Revelation Chapters 4 and 5

4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. 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.”

“after these things” – what things? The Lord talking to John giving him the letters to the seven churches showing us the conditions of the church….He kept alluding, in the last four letters, of the coming rapture…the allusion continues here as His voice is like a trumpet as the sound of a trumpet says “come up here” 

Remember Jewish prophecy is about pattern rather than prediction/fulfillment, which is more the Greek mode of prophecy

The pattern here is seen throughout scripture but we are reminded of it in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. They were concerned about those who had died in the faith and the coming rapture

4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

We have a voice, a sound of a trumpet and a catching away which is why many scholars believe this beginning of Chapter 4 is about the church being taken out before the 3 ½ years pre-time of sorrows and the 3 ½ time of sorrows we call the great tribulation

The next verses

4:2-5 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

“Immediately” John was in heaven…pattern then jumping to verse 5 for a moment…where did we last see seven lamps of fire?…Each one of the churches…where are these lamps now?….in heaven

but the text says these are the seven Spirits of God and yes they are but where was the Spirit of God released in Acts…into the early church which is not in a building but the people….the church of Sardis was not in one building but various buildings so the Spirit is today not in a building but in each one of us…think about the implication of that when we say we don’t “feel” the Spirit here or there, what are we really saying.

Jasper – is diamond and Sardis stone is a blood red. The word for rainbow here actually means a halo of emerald green imagine that picture in your head.

24 Elders – crowns of gold, white robes, sitting on thrones

the only other time we see 24 mentioned in the Bible is when David establishes 24 courses of priest to minister in the temple….represent the whole collection of priest

– There where priest before the levitical priesthood was established…Jethro, Moses Father-in-law was a priest, Jacob presented a tithe to a priest we don’t know in Genesis 28, Melchizadek  (Psalm 110, Hebrews, Abraham gave tithes to him and He was a king and priest)

– who are these elders (revelation 7 says they can’t be tribulation believers), Revelation 7:11 says they can’t be angels

distinguishing characteristic – sitting on thrones, white robes, wearing crowns….they are called elders and kings and priest

like the 24 courses of priests represented all the priest these 24 elders are representative of all of the church

4:6a In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.

In the temple we have a bronze sea that was the place where the priest would see their reflection and cleansing 1 Kings 7:23-26 and 2 Chronicles 4:2-5 now it is before the throne and is no longer needed to be a cleansing because we have been cleansed already

4:6b – 11 In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. 7 The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. 8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—

the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,

11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God,

to receive glory and honor and power.

For you created all things,

and they exist because you created what you pleased.”

These living beings are seen in the presence of God always…they cry out Holy, Holy, Holy one for each of the trinity. 

Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and 10, 

Let me share with you where these are first revealed through Israel…Numbers 2  tribes are divided into 4 groups Judah – Lion-East, Ephraim – Ox – West, Reuben – Man – South, Dan – Eagle – North (started as a serpent then became an eagle with a serpent in its mouth) we see the cherubim representation surrounding the presence of God (the tabernacle)

You can not understand Revelation chapter 5 without understanding the book of Ruth

Let’s read the first 8 verses then I’ll explain

Revelation 5:1-8 

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.

4 Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. 5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6 Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. 7 He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. 8 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

Notice they looked in heaven, on earth, and under the earth to find someone worthy to open the scroll.

The scroll (book) is sealed Jeremiah 32 is told before the captivity to buy a piece of property which was his right as a redeemer and as a promise that after the 70 years of captivity (one year for every year they did call the Sabbath rest year) they would come back to the land and there would be a hope in the scroll. (it may not seem like hope as it is opened but it is in the long run)

In the book of Ruth we see that Boaz became the kinsman redeemer. He was of the family of Naomi and he was willing to pay the price to redeem any debts, he was willing to raise up a child, and willing to take on a bride,

In Israel if you had debt it would be placed on a scroll, sealed and then nailed to a wall until that debt was paid, a kinsman redeemer was the only one other than you that could pay the debt and you obviously could pay it that is why it was there. It had to be a family member who was willing to take on your debt and pay it in full.

The lamb was a family member, he became man and sin for us. He paid the price for all of mankind not just those that had accepted Him but everyone so it was his right to open the scroll as he had paid the price already

With that…a celebration takes place in heaven

And they sang a new song with these words:

“You are worthy to take the scroll

and break its seals and open it.

For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10 And you have caused them to become

a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

Once again it is stated that we are priest to our God, a royal priesthood and they are out of every tribe and nation so they are Gentile and Jew…these are the 24 elders singing this translation is limited in that the Greek says ransomed “us”

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—

to receive power and riches

and wisdom and strength

and honor and glory and blessing.”

Notice the celebration, what we are about to read sounds hard, even harsh at times but the whole of creation is groaning for the coming of the Lord and the end of the tyranny of Satan

13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power

belong to the one sitting on the throne

and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

14 And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

The whole of heaven is celebrating what is about to happen, we need to keep that in mind as we go one in this book!