Revelation 4:8, “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
Recently, our Homeschool Association had a bonfire worship event. Outside the fun of walking on nature trails and enjoying dinner cooked on the bonfire, the evening included a time of worship and a short message. One of the worship songs was titled “Revelation Song”, a popular worship tune. This particular song is rooted in Revelation 4:8.
As we sang this song, I had to stop singing. It was not because my throat was hoarse or I did not know the words or that I am that horrible of a singer. I had to stop singing because I realized the tremendous importance of what Revelation 4:8 is stating.
John outlines a scene in heaven with the four living creatures gathered around the throne of God, never ceasing to declare something. They are not declaring how much of a loving God we serve although that is true. They are not declaring thankfulness for all the blessings God bestows on His people although that is true. They are not even asking God to smite the wicked. Instead, they are crying out “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
It hit me as I was listening to the group sign this powerful song around the bonfire that I take for granted this important fact. I was stricken to be quite honest with how common I make the name of our holy God.
There are some interesting elements to consider when reading a passage such as Revelation 4:8. First is the manner in which God is described. He is not just described as being holy. He is not just described as being holy and holy. God is described as holy, holy, holy. This is not stuttering on the part of the author. A repetition three times in a row of a term or phrase in Scripture is done on purpose. Theologians term the use of holy, holy, holy as the trihagion. When words or phrases are repeated in Scripture it is done so to make a point of emphasis, essentially to try and provide a tool to make the reader pause and second and consider what is being repeated. A linguistic speed bump of sorts in the text.
What the author of Revelation desires us to slow down and consider is the holiness of God. Furthermore, the four living creatures declare He is Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. God is holy above and beyond anything we can possibly imagine and he is the eternal supreme Creator who is worthy of our worship.
The next time you are tempted to make that which is holy to be common, take the time to meditate on Revelation 4:8. We serve a holy God and thus we should be a people wholly devoted to being holy as He is holy. Treating God and the things of God as common is sinful behavior and is something that should not be a hallmark of us as the people of God. Let’s not just sing the words of Revelation 4:8 as nothing more than a popular melody. May they sink into our very souls and then may we be an obedient bride, bringing glory to the Father in all we do.