Advent with Revelation (Ch 4)
November 30, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 4 (Wednesday of the First Week of Advent)

After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and cornelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
‘Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
   who was and is and is to come.’
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
‘You are worthy, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
   and by your will they existed and were created.’ 


This is almost always what the Johannine cosmos means: the world that is turned away from God, closed in on itself, liable to be led astray by the powers of the abyss. In the black-and-white style of the Book of Revelation, this earth lacks the transforming dimensions of faith and love and is portrayed as impervious to repentance and conversion; even heaven’s severest punishments cannot change its course. As we shall show, it is governed from the very outset by the attributes of a fallen world; its borders are constantly threatened by destructive powers (7:1-2; 9:14f.; 16:12). Part of it is the sea, which is seen in a genuine Old Testament sense as a treacherous, ravenous power; beneath it is Hades, the even more frightful abyss that, once unlocked, spews darkness upon the entire world, even obscuring the sun, and emitting demonic spirits to torment mankind (9:2ff.); finally, there is the “lake of fire”, in which all that is ultimately opposed to God eternally devours itself. Also from below—from both sea and earth —emerge the first and second beasts, the two embodiments of the dragon; but the beast from the sea is closely associated with the symbol of Babylon, the Great Harlot “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk” (17:2). As for believers, this means that survival on this earth has become doubtful, both physically and spiritually, since “no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast” (13:17), and since the beast has been granted power “to make war on the saints and to conquer them” (13:7). What is most characteristic, however, is that whatever falls to earth from heaven by way of a blessing is transformed into an instrument of divine punitive justice; or rather, it is and must be such from the very outset.... These punishments conceal heaven’s love for the guilty earth, but for the present every aspect of love is veiled. 

Musical Selection (Michael Card)

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
Who was and is and is to come

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord


By your holy power, Lord God,
prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ your Son,
that he may find us worthy to sit at the banquet of eternal life
and to receive from his hands the food of heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.