What does Revelation 4:11 mean?
ESV: “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.”
NIV: 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.'
NASB: Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.'
CSB: Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.
NLT: 'You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.'
KJV: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Verse Commentary:
John is describing his vision of twenty-four elders, near the throne of God in heaven. In this verse the twenty-four elders recognize that God deserves glory, honor, and power because He is sovereign. He rules the universe as its creator. Genesis 1:1 affirms that He was in the beginning and created the heavens and the earth. Theologians use the term ex nihilo, meaning out of nothing, when referring to God's creative power. Hebrews 11:3 comments that the universe was formed "by the word of God." So, God spoke everything into creation. Only our all-powerful God could do that!

This verse assures us that creation came into existence because it was God's will. Certainly, creation does not exist by accident. By an act of His will God spoke everything into existence, including all the laws of nature. Furthermore, every human being owes his or her existence to God's creative work. Although the phrase Mother Nature is popular, it is an incorrect reference to the natural world. The living and true God is the Creator, and He is worthy to receive our praise.
Verse Context:
Revelation 4:7–11 continues the apostle John's description of what he saw and heard after being transported to heaven. This passage is typical of apocalyptic literature, and Revelation in particular, as it seems to blend literal descriptions with symbolic ones. Some of these details are meant to have deeper meanings, or be entirely a metaphor. Others seem to be intended to be interpreted literally. John describes four living creatures similar to the heavenly creatures Isaiah and Ezekiel saw (Isaiah 6:2–3; Ezekiel 1:5–15). His description in Revelation 4 also focuses on the creatures' ascription of praise to God and the twenty-four elders' praiseful response.
Chapter Summary:
John reports in the opening verse of Revelation 4 that he saw a door open in heaven and heard a voice beckoning him to come up to heaven. From heaven's vantage point John would witness future events. Upon his arrival in heaven, John saw God. He was sitting on a throne surrounded by twenty-four other thrones. A sea of glass lay in front of God's throne, and four living creatures were beside the throne. When the living creatures ascribed honor and praise to God, the elders who occupied the twenty-four thrones fell down and worshiped God. They cast their crowns before Him and praised Him.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 concluded the description of ''the things that are'' (Revelation 1:19). Chapter 4 begins the final section of Revelation, regarding ''the things that are to take place after this'' (Revelation 1:19). Chapter 1 describes the appearance of Jesus to John on the island of Patmos, at which time He commanded John to write to seven churches in Asia Minor. Chapters 2 and 3 provide us with the contents of Jesus' letters. Whereas chapters 1–3 relate events on earth, chapters 4 and 5 describe what John saw in heaven. Because the word ''church'' does not appear in this ''after this'' section of Revelation, we may assume the church does not experience the judgments described in chapters 6 and beyond.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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