Revelation 4:5-11 / Worthy of Praise

Posted on April 19, 2015


This is the fourteenth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of April 19, 2015. This message continues to detail John’s vision of the throne room in Heaven. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.


Rev. 4:5-11



This lightning and thunder is not the thunder and lightning of nature, but a firestorm of righteous fury about to come from an awesome, powerful God upon a sinful world.

  • Revelation 8:5
  • Revelation 11:19
  • Revelation 16:18

This is nothing less than the wrath of God which is about to be unleashed. This thundering is the voice of God pronouncing judgment, for there are voices in the thunderings.

  • Revelation 10:3

It is truly a fearful thing for a sinner to fall into the hands of the living God.

  • Hebrews 10:31

The seven lamps are the seven spirits, or the seven-fold character of the Holy Spirit:

  • Isaiah 11:2-3


The crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God’s throne stretches out like a glistening sea. . . a sea of glass.

  • Exodus 24:10

These four living creatures bear resemblance to the cheribum of ezekiel.

  • Ezekiel 1:5-10
  • Ezekiel 10:20

Yet they also have the six wings and offer the same song of praise as the seraphim of Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 6:2-3

Their exact identity remains a mystery. It is possible that they are a new order of creatures which had not yet been revealed. As the curtain is pulled back, and we are gazing upon the throne of God, it would not be surprising to see what has never before been seen.

Being full of eyes front and back suggests that they have an incredible alertness and awareness. They are likely creatures of the highest intelligence.


The physical likeness of each of these four creatures, can be seen as representative as a part of God’s nature.

  • Lion – Revelation 5:5

This speaks to the office of Christ as King, as seen in the Gospel of Matthew.

  • Calf (ox ESV & NIV) – Deuteronomy 25:4

This is a beast of burden, and speaks to the office of Christ as a servant, as seen in the Gospel of Mark.

  • Man

This speaks to the humanity of Christ, as seen in the Gospel of Luke.

  • Flying eagle – Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11-12

This speaks to the deity of Christ, as seen in the Gospel of John.

An interesting side note:

If these four creatures are cherubim (which we don’t know for sure), it is interesting to note the living creatures which they represent.

  1. Lion – Wild animals
  2. Ox – domesticated animals
  3. Eagle – bird
  4. Man – head of all creation (humanity)

Note that reptiles are not represented. Satan, the serpent (reptile), is a cherub.

  • Ezekiel 28:14

If these creatures are cherubim, then satan is the fifth cherub, who no longer has a place in front of God’s throne.


It seems that the sole purpose of these creatures, is to give praise and worship to the triune God.

  • “Holy, Holy, Holy”, this speaks to the trinity.
  • “Who was and is and is to come”, This speaks to the eternal nature of God, and refers to Christ
  • Revelation 1:8


We’ve seen the worship of the four living creatures, now we see how the elders (the church) worships God.


  1. They fall before Him. We should do the same today. Too often, we let our pride take control, but the position of the believer should be one of humility before God. Matthew 18:3-4
  2. Knowing that God alone is responsible for the rewards they have received, they forgo themselves of all honor and cast their crowns at the feet of their King.
  3. Though they have fallen before His feet, they lift up His name in praise.


  • They verbally acknowledge His greatness and holiness.
  • They verbally acknowledge His role as creator.
  • They verbally acknowledge His will as supreme.

Why do we so often remain silent, rather than verbally acknowledge the attributes of God?

The point of this chapter is summed up in this verse: 

All creatures in heaven and earth will praise and honor God because he is the creator and sustainer of everything.

So why are we silent?