The month of November is upon us, and that means a time for reflection and thanksgiving. In John's vision of Revelation, there are several instances of thanksgiving. The angels, elders and living creatures are in constant praise of God, and their example must have been inspiring to the first century Christians of Asia Minor. Keep in mind, by our standards, these people had very little to be thankful for. Their lives were surrounded by turmoil and the constant interference of the pagan Roman Empire. Yet they found opportunity to praise God with thanksgiving!
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
The image is given of great praise around God's throne, and thanksgiving is a major theme. Despite all of the turmoil their lives faced, the early Christians were to be thankful! Likewise, we are expected to be thankful today as well.
Bullinger, in his notes of Revelation, points out that each of the seven levels of praise should be preceded by the definite article. In other words, praise was given for "the blessing, the glory, the wisdom, the thanksgiving, the honor, the power and the might". When we stop to consider "the thanksgiving", that takes on an entirely new meaning. This is not just a casual, half-hearted "thanks" to God, but rather is a specific way to give thanks to God.
It is true that I am thankful that Tony Romo's clavicle is healing properly, but is that "the thanksgiving"? I am thankful for my home, job, clothes, food, etc... But is that "the thanksgiving"? While we should be thankful for even the smallest of pleasures, let us never forget the genesis of "the thanksgiving" - the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary and the plan of salvation. While everything else can be taken away in a blink of an eye, the promise of salvation and a home in heaven will always remain for His faithful children. Now this is something to be thankful for!
- Bryan Morrison
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Bryan Morrison is a congregational teacher at the 19th Street Church of Christ.