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.’ 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 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. 5 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 of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the centre, round the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and behind. 7 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. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all round, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
‘“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,”
who was, and is, and is to come.’
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour 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 honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.’
The scroll and the Lamb
5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.’
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise!’
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honour and glory and power,
for ever and ever!’
14 The four living creatures said, ‘Amen’, and the elders fell down and worshipped.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we come before you today in utter humility after yesterday’s reading about the three churches mentioned, and how Jesus sees us, the church. We recognise that we have failed you. Please have mercy on us.
You require true and faithful worship of us – both in Spirit and in truth. Please help us Lord, to worship You aright. Thank You for the marvellous picture the apostle presents to us in today’s reading (4:2) – the fact that the throne in heaven can still be seen! And not just that, but that the throne in heaven is not empty, but occupied!!
O Lord, thank You for the reminder that You, and no one else, are ruling from Your heavenly throne as Lord and King. You are indeed worthy of our worship. We ask that our worship of You today will be acceptable. Help us Lord, like the elders of Chapter 4:10, to fall down in humble submission. To down our ‘crowns’ – whatever that might look like in our own lives – and to say ‘You are worthy our Lord and God to receive glory and honour and power’!
And may our words of worship translate into works of faithful service today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.