REVELATION CHAPTER 4: THE THRONE ROOM
- Verse 1: “after this” means after Jesus addresses His 7 churches which were present and living and suffering at the time of writing. Those things took place in dealing with the Church of that day. See also 1 Peter 4:16-18. This (chapter 4) is the next vision John saw. Chapter 4 is also an extension of 1:19.
- Verse 3: Ezekiel 1:28 comes into play as we look at this verse as well as Revelation 21 and also Genesis 9 (the rainbow) as everything shares the same look and qualities.
- Verse 4: What is an ‘elder’ in the Bible? These 24 are a representation of those that reign with Christ in Heaven (Revelation 1:21, 2:10, 3:21, 20:4) for God is the God of the living and not the dead (see Mark 12:27).
- Verse 5: As we noted before in chapter 1 (1:4), do not be thrown off by the mention of 7 when describing God. This is simply a way of describing the complete awesome God using language like that found in Zechariah 4:2.
- The Four Living Creatures: These beings are a representation of all chief things that God has created. See also Ezekiel 1;5, 1:10, and 10:14. These living beings represent (or are impressionistic) of all God has created and they surround Him at the throne of power. They are in service to God. Lion = ruler of the wild animals. Ox = chief of all domesticated land animals. Eagle = chief of the birds. Man = the great intellect. These beings are spiritual forces that are foot soldiers declaring God’s glory as all the heavenly beings do. They obey God in heavenly places. It is these beings’ whole job to give glory and honor and thank Jesus for what He has done (verse 9).
- NOTE: Angels in 5:9 are listed as a separate group from the living creatures. We should not interpret these 4 as cherubim and/or seraphim and/or archangels because they are known separate heavenly beings with heavy symbolism.
- Verse 10: The elders seem to give witness continually (with fear of Christ) proclaiming what is revealed of Christ in these visions is True. They themselves are the result of His worthiness. They themselves are the fruit.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
In this chapter, we see a door opening in Heaven which is the beginning of Heaven coming to Earth by way of the invitation of Jesus Christ. The words “after this” are present meaning John turns his attention to the rest of the world that does not believe in Jesus. John sees some things happening, but what is revealed is the “yet to come” (mentioned in chapter 1:19). Jesus has already said that those who don’t follow Him will be judged. God hands people over to not accepting Him and this is what happens.
NOTE: In Revelation, we have symbols that are combinations of biblical events and concepts coupled by spiritual and terrestrial creatures which together God brings about His will. This goes on throughout the book from the start, but we highlight this now to point out a good example. The four living beings around the throne of God as you see in this chapter (when taken symbolic) features this use of language and is easier to recognize.
NOTE: The door opens and in the rest of the Revelation (chapter 11) we will see even more opening and little by little we see more progression of the vision. There is a progression with each series of visions marching all the way to the Last Day. Temple opens. Sky opens. Heaven opens. This is not necessarily a linear chronological progression, but an establishment of what is presented in chapters 1-3.
‘Now’ and ‘Not Yet’ is hard to pin down, but begins to make itself known as a theme in this chapter. Revelation is filled with visions and ‘snap shots’ that describe what happens then, what happens soon, and what happens in the future. We see a sentencing being declared against Israel and the world, but the actual sentence has not yet come. These chapters show how some of this will happen.
Jesus Christ is not just the God of Israel, but He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and is the King of the whole world. His covenant extends to the whole world and those that reject Him are judged. What is happening is the full judgement of God on apostate Israel and it extends to the end of time. This vision is the beginning of all that. A person can always come to Jesus in faith because God is all about making a new creation… look for this as we continue in Revelation!