Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
The Heavenly Worship
4 After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! 3 And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald.[a] 4 Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders,[b] clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. 5 From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; 6 and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures,[c] full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,[d] is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
11 “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for thou didst create all things,
and by thy will they existed and were created.”
- 4.3 John describes God in symbolic terms.
- 4.4 elders: They perform a priestly and royal task, since they praise God and share in the government of the world.
- 4.6 four living creatures: cf. Ezek 1.4-25: the four angels who preside over the government of the world. But in Chris tian tradition these symbols are used for the four evangelists.
- 4.8 Holy, holy, holy: Quoted in the Sanctus at Mass.