The Living Creatures around the Throne of God
“The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ ” (v. 8).- Revelation 4
“Prophecy Seminar: Learn How the Book of Revelation Is Being Fulfilled Today.” How many posters and other advertisements have we seen with that headline or something similar? Few theological topics generate as much interest as eschatology—the doctrine of last things—and no book of the Bible is examined more closely for its teachings on eschatology than the book of Revelation.
Interest in the book of Revelation is intense, and there is no end to the number of teachers who read Revelation with a newspaper in one hand, looking for clues as to the identity of the Beast, the Antichrist, and the timing of the millennium. Yet while such topics are worthy of discussion, we can miss key parts of Revelation if we focus only on its teaching about the end. Much of Revelation actually focuses on events in heaven, on what is going on in God’s heavenly throne room. Revelation 4 is one key text in this regard, as it focuses on the angels and their worship of the Lord in heaven.
When we compare Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6:1–7, we have good reason to believe that the seraphim in Isaiah and the creatures in Revelation are the same angelic beings. For example, in both passages, the angels proclaim the holiness of God three times and they have six wings. However, Revelation 4 gives us more information about these angels that worship God in heaven. For instance, the angelic beings in Revelation 4 are covered with eyes (vv. 6b, 8), and unlike the creatures in Isaiah 6:1–7, they do not try to cover their eyes when they are looking at God. The author of Revelation does not spell out the reason for these differences, but we do know that Revelation employs a great number of metaphors and images to make its point. It could be that the multiple uncovered eyes on these angels reveal that our Creator sees all.
Scripture teaches the existence of a heavenly host of angels (Luke 2:13), and Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6:1–7 teach us that at least some of these angels have worship as their chief task. That these supernatural beings are given the job of worshiping God continually indicates how seriously our God takes worship. Worship of our holy Creator cannot be an afterthought; it must be of first importance in our lives. Our worship today is a foretaste of heaven, an anticipation of that day when, like the angels, we will see God face-to-face. On that day, we will be like Jesus, for we will see Him as He is, and we will rejoice in His presence forever (1 John 3:1–2).
The ultimate purpose of our redemption is that we will dwell with God and see Him as He is (1 John 3:1–2). We can hardly imagine what that we will be like, but we know that it will be infinitely satisfying, for God is an infinitely beautiful being. Let us worship Him in His beauty and holiness this day as we long for the vision of Him we will experience in the world to come.
Passages for Further Study