Verse 6 (continued): We are told that these four beings are full of eyes in front and behind and in verse eight John repeats this observation by saying, full of eyes around and within. Were also told in verse eight each cherub has six wings. If we assume these angelic beings glorify God by their physical form, then the eyes remind us that God is all-seeing or omniscient, and the wings that He is swift and mobile, pointing to the fact that He is omnipresent. If, however, we assume the eyes and wings reveal qualities about the cherubim themselves, then they must possess so many eyes because they constantly behold the glory of God, never sleeping, and with their wings they swiftly do His bidding.
Verse 7: No one really knows why these beings have four different forms. There are several possibilities, all of which contain elements of truth. One suggestion is they represent four of the higher categories of earthly creatures: the lion represents wild animals; the calf, domesticated livestock; the man, human beings; and the eagle, flying creatures. Through these representatives, all creation worships continually and upon their praises God sits enthroned. Another suggestion is that they express different aspects of God. Just as the articles of the Tabernacle were designed to teach different truths about Him, these creatures closest to Him express His greatness by the forms of their bodies. As a lion, He is the noble ruler of all things (1Ki 10:20). As a young bull, He is strong (1Ki 7:25). As a man, He is wise (Ge 1:27, 28). As an eagle He is swift (Ex 19:4, Dt 32:11, Rev 12:14). A third suggestion is the most appealing to me. In this view, the four creatures declare the gospel of Jesus Christ. As from eternity the essential elements of our salvation were expressed by living beings before the throne of God (1Pe 1:19, 20). First, Jesus Christ became a man at His incarnation. Next, as a young bull, He was sacrificed for our sins. Then, as an eagle, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Finally, as a lion, He will return to rule the earth.
Verse 7 (continued): So we arent confused by the term cherubim, we need to remember there were two statues of cherubim on top of the mercy seat on the top of the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:17-22). These had a human face and probably only two wings which were stretched toward one another to form an arch over the golden plate where the yearly atonement was offered. There are numerous references in the Bible to the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim (Ex 25:22, Nu 7:89, 1Sa 4:4, 2Sa 6:2, Isa 37:16, Ps 80:1, Ps 99:1). These references are to the ark of the covenant rather than the four beings in heaven. The meaning is that God is personally present watching over Israel. At times the Temple is called His footstool; portraying Him as sitting on His throne in heaven while resting His feet on the Temple. Isaiah saw a vision of God sitting on a throne above the Temple with His long royal robe hanging down into the Temple (Isa 6:1). The spiritual reality behind these prophetic images is that the Holy Spirit was present in power in the Holy of Holies.
Revelation 4:8, 9
Verses 8, 9: These four angelic beings constantly worship God by declaring His holiness (Holy, Holy, Holy), His creative power and governing authority (Almighty), and His eternal existence (Who was...and is... and is to come) which has no beginning or end. In other words, they worship Him because of His character (holiness is perfect love), His power (creator and supreme ruler), and His divinity (eternal nature). For these attributes they give Him: 1) Glory, meaning they enhance His reputation by telling others. 2) Honor, meaning their own hearts are moved by the truths they see. 3) Thanks, meaning they acknowledge they themselves have received from Gods goodness.
Verse 10: While the four cherubim are worshipping, the twenty-four elders are also worshipping. In their case, John mentions the physical actions they perform as part of their worship. First, they fall down before Him, meaning they kneel or lie face-down in front of Him. This position declares that God is their superior and they are offering themselves as His servants. Second, they cast their crowns before the throne which is a way of stating that God is the only One who deserves to rule since everything which exists has come forth from Him. But His worthiness to rule derives from more than His role as Creator. The elders are clothed in white garments (v 4) because they have been washed clean from sin. So by casting crowns they are also declaring that, were it not for His mercy which sent His Son to pay for their sins, and His gift of the Holy Spirit to empower and guide them, they would have no crowns. Instead they would have perished.
Revelation 4:10 11
Verses 10, 11: Crowns represent the faithful works accomplished by the elders and the governing authority with which they are now entrusted. These have been generously placed on their heads by God, but it was actually He who produced everything good in their lives (Lk 17:7-10, 1Co 3:6-7, 15:10, Php 2:13, Heb 13:21). Therefore, they gladly cast their crowns before Him to announce they rightfully belong to Him and in so doing submit afresh to His leadership. As we will see repeatedly stated in the book of Revelation, Gods people will somehow share in His eternal government (Rev 2:26, 27, 3:21, 5:10, 20:6, 22:5), so we learn from these elders who represent us that our authority will flow from hearts that are continually submitted.
In chapter four John expanded our understanding of Daniel 7:9, 10. We saw through his eyes the Ancient of Days seated on His heavenly throne. Now in chapter five John will see the events of Daniel 7:13, 14. In these verses Daniel saw One like a Son of Man meaning he saw someone who looked like a human being approach Gods throne and receive from Him the authority to rule all humanity forever. In Daniel that decisive moment took place while the antichrist was blasphemously declaring his divinity and persecuting Gods people (Da 7:8, 11, 12, 20-22.) However, John was given the vision of this moment at the opening of his revelation. Before being shown the tumultuous events of the last days, John has all doubt removed about the final outcome. Jesus Christ is that Son of Man and to Him will given blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever (5:13). November 26РDecember 2, 2006