On the Book of Revelation, Lesson VII, Part 2 – THE SEVEN SEALS

And the four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes round about and within: and they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. And when the living creatures shall give glory and honor and thanks to him that sitteth on the throne, to him that liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and shall worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created. Revelation 4:8–11

Read More Than Conquerors, pp. 107, 108


That these four living creatures are the cherubim has been proved (see More Than Conquerors, pp. 105, 106). They arc here introduced as ascribing glory and honor and thanksgiving to the ever-living One who sits upon the throne. They are pictured as saying (or “singing”) again and again:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and who is and who is to come.” Thus these cherubim glorify God the Father, who represents the Trinity. Cf. Isaiah 6:3. No wonder, for they dwell in his immediate presence. They see his glory. They take notice of his wisdom. Hence, bursts of adoration issue from their inmost being ceaselessly.

But did you notice that while here it is the cherubim who sing, “Holy, holy, holy,” in Isaiah 6 it is the seraphim who raise a similar anthem of praise. Now what is the difference between these two groups of angelic beings? Not all authorities are in agreement on this question. Nevertheless, there is an old distinction which may have merit. It is this: the cherubim ward off sin; the seraphim burn it out. The cherubim are, as it were, the guardian angels. It is in the capacity of guards that they are sent to the garden of Eden, “to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). Seraphim are purging angels. They are connected with the work of cleansing and purifying, as Isaiah 6:6, 7 indicates. Both classes unite in glorifying the exalted Throne-Occupant.


(Notice that verse 9 belongs to both A. and B. ) The very moment when the twenty-four (who stand a littJe farther away from the Throne-Occupant than do the cherubim) hear the song of the four they immediately fall down and render homage to the Father, Creator. They cast their crowns of victory before the throne, as if to say, “We owe our victory entirely to thee.” (By the way, does this, perhaps, shed any light on the question, “Who are these twenty-four ‘elders’ who are so grateful for their victory? Are they angels or are they the redeemed?”) The emphasis, however, in the present song is on creation rather than on redemption, as the very words of the song clearly indicate; sec verse 11. The theme of this song is the joyful recognition of God’s sovereignty in the creation of all things. Had we asked these twenty-four. “What is the chief end of…you, twenty-four elders?” they would have answered, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Do not forget to link these two songs (of the cherubim and of the elders) with the central idea of the entire chapter, namely, that the entire universe, the whole creation, is under the absolute control of the Throne-Occupant. Hence, believers, in spite of all their tribulations, will have nothing to fear.


1. How is it possible for those to sing who have no bodies?

2. Are those creatures who inhabit heaven “good Calvinsts”? If so why do you think so? How would you rephrase the question?

3. In which way is it a comfort for the believer to know—especially in this present day and age—that it is God who has created all things (verse 11)?

4. What is the challenge implied in this truth (the truth expressed in verse 4). I mean this: Does this fact charge us with ally specific duty?

5. Dr. A. Kuyper in his work, God’s Angels (“De Engelen Gods”) connects the cherubim with the function of the law; and the seraphim with the function of the gospel. How would you explain this?

6. God lives “forever and ever” (verse 10). So do we (John 11:26). Are we then “eternal” in the same sense in which God is eternal?

7. The book of Revelation shows us that heaven is filled with a variety of wonderful doxologies. How can we bring “variety” and “life” into the singing of our church doxologies?