THE THRONE ROOM
Revelation 4 is often referred to as “the throne room of heaven.” The word “throne” is being used twelve times in this chapter. The One who sat on the throne is the Father, and the Son is at His right hand.
The scene has changed. In chapter 1 John saw Jesus Christ standing before him. In chapter 2 and 3, John saw around him, the Church. Now, in chapter 4 the scene is in heaven, and the throne room of God.
Note! Why is the book of Revelation filled with symbols? Their are four reasons:
- Symbols transcend time.
- Symbols evoke strong emotion with the reader for eg. “beast” instead of “political leader.”
- For protection. The persecutors of the Church did not understood and saw no need to destroy.
- The description is distinct enough to fill the mind with awe and sublimity. Yet, there is no description from which an image can be made for idolatrous worship.
How do we interpret these symbolism. We look for the analogy elsewhere in Scripture. The most important key to understand Revelation is to know the writings of the Old Testament prophets.
VERSE BY VERSE
Revelation 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.”
“After this” is the translation for the Greek words “meta tauta.” The outline of the book of Revelation is in Revelation 1:19. That is to say:
- Past – the things you have seen
- Present – the things which are, the Church age
- Future – the things which will take place after this (meta tauta.)
The words “meta tauta” here signals the next phase after the Church age.
The first voice like a trumpet was like the first voice John heard in chapter 1. Christ’ voice has many tones, and this resembled the sound of a trumpet.
“Come up hither” is an invitation to John.
Note! This is John being transcended from earth to heaven, not all believers. To equate it with the rapture, goes beyond what the text says.
Revelation 4:2 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
It is remarkable that John does not describe the form of the deity who sat on the throne. But, he describes his splendour. God the Father is on the throne, and Jesus Christ at His right hand.
Revelation 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.”
The Sardius was the first stone, and the Jasper the last stone, on the breast plate of the high priest. Jesus is the first and the last. The Jasper of the Bible is “clear as crystal!” (see Revelation 21:11.) Many scholars think it is our diamond of today.
The rainbow, the sign of Noah’s covenant, encircled the throne like a halo. And, bearing witness to God’s faithfulness, and His mercy shining forth after a storm.
Note! Ezekiel too compared the light around God to that of a rainbow. Ezekiel 1:28 “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”
Revelation 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.”
The elders are believers, Jews and Gentiles, who put there trust in Jesus Christ.
Note! There is much talk about the identity of the elders. The reason why it can only be the Church is: 1) the song they sing in Chapter 5:9 “For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” 2)They are being referred to as “kings and priests”, a biblical description of believers. 3)They are sitting on thrones, clothed in white robes, and having crowns on their heads. These were all promised to the overcomers in the churches in chapters 2 and 3.
AROUND THE THRONE
Revelation 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.”
The scene of thunders and lighting is reminiscent of the time when Israel met with God at Mount Sinai. See Exodus 19. The people became fearful, and they ran away.
The lamps of fire burning was present when God made a covenant with Abraham, see Genesis 15. And, in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is a baptism of fire. See Matthew 3 and Acts 2.
BEFORE THE THRONE
Revelation 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.”
The position of the crystal sea is reminiscent to that of the molten sea in front of Solomon’s Temple. It was used for washing before the people were going into the holy place. Now, no more needed, and they are standing on it.
The better translation for the four “beasts” here is rather four “living beings/creatures.” And, the multiplicity of eyes may symbolise their vigilance in serving God and men.
FOUR LIVING BEINGS
Revelation 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.”
Ezekiel saw the same four living beings, that John saw, and called them cherubim. See Ezekiel 1:10.
The four gospel writers portrayed Jesus as such:
- Matthew – Lion. Messiah the king, to reign and rule.
- Mark – Ox. Jesus the Servant, to serve and suffer.
- Luke – Man. Jesus the Son of Man, to share and sympathise.
- John – Eagle. Jesus the Son of God, to reveal and redeem.
Revelation 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 Almimighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
They are an exalted order of angels serving and praising God. Later in Revelation they are very involved in unleashing the plagues.
Revelation 4:10 “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.”
The crowns of those who overcame, not by their own might, but by the blood of the Lamb. The redeemed believers are now united in praise to God.
Revelation 4:11 “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.”
No one can contemplate the vast universe without seeing that He is worthy to receive glory, honour, and power.
Most credible bible scholars believe that Chapter 4 is the point of the Rapture for the following reasons:
- The Greek words “meta tauta” signals the beginning of the third and last phase in chapter 1 and in chapter 4.
- The Church is being mentioned nineteen times in Chapter 2 and 3. After this, never again.
- The name for Jesus Christ onwards returns to Judaic descriptions for eg. The Root of David.The Rapture is being explained by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4. It has similar symbols, the trumpet sound, and the going in to heaven, in it.
- Twice in the book of Revelation we see heaven’s door open. The first time in Chapter 4 going up, and the next time in Chapter 19 coming down.
- Remember when Jesus promised and said: “I will come back an take you to be with me.” See John 14:2-3. The invitation comes from Christ Himself.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES:
SOURCES FOR REVELATION, CHAPTER 4:
- The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches by Dr Chuck Missler
- Revelation by Dr Baruch Korman
- The Unveiled Christ of Revelation by Dr John Barnett
- A Light in the Darkness by Rick Renner
- 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation by dr Mark Hitchcock
OTHER SOURCES FOR REVELATION, CHAPTER 4: