A Study of Revelation 4:11
“For Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”
In this expression inspiration has been pleased to give us the object of creation. Mortals in their ignorance and conceit, act much as though they supposed the world was made for their special, selfish interests, and benefit; entirely ignoring the exalted plane from whence revelation testifies of the wise and deeply-laid purposes of Him, who has brought all things into being for His own great glory; that for His own good pleasure “they are and were created;” for the lifting on high of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the manifestation of the wonders of redeeming love.
The connection of the subject under consideration reveals a wonderful vision of Gospel worship before the throne, and Him that sat on it. “And out of the throne proceeded lightning and thunderings and voices” (Revelation 4:5). Sublime testimony this of the dispensation of the Grace and Providence of God; and of His complete and entire control over all worlds, creatures, and things; and the vivid displays of His power.
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind” (Revelation 4:6). Here is a striking similarity to the description given by Ezekiel, but of this we do not now desire to write.
The sea representing the boundless unfathomable depths of Gospel grace, clear as crystal, for in this glorious system “deep calleth unto deep” (Psalm 42:7); yet from its eternal depths to its far out-stretching heights the clearness of heaven is displayed; one point of truth eternal calling for another; as for instance Eternal, Unconditional, and Personal Election calls for the actual, vital, and eternal seed existence in Christ of the chosen child, born directly “of God” (John 1:13). The “four beasts” or as Ezekiel calls them, “living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:5) which seems to us more fully to present their Gospel character, “were in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne” to “give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever” (Revelation 4:9). The four and twenty elders “cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”
In Colossians 1:16, we are told; “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” The first clause of our subject bears similar testimony to this complete and full revelation of the all-creating power and wisdom of God. The last clause of the subject, however, is the one to which we desire to call special attention.
“And for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” The good pleasure of God to which reference is here made is an attribute of Himself: an exhibition of His glory. To our understanding the text declares that in the revelation of His wisdom He would create an amphitheater upon which that glory was to be displayed; and which measures fully up to the exalted requirement of such a wonderful display. Hence the elders worship Him as worthy to “receive glory and honour and power.” His wisdom has devised and His power executes the wonderful way through which His glory is displayed; His good pleasure made manifest.
In John 17, we have the Saviour’s prayer in which occurs the wonderful and impressive words: “Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” Again in Ephesians 3:21, “Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Here is assuredly the good pleasure of God; His own refulgent, incomparable glory, “in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 4:6)
If we regard the earthly creation; He is the absolutely the creator of it all; all worlds, creatures and things. And all are made subservient to the grand end of all created things; for the lifting on high of the Lord Jesus Christ; for the manifestation of a spiritual creation; brought into development for the good pleasure of God; and to show forth the wonders of redeeming love.
“His glories blaze all nature round,
And strike the gazing sight;
Through skies, and seas, and solid ground,
With terror and delight.”
The apostle tells us: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). Hence we can draw no line upon His Predestination, but as embracing all time in accurate minutia and in full development; and that the good pleasure of God needed a material world with all its shades and lights; its sorrows and joys; its life and death. That it needed a Gospel system with its sin and salvation; its cross and crown. That it needed a spiritual creation as the crowning development for which all other things were brought into being; and in which the surpassing splendor of the glory of God should be revealed to the honour and glory of Him whose infinite wisdom could alone devise, and whose boundless power alone bring to pass such an infinite and immortal display. Hence the apostle informs us that in the worship to which he calls our attention: “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they [the all things] are and were created.” (Revelation 4:10-11)
William M. Smoot – February, 1909.