REVELATION CHAPTER FOUR

A HEAVENLY SCENE - THE THRONE OF GOD

In Revelation 4, John is called up to heaven to view the events and wonders that are “soon to take place.” John’s call to heaven is to receive the multiple revelations and details concerning Daniel’s 70th week. These revelations include the persecution of God’s people by the Antichrist, the destruction of the powers of evil and the establishing of the kingdom of God. Chapter 4 is dedicated to our exalted God who sits on heavenly the throne. This is none other than God the Father. (Chapter 5 will focus on the Lamb who is none other than God the Son.)

1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven (John is not the only prophet to give us a vision of the wonders of heaven; Ezekiel, Isaiah and Daniel did as well. But John was the first who was literally summoned to heaven to behold divine secrets.) And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, (The first voice John heard was the voice of the Lord Jesus. See Rev 1:10.) “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (John is called into heaven to receive further revelations of future events. Many teach that this verse is a reference to the Rapture (i.e., “Come up here”) and that this verse lends support to the theory that the church has nothing to do with Daniel’s 70th week. They reason that this is a picture of the church being “called up to heaven” before the events of Daniel’s 70th week, and it is the Jewish people that enter into the end times. They also point out that John does not use the word “church” in Rev 4-19, another evidence the church is excluded from Daniel’s 70th week. I believe this is an incorrect interpretation. First, the church can not be excluded merely because the term “church” is not used in Rev. 4-19; in the gospel of John the word “church” is never used, but no evangelical would argue it is not being referred to in John’s gospel. Moreover, there are multiple references to God’s people (which is the “church”) throughout the Book of Revelation. See Rev 5:9-10, Rev 7:9-17, Rev 12:17, Rev 13:9-10, Rev 14:11-12. Clearly, these verses demonstrate that an exclusion of the church from Daniel’s 70th week is not an appropriate reading of this passage.  Rather, John is simply explaining why he was called up to heaven – he is about to be given a vision concerning all of the events of Daniel’s 70th week.   2At once I was in the Spirit, (John assumes we know what this means) and there before me was a throne in heaven (We will see that John saw a vision of God sitting upon His throne) with someone sitting on it. (John has brilliant light in his eyes and is unable to distinguish who is sitting on the throne) 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. (Looking at the throne of God is like looking at the brilliant colors of precious stones and glistening gems) A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. (The throne is resplendent with light; pure, flashing, jewel-like colors. 1 John 1:5: God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Daniel 7:9-10 describes the Ancient of Days as God the Father, taking His seat prior to the judgment of the Antichrist.)

THE 24 ELDERS CLOTHED IN WHITE

4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other (lesser) thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. (Who are these 24 elders? I think that they are 24 very powerful, high-ranking angels associated with God’s divine rule in the universe and on the earth. And I don’t believe they are elders associated with the Church, because the Church is not judged until after the 7th trumpet. See Rev. 11:18.) They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. (These angelic elders wear crowns, perhaps because they are victors in past battles with Satan and the fallen angels.)

THE THRONE OF GOD AND THE 7 SPIRITS OF GOD

5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. (Lightning and thunder always proceed the storm and are common symbols of God’s presence and judgment in the Old Testament.) Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. (The seven lamps represent the Holy Spirit’s complete and perfect ministry.)

THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES – THE CHERUBIM

6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (The sea before the throne was not made of glass, but something that looks like crystal clear glass. John saw this same sea of glass in Rev 15:2-3, and it is mingled with fire.) In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. (Ezekiel 1 & 10 are parallel passages to John’s heavenly vision. These four living creatures are the cherubim, angels of the highest order, guardians of the throne of God. Ezekiel 28:14 seems to reveal that Satan once occupied this position as an anointed cherubim. “You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.”) 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle (perhaps these angels represent the different kingdoms of life God created; Wild beasts, domestic animals, human beings and birds, all who long to be removed from the curse and returned to their original state in order to give glory to God.)

THE THEME OF HEAVEN IS WORSHIP

8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. (The four living creatures are similar to the seraphim of Isa 6:1-3 and the cherubim of Ez. 10:14.) Day and night they never stop saying:

"Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was, and is, and is to come."

(The cherubim are always praising God! Our natural human response is that such constant adoration must get tiresome after a while. The angelic response is that it’s never tiresome when God is the object of praise. Just wait until you see Him!!!) 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders (angels) fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11"You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they were created

and have their being."

(They worship God because He is about to bring history to its goal, judge the dead and set up His eternal kingdom.)

Go to Revelation Chapter 5