Revelation 5:13-14 and the Fourfold Praise

(13)  And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14)  And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

    Following the sevenfold praise of the angels, we see more joining the ranks for praise. This time it is a rare grouping of “every creature” consisting of those in heaven, earth, the grave, and the sea. Here we see more numbers! This time it is fourfold (heaven, earth, grave, and sea). So far in this scene, we have seen tenfold, sevenfold, and fourfold, all of which are ways in which God describes completeness. The number four completes a square. The four living creatures demonstrate a completely enclosed square around the throne, the concept of the four corners of the earth (7:1) represent the entirety, and the city foursquare (21:16; Ezekiel 48:20) also shows the fullness of the city of God. The four labels used here represent all creation, and their voices ring with a fourfold theme: 1) Blessing, 2) Honor, 3) Glory, 4) and Power to the Father and the Son of God. Full praise from the fullness of creation. Many will be reminded of Philippians 2:9-11 when they read this text. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Paul said that to the church in Philippi when he was discussing the humility of Christ even to his death on the cross. Because of Christ’s obedience, the Father has exalted him above all. If he is exalted above all, then it is appropriate that all pay homage to him. In Philippians we see a threefold (heaven, earth, and grave), while in Revelation the “sea” is added to the worshippers. The sea is a figure throughout Revelation of the gentile nations, while the “earth” (depending on each context) is often a figure for the land of the Jews (as the Greek word translated “earth” is also primarily defined as a region, country, or land).

    This vision of all creation praising the Lord is an image of the appropriate and rational response to the risen Savior. Being mindful of the context of this chapter, the praises seen throughout the chapter is in response to the confession that the lamb is worthy to break the seals of the testament and let lose the rewards and curses of the Covenant of God. No one else is found worthy, which is not just evident by that statement in verse three, but is manifested in the exaltation of every creature, no one is silent, all admit to the truths of the lamb and therefore, all have (whether willingly or unwillingly) accepted that they are accountable to him. Those who reject his words will still be judged by them (John 12:48).

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version (Public Domain).

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