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The Book of Revelation

Chapter 4

The Throne of God in Heaven - Revelation 4:1-11

Chapters 4-22 comprise the final division (things which shall be hereafter 1:19) in the Book of Revelation.

We shall see some drastic changes.

  • (1) The church is no longer mentioned in connection with the world.
  • (2) The scene now shifts from Earth (where the church is), to Heaven (where God is).
  • (3) The ‘church’ is not a building or name, but a definition of believers; those who have trusted Jesus in their Earthly life. When the ‘church’ arrives in Heaven, it receives a new name: the “bride of Christ”. Sad to say, but there will be quite a few ‘churches’ that will still be here on Earth the Sunday after the Rapture. Some of these churches won’t be missing even one member!
  • (4) Since the first vision of Christ showed Him in the midst of the 7 candlesticks (1:13) (churches), and now pictures Him in Heaven (4:1-2; 5:5-6), it is logical to believe that the church is there with Him!
  • (5) Had the churches not been raptured, the judgments that start at chapter 6 would not be in harmony with God’s grace and Promises He made to the churches. God promised His children that He would deliver us from judgment (Rev.3:10).
  • (6) We must recognize that there is a definite ‘break’ (division) going from chapter 3 to chapter 4.

Rev. 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. [KJV] Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in Heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast. The voice said to John, "Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things."

From here on, there is no more mention of the church. Where is it? What happened to it? It has been raptured! It has gone to Heaven! The striking similarities between Rev.4:1 and 1 Thes.4:13-18 simply cannot be coincidence! John sees the course of future events (visions) similar to Daniel and Ezekiel. Many of the passages contain clear spiritual teachings, but others are beyond our ability to comprehend.

The “open door” is one of 4 in this Book (3:8, 20; 4:1; 19:11). The ‘door’ of Heaven is open — to all who trust Jesus (Jn.14:6). We can enter this door only by faith!Come up hither” Jesus is talking to John, again with a booming voice as of a trumpet. Jesus will now show John what will happen in the future.

Rev. 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. [KJV] And instantly John was in the Spirit, and he saw a throne in Heaven and Someone sitting on it!

Four times in the book of Revelation John says he was “in the Spirit” (1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). This means that the Holy Spirit was giving him a vision — showing him things he could not possibly have seen with mere human eyesight. All true prophecy comes from God through the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The apostle saw a throne set in Heaven, the symbol of the universal dominion of our Almighty Jehovah God.

Rev. 4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. [KJV] The One sitting on the throne was as brilliant as jasper and carnelian gemstones. And the glow of an emerald rainbow circled His throne.

John saw One upon the throne, that could not be described by human features. His likeness or image John described only by a wondrous brilliance. A rainbow is usually polychrome (multi-colored), but here it is emerald green. It is referred to four times in Scripture (Gen.9:13-16; Eze. 1:27-28; Rev. 4:1-3; 10:1). The rainbow is a fine symbol of the new covenant which God has made with Christ (Mt.26:28; Heb.12:24) on behalf of the church.

Rev. 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. [KJV] Twenty-four thrones surrounded Him, and twenty-four elders sat on the thrones. They were clothed in white and had golden crowns on their heads.

Who are these 24 elders? One interpretation is that elders are officials in the churches, and that these 24 elders are representing the entire Raptured church. Another thought is that since there were 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and 12 apostles in the New Testament, these 24 elders in this vision could represent all the redeemed of God for all time (both before and after Christ’s death and resurrection). They could symbolize all those — both Jews and Gentiles — who are now part of God’s family. Their sitting denotes honor, rest and satisfaction. Their sitting around the throne symbolizes their nearness to God. White (purity) raiment is the imputed righteousness of the saints that comes only from Jesus. Crowns of gold, symbolizes the eternal victory and glory they have with Him.

Rev. 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. [KJV] From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. In front of the throne were seven lampstands with burning flames, which were the Seven Spirits of God (Holy Spirit).

In Revelation, lightning and thunder are connected with significant events in Heaven. There was lightning and thunder at Mount Sinai when God gave the people His laws (Ex. 19:16). The Old Testament often uses such imagery to reflect God’s power and majesty (Ps. 77:18). The “seven spirits of God” is another name for the Holy Spirit. In Zech. 4:2-6, seven lamps are equated with the one Spirit.

There is a contrasting picture of God in this vision. The throne of judgment is depicted by thunder and lightning, yet it is mingled with God’s righteous judgment and mercy, represented by the placid, green rainbow. God does have two sides! God will judge, as we will see in the judgments to come, but He, in His mercy, always gives people time to repent. . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_coming.htm

Rev. 4:6 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. [KJV] In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the center and around the throne were four living creatures, each covered with eyes, front and back.

The “sea of glass” means its appearance, not the material of which it is made. This placid sea symbolizes God’s holiness and righteousness; and the peace and tranquility of Heaven. The sea indicates a place of rest to which the church has come. No longer will she be the victim of the raging storms of life.

Four beasts” (living creatures) are NOT wild beasts, but living beings. “Full of eyes before and behind” symbolize alertness and awareness of all that goes on. They resemble both the cherubim (Eze.1:5-10; 10:20) and the seraphim (Is.6:2-3) in the Old Testament.

Rev. 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. [KJV] The first living being looked like a lion; the second looked like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle with wings spread out as though in flight.

God’s wondrous attributes are symbolized in the animal-like appearance of these four creatures. Majesty and power (the lion), faithfulness (the ox), intelligence (the man), and sovereignty (the eagle). Ezekiel saw four similar creatures in one of his visions (Eze. 1:5-10). Too, some say the creatures represent the Gospels: Matthew represents Jesus as King. God said the tribe of Judah was like a ‘lion’ (Gen.49:9-10; Rev.5:5) and Jesus came from that tribe. Mark represents Jesus as a Servant, symbolized by the ‘ox’ (beast of burden). Luke represents Jesus as the Son of Man. His humanity is emphasized. The Gospel of John places emphasis on Jesus’ deity symbolized by the flying eagle.

Rev. 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. [KJV] Each living being had six wings, and their wings were covered with eyes, inside and out. Continually, they keep saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come."

Each of the four beasts had six wings (Isa.6:2). These living creatures NEVER rest — ever! “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” is the same refrain as Is.6:3. Some day, God will be worshiped as He should be! “Which was, and is, and is to come” refers to Christ Jesus. He identified Himself in the beginning of this Book (1:8).

Rev. 4:9-11 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, [10] 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, [11] Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. [KJV] When the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne, the One who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the One who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne saying, "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created."

There is continual worship to Almighty God in Heaven. This vision shows us this fact! Why do you want to go to Heaven?? Is it for the sole reason that you do not want to go to Hell? If you find worship weary and boring here on Earth, and if you are not interested in ascribing genuine worship and praise to our Triune God, why do you want to go to Heaven? God’s true and thankful and grateful children will spend MUCH of their time worshiping and praising and honoring our God and Saviour! All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption, their present privileges and blessings, and their future hopes, to the eternal and most Holy God. For this reason, harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed are non stop in Heaven! We on earth, should take heed to what God expects of us. Let our praises to God be constant.

“And cast their crowns before the throne.” Any crowns (rewards) we shall receive come because of Jesus. ALL our ‘crowns’ shall be cast at His feet as an act of submission, gratitude and worship. The only One worthy of any crowns is Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Lord!

The point of chapter 4 is summed up in verse 11. ALL beings in Heaven AND Earth will one day, willingly and gladly, praise and honor (worship) God because He is the Creator and Sustainer of ALL things!

Book of Revelation

Ch.1. . Ch.2 . . Ch.3 . . Ch.4 . . Ch.5. . Ch.6 . . Ch.7 . . Ch.8 . . Ch.9 . . Ch.10 . . Ch.11 . . Ch.12 . . Ch.13 . . Ch.14 . . Ch.15 . . Ch.16 . . Ch.`17 . . Ch.18 . . Ch.19 . . Ch.20 . . Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Special Comments

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