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Revelation 4

The transition to Revelation chapter four.

  1. Taking Revelation 1:19 as an outline of the book, chapter four begins the third section: the things which shall take place after this.
    1. The phrase after this (meta tauta in ancient Greek) in Revelation 1:19 is repeated twice in Revelation 4:1. Certainly this is a marking point for beginning the third division of Revelation 1:19.
      • Rev 1:19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
  2. Chapter four begins a heavenly perspective, looking down on the earth.
    1. The Bible has other important references to heaven, in passages such as Isaiah 6:1-8, Ezekiel 1, and in passages describing the Tabernacle, which symbolically describes heaven (Exodus 25-32 and 35-40).
    2. In the description of heavenly things, John will use symbols. However, not everything is symbolic. “As in the parables of Jesus, many of the details are merely descriptive and not intended to carry a special significance of their own.” (Morris)
      1. Also, we should keep in mind the nature of symbolism: the symbol is always less than the reality. The reality of heaven is even greater than the description we have of it.
      2. “It is very little that we can know of the future state, but we may be quite sure that we know as much as is good for us. We ought to be as content with that which is not revealed as with that which is. If God wills us not to know, we ought to be satisfied not to know. Depend on it, he has told us all about heaven that is necessary to bring us there; and if he had revealed more, it would have served rather for the gratification of our curiosity than for the increase of our grace.” (Spurgeon)
  3. From Revelation 4 through 19 we have a section mainly concerned with God’s judgment upon the world preceding Jesus’ earthly reign, the period known as the "Messianic Woes", "the Day of the Lord", "God's Wrath" or "the Great Tribulation".
    1. God’s judgments are announced by a seven-sealed scroll, seven trumpets, seven signs, and seven bowls that pour out God’s wrath.
    2. Before God pours out His wrath He gives us glimpse into Heaven's glory and opportunity to sea/hear the worship service.
    3. Revelation 4 introduces us to the place judgment comes from: God’s throne in heaven.
    4. In Revelation 4 the Key word is throne and it occurs 12 times In the entire book of Revelation it occurs 36 times.
    5. The word worship occurs 22 times in this book of Revelation.

Worship the Creator.

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 I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.
    • Revelation chapters 2 and 3 spoke to the churches, and the seven churches comprehended all churches. After Jesus is finished speaking to the churches, after these things, John experienced the vision of Revelation 4.
  • And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying,
    • The first voice that spoke to John in Revelation 1:10 speaks to him again here - the voice of Jesus. Jesus calls John up to heaven, through a door standing open in heaven.
    • The voice spoke loud and clear to John. It was like the trumpet that gathered the congregation of Israel together, or gathered an army for battle (Numbers 10:1-10).
  • "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
    • Are these fulfilled before, during or after John's day but before present day?
    • Are these are going to happen in future ie after Church age?
    • John will be shown things that concern the future (which must take place after this), not John’s present day but after the Church age.
      • Some like to interpret what John saw up through Revelation 19 as fulfilled in what took place before John’s day - notably, in the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus clearly tells John that He will show him things which must take place after this.
        • “From which it appears, that God did not here show his prophet the destruction of Jerusalem, for that was already past, in the time of Titus Vespasian the Roman emperor, about the year 69 or 70, after the incarnation; this (as all confess) was in Domitian’s time, about the 11th or 12th year of his reign, about twenty-six or twenty-seven years after that was past.” (Poole)
      • Some like to interpret what John saw up through Revelation 19 as fulfilled in history after John’s day but before our present day. But these events have yet to be fulfilled in any sort of literal sense; they can only be said to have been fulfilled by making them wildly symbolic. Therefore, we regard what Jesus will show John in the following chapters of Revelation as belonging to the future, and as proceeding the coming reign of Jesus on earth.
    • Read detail notes in Rev 1:10 Is "the day of the Lord" has already come? section.
    • Many see John’s “going up” to heaven as a symbol of the rapture of the church. John is called up to heaven by a voice that sounds like a trumpet, just as the church will be as described in
      • 1 Thes 4:17 - 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. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptus in latin and Rapture in English) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
      • 1 Cor 15:51-53 - 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
      • Zep 2:3 - Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord's anger.
    • Church will rest in Heaven with the Father and Jesus Christ and watch all that happens in earth:
      • Rev 6:10-11 - 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
      • Is 26:20-21 - 20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. 21 For behold, the Lord comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.
    • Similar experience again repeated in Rev 11:12. Once God said Come up here then the two witnesses ascended/raptured/caught-up to heaven immediately while people watching.
      • Rev 11:11-12 - 11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
    • The pattern is significant. Jesus is finished speaking to and dealing with the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, and all churches are comprehended in the seven. Now, after dealing with the church, Jesus calls John up to heaven, “catching him away” with a voice that sounds like a trumpet. All this happens before the great wrath that will be described beginning at Revelation 6. As that great judgment on the earth unfolds, John - a representative of the church - is in heaven, looking down on earth.
    • Significantly, the word “church” never occurs in the chapters describing this period of judgment on earth, no where in Revelation chapters 4 through 19.

2 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.

  • Immediately I was in the Spirit;
    •  John already said he was in the Spirit at Revelation 1:10. This is yet a different experience, as John comes to heaven and a heavenly perspective.
      • Including this verse John uses four time this term in the Spirit.
      • Rev 1:10 - 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
      • Rev 17:3 - 1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
      • Rev 21:10 - 9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
    • Where was his body? Was John’s body in heaven also, or was it just his spirit?
      • We don't know. Paul, when he had his heavenly experience, he says that he didn’t know if he was “in the body” or not.
      • 2 Cor 12:2-4 - 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
  • and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
    • The throne is not empty. There is some One who sits on this great heavenly throne.
    • This throne is what first strikes John, and it is the centerpiece of this vision. John is fixated on the occupied throne, and everything else is described in relation to this throne.
    • Who is sitting on the throne?
      • Rev 5:1-7 clearly says that the one sitting on the throne is God the Father.
    • The throne is a powerful declaration of not merely God’s presence, but of His sovereign, rightful reign, and His prerogative to judge.
    • We can’t think rightly about much of anything until we settle in our mind that there is an occupied throne in heaven, and the God of the Bible rules from the throne. “While there may be many differing interpretations, the fundamental truths are self-evident. At the center of everything is an occupied throne.” (Morgan)
    • Why this throne is important? Is this throne is threat to anyone?
      • The bottom line of atheism or materialism is that they believe there is no throne; there is no seat of authority or power all the universe must answer to.
      • The bottom line of humanism is that there is a throne - but man sits upon it.
      • Verse like these in the Bible makes it clear that there is a throne in heaven, and no fallen man sits on the throne, but the Lord God is enthroned in heaven.
      • Essentially, man cannot live without the concept of a throne, a supreme ruler. So if man de-thrones God, he will inescapably place himself or some other man upon the throne, perhaps a political leader, as was the case with Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.
    • John was not alone in seeing God’s throne. Almost everyone in the Bible who had a vision of heaven, was taken to heaven, or wrote about heaven spoke of God’s throne. (Taken from Lectures in Systematic Theology, by Henry C. Thiessen Revised by Vernon D. Doerksen)
      • The prophet Michaiah saw God’s throne
        • 1 Kings 22:19 - Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.
      • Job saw God’s throne
        • Job 26:9 - He covers the face of His throne, And spreads His cloud over it.
      • David saw God’s throne
        • Psalm 9:4 and 7 - 4 For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. 5 You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. 6 O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished. 7 But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.
        • Psalm 11:4 - The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
      • the Sons of Korah saw God’s throne
        • Psalm 45:6 - Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
        • Psalm 47:8 - God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.
      • Ethan the Ezrahite saw God’s throne
        • Psalm 89:14 - Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face
      • Isaiah saw God’s throne
        • Isaiah 6:1 - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
      • Jeremiah saw God’s throne
        • Lamentations 5:19 - You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation.
      • Ezekiel saw God’s throne
        • Ezekiel 1:26 - And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.
        • Ezekiel 10:1 - And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne
      • Daniel saw God’s throne
        • Daniel 7:9 - "I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
      • the Apostle John saw God’s throne
        • Revelation 4:2-3 - 2 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.
        • Revelation 5:1 & 7 - 1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals..... 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
      • In fact, this book of Revelation may as well be called “the book of God’s throne,” because God’s throne is specifically mentioned more than 35 times in this book! 
  • And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance;
    • How John is describing the one who sits on the throne?
      • As John describes the occupant of the throne, he does not describe a distinct figure. “There is here no description of the Divine Being, so as to point out any similitude, shape, or dimensions. The description rather aims to point out the surrounding glory and effulgence than the person of the almighty King.” (Clarke)
      • Instead of describing a specific form or figure, John describes emanations of glistening light in two colors: white/clear gem (jasper may mean “diamond”) and red (sardius).
        • NIV: Rev 21:11 - It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
        •  Rev 21:11 - having the glory of God. Her (New Jerusalem) light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
        • Ps 104:1-4 - 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. 3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, 4 Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire
        • Jasper is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow or brown in color. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for snuff boxes. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped or banded jasper. Jaspilite is a banded iron formation rock that often has distinctive bands of jasper. Jasper is basically chert which woes its red color to iron inclusions.
        • Perhaps these two colors are meant to communicate the glory of the empty tomb (white, Matthew 28:1-3) and the sacrificial love of Calvary (red, indicating blood).
          • Matthew 28:1-3 - 1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
        • Ezekiel 1:26-28 - 26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
      • Jasper & Sardius is one of the stones in the 'Breastplate of Judgment' of Aaron or 'Breastplate of High priest', described in the Bible
        • Exodus 28:15-21 - 15 "You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it. 16 It shall be doubled into a square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width. 17 And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; 18 the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings. 21 And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes
        • Exodus 39:8-13 - Same as above...
        • These are first and last gems.
        • Sardius is for Ruben means "Behold a Son" (Adam). Jasper is for Benjamin means "Son of my right hand" (Jesus Christ).
        • These two stones includes all other stones depicting all of God's people.
          • We are living stones
          • 1 Peter 2:5 - 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
          • NLT: 1 Peter 2:5 - 4 Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. 5 And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are God's holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ. 6 As the Scriptures express it, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem, a chosen cornerstone, and anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed. "
      • Jasper & Sardius is also included in the listing of the gems of the King of Tyrus (Tyre) (Satan)
        • Ezekiel 28:13 - 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
    • Why John didn't describe the form or figure of the person sitting on the throne?
      • Read Has any one seen God? article for detail coverage of all verses in the Bible related to this topic.
      • No one has seen God at any time:
        • John 1:18 - No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
        • John 4:24 - 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
        • 1 Tim 1:17 - Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
        • John 6:46 - 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." 42 And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."
          NLT: John 6:46 - (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
      • Is there any reason why God is invisible or not seen by anyone?
        • Exodus 33:20 - 18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." 19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." 20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." 21 And the Lord said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
        • Following is The reason why no one has seen God:
          • 1 Tim 6:16 - 13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
          • Ezekiel 1:26-28 - 26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
      • Jesus is the image of our invisible God:
        • Col 1:15 - 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross
        • Heb 1:3 - 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
        • John 14:9 - 8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
      • Even for the Old Testament believers same Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God the Father. In other words all Old Testament visible/physical appearances of God are Jesus Christ not the God the Father:
        • Jesus appearances in Old Testament foreshadowed His coming in the flesh. This is called Christophanies.
        • John 5:37,39 - 36 But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
      • But do not lose hope certain Scriptures, however, indicate that the redeemed will some day see Him
        • Matt 5:8 - Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
        • Rev 22:4 - 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
      • Application:
        Final reason and for our personal application God didn't reveal His physical appearance or form to the Israelites has been explained clearly in
        • Deut 4:15-19 - 15 "Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. 19 And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.
    • and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
      • The throne is surrounded by a green-hued rainbow (in appearance like an emerald). The rainbow is a reminder of God’s commitment to His covenant with man
        • Genesis 9:11-17 - 8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth 11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." 17 And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."
      • Around this setting of all sovereignty, power, authority and glory - this setting of the throne of God - God has placed a reminder of His own promise to never destroy the earth again with water, a promise that directs His sovereignty, so that it is not capricious or against His promises.
      • A throne says, “I can do whatever I want, because I rule.” A promise says, “I will fulfill this word to you, and I cannot do otherwise.” A rainbow around the throne is a remarkable thing, showing that God will always limit Himself by His own promises.
      • Trapp on the rainbow: “Which is a sign of grace and the covenant of mercy, which is always fresh and green about Christ’s throne of grace.”
      • Judgment about to happen but the rainbow reminds us that God is merciful, even when He judges:
        • Hab 3:2 - 1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth. 2 O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.
        • James 2:13 - 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
        • Rev 14:7 - 6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-- 7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." 8 And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." 9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
      • The believer glories in the sovereignty of God, because he knows that God’s sovereignty is on his side. It means that no good purpose of God relating to the believer will ever be left undone.
        • “Oh! Child of God! Thy heavenly Father in his sovereignty, has a right to do with you, his child, as he pleases, but he will never let that sovereignty get out of the limit of the covenant. As a sovereign, he might cast you away, but he has promised that he never will, and never will he. As a sovereign, he might leave you to perish, but he has said, ‘I will not leave thee nor forsake thee.’ As a sovereign, he might suffer you to be tempted beyond your strength, but he has promised that no temptation shall happen to you, but such as is common to man, and he will with the temptation make a way of escape.” (Spurgeon)

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.

  • Around the throne were twenty-four thrones,
    • Before the elders catch John’s eye, he noticed the twenty-four thrones they sat on. These twenty-four elders sit on lesser thrones, around the throne. Later we will hear their song of worship
      • Rev 4:10-11 - 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
  • and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting,
    • During Daniel's period these thrones are setup and were empty but now they are filled.
      • Daniel 7:9 "I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
    • Who are these twenty-four elders?
      • Commentators debate whether they are glorified human beings or angelic beings. On balance, they certainly seem to represent God’s people.
      • Elders represented the people of God, especially in the Old Testament.
      • The 24 courses of the priesthood represented all the priests (1 Chronicles 24)
        • NLT: 1 Chr 24:1-20 - 1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2 And Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children; therefore Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests. 3 Then David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to the schedule of their service. 4 There were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar were sixteen heads of their fathers' houses, and eight heads of their fathers' houses among the sons of Ithamar. 5 Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. 6 And the scribe, Shemaiah the son of Nethanel, one of the Levites, wrote them down before the king, the leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and Levites, one father's house taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. 7 Now the first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, 8 the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, 9 the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, 10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, 11 the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, 12 the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, 13 the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, 14 the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, 15 the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, 16 the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, 17 the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, 18 the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. 19 This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the Lord according to their ordinance by the hand of Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him. 20 And the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah.
      • Same way the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles represent all the faithful OT & NT believers.
        • Matt 19:28 - 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" 28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, 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.
        • Luke 22:30 - 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" 23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. 24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. 28 But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
      • In Revelation 5:9-10, the twenty-four elders sing a song of praise and worship to Jesus, and they cry out: For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In that passage, the twenty-four elders are clearly speaking as representatives of all God’s people, of the great company of the redeemed.
        • Revelation 5:9-10 - 9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
        • Rev 1:6 - and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
        • Rev 3:21 - To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
  • clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
    • The white robes and crowns of the elders seem to indicate that they are indeed human beings - in glory, of course.
      • Angels are sometimes presented in white robes or garments (Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10),
      • But saints also have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14) as a picture of their imputed righteousness (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:5-18).
      • White robes and palm branches speak of victory (Rev 7:9)
    • Angels are not numbered, crowned, enthroned.
      • Heb 12:22 - But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
    • Believers are and will be crowned we have no evidence that angels received rewards or crowns.
    • The crowns they wear are the "Victor's Crowns" (the Greek word Stephanos; See Rev 2:10). This reminds of that the Bema seat judgment for all believers. Here these elders might have judged and rewarded but rest of the Believers will be judged at the end.
    • In Rev 11:18 the 24 elders again saying that God should reward His servants, the prophets, and the saints.... Based on this verse this judgment may happen at the end after His 2nd coming but before the Millennium reign of Jesus Christ. Definitely before white thrown judgment happens for non-believers. (Read below in Application section about Believer Vs Non-Believer Judgment)
      • Rev 11:18 - 15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
    • Besides in Rev 7:11, the elders are distinguished form the angels (see Rev 5:8-11).
      • Rev 5:8-11 - 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,
      • Rev 7:11 - All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God
    • Therefore, redeemed, glorified man sits enthroned with Jesus. On lesser thrones, to be sure, but thrones none the less.
      • These are joint heirs with Christ
        • Romans 8:17 - and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
      • These are "Kings and Priest"
        • Rev 1:6 - and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
      • These will reign with Him.
        •  2 Timothy 2:12 - If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
      • These are overcomers who conquered because of their faith in Christ.
        • 1 John 5:4-5 - 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
    • These are clearly Saints who have been judged and rewarded representing all God's people.

Application: This "Victor's Crowns" (the Greek word Stephanos) reminds of that the Bema seat judgment for all believers. Here these elders have judged and rewarded and rest of the Believers will be judged before the 1000 years Millennial reign starts. For more details read the following topic Believer  Vs  Non-Believer Judgments    OR    Bema Seat   Vs  White Throne Judgments

5 An 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.

  • And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.
    • The lightning, thunder, voices and fire are reminiscent of God’s fearful presence at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19 and 20:18-19). They communicate the awe associated with the throne of God.
      • Exodus 19:16-19 - 16 Th Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.
      • Exodus 20:18-19 - 18 No Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
      • Ezekiel 1:13-14 - 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
    • These are the indications of a coming storm and reminders of God's awesome power
      • Exodus 9:23, 28 - 23 And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. 27 And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. 28 Entreat the Lord, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
    • These "storm signals" will be repeated during the time of judgment, always proceeding from the throne and temple of God
      • Rev 8:5 - Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
      • Rev 11:19 - Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
      • Rev 16:18 - And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
      • This is not related to above: Rev 19:6 - And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!
    • God has indeed prepared this throne for judgment:
      • Ps 9:7 - 7 But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. 8 He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
      • Rev 6:16 - 15 Then the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy people, the people with great power, and every slave and every free person – all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who will be able to survive?"
      • Ps 77:18 - 18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. 20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
  • Application:
    • Our world does not like to think of God as a God of judgment. They prefer to look at the rainbow around the throne and ignore the lightning and thunder out of the throne.
    • He is certainly the God of grace, but His grace reigns through righteousness. This was made clear at the cross where God manifested both His love for sinners and His wrath against sin.
      • Rom 5:21 - so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    • If you are not believer (born again in His Spirit), do not delay till you die or final judgment day but believe in Jesus and commit/give your life to Jesus right now. From then on...
    • Jesus is there for believers to help to overcome this world by going to this throne of grace boldly
      • Heb 4:16 - 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
    • Read Rev 1:4 notes for details about this seven Spirits of God.
      • Rev 1:4 - John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
      • Rev 5:6 - And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth
      • Lamp Stand and Lamps in OT: Ex 25:31-40 - 31 "You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. 32 And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. 33 Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower--and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. 34 On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. 35 And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. 36 Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. 37 You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. 38 And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. 39 It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. 40 And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.
    • The lamps of fire are important, because the Holy Spirit is not ordinarily visible. To be made visible, He represents Himself in a physical form, like a dove or a tongue of fire.
      • Matthew 3:16 - 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
      • Acts 2:3 - 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
    • Does this lamps of fire raises any question or reminds you of anything? Is there any lampstand referred here?  Where is the lampstand? Who is this lampstand represent?
      • God's Spirit gives life to the Church (lampstands):
        • Rev 1:12,13,20 - 12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.....20 This is the meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
        • 1 Cor 3:16 - 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
      • Jesus is the Head of the Church
        • For more details Read What is Church? section in Rev 1:20 notes
        • Col 1:18 - And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
      • God's Spirit watches all that we do as we noticed in Rev 2 and 3rd chapters:
        • Rev 5:6 - I looked and I saw a Lamb that had been killed but 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 are the seven spirits of God that are sent out into every part of the earth.
        • 2 Chr 16:9 - For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."
        • Zec 4:10 - For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."
        • Zec 1:8-11 - 8 I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then I said, "My lord, what are these?" So the angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what they are." 10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, "These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth." 11 So they answered the Angel of the Lord, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, "We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly."
      • God listens to our every conversation:
        • Mal 3:16 - Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.

Application:

Believers are mere lampstand without lamp of fire the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is our example and He lived such an exemplary life and shined as a light while he was in this earth:

  • John 9:5 - (Jesus said) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Same way Jesus expects us to follow His model and be light to this fallen world.

  • Matt 5:14 - 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

As a faithful believers we are expected to grow spiritually and shine brighter and brighter:

  • Prov 4:18 - 18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.

Even Jesus set a higher bar to all:

  • Matt 5:20 - For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

This is only possible by receiving/obtaining freely the God's righteousness is through faith in Jesus Christ. Do not try to earn this by your works but by trusting Jesus turn your heart to God and ask this God's Righteousness.

  • Rom 3:21-22 - 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
  • Rom 1:17 - For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
  • John 3:5-7 - 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

As a result of giving our life to Him He seals us with His Holy Spirit as a guarantee until we die or see Him face to face:

  • Eph 1:13-14 - 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
  • 2 Cor 1:21-22 - 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
  • 2 Cor 5:5 - Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
  • John 14:16-17 - 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
  • 1 Cor 3:16 - 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
  • 2 Cor 6:16 - And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people."

This is just a beginning. What is Next? God ask us to continue to abide with Jesus Christ:

  • John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

To abide with Jesus Christ and to produce the Fruit of the Holy Spirit we need to first fill by the Holy Spirit

  • Acts 1:8 - But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

God showed this symbolically on the day of the Pentecost. Holy Spirit is upon each believers head.

  • Acts 2:3 - 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

Then walk as per the Holy Spirit's leading:

  • Gal 5:22-25 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
  • NLT: Gal 5:22-25 - 22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

How often do we need to fill by His Holy Spirit?
God clearly says that we need to continuously be filled with His Holy Spirit. God clearly explains the effects/outcome of filling with His Holy Spirit in Eph 5:19-21.

  • Eph 5:18-21 - 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

6a Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.

  • Is this sea really made of glass, or does it just look like it?
    • Commentators are divided on this point. Some says “appearance, not material” and some says “material, not appearance.” We can see this “sea of glass” again in Revelation 15:2 where it is connected with believer’s victory over the mark of the beast and they are standing on this.
      • Rev 15:2 - And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
    • (Jon Courson) Because the tabernacle was a shadow of the reality of heaven (Hebrews 8–9), I believe the sea of glass is actually a glassy sea of literal water, of which the laver in the temple was a picture (Exodus 30:18).
  • A pure crystal sea symbolizes God’s holiness, and the mingled with fire speaks of His holy judgment.
  • The crystal “firmament” in Ezekiel’s vision was the foundation for God’s throne.
    • Ezekiel 1:22 - 22 The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings. 26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it
  • This tell us that the throne is located in a place that is undisturbed by the restless, wild tossings of this world, or by the opposition of the wicked, who are like a troubled sea. (Beliver's Bible Commentary by William MacDonald)
  • This shows the clear separation between world and heaven. Both can see through the sea of glass but world pollution or violent noise will never disturb God's throne. At the same time believers prayers are collected in the bowl of incense.
    • Rev 5:8 - Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints
  • This body of water before the throne is reminiscent of the laver in the Tabernacle
    • Exodus 30:17-21 - 17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 "You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them--to him and his descendants throughout their generations."

Application:

  • This body of water before the throne reminds our washing of the water by the word.
    • Ephesians 5:26 - 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
  • The word is to us a crystal glass, giving us a clear sight of God and of ourselves
    • John 1:1-5 - 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
    • 2 Peter 1:2-10 - 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
    • Ps 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
    • 2 Cor 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
    • James 1:23 - For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
  • In the Old Covenant (Before Jesus Christ) we can access God via High Priest and the High Priest has to wash his hands in the laver in the Tabernacle before enter into the Holy of Holies or serve the Lord in Altar.
  • How we can access the God's throne in the New Covenant?
    • Rom 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Rom 3:21-22 - 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
    • 1 Tim 2:5 - 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time
    • Heb 9:13-15 - 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
    • 1 John 1:9 - 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
    • Rom 5:2 - 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
    • Heb 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

6b And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8a The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.

  • And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
    • The Cherubim: (Gen 3:24, 2 Kings 19:15; Ezek 1, 10:1-22; 28:14-16)
      1. "Cherubim" plural for cherub.
      2. A Cherub guarded the entrance to the Garden - Gen 3:24.
      3. Cherubim were also prominent in design of the tabernacle, particularly in the Most Holy Place (Exodus 25:17-22 and 26:1, 31).
        1. Two Cherubim were placed on the top of the ark in the tabernacle and temple - Ex 25:19, 1 Kings 6:23-28
        2. Cherubim were also wrought (produced or shaped by beating with a hammer, as iron or silver articles.) into the texture of the inner curtain and the veil of the tabernacle - Ex 26:1,31
      4. and Carved on the doors of the temple - 1 Kings 6:32,35
      5. They guard the entrance to paradise - Ezek 1, 10:1-22
      6. They are represented as some how supporting the throne of God. Ezek 1:22-26, 10:1, 1 Sam 4:4, Ps 18:10, 80:1, 99:1
      Based on the above list these Cherubim chiefly guardians of the throne of God. Satan may have been one of the cherubim before he fell. Ez 28:14-16.
    • The Seraphim: The Seraphim mentioned by name only in Is 6:2.6.
      They seam to be distinct from the Cherubim, for God is said to be seated above the Cherubim but the Seraphim stand above him Is 6:2. Their duties are also different from those of the Cherubim.
      1. They led heaven in the worship of God almighty and
      2. Purify God's servants for acceptable worship and service Is 6:6-7.
      That is, they appear to be concerned with worship and holiness rather than justice and might in deep humility and profound reference they carry on their ministry. The Cherubim on the contrary are the guardians of the thrown of God and God's ambassadors extraordinary. Thus each has its distinct position and ministry.
    • Living Creatures:
      • Some identified the living creatures of Revelation 4:6-9 with the Seraphim and others with the Cherubim.
      • Compare with Is 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1:4-18, 22-26, and 10:20-22.
        • Location:
          • Cherubim is below the throne of God: Ezek 1:22-26, 10:1, 1 Sam 4:4, Ps 18:10, 80:1, 99:1
          • Seraphim is above the throne of God: Is 6:1-2
          • Living Creature is in the midst, and around the throne of God: Rev 4:6
        • Wings:
          •  Cherubim has four wings: Ez 1:6,9, 10:21
            • Eze 1:5-11 - 5 Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. 8 The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. 9 Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies
          • Seraphim has six wings:
            • Is 6:2 - Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
          • Living creatures has six wings: Rev 4:8
        • Eyes:
          • Cherubim has full of eyes in rims
            • Eze 1:18 - As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.
          •  Seraphim eye details not given in the Bible.
          • Living has full of eyes around and within: Rev 4:8
        • Face:
          • Each Cherubim has four faces: Eze 1:6, 10
          • Seraphim face details not given in the Bible.
          • Living creatures are described as four different individual living creature with four different faces: Rev 4:7
            • Whomever believe this is Cherubim they think these also has four faces and John sees each one of the four different faces pointed in his direction.
            • John also sees this Living Creatures individually in Rev 6:1 & 15:7. If he might have seen this four faces in that individual Living Creature then he might have mentioned that. Also there many differences are listed above.
        • Hands:
          • Cherubim has hand - Eze 1:8; 10:21
          • Seraphim puts live coal in Isaiah's mouth and purge his
            • Is 6:6-7 - 6  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged."
            • NIV: Is 6:6-7 - 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
          • Living Creatures hopefully uses hands to give:
            • Rev 15:7 - Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.
        • Feet:
          • Cherubim has feet - Eze 1:7; 10:21
          • Seraphim has feet - Is 6:2
          • Living Creatures had their feet to fell down before Jesus and worship:
            • Rev 5:8 - Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
        • Speaks & Sings:
          • Cherubim is not referred anywhere in the Bible as speaking/singing, but they mainly served
          • Seraphim  Speaks & Sings in Is 6:3,7
          • Living creatures Speaks & Sings in Rev 4:8; 5:9; 6:1,3,5,6,7
      • They seams like Seraphim but we have no much details found about Seraphim in the Bible. Compare these in Isaiah 6.
      • So it is probably best to identify them as a different type of angel than either the Seraphim or the Cherubim.
    • Living Creatures responsibilities:
      1. They worship God,
      2. direct the judgments of God Rev 6:1ff, 15:7
      3. and witness the worship of the 144 thousand Rev 14:3.
      4. They are active around the throne of God as are the Seraphim (above the throne) and Cherubim (below the throne).
    •  Their multitude of eyes indicates these living creatures (not “beasts” as in the KJV) are not blind instruments or robots. They know and understand, and have greater insight and perception.
      • KJV: Rev 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 word beast is very improperly used here and elsewhere in this description. Wiclif first used it, and translators in general have followed him in this uncouth rendering.” (Clarke)
  • The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.
    • John and Ezekiel 1:6-10, describes same faces the significance of these four faces has been interpreted in many ways.
    • The four faces have been said to represent the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, and so forth.
    • Some commentators say these four creatures speak of the ensigns of the lead tribe as Israel was encamped in four groups around the tabernacle in the wilderness. Numbers 2:3, 2:10, 2:18, and 2:25 mention this organization of the tribes under these four heads, but does not assign “mascots” to tribal banners. Seiss, Clarke, and Poole each mention this approach, and cite “Jewish writers” (Seiss), “ the Talmudists” (Clarke), and “the learned Mede . . . from the Rabbins” (Poole). Poole explains: “That these were the four creatures whose portraitures were in the four ensigns of the Israelites as they were marshaled into four companies, allotting the men of three tribes to each company. Judah’s standard had a lion in its colors, according to Jacob’s prophecy of that tribe, Genesis 49:9, Ephraim had an ox, Reuben had a man, Dan an eagle. This the learned Mede proves from the Rabbins, who, though fabulous enough, yet in such a thing may be credited.”
    • The four different faces of the living creatures are often taken as symbols of Jesus as represented in each gospel. In classical church architecture, these four “characters” are repeated often as a motif that signifies both heaven and the four gospels.
    • Most have seen Matthew as the “Lion” gospel, showing Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Mark is seen as the “Ox” gospel, showing Jesus as a humble servant, a worker. Luke is seen as the “Man” gospel, showing Jesus as the perfect man, the second Adam. John is seen as the “Eagle” gospel, showing Jesus as the man from heaven, the sky. But this approach also has other interpretations.

      Gospels in New Testament

      Traditional

      Victorinus

      Irenaeus

      Augustine

      Clarke

      Matthew - Royal Gospel of King, Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah

      Lion

      Man

      Man

      Lion

      Man

      Mark - Humble Servant or worker aspect of the Lord's Ministry

      Ox

      Lion

      Eagle

      Man

      Lion

      Luke - Compassionate Son of Man or Jesus as the perfect man the second Adam.

      Man

      Ox

      Ox

      Ox

      Ox

      John - The deity of Christ, the Son of God

      Eagle

      Eagle

      Lion

      Eagle

      Eagle


    • Perhaps it is safest to say that the four faces are important because they represent all of animate creation, in its utmost excellence.
    •  The lion is the mightiest of wild animals, the ox strongest of domesticated animals, the eagle king of all birds, and man is highest of all creation.
    • The living Creatures symbolizes God's Covenant with Noah Gen 9:8-17:
      • Genesis 9:8-17 - 8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth 11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." 17 And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."
        1. Full of eyes ---> Wisdom of God
        2. Man ---> Gen 9:9 - His covenant is with Noah
        3. Eagle ---> Gen 9:10 - the fowl/birds
        4. Ox/Calf ---> Gen 9:10 - the Cattle
        5. Lion ---> Gen 9:10 - the beast of the earth

Application:

  • “In Shemoth Rabba, sec. 23, fol. 122, 4, Rabbi Abin says: ‘There are four which have principality in this world: among intellectual creatures, man; among birds, the eagle; among cattle, the ox; and among wild beasts, the lion: each of these has a kingdom and a certain magnificence, and they are placed under the throne of glory, Ezekiel 1:10, to show that no creature is to exalt itself in this world, and that the kingdom of God is over all.’ These creatures may be considered the representatives of the whole creation.” (Clarke)
  • These cherubim are “Qualified with all necessary endowments, for the discharge of their duties, being bold as lions, painful as oxen, prudent as men, delighted in high flying as eagles.” (Trapp)
  • As well, it is significant to see that the Bible associates a face with the idea of person (1 Chronicles 12:8; 2 Chronicles 29:6; Isaiah 3:15, 13:8). In heaven we have Cherubim as a singular beings with four faces and Living Creatures with different faces. Apparently, there are beings that can be more than one person - as our God is One God in three Persons.
  • Poole says that these four faces illustrate the different personalities God’s ministers have: “By them is signified the various gifts with which God blesseth his ministers, giving to some more courage and fortitude, that they are like lions; to others more mildness and meekness, that they are like oxen or calves; others have more wisdom and prudence, which most adorn a man; others a more piercing insight into the mysteries of God’s kingdom, rendering them like eagles.
  • No matter what terrible judgment may fall on God's earth, He will be faithful to keep His word. Men may curse Him during the Judgment. But all His creation and nature will praise Him and magnify His Holiness.
    • Rev 16:9, 11, 21 - 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
      21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
  • These four Living Creatures represents entire creation of God. This proves that all are subject to our Lord God Almighty.

8b And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"

  • And they do not rest day or night,
    • They do not rest: “They have no rest, and yet they have no unrest neither, the sweet content they take in their continual employment is fitter to be believed than possible to be discoursed.” (Trapp)
    • They serve God 24x7. I believe there is no shift system but God created them with that capacity to continuously worship Him whole heartedly. As we saw earlier they are not beast nor robot but they are intelligent being.
  • saying: "Holy, holy, holy,
    • This living creatures are not even directly addressing the Lord God here. They are proclaiming His glorious nature and character to one another, in the presence of the Lord.
    • The living creatures surrounding the throne of God could see this probably more clearly than John could. We are often blind to the obvious glory of God all around us.
    • What is holy means?
      • Holy in Greek is hagios (G40) - In English it is translated as Holy and Saints - holy 161, saints 61, Holy One 4, misc 3
        means
      • most holy thing, a saint.
      • Holiness, at its root, has the idea of apartness. It describes someone, or something, which is set apart from other people or things.
        • An object can be holy if it is set apart for sacred service.
        • A person is holy if they are set apart for God’s will and purpose.
    • Sanctify in Greek is hagiazō (G37) derived from or root word is Holy - hagios (G40) - In English it is translated as sanctify 26, hallow 2, be holy 1
      means
      1. to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
      2. to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
        1. consecrate things to God
        2. dedicate people to God
      3. to purify
        1. to cleanse externally
        2. to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
        3. to purify internally by renewing of the soul
  • What does it mean that God is holy, and holy in the highest possible sense?
  • From what the Lord is set apart from?
    • He is set apart from creation, in that the Lord God is not a creature, and He exists outside of all creation. If all creation were to dissolve, the Lord God would remain. He is set apart from humanity, in that His “nature” or “essence” is Divine, not human.
    • God is not a super-man or the ultimate man. God is not merely smarter than any man, stronger than any man, older than any man, or better than any man. You can’t measure God on man’s chart at all. He is Divine, and we are human.
    • Yet, because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), humanity is compatible with Divinity.... They are different, but they do not automatically oppose each other. This is how Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, could add humanity to His deity when He became a man. Unfallen humanity is not deity, but it is compatible with it.
      • 2 Peter 1:3,4 - 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    • God’s holiness is a part of everything He is and does. God’s power is a holy power. God’s love is a holy love. God’s wisdom is a holy wisdom. Holiness is not an aspect of God’s personality; it is one characteristic of His entire Being.
  • Why do they repeat “holy” three times? Wasn’t it enough to simply say that the Lord was “holy” once?
    • It wasn’t enough. In the Hebrew language, intensity is communicated by repetition. To say the Lord is holy says something. To say the Lord is holy, holy, says far more. To say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord is to declare His holiness in the highest possible degree.
    • “In Hebrew, the double repetition of a word adds emphasis, while the rare threefold repetition designates the superlative and calls attention to the infinite holiness of God.” (Johnson)
      • ESV: John 3:5 - Jesus answered, "Truly, truly (KJV: Verily, verily, NKJV - Most assuredly), I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God
      • John 1:51, 3:1,5,11, 5:19,24,25, 6:26,32,47...
    • It wasn’t enough. They say it three times because there are Three Persons in the One God.
      • Calvin didn’t think that this was the best verse to prove the Trinity, but he still saw the truth of the Trinity here. “The ancients quoted this passage when the wished to prove that there are three persons in one essence of the Godhead . . . I have no doubt that the angels here describe One God in Three Persons.”
      • In some manuscripts this is repeated nine times (see your margin). Hopefully three Holy for each person in Godhead.
    • Trinity: Tri-Unity - A group consist of three closely related members. The union of three divine persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one God. Similar to us that we are made of Body, Soul and Spirit.
      • For more details read Trinity article.
      • Why Trinity is important?
        1. The Bible shows very clearly that there is only one God, and yet that there are three personal distinctions in His complex nature, traditionally referred to as "three Persons in the Godhead"God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
        2. Each is distinct from the others but never acts independently. They are one in nature and purpose. This mystery is called the doctrine of the Trinity, though that term is not used in the Bible. The teaching, however, is present in seed form in the Old Testament and is revealed explicitly in the New Testament. Note passages such as Matthew 28:19; John 10:30, 14:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14.
        3. Our finite minds cannot understand or explain this mystery of God, which is nevertheless a fact. We must accept the truths found in the Word of God by faith even though we ourselves cannot comprehend them fully; read Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6 and 1 Corinthians 2:5-10, 14; 13:12.
        4. It is really not surprising that the infinite God should be complex in His nature beyond the ability of finite humans to comprehend! This doctrine is absolutely essential to New Testament Christianity. Theologians have pointed out that if it were not true, the Bible would be unreliable, Christ would not be divine, and His death on the cross would not atone for our sins, being merely the death of a martyr.
  • Application: 1 Peter 1:16- 3:17 (1:16,22; 2:2,5,9,10,11,12,15,16; 3:17) - "Be holy, for I am holy."...
  • Lord God Almighty,
    • The living creatures declare that the Lord God is Almighty. As in Revelation 1:8, the ancient Greek word is pantokrator (Almighty), with the idea of “the one who has His hand on everything.”
  • Who was and is and is to come!"
    • This repeats another idea from Revelation 1:8, and refers to God’s eternal Being. It translates the thought behind the meaning of the name “Yahweh.”
  • 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

    • Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne.
      • "To ascribe worth" - It means to use all that we are and have to Praise God for all that He is and does
      • The worship of the twenty-four elders is prompted by the living creatures. Since the living creatures worship God day and night, so do the elders.
        • These beings of incredible intelligence and understanding live their existence to worship God. All failure to truly worship is rooted in a lack of seeing and understanding.
        • The way these super-intelligent beings worship God reminds us that our worship must be intelligent. “Our service must not be rash but reasonable, Romans 12:1, such as wherefore we can render a reason. God hates a blind sacrifice, a Samaritan’s service, when men worship they know not what nor why, John 4:22.” (Trapp)
        • Knowing angels should worship God should prompt our worship also. Do we have any less to praise Him or thank Him for?Do we sing as much as the birds do? Yet what have birds to sing about, compared with us? Do we sing as much as the angels do? Yet they were never redeemed by the blood of Christ. Birds of the air, shall you excel me? Angels, shall you exceed me? You have done so, but I intend to emulate you, and day by day, and night by night, pour forth my soul in sacred song.” (Spurgeon, Holy Song from Happy Saints)
        • Let us praise God as they do.
      • The twenty-four elders worship (which means to credit worth or worthiness to) God. The elders credit God for their own work and reward, and they do this as they cast their crowns before the throne. They recognize that the worth, the worthiness belongs to God, not to themselves.
        • Casting the crowns simply acts out their declaration, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power. If God is worthy of the glory and honor and power, then He should get the crown.
        • There is also an allusion made to a practice known in the Roman Empire. The Emperor of Rome ruled over many lesser kings, and these kings were at time commanded to come before the Emperor and lay their crowns down before him in homage. Then he would give them back, as a demonstration that their crowns, their right to rule, their victory, came from him. “This is an allusion to the custom of prostrations in the east, and to the homage of petty kings acknowledging the supremacy of the emperor.” (Clarke)
        • The crowns mentioned in Revelation 4:10 are the stephanos crowns, the crowns of victory, not royalty. These are the crowns of achievement that a winning athlete would receive at the ancient Olympian Games. The twenty-four elders - representing all the redeemed of God - throw every achievement reward they have back to God, because they know and proclaim that He is worthy . . . to receive glory and honor and power.
        • “Our text says they all cast their crowns before the throne. There are no divided opinions in heaven, no sects and parties, no schisms there. They are all in perfect harmony and sweet accord. What one does, all do. They cast their crowns, without exception, before the throne. Let us begin to practice that unanimity here. As fellow Christians, let us get rid of everything that would divide us from each other, or separate us from our Lord. I do not read that there was a single elder who envied his brother’s crown, and said, ‘Ah, I wish I were such an one as he is, and had his crown.’ I do not read that one of them began to find fault with his brother’s crown, and said, ‘Ah, his jewels may be bright, but mine have a peculiar tint in them, and are of greater excellence.’ I do not read ought of dissension; they were all unanimous in casting their crowns at Jesus’ feet. They were all unanimous in glorifying God.” (Spurgeon)
    • "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
      • We confess a fondness for the King James Version translation. The wonderful phrase and for thy pleasure they are and were created reminds us that we each exist to give glory and pleasure to God. Until we do that, we don’t fulfill our created purpose.
        • KJV: 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.
      • The twenty-four elders worship God because of His creative power and glory. The fact that God is Creator gives Him all right and every claim over everything - even as a potter has all rights and claims over the clay (Romans 9:21).
        • God’s right over us as Creator is a fact that can be accepted and enjoyed, or rejected, leading to frustration. There is tremendous value in our recognizing our “creatureliness” before God.
        • God’s power put forth in the creation and administration of the world is twice here mentioned; as that which can never be sufficiently admired and adored.” (Trapp)
      • Because they represent all the people of God, the worship, the crown, the robes, the heart of these twenty-four elders belongs to us also. “There is a throne in heaven that no one can occupy but you, and there is a crown in heaven that no other head can wear but yours, and there is a part in the eternal song that no voice can ever compass but yours, and there is a glory to God that would be wanting if you did not come to render it, and there is a part of infinite majesty and glory that would never be reflected unless you should be there to reflect it!” (Spurgeon)
      • But it also means that we should be planning ahead for that great day. “If you and I should walk into some great cathedral where they were singing, and ask to be allowed to sing in the choir, they would ask whether we had ever learnt the tune, and they would not let us join unless we had. Nor can we expect that untrained voices should be admitted into the choirs above. Now, dear brothers and sisters, have you learnt to cast your crowns at the Savior’s feet already?” (Spurgeon)

    Application:

    • Read article about Worshiping our God that covers...
      • What is Worship means?
      • How often we need to Worship?
      • Why we need to Worship?
      • What Posture we need to use to worship?
      • Is this Posture is must/mandatory/important? Why today's church and we are not following if this or especially the fall down posture is must? Is it possible to worship continuously with these positions?
      • How we should not worship?
      • How to worship continuously?
      • Have you learnt to cast your crowns at the Savior’s feet already and experiencing the Lordship our Lord Jesus Christ? Is Jesus is just a friend or Lord?

    The theme of this hymn is God the Creator, while in Revelation 5 the elders praise God the Redeemer. The praise in Revelation 4 is given to the Father on the throne, while in Revelation 5 it is directed to the Son (the Lamb) before the throne. The closing hymn (rev 5:13) is expressed to both, another proof of the deity of Jesus Christ.

    • Creation bears constant witness to the power, wisdom and glory of God (Ps 19).
    • Acknowledging the Creator is the first step toward trusting the Redeemer (See Acts 14:8-18; 17:22-31).
    • “All things were created by Him (Christ) and for Him… and by Him all things consist (Hold together) “ (Col 1:16-17)

    But sinful man worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator, and this is idolatry (Rom 1:25). Furthermore, sinful man has polluted and destroyed God’s wonderful creation; and he is going to pay for it (see Rev 11:18)

    Creation is for God’s praise and pleasure, and man has no right to usurp that which rightfully belongs to God. Man plunged creation into sin, so that God ‘s good creation (Gen 1:31) is today a groaning creation (Rom 8:22) ; but because of Christ’s work on the cross it will one day be delivered and become a glorious creation (Rev 8:18 -24)

    It is unfortunate that he church today often neglects to worship the God of creation. The real answer to the ecological problem is not financial or Legal, but Spiritual. It is only when man acknowledges the Creator and begins to use creation to God’s glory that the problems will be solved.

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