Worship in Heaven
We continue with the scene of worship in heaven and are introduced to four rather odd-looking creatures, to say the least. But then again, they are odd-looking only to us; in heaven, they look perfectly normal—or, as they are created to look—and in that form they stand closer to God than anyone we have yet seen. These are the cherubim introduced in Ezekiel 1. Their descriptions in Revelation do not exactly match those in Ezekiel, but perhaps the Almighty did not create every cherub to look like another. The cherubim (the –im ending indicates the plural in Hebrew) are angelic creatures and presumably high among the angelic order of beings given their proximity to the throne of God and their task which is to ever sing His praise. Psalm 18:10, Ezekiel 1:26-28, and 10:20-22 also indicate that God “rides” upon the cherubim, though we mustn’t think that the Almighty depends on them for transportation as God is everywhere at all times. As I stated yesterday, every great and mighty king has his court. The seraphim of Isaiah 6 play a similar role and function. Some commentators say that the different faces of each cherub represent the noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest of animate nature. Perhaps. I do agree that the eyes of which they are full in front and behind signify that nothing escapes their notice (Robert Mounce, NICNT, 138). Again, if these highest of angelic creatures seem gruesome to us, well, that’s a commentary on us and not them. I’ve a notion that they are beautiful to behold, but likewise dreadful in their glorious visage as all angels are to human beings.
What is even more important is what these angels do: “Day and night they never cease to say. ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” “Day and night” here means ever and ever. That’s all they ever do? Apparently so, but they seem completely content about it. It’s hard for time-bound creatures such as ourselves to comprehend freely praising God forever and ever and never tiring of it, but that is what we were created to do. Their praises speak to God’s eternal nature, which only He has in Himself—all creatures having eternal life only through Him. And whenever they give glory to the One “who lives forever and ever,” the twenty-four elders fall down before this One “who lives forever and ever” (do note the repetition), cast their crowns before him as a sign that their regal authority and honor come from Him alone, and cry, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” And would you believe that there is yet one more very important Person to introduce?