And whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the One seated on the throne who lives forever and ever,
I. THE SUBJECT OF THE SONG. That of "the living creatures" is "the Lord God," the Almighty, the Ever-living. The subject of the Church's song is the creative power of God, in recognition of which "glory, honour, and power" are ascribed. It is the ground of hope for the final triumph of the Divine kingdom over the opposing kingdom of evil which is so soon to be brought into view.
II. The song is offered by the Church's representatives; it symbolizes THE ENTIRE CHURCH REJOICING IN THE UNIVERSAL SONG OF PRAISE. "When the living creatures shall give glory." The Church's song of praise for redemption wilt presently be heard; but it is preceded, as is most meet, by praise to God "for his excellent greatness and for his mighty acts."
III. The song is presented by the Church IN LOWLY PROSTRATION. Never do the songs of praise from the earth rise higher than when presented in the lowliest humility. Not only do the elders "fall down before him that sitteth on the throne," but in recognition of his absolute supreme authority, they "cast their crowns before the throne." In presence of the one Lord, all authority, all honour, all might, must be ignored.
IV. The matter of the song recognizes THE EXALTED WORTHINESS OF THE MOST HIGH, to whom pertains the highest "glory, honour, and power," illustrated in the creation of all things.
V. The song terminates in AN ADORING ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE FINAL END OF CREATION. "Because of thy will." "He spake, and they were created: he commanded, and they stood fast." The "will" expresses the pleasure of God, and for his pleasure they are, and were created. The end of their being is not to be found in themselves, but in the Divine will. It is worthy. And as by the Divine will all things are, so all things will be made to serve that will, yea, even the rebellious elements in human life, for he will make the wrath of man to praise him. - R.G.
The four and twenty elders fall down...and cast their crowns before the throne.I. THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN ARE ALL CROWNED. How is this?
1. They are all kings, Dei gratia. There is not a king in heaven that has his crown on any other terms than this, "by the sovereign grace of God."
2. But, though it may seem astonishing, they are all kings by hereditary descent. They have been born again, and it is in their new nature that they are before the throne of God.
3. They are also kings by marriage alliance. There is many a crowned head that would not have been so by descent, but has come to be so by being given in wedlock to a royal consort.
4. They are kings by right of conquest and of victory. A crown should signify, and did signify in the olden times, battling and contending. They are kings, then, because they have fought with sin and with temptation. Yea, the brightest of them have had to bear the brunt of fiercest persecutions.
5. Then the crowned heads in heaven have their crowns, and their crowns befit them well, because of the nobility of their character. They are sanctified, delivered from every taint of corruption, and now they are like their Lord Himself in holiness of character. Well should they be crowned whose character has thus been made glorious by the work of the Spirit of God within them!
6. And, once more, they have another right to their crowns, because those crowns represent real possessions. All things are theirs — the gift of God — and God is theirs and Christ is theirs. They are clothed with honour and majesty — not outwardly only but inwardly — and they have all the concomitants that should go with royal dignity.
II. THEY ALL CAST THEIR CROWNS BEFORE THE THRONE.
1. Solemn reverence. They see more of God than we do, therefore are they more filled with awe and thrilled with admiration. Our reverence will always make us feel in the lowliest state of self-abasement at the foot of the throne!
2. Moreover, they are no doubt actuated by sincere humility. Reverence to God always brings a humble opinion of one's own self.
3. Doubtless, also, they do this for another reason, namely, because of their profound gratitude. They bless God that they are where they are, and what they are.
4. Above all, they are actuated by intense affection. They love their Lord, and loving their Lord they do anything to adore Him. They are glad to fling their richest goods, their choicest trophy, their most cherished treasure, at His feet: they love Him so.
III. PRACTICAL LESSONS.
1. By this text we can know whether we are on the way to heaven or not; because no man goes to heaven to learn for the first time heavenly things.
2. The next lesson is a lesson of unanimity. Our text says that all cast their crowns before the throne. There are no divided opinions in heaven, no sects and parties, no schisms there.
3. Once again, these redeemed ones in heaven teach us the true way of happiness. They set before us what perfect bliss is. There is no happiness beneath the clouds like the happiness of unselfishness. Strip yourself, and you clothe yourself. Throw, money away, and you grow rich — I mean in a spiritual sense. Happiness, again, consists in adoration, for these blessed spirits find it to be their happiness to adore God. The happiest days you ever spent are those in which you worshipped God most. But then they were not merely happy because they were self-denying and adoring, but because they were practical. They took off their crowns and laid them before the throne. And our joy on earth must lie in practically carrying out our principles. Cast your ability to do and to suffer, as well as the crown of your labour and patience, at the foot of your God; serve Him with all your heart and wisdom and strength, and thus, your self-denial and adoration being mixed therewith, you shall realise on earth as much as possible a foretaste of what the joy of heaven may be.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)I. THE IMPORT OF THE ACTION. It is necessary to recollect that all the rewards which await the righteous in heaven are often summed up in the comprehensive expression of a kingdom. Casting these crowns at the foot of the throne was, therefore, the same as casting their kingdom, with all its dignity, glory, and honour, at the feet of God and the Lamb.
1. It was an acknowledgment of what God is, and of what He deserves from His creatures.
2. It implied a more particular acknowledgment that to Him all the glory of their salvation belonged.
II. THE FEELINGS WHICH PROMPTED IT, AND OF WHICH IT WAS AN EXPRESSION.
1. It was prompted by, it was an expression of, perfect humility.
2. It expressed, and was prompted by perfect love to God and the Redeemer.
3. It was prompted by, and expressed perfect gratitude.
4. It expresses the most profound reverence.
(E. Payson, D. D.)
(Morgan Dix, D. D.)
Homilist.I. MAN IN HEAVEN HAS REACHED THE HIGHEST DIGNITY. He has "crowns."
1. Have faith in the improvability of our nature.
2. Let us be consoled under the departure by death of the good.
3. Let us not judge of providence without taking into account the future as well as the present.
II. MAN IN HEAVEN ASCRIBES THE DIGNITY HE HAS REACHED TO JESUS CHRIST. "They cast their crowns," etc.
1. A conviction that they owed all their honours to Christ.
2. A readiness to acknowledge their obligation. The greater our nature the more ready to acknowledge our obligation.
3. The surpassing glories of Christ,. He is in the midst of the throne, and all ascribe their all to Him. Napoleon the First, after he had conquered empires, and planted his foot upon the neck of kingdoms, determined to be crowned Emperor. To give pageantry and lustre to the occasion, he compelled the Pope of Rome to be present. In the act of coronation, the emperor refused to receive the crown from the Pope; his proud spirit told him he had won it himself: he placed it upon his own brow, thus declaring to the spectators and the civilised world the fact that he was indebted to himself only for imperial power. There is nothing of this spirit in heaven; they all cast their crowns at the feet of Christ, and say, "Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory."
I. BECAUSE OF HIS PERSON. As having in Himself all the perfections of the Creator and of the creature; as very God and very man; the Word made flesh — He is "worthy to receive glory." Godhead and manhood, united in one wondrous person, make Him infinitely glorious.
II. BECAUSE OF HIS WORK. The excellency of His propitiation is infinite. It is —
1. Excellent in itself.
2. In its revelation of Divine wisdom.
3. In its manifestation of Divine love.
4. In its reconciliation of grace with righteousness.
5. In its everlasting results. Because of such a work it is said, "Thou art worthy to receive glory."
III. BECAUSE OF HIS LIFE ON EARTH. His whole earthly life was marvellous. There has been nothing like it, neither shall be. It was absolute perfection in every part: the perfection of a human life.
IV. BECAUSE OF THE REDEMPTION OF HIS CHURCH.
V. BECAUSE OF WHAT HE IS NOW IN HEAVEN. He has triumphed over His enemies; He has abolished death; He has emptied the grave; He has risen; He has ascended on high; He ever lives to intercede; He is the head of principalities and powers; He sits on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
VI. BECAUSE OF WHAT HE IS TO BE AND TO DO WHEN HE COMES AGAIN.
1. Let us appreciate His excellency.
2. Let us thoroughly trust and love Him.
3. Let us make use of His fulness.
4. Let us bow before Him.
5. Let us sing the song of praise.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)I. THE HEAVENLY CHURCH ACKNOWLEDGE THAT GOD CREATED ALL THINGS.
II. THAT ALL THINGS ARE AND WERE CREATED FOR GOD'S PLEASURE OR WILL.
III. THAT ALL INTELLIGENT BEINGS ARE BOUND TO GLORIFY GOD FOR HIS WORKS OF CREATION AND PROVIDENCE.
1. These works should lead us to the knowledge and contemplation of their great and glorious Author.
2. We should glorify God in His works, by improving them to awaken in our souls pious affections to Him.
3. The works of God should invite us to Him in the humble exercises of devotion.
4. We are to glorify God for our own existence.
5. If creation deserves our praise, redemption deserves it still more, for this is our hope.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)
For Thy pleasure they are and were createdI. REMEMBER WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE NOTION OF "CREATION." It is not the bringing order out of disorder, beauty out of shapelessness and confusion. To create is to make out of nothing. But the truth that God created out of nothing, whilst it exalts immeasurably our conception of His Majesty, makes the question yet more urgent: "Why did He create?" We reply, that it seems to follow from the very nature of God, that He should create. God we believe to be all Good, the Fountain of Love, yea, Love itself. Must not a Being thus gracious, and thus in Himself an inexhaustible source of happiness, desire to communicate of His fulness unto others? Must not He, who is both wise and beneficent, desire to dispense wisdom? Must not He who has all power, if He be liberal, seek to give power? Throned in the light inaccessible, alone, and all-sufficient, He dwells in the plenitude of His own glory, lacking nothing, dependent upon none — a universe to Himself, to Himself all in all. Myriads of angels growing up around Him would add nought to His happiness. And not therefore for any selfish ends (as we term them) did God become a Creator. And yet was it for Himself? Yea, for Himself, we read throughout Scripture, God made the worlds. "Of Him are all things, and for Him are all things," writes the apostle. Even so. God's nature urged Him, nay, if we may dare so speak, compelled Him to create. Abounding in love, His love would not let Him dwell alone. The air and the water, the very dust of the ground teem, you know, with living things. Life meets us everywhere. We can detect no end answered by millions of creatures which swarm around us. It may be they do answer no end. But the love of God constrains Him to create, ay, if it be but to give to the tiny animalculae in the drop of water a moment's taste of the pleasure of existence. And thus we seem to apprehend, in a measure at any rate, why God is to be rejoiced in as a Creator; ay, why the heavenly inhabitants should praise Him as having created all things for His pleasure. Creation is the most overwhelming demonstration that "God is Love"; creation is the "Ocean of Divine love," overflowing its banks, and pouring itself forth beyond all bounds.
II. HAS THE ACT OF CREATION BEEN, ON THE WHOLE, PRODUCTIVE OF MORE HAPPINESS OR MISERY? What if, where God's love is manifested, God's justice must also be revealed; is this a reason why His love should be restrained? Nay; we still find in that love the cause of the authorship of our being; we recognise in that love the source of creation, though love could not have free course without giving scope for vengeance also; and we marvel not that the eternal dwellers should unweariedly say, "Worthy art Thou to receive glory," etc.
LinksRevelation 4:9 NIV
Revelation 4:9 NLT
Revelation 4:9 ESV
Revelation 4:9 NASB
Revelation 4:9 KJV
Revelation 4:9 Bible Apps
Revelation 4:9 Parallel
Revelation 4:9 Biblia Paralela
Revelation 4:9 Chinese Bible
Revelation 4:9 French Bible
Revelation 4:9 German Bible
Revelation 4:9 Commentaries