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Sep 11 – Revelation Study

Categories: Revelation Study

Revelation

“The Unveiling of Jesus”

IV. Chp. 4:22 The vision of the future: (1:19c) “The things which will take place after this

Chp. 4-5 The throne in heaven

 

4:1-11

“Around the throne”

I. Intro

II. Vs. 1-9 The visible and verbal activity around the throne

III. Vs. 10-11 The worship of Him who lives forever

I. Intro

rev_studyThis chapter starts off with the further unveiling of Jesus in heaven but in reality it’s the final section of the book, The things which will take place after this”. That is the events which will take place after the church age. The key to this section is the word “throne” as it appears 12 times in 11 verses and 37 times through the book. The word appears first in chapter 1:4 and will conclude with the word in 22:3, you could call Revelation the throne book! Thrones are associated with two events:

  1. Worship: Through human history those who sat upon thrones expected and received worship from those in their kingdom. The central focus of heaven is the Lord seated upon His throne, the central activity will be His worship.
  2. Judgment: The throne is a courtroom and the king was a judge who would render his decision. In the heavenly realm the throne will be either a place to run to or run from depending upon a person’s heart. We will either “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) Or we will, as those in Rev. 6:15-16 “hide themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

II. Vs. 1-9 The visible and verbal activity around the throne

Vs. 1 There are three very important statements made by John in this opening verse:

  1. After these things… things which must take place after this”: John is very specific as to the time in which this next unveiling took place “after these things”, the events of the Church age. The vision which John has is going to be from the vantage point of heaven, not earth.
  2. After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.” With the timing of this clearly stated John reveals that he sees “a door standing open in heaven”. This is the 4th time John has recorded that there was a door in the book of revelation.
    1. In chapter 3:8 Jesus declared to the church in Philadelphia that He had “set before them an open door,..
    2. In chapter 3:20 Jesus spoke to the lukewarm church at Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
    3. Then a few words later Jesus exhorts the same church that “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

John sees an open door into heaven prior to his being called up into heaven. In John 10:9 Jesus told the Pharisees “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” He is not one of many doors but rather “the door” in which all who wish to enter into heaven must pass.

  1. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” This is one of the clearest statements concerning the rapture of the Church. In chapter 3:10 Jesus promised that He would “keep us from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” As such John represents those who are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corin. 15:51-52 when he said “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” It is this trumpet that John hears calling him up into heaven through the open door.

Vs. 2 Notice that with the voice of a trumpet and the words “Come up here” that “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven”. Not after 7 years of tribulation or even 3 ½ years but “immediately” in Paul’s words it was “..in the twinkling of an eye”!

No matter what the events on earth seem to proclaim a “throne is set in heaven, and One sits on the throne.

Vs. 3 Furthermore He who sits on the throne is gloriously victorious as His glory is reflected in the material that John sees. Of further interest is the rainbow around the throne. God had made a promise to Noah after the flood that He would never again destroy the earth by water and this promise had the sign of a semi-circle rainbow. Here we see that the circle is not broken, the promise forever kept.

Vs. 4 John sees thrones or seats around the throne of God where the 24 elders were sitting. Who are these 24 elders?

  1. They are not angels because in chapter 5:8-10 they are seen worshipping the Lord because He has redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.
  2. That would make them men but it does not tell us who they are and if John knows he does not reveal their identity.
  3. Based upon speculation some see them as representing the 12 tribes of Israel along with the 12 apostles. They come about this based upon two verses:
    1. Matt. 19:28 “when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
    2. Rev. 21:12-14 “twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

A further indication of their identity is found in the fact that they are warring “white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” White robes are always a sign of the righteousness that is in Christ while the crowns according to 1 Peter 5:4 is awarded for faithful service which we will receive when our Chief Shepherd appears both of which are based upon His grace as we shall see that we will be casting those crowns at His feet in verse 10!

Vs. 5 John sees and hears certain specific activity around the throne:

  1. First he saw “the One that sat on the throne”. Whatever may be said about the activity in heaven all eyes are at first drawn to the One who sits upon the throne.
  2. Second John has a similar experience as Israel as God met with Moses in Exodus 19:18. Moses was given along with the commandments the blue prints of the Holy Tabernacle which we are told in Heb. 8:5 are a “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things”.
  3. We have already discussed the seven spirits of God which are defined for us in Isa. 11:1-2 as:
    1. Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him”: Speaks of the authority and power.
    2. The Spirit of wisdom”: Skillful wisdom in knowing what we need.
    3. And understanding”: Perfect knowledge knowing all things.
    4. The Spirit of counsel”: Advise, knows how to communicate truth.
    5. and might”: Victorious power, able to enforce His council.
    6. The Spirit of knowledge”: Can’t be tricked or deceived.
    7. and of the fear of the LORD”: Absolute reverence as all will bow before Him.
Vs. 6-8 Like the “bronze laver” in the Holy Tabernacle John sees a “sea of glass”. In the tabernacle the High priest would prepare to go into the Holy of Holies by first washing and looking into this basin of water where they would see their own reflection reminding them they were sinners. Before the throne we will not see our sins but rather for the first time see ourselves as He sees us in His Son.
            John also sees “four living creatures” they were the same who in Gen. 3:24 God “placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”  Later Isaiah has a vision of them in 6:2-3 where they are called seraphim. Ezekiel has visions of them both in chapter 1 and again in chapter 10 where he calls them cherubim. What we know of them is limited.
a.       We know that they appear to be the highest order of angelic beings and their primary function is to lead worship. It is for this reason many believe that satan (Lucifer) was once one of them.
b.      John sees them as being “full of eyes in front and in back.” Which no doubt speaks of their knowledge.
c.       In Isa. 6 we are told that they “each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” They cover their face as to not look upon One so lovely as the Lord, they cover their feet as to not show their unsightly parts and with two of them they fly.
d.      Verse 7 adds one more piece of evidence concerning them, that they were “like”. Many see the gospels in this description:
1.      The first living creature was like a lion: Matthew proclaims Jesus as King, thus like a lion.
2.      The second living creature like a calf: Mark proclaims Jesus as a servant, thus like a beast of burden.
3.      The third living creature had a face like a man: Luke portrays him as a perfect man thus a face like a man.
4.      The fourth living creature was like a flying eagle: Finally John sees as God the Son, thus a flying eagle.
We will have to wait and what these angelic creatures will look like but we don’t have to wait to see their activity in heave as John records it for us.
Vs. 8 They are unceasing in their adoration of the Lord:
1.      Their praise is given in a threefold manor, Holy is the Father, Holy is the Son and Holy is the Spirit.
2.      Second, they worship the Godheads sovereignty as He is the Lord God Almighty.
3.      Finally they worship His eternal nature “Who was and is and is to come!”

Vs. 9 Not only do they worship three ways they do so in a threefold manor “Whenever the living creatures”:

  1. give glory
  2. and honor
  3. and thanks

III. Vs. 10-11 The worship of Him who lives forever

 

Vs. 10-11 At the four living creatures worship redeemed man represented by the 24 elders respond three ways:

  1. Fall down before Him who sits on the throne
  2. Worship Him who lives forever and ever,
  3. Cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

Finally, they open their mouths in praise by proclaiming His worthiness to receive all that is do His name.  The words “were created” seem to suggest that this is the beginning of the Lord redeeming the world back to Himself.

 

 

 



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