Friday, June 26, 2015

A lesson from the worshipping beasts and elders around the throne in Revelation 4


Revelation 4 is kind of an odd chapter because it doesn’t seem to have anything happen in it except the worship of God by twenty four elders and four beasts.

So I started to ask myself what I could learn from it. 

Then I realized that since all that worship was the most notable thing in the chapter, that was probably where the lesson is. 

8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:8-11)

What does this tell us about what heaven is like?  It tells us that the inhabitants closest to God are absolutely enthralled with Heavenly Father’s holiness. Their gratitude and worship is insuppressible, and each time someone starts into praising the Lord, the others can’t help but go into fresh paroxysms of worship themselves.

I have thought these endless rounds of worship excessive, but this time when I was reading it the thought came to me that perhaps it is me who is out of step and that I need to learn much greater humility and gratitude than I now have or have ever had before.

And there’s another factor to consider: if we were to come into a court of a mortal ruler and it was full of people praising the mortal king endlessly, we would think the place was full of yes-men and flatterers. We would have doubts as to whether he fully deserved all that praise.

But the elders in this chapter here say to God “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.”  Heavenly Father really deserves all that praise and credit anyone gives Him here and forever because He lives up to it.  (When you think about it, just the way He can get His work done with imperfect people such as us, all while allowing us all our agency, is a miracle.)

If we are ever to achieve that heavenly worship and gratitude, I think we’re going to have to become much better at noticing and remembering what the Lord does for us. 

It is so much easier to glorify God when the things He has done for us are recent and when our memories stay fresh.  Now, I suppose the inhabitants of heaven have improved memories, having a perfect knowledge of their blessed and happy state, but we mortals need memory aids, so I suppose that the personal journal is an important tool for achieving this heavenly state of worship and gratitude.

Let’s see, wasn’t it Elder Eyring who counseled us several years ago to try to write daily in a journal what the Lord has done for us today?