A half day more than half way to the Sunday (that means Thursday!) I was supposed to give this lesson I carried my coffee over to my desk and sat down. On went the computer and I moused over to this lesson. You know what I saw? Three lines (or really four, but that fourth was just a note). The whole of the lesson comprised maybe 50 words! Ugh. I thought I had made a better start to that. “Nope,” spoke the obvious. “This lesson has not arrived yet.” Thanks Captain Obvious…
Since I often write down a bunch of things before I shape them into what I put here I gathered up my papers around me. Hmm, not a lot was there either. That being said I did have a mental shape of what was happening in Revelation 19. Probably it was the mental shape which made me imagine I had written more than 3 lines. Well, the shape was just not fanned to life yet.
I deleted all but that fourth line and started over (with pretty much what you have read here with some last minute edits–see right now I am just about 2 hours from giving the lesson).
Surprised at who arrived
Verse 4 is where this lesson is supposed to lift off, but verse 5 had a Christmas present of sorts. Let’s look at it now:
5 And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” (Revelation 19:5–ESV)
I was surprised by what I found when I unwrapped verse 5. I expected him later, in regard to the marriage feast of the Lamb, but right now? Joining humanity? I did not think I would see Jesus there, but there he was. See where this voice comes from? The throne. Jesus sits at the right hand of God and Jesus is God, perfect, sinless which is why he could make atonement for us.
So this voice from the throne speaks out and this is Jesus speaking. I don’t think that God the Father would speak this way. God the Father is absolutely there, but he is there in the midst, at the forefront of all he has done. Jesus calls this crowd to praise.
Now rewind to verse 4
4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” (Revelation 19:4–ESV)
In verse 5 Jesus speaks from the throne and in verses 1-3 the redeemed of the earth are singing God’s praises after the head of the dragon, a.k.a. Babylon, had been destroyed.
Sandwiched between these is this fourth verse where again we see a set of people and creatures engaged in this heavenly scene. This group was first shown to us in Revelation 41. Do you recall what was going on in chapter 4? It was a worship service of God the Father. 2
In Revelation 4, just after John finished taking the heavenly dictation to the churches, there is a worship service of God the Father. That service did not seem to be spontaneous, but one long established. Those four creatures were created beings, but not people. They were on an entirely different created plane. Those 24 elders were arranged, facing the throne of God and were representatives of all of humanity. They had wisdom, knowledge and a history. We know that because on occasion one 3 would pull away from the 24 and interpret some things to John.
In chapter 4 the voices of the elders carried the words of praise to the throne. In chapter 19 they stamp their approval on humanity’s words of praise. We are told they utter but two words. First is hallelujah which is a word that embodies, sums up, succinctly utters the whole of praise to God. Second is Amen, which is also said very easily, but means very much. It is a “so be it,” a statement of agreement, approval. Here these highest beings of the beasts which some feel represent the Spirit of God and these 24 God-approved, God-installed representatives of humanity put their signatures to the praises humanity offered to God.