A vision of the throne

Revelation 4-5. A throne is seen in heaven, the centre of all power in the universe. The question is: who is to exercise that power on earth?

After these things I looked, and behold, an open door in heaven, and the trumpet-like voice that I first heard spoke to me, saying, “Come up, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, and someone seated on the throne, and the one who was seated similar in appearance to diamond and carnelian; and a rainbow encircling the throne similar in appearance to an emerald; and encircling the throne twenty-four thrones; and seated on the twenty-four thrones twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. And from the throne go forth lightning, and sounds, and thunder; and before the throne seven lamps of fire burning, which are the seven spirits of God; also before the throne what seemed to be a glass sea, like crystal.

We pass from Christ’s review of the churches to ‘what must take place after these things’ (1:19), the subject of the rest of the revelation. Nonetheless, ‘after this or these things I looked’ refers, as also later in the revelation, to what he saw next, not necessarily to the chronology of the events themselves. The set phrase ‘I looked, and behold’ echoes Daniel’s phraseology concerning the revelations given to him (Dan 2:31, 7:2). Transported to heaven, John sees a person on a throne, the throne just mentioned in the message to Laodicea. He is privileged. Only prophets (including David), and the Church’s first martyr, Stephen, were granted sight of heaven’s throne.

Although we know who this must be, John does not describe a person. His only observation is that the one enthroned has an appearance like diamond and carnelian. The word translated ‘diamond’ is iaspis, otherwise translated ‘jasper’. While the kind of stone denoted is uncertain, ‘diamond’ fits better in 21:11. Diamond and carnelian, a reddish-brown stone, were the last and first of the twelve stones that encrusted Aaron’s breastplate of judgement, one for each of the twelve sons of Israel (Ex 28:17-20). They bring to mind the radiant purity of God and, latterly, his shed blood.

A rainbow was a sign of the promise, largely forgotten, that the waters of the deep would never again destroy the earth (Gen 9:11-17), but this rainbow (iris, which can also mean ‘halo’) is dominated by the single colour green. At first this seems nonsense. In fact it is an Image credit: Gettyan attempt to describe another atmospheric phenomenon, the aurora borealis, which is typically emerald as a result of electrons exciting molecules of oxygen, but also streaked with other colours. The significance of the aurora around the throne will become apparent later.

Also around him, on subsidiary thrones, are twenty-four elders. At this point they are left unidentified. The vitreous sea (Ex 24:10) is the celestial counterpart of the bronze sea in Solomon’s Temple, signifying the primeval deep whose eruption destroyed the antediluvian world. ‘Yahweh is seated like the mabbul, David says, like the waters of the cataclysm over the earth (Ps 29:10). It is a perpetual reminder of former wrath. The lightning, sounds and thunder (evidently distinct from the sounds) hint at future wrath (Ex 9:23). The flaming lamps correspond to the lamps on the seven-branched lampstand in Moses’ Tabernacle (Ex 37:23) and have a searching function (Zeph 1:12). Although distinct, they are elements of God. Like the lightning and the thunder, they also suggest that the surroundings are dark (I Ki 8:12), though of course John can see.

And in the midst of the throne and around the throne, four living beings, full of eyes in front and behind: the first like a lion, the second like a calf, the third with the face of a man, the fourth like an eagle flying. And the four living beings, each with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within. And they have no rest, day or night, saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

More and more the description evokes the vision at the beginning of Ezekiel’s prophecy. As a storm approaches, he sees a large cloud surrounded by brightness, and a blazing fire, and appearing from the midst of the fire something like glowing metal. Also he makes out four living beings; not ‘creatures’, for the single word, zωon, means ‘living one’ or simply ‘animal’ (so Heb 13:11 and II Pet 2:12). They seem like burning coals, like constantly moving torches, with wings stretched out one towards the other. And over their heads is something crystal-like, corresponding to heaven’s firmament. Above that, a throne. As the vision gets closer, he sees that the apparition of glowing metal sits above the throne and, from the waist up, surrounded by fire, its form resembles a man. The brightness all around him is like a true rainbow. Ezekiel has seen the glory of the maker of heaven and earth. The living beings in John’s vision proclaim his holiness, as they did in Isaiah’s vision of God the King, enthroned in the future Temple of his glory. The revelation establishes John as the New Testament successor of Ezekiel and Isaiah.

The beings represent life on earth: wild and domesticated quadrupeds, man (the only non-hopping terrestrial biped) and flying animals. But the beings all have six wings, like the fiery beings that Isaiah saw, and they are full of eyes, before, behind and within, as if they share in the divinity of the all-seeing Creator. And they are both around and in the centre of the throne, as if the throne were translucent. They manifest something of the otherness of God, even though distinct from him. Something of the Creator appears in earth’s creatures – the mighty lion (Hos 11:10, Amos 3:8), the patient ox (Matt 11:29), the man (Gen 1:26), the soaring eagle (Ex 19:4) – for they originate from above, from God’s imagination, not Earth’s self-evolution. Jesus was pleased to liken himself even to a domestic hen (Matt 23:37), an animal we cage and abuse, so alienated are we from the source of life. When Ezekiel later sees the glory abandoning the Temple, he realises that the animals under the throne are the cherubim, the only supernatural beings described as having wings. Two cherubim overshadowed the mercy seat on the ark (Ex 25:17-22), and two spanned the inner sanctuary of the Temple where the ark was later housed (I Ki 6:23, 8:6). Hidden in darkness behind a cherubim-embroidered veil, they were the one likeness of a heavenly being that Yahweh sanctioned. God spoke to Moses from between the cherubim (Ex 25:22). In the old world they guarded the way to the tree of life.

When God first made himself known to Moses, he told him not to come near. He revealed his name as Yahweh, ‘I am who I am’, existing in and beyond time; ‘who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy’ (Ex 3:14f, Isa 57:15). The cherubim might have declared much more about his of Israel’s deliverance, he revealed himself as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in truth and goodness (Ex 34:6). In their worship the cherubim affirm in heaven what we pray on earth: “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.” Defined by the supreme fact of his existence he is coming to manifest himself in person. The tenses shift from past to present.

The world’s scientists and philosophers say, “There is no God,” but it is the heart that schools the mind in such folly. Eternal nothingness is easy to conceive of, whereas existence is a mystery. We might conceive of one thing existing simply because it always has, but how can we conceive of two identical things having always existed? The universe consists of countless trillions of atoms, and atoms consist of quarks and leptons, of which, in each case, there are six types. How can six different but mutually compatible types of quark have come into existence or have always existed – let alone trillions of identical quarks of each type? How can six different but mutually compatible types of lepton always have existed? With their ability to bind into protons and neutrons and combine with electrons (a type of lepton), quarks make atoms possible, and make diverse elements possible. The hypothesised existence of ‘dark matter’, capable of interacting with atoms, only adds to the mystery – should one wish to believe in the existence of a physical thing that has never been detected. God was one from the beginning; his creation was multipartite from the beginning. Even if we are blind to the witness of God in the order and beauty of the world, in the mystery of our own consciousness and sense of free will, in the history of Israel, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, atheism is a doctrine without clothes. Those who choose death will be granted death. But not before they kneel before his throne.

The elders are a completely new presence.

And when the living beings will offer glory, and honour, and thanksgiving to the one seated on the throne who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before the one seated on the throne, and will worship him who lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory, and honour, and power,
because you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

The tenses shift from present to future. The cherubim express thankfulness to God for the gift of life. The truth that God exists goes hand in hand with the truth that the world came into existence by his will. He is eternal; all things owe their existence to him; he created them; over his creation he is lord; and one day he – God himself – will come to the earth to receive the glory, honour, and power due to him as Creator. These attributes of kingship belong to him because everything belongs to him (I Chr 29:11f, Dan 2:37f); the nations will give back what is his. As throughout the Bible, ‘worship’, proskuneω, means to bow down, to kiss the ground in a physical act of homage (3:9), and hence to acknowledge with the lips, in spirit and truth, that he is worthy to be king. This is the worship he both seeks and requires (John 4:23f).

The throne which we have seen is in heaven, not on earth. While it is true that “he does according to his will among the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand” (Dan 4:35), his kingdom has not yet come. After the Flood-Cataclysm, God withdrew to heaven. He left the earth to be ruled by others:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he separated the sons of Adam,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
For Yahweh’s portion is his people,
Jacob the bounds of his heritage. (Deut 32:8f)
He waited until the whole world had shut him out. Then he made his first move to re-establish his sovereignty. He took one man, Abraham, from the heart of pagan civilisation, from Ur in Mesopotamia, and set him apart. The man was old and childless, but God gave him a son. His descendants multiplied in the heart of another pagan civilisation, Egypt, and were there reduced to slaves, but God brought them out from there too, and gave them land of their own and a law to live by. God pledged himself to Israel exclusively, their king, their national god, in the same sense that his sons ruled other nations. They were to worship him exclusively, make no image of him and walk in his presence blamelessly. He dwelt amongst them, initially in a tent, later, when – on their insistence – human kings ruled on his behalf, in a house next to the king. To David he promised,
“I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” (I Chr 17:11f)

The house was God’s Temple or palace (hekal), built on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. When it was finished, in 961 BC, the people saw his glory enter the building. Next to the Temple was the palace of the king, and within that his throne (I Ki 7:7). The first king after David was Solomon.

The king was meant to be the people’s representative before God, and God’s representative before the people. But that is not how things turned out. Beginning with Solomon, king and people alike lusted after gods that cared nothing for their souls. Throughout the land they worshipped idols, they performed fertility rites with cult prostitutes, they summoned up the dead, they practised human sacrifice. They would not listen when God pleaded with them to repent of their unfaithfulness. After more than three hundred years his patience ran out. In 586 BC, he quit the Temple and allowed the Babylonians to destroy the city. Of those who survived, all but the poorest were deported from the land. The kingdom was abrogated. Although some returned and rebuilt the Temple, he did not return to it, and the nation continued to be subject to foreign kings. In AD 70 that second Temple too was demolished.

God had no wish to be ruler of Israel merely on the ground that he was the all-powerful Creator and everything belonged to him. He wished the relationship to be one of marriage. He courted the people for their affection, sought to demonstrate that he was worthy of their love, and hoped that they would respond. But although he lived among them, he was too distant. They wanted an image that made him visible, that brought him close.

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll, with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth was able to open the scroll, nor look at it. And I wept much because no one was found worthy to open the scroll, nor look at it. And one of the elders says to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Although the Lord God himself is worthy, some other person must come forward to open the scroll. Unless that happens, whatever is written in it will not come to pass. But no one anywhere is qualified, not even in heaven, or among the dead. Except one. He is not named, but the title ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ suggests that he fulfils Jacob’s ancient and enigmatic prophecy that a lion-like descendant of Judah, his son, would command the obedience of the peoples (Gen 49:10). Isaiah later foresaw a time when a man of perfect righteousness would rule the earth, filled with the Spirit of God, and this man would be both a shoot from the stem of Jesse and a scion from his roots (Isa 11:1); he would be ‘the root of Jesse’ itself (11:10). Jesse was David’s father, of the tribe of Judah. Jesus, born of Mary, was descended from him, and by his own testimony was in existence before Abraham (John 8:58). He, as God’s firstborn son, was the true Israel who fulfilled all righteousness (Isa 49:3, Matt 2:15, 3:15).

Jesus is associated with the verb ‘conquer’ three times in Revelation (3:21, 5:5, 17:14), and in total the word occurs eight times before this chapter and eight times after it. This is Revelation’s central statement: his having conquered – in every respect – entitles him to open the scroll.

And I saw in the midst of the throne and the four living beings and in the midst of the elders a lamb standing, as one slaughtered, with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. And he came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the lamb, each holding a lyre and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seals,
for you were slaughtered,
and you purchased us for God by your blood
from every tribe, language, people and nation,
and you made them for our God kings and priests,
and they will reign on earth.”

We expect to see a lion, but instead, in the centre of the throne and of the whole gathering, we see a lamb, previously unnoticed. The lamb has seven horns, one more than the maximum in nature. In some respects he is like the cherubim: he stands in the same place, he is portrayed as an animal, and he has many eyes. These eyes are the seven spirits of God, an attribute of the Almighty (1:4, 4.5). Zechariah saw a golden lampstand with seven lamps, symbolising “the eyes of Yahweh, which range through the whole earth”. Like God himself, the lamb searches even the unconscious parts of our being (Rev 2:23), and contrary to trinitarian expectations, it is only in this role that the Spirit is presented in John’s vision of the throne. The eyes are not a separate person; they are part of the lamb (as in Rev 3:1).

‘Us for God’ becomes ‘them for our God’: he possesses us, then we possess him. ‘Us’ refers to the twenty-four elders, becoming ‘them’ as the elders identify with the unseen multitude that has been purchased for God from every division of humanity. ‘Every tribe, language, people, and nation’ is the first of seven variations of the phrase, and a key idea, referring to the dispersion of mankind after the Cataclysm and the effect of what followed when the construction of Babylon was interrupted. In the absence of rocks, the colonists of Mesopotamia had learned to make bricks from the alluvial muds around them and were building this new city in order to make a name for themselves. It was intended to be the capital of the world’s first empire, controlling the lands either side of the Tigris and Euphrates, and it included a tower or ziggurat, a brick-built mountain with steps to persuade God to come down from heaven and dwell in their midst. The human king would rule on his behalf, as his visible deputy. But God ‘confounded’ their language, and being no longer able to communicate with each other and act as one, they dispersed. However, they took their ideas of kingship and spiritual power with them, and by these means their many languages spread.

‘Saints’ is the plural of hagios, ‘holy [one]’. We are holy because we have been made so, sanctified through faith as an unearned gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 26:18, I Cor 6:11), without which we cannot enter the presence of a holy God (Isa 6:3-7). This is the sense in Revelation; the saints are not an elite group in heaven, and one does not become a saint by being ‘canonised’. But holiness is also something for which the Spirit urges us to strive (Heb 12:14). God has called into being a new, holy nation such as Israel was called to be. That those purchased are also a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Ex 15:16, 19:6) is therefore no idle metaphor. God will be their inheritance as he was for the Levites, whom he set apart to serve as priests in cities throughout Israel (Num 18:20). Whoever explains the truth about God to those who are estranged from him serves as priest (Rom 15:16). In the resurrection they will rule over cities amidst the tribes of all the earth. They will be priest-kings after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7:11-17, Gen 14:18), mediating between the peoples and the Lord God in Jerusalem.

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John the Baptist hardly knew what he was saying when he hailed Jesus in this manner. How could Israel’s Saviour be a lamb? And how could he take away the sin of the whole world – Gentiles as well as Jews? As Paul was to explain when writing to the Romans, we fall short of God’s perfect goodness. We are not fit for the life to come, where there is no sin or death. Our bodies decay, and we die. But God offers a solution: renewal on the basis of forgiveness, and forgiveness on the basis that we accept the sacrifice provided, who lived without sin and willingly endured the agony of crucifixion in order that justice might be satisfied, no matter how heinous our offences – even the offence of crucifying God’s son.
He was pierced for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was on him,
and by his wounds we were healed. …
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
just as a lamb is led to the slaughter
and as a sheep is silent before its shearers,
he did not open his mouth. (Isa 53:5, 7)

The atonement was prefigured in Abel’s offering of the firstborn from his flock already at the beginning of history (Gen 4:4). It was prefigured when Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac, until God provided the substitute of a lamb (Gen 22:8, 13f). It was prefigured again at the Exodus. Before redeeming his people, God commanded every household to sacrifice a young sheep or goat without blemish and smear its blood on their doorposts. Egypt was ripe for judgement. But for the blood, the children of Israel also would have perished, for they too were idol-worshippers (Ezek 20:7f).

God had promised that ‘all the tribes of the earth’ would be blessed through Abraham’s offspring, of whom Isaac was the type. He would make him into nations; kings would issue from him (Gen 17:6). In Christ he began to fulfil that promise. God’s firstborn son became the substitute for Israel, God’s firstborn son (Ex 4:22), so called because Israel was the first nation to be redeemed. Later, he would redeem souls from every tribe, language, people and nation.

Israel’s escape from Egypt in 1447 BC is narrated in Exodus 12-14 and summarised in the table below. It shows that the week in which Jesus offered up his life followed precisely the chronology of the Exodus. In accordance with the first created day, days began and ended in the evening. On the 10th day of the month Nisan (Abib), Jesus rode into Jerusalem and presented himself as the paschal lamb. Moses stipulated that the lamb should be killed ‘between the two evenings’ of sunset and nightfall on the 14th day (Ex 12:6). That the beginning of the day was meant is clear from the instruction to eat the flesh that night and not let any of it remain till the morning. However, the temple authorities interpreted the phrase to mean the end of the day. So it happened that, crucified on the afternoon of the 14th day, he became the paschal lamb for the whole nation at the very time that the Jews slaughtered their paschal lambs (John 19:14). God himself made atonement (Ezek 16:63).

 Nisan  Day The Exodus Passion Week
   10  Sun A lamb is taken and kept until Nisan 14 Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey.
   13  Wed At the end of the day (= beginning of Nisan 14, Jewish reckoning) the lamb is slaughtered and eaten. Jesus celebrates the Passover; he is arrested the same night.
   14  Thu Egypt’s firstborn die. The Israelites leave Egypt. That night they camp at Succoth. Jesus is crucified. The Jews celebrate the Passover at the end of Nisan 14.
   15  Fri The Israelites travel on, camping at Etham. Special sabbath (Ex 12:16, John 19:31).
   16  Sat The Israelites reach Migdol, where they camp but do not rest. Weekly sabbath (Luke 23:56).
   17  Sun During the night they cross the Red Sea. Egypt’s pursuing army is drowned. Jesus rises from the dead before dawn.

Israel crossed the sea in the night of the 17th day. They passed, as it were, from death to life, following which their enemies perishe. They, not the Mesopotamians or the Egyptians, were the people God had chosen. Seven weeks later, God came down, not to a brick-built ziggurat but to the top of a real mountain, and there made himself known. He was to be their king, and they his people, provided they listened to his voice and kept his covenant. After three days and nights in the belly of the earth, Christ rose. Seven weeks later, the Holy Spirit came down, the gift of God himself. Foreign visitors to Jerusalem each heard the disciples speaking in their own language, and were ‘confounded’. Pentecost signalled the beginning of the reversal of the division at Babel (Col 3:11).
Jesus told his disciples: “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” Because he had overcome without force, nor were his followers to use force. “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever would become great among you must be your servant.” He had shown them the way to greatness:
He did not hold on to equality with God as a usurper might, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant [doulos], born in the likeness of man. And having been found in the form of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient even to death, death on a cross. Therefore God has supremely exalted him and granted him a name that is above every name. (Phil 2:6-9)

Although he was Jerusalem’s king (Zech 9:9), he entered the occupied city on a donkey, not as a military conqueror on a warhorse. He defeated man’s greatest enemy by surrendering his life (Heb 2:14), knowing that he could trust his father to give it back. The effect of his death was twofold: he propitiated God’s wrath toward sin for anyone who believed in him, and he earned the right to rule the world and judge the souls of all mankind. Having descended to Hades (Eph 4:9, I Pet 3:19), he ascended to the position of ultimate authority, the right hand of God in heaven, there to abide until the day of his return. For the first time he sat on the throne.

We have been bought for a price, redeemed from a slave-owner who has had to let us go. The word ‘purchase’ is agorazω, the regular term for buying in the market place (agora). Our new master has left his seal on us until the day he comes back to complete the purchase (Luke 21:28, Eph 1:13f, 4:30). Once slaves to sin, we now serve righteousness as slaves (Rom 6).

‘Elder’ is a term of leadership but not hierarchy, first used of the tribal leaders of Israel. Hierarchy was discouraged in the early Church. Papias, a disciple of John, called even the apostles elders, as did the apostles themselves (I Pet 5:1, II John 1). Their number, twenty-four, suggests the twelve sons of Israel and twelve apostles, but the former were never described as elders, while the latter included John himself, who is here an onlooker, not therefore one of the twenty-four. Their identity is conveyed in their own words: ‘you purchased us for God from every people and nation.’ They represent the redeemed, keeping their place before the throne in anticipation of the day of resurrection (Eph 2:6), the ‘assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven’ (Heb 12:23). The saints whose prayers fill their golden bowls are not seen because that day has not yet occurred. Even the apostles will not be raised until the resurrection (Phil 3:11). Their golden crowns (wreaths, not diadems) symbolise the prize given to those who have fought the good fight (II Tim 4:7f, Rev 2:10); their thrones symbolise that they will one day ‘reign on earth’; their number, also symbolic, indicates that they represent the redeemed under the old covenant as well as the new.

And I looked, and around the throne and the living beings and the elders I heard the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered
to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in the sky, on the earth, under the earth and on the sea, all that is in them, say,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,
blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!”
And the living beings said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshipped.

The innumerable multitude of angels evokes the chariots and ‘thousands of thousands’ that David saw on the mountain of God (Ps 68:17); also the ‘thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand’ that Daniel saw around his throne (Dan 7:10). Suddenly they are heard, if not seen. Like John, Daniel saw other thrones, then ‘one like a son of Adam’, who presented himself before the Almighty and was given ‘dominion and glory and a kingdom’. The kingdom is now imminent.

The Lamb is worthy because of his perfect faith, his perfect love, his unblemished holiness. When the elders proclaim that the one on the throne is worthy to receive glory, honour and power, because he created all things, the implication is that God alone is worthy. But in this too the Lamb qualifies. For ‘all things came to be through him, and without him did not anything come to be that came to be’ (John 1:3). When God spoke, it was the Son who executed the commands. He was the appointed heir, the image of God who at the end of the ages would bring God near (Gen 1:26, Col 1:15).

Therefore the angels declare that glory and honour and power are due no less to him than to God. And they invoke still more: wisdom and riches and blessing (benediction), just as David blessed God in the presence of the assembly and acknowledged that the kingdom belonged to him, for everything in heaven and on earth belonged to him. All the assembly blessed God and bowed down and worshipped, before God and king alike (I Chr 29:11-22). The angels are the celestial counterpart of that congregation, the Lamb the celestial counterpart of that king. They express the mystery of the faith of Israel, that the son of David would be like Solomon, yet greater than Solomon (Ps 72, Isa 11:1-10).
Give the king your judgments, O God,
and your righteousness to the king’s son.
He will judge your people with righteousness
and your poor with justice. …
Let them fear you as long as the sun
and as long as the moon, before all generations. …
May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth. …
May he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him,
and may they pray for him continually;
Let them bless him all the day long.

All creation has been groaning, awaiting release from the bondage of corruption, and now every creature – winged animals, terrestrial animals, burrowing animals, marine – joins in the cry. His worshippers joyously assent to the glory, majesty, dominion and authority which rightfully are his. As yet, he reigns in heaven, not on earth. It is important that there be a people on earth, drawn from every tribe and nation, who assent to his reign, for the world hates him and does not want him to rule over them. Who we worship – Satan in human form, or God in human form – will be a critical question.