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John, the apostle was a divine revelator. His book, Revelation, is an apocalyptic prophecy with an epistolary introduction addressed to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. Apocalypse is the revealing of divine mysteries. So John wrote down the mysteries that was revealed to him in a vision and sent it to the seven churches.

Reference: Revelation 4:4,6 New King James Version (NKJV) 'Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads...And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.'

In Revelation chapter 4 (the first verse), John was in the Spirit and he beheld a throne set in heaven, with One sitting on the throne. He revealed that the sight of the Almighty who sat on the throne was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and that there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

In our Scripture reference, John introduced us to fascinating and captivating characters close to God and encircling His throne. For instance, we see the twenty-four elders, seated on thrones around God's throne, and they have long been understood to represent God's own people. Twelve of them represent the people of God in the Old Testament: the twelve tribes of Israel. The other twelve elders represent the church formed under the shepherding care of Jesus' twelve apostles.

The presence of the elders shows that God has given us, His people, a special place in His kingdom; we will rule and reign with God, even after reigning in life here on earth, in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17 AKJV). Along with the twenty-four elders, we also meet 'four living creatures'. They too surround God and His throne. The living creatures represent 'everything that has breath' including man (see Genesis 1:30; 2:7). Wild animals, domesticated animals, human beings, and all other creatures have a place of honour and service in God's throne room.

John described the four living creatures as having eyes all over them, both in front and at the back. He emphasized that the first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle (see Revelation 4:7). Among created beings, man; among birds, the eagle; among cattle, the calf; among untamed animals, the lion. They are all representatives of animated nature. Their characters unite to make a perfect picture of the spirit of true service to God, which should be as brave as the lion, as patient as the calf, as intelligent as man, and as aspiring as the eagle.

Interestingly human beings express the characters of these four living creatures. A man can be said to be 'as bold as a lion' while expressing courage. Apart from being patient, a calf represents the desire in man to know, discover, worship and embrace God (remember the golden calf idol statue). The third living creature, which has the face of a man, represents man's countenances (ability to express anger, happiness, strength and other emotions). And the fourth, 'flying eagle', represents man's freedom and zeal to stretch and excel beyond the limits.

I believe that John's insight into the throne room helps us to understand what living in heaven will be like (see Revelation 4:8-11 NKJV). It turns out that these elders and creatures also show us how to live the Kingdom lifestyle here on earth. And its all about worshipping God in spirit and in truth, 'For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth' (John 4:24 NLT).

Scripture Reading - Revelation 4; Hebrews 11:16; 1 corinthians 2:9-10; Hebrews 13:14; 2 Peter 3:13.

Guided Prayer: Thank you Lord for loving and redeeming your whole creation through our Lord Jesus Christ. You love everything you have made and you have proven this by giving all of your creation, a place to worship you in your throne room. By the help of your Spirit, I live to serve you in Spirit and in truth and I pray that my life on earth will continually bring glory to your Holy Name till eternity, in Jesus' Name, Amen.


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