebrews 1:2,10). In this verse God is said to be the creator of the existing world. It should be noted that God the Son, who sits at the right hand of the Father (Matthew 26:64; Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:33; Acts 7:55-56; Revelation 12:5), performed the actual work of Creation (John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-3). (See Vol. 1, Chapter 1, verse 10 and Chapter 3, verse 10 for note on Jesus' role as Creator.)

Toward the end of this book it is predicted that God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21 & 22).

In Vol. 1 of this commentary, The Church in Prophecy and History, during the historical fulfillment of the Laodicean Church period, it was shown that the theory of evolution was a major negative influence that led to the corruption of civilization and a distorted theology in the church. The book of Revelation simply reaffirms the reality of Creation and of the Creator.

The recent emergence of a new discipline called "Intelligent Design," emphasizes that something had to exist before there was ever a cosmos as we know it. Those who don't believe in a god must posit matter as the thing that existed alone before anything else, but they cannot explain how mindless matter could start the process that led to this fine-tuned universe. Since logic requires something "in the beginning," it makes much better sense to start with an intelligent entity that could launch the Creation.

The major message of this passage is that God is good and He is all-powerful, so the upsetting news about the next phase of human history - the Tribulation -- is still under His holy control, and will result in a purified world in which believers will dwell with their God and Savior for eternity.

Next: Revelation 5:1


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