Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Creation - Revelation 4:8-11

This text carries powerful images of heavenly creatures in a never-ending cycle of praise and worship to God.  So much imagery is used that it is hard to fathom exactly what is going on.  In Heaven, worship is ongoing.  It never ends.  When you come to worship here at Christ Lutheran, you are just joining in the middle of what is going on in heaven.  When you leave Christ Lutheran, the worship continues in heaven.

Of course, the imagery presented by these four verses has several echoes across the Scriptures.  Isaiah 6 has that chant of “Holy, Holy, Holy!”  Ezekiel depicts similar heavenly creatures before the presence of God in several of his oracles as well.
Some commentators make note that these four “living creatures” are representative of all creation.  Four creatures to liken to the four corners of the world.  The Lion represents all wild animals, the ox is for all the domesticated creatures, the man stands in for us, and the eagle for all the winged creatures.

And what does creation do?  It praises God day and night.  The Psalms make note of this constantly.  Oftentimes the Psalms depict creation as praising God when the creation does as God commanded it.  When the sun and moon follow their orbit, they are praising God.  When animals eat and migrate and make their various noises, they are praising God.  When the trees flower and give fruit, when the crops grow, when the winds blow and the tides wax and wane, this is creation crying out, “Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Back in Revelation, the 24 elders are the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.  They represent all the people of God in the Old and New Testaments.  You can hear Jesus saying to the twelve, “and you who followed me will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

So when these 24 elders who represent the church see the creation doing what God created the universe to do, they too fall down and worship.  This is why their cry and hymn of praise in verse 11 notes, “for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”  The Church, because of our insight due to the Word of God, is able to interpret what the Creation is doing and why.
When the creation does what God has created it to do, it is offering up praise to God.  Of course, the opposite is true that we will read about soon enough.  When creation, and especially mankind, rebels against the Creator, instead of praise and worship it is rebellion and strife that is produced leading to death.

So when you go about doing the vocations that God has created for you, what you are doing is offering up praise to God.  So do your work well and faithfully for it is God who created and why they exist today.
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