This is when we need to take our cue from creation.
God has invited us into his secret council chamber in order to show us that he is in control while our plight unfolds on earth. God wants us to know that life is not spinning out of control; but at the center of all reality is a throne, where the Creator and Ruler sits, directing the dramatic outworking of his plans. We have taken a sweeping tour around the throne and we have seen that God is at the helm, despite contradictory notions on earth.
We have arrived at the seventh spectacular secret of heaven: you are the echo. Here are our verses:
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Plunged into trials on earth, we appeal to authority. “Who is responsible for this?” “Why didn’t he stop this?” “What is she going to do about this?” We long to know who has the power to end our suffering. Thus we appeal to rulers and presidents, kings and cabinets. In John’s day, the writer of Revelation, Domitian was emperor of Rome. And Domitian did not take care of the early followers of Jesus; in contrast, his rule added to their misery, as did the rule of other Roman emperors.
That is why emphasis is placed squarely on the eternal rule of God in this passage. Twice, we are told that the one who sits on the throne “lives for ever and ever.” Long after the emperors of Rome disappear, God will still be on the throne, in power. Despite appearances, God is the one in charge and ruling over all the lesser rulers of earth, whose temporary reigns will vanish, along with our trials.
While we struggle to believe this, since all we see are the evil human rulers, the created order, filled with eyes, does not fail to see who is really in power. The four living creatures, who represent all of the animals and nature that God has created, never cease to see who is in control. They never stop giving “glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever.” They know the real power source and the real Lord: it’s not Caesar, but our Savior God. All of their eyes (see the sixth spectacular secret) are deadlocked on him.
Then the twenty-four elders take their cue from nature, for “whenever the living creatures give glory, etc., the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.” The elders, as we saw in the third spectacular secret, represent all of God’s people from all times. Whenever nature worships the one on the throne, God’s people respond by doing the same.
In other words, we are the echo. Praise booms from the creatures and mighty exaltation resounds from God’s people. The praise volleys back and forth like the revolving celebration in the Roman Colosseum.
My wife and I had season tickets to Ohio State football when she was in graduate school. I’ll never forget the spectacular cheering. When something good would happen down on the field, the crowd would explode with excitement. One of the most memorable cheers always began with one side of the stadium yelling out, “O-H…” Then in a monstrous echo, the other side of the stadium would shout back, “I-O!” Again and again, the cheer would reverberate: “O-H…” then from the other side, “I-O!” The celebration would sweep you off your feet and you would get lost in the laughter.
God does something spectacular, after all, he is the mighty Creator, whose works never cease to thrill and amaze. Then the living creatures in bated anticipation scream out, “O-H…” Tripping over their tongues with excitement, God’s people roar in reply, “I-O!”
We are the echo. God’s plan is playing out in amazing ways down on the field. Most of the time we cannot see it, for many reasons. We tend to be blind to God’s rule, only seeing the rule of lesser, sinful kings and rulers. This is when we need to take our cue from creation. Creation is not blind to God, since their many eyes detect the blueprint of his motions. This means that creation will always declare God’s praise. Creation begins worship every morning, whether we realize it or not. Creation is always exalting in God, because it knows who the real King is and who the false rulers are.
When our eyes fail and when we lose our grip, we must take our cue from creation. We must be the echo, allowing God’s handiwork to lead us on a pathway to him. God’s glory is like a pulse: his praise is the heartbeat of the world.
Finally, we must see that God didn’t have to create, but he wanted to. It says that “by your will they were created.” Nobody forced God to create this world, he wanted to do it. This means that God wanted us to exist; and “want” points to love. God did not need us for anything, which points to the fact that God wanted us. Where there’s want, there’s love.
In response to God’s magnificent purpose, rule, and love, the twenty-four elders, who represent all of God’s people, give a sacred offering of their own will. God’s people take the crowns off of their heads and throw them at his feet. They didn’t have to do this, but they wanted to do this. And where there’s want, there’s love.
God’s people recognize that their victory is God. They are the echo of joy, not the source of joy. Only the source of joy, life, and power deserves to have the crown. The kingdom of “me” is swallowed up by the kingdom of “Thee.”
 Revelation 4:9-11.
© 2011 by Samuel Kee