THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 4
A Glimpse of Heaven
Having shown John the conditions of the Seven Church Ages, God now goes on to show him events that will come to pass in the course of time. This chapter not only presents John as a type of the Bride of Jesus Christ being raptured into the Heaven as the Church Age closes out but also shows the Bride being caught up in the Spirit of Revelation.
Verse 1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The first voice was the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev.1:10-11). Like a trumpet that is blown to call one's attention, the voice called John's attention to an open door in heaven right after Christ had shown John the conditions of the Seven Churches. Because the Bride of Jesus Christ is called out of the whorish and apostate system of the church, she is no longer living in the realm of the Laodicean Age. So God set an open door for her to enter the heavenly realm. And like an eagle soaring high in the sky, she is being lifted into a higher realm a realm where she is given eagle's eyes to see the distant end of God's Prophetic Word right up to the Age of Regeneration, the Great White Throne Judgement and the unveiling of the New Heaven and New Earth. The organized churches may peep through the door and see a little of 'this thing' and a little of 'that thing'. But they have nothing compared to what the Bride is seeing and enjoying. Only the Bride is invited to come up hither and get inside the heavenly door and shown things which must be hereafter as the Spirit of Revelation unfolds the prophecies of God. Therefore, if you have the ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying now, you will flee from the curse of denominationalism and come quickly to receive this invitation of the Lord to come up hither into the heavenly door placed open before you in this hour.
After this or after these things denotes the transition from one part of the vision to another it marks the succession of the visions and not of time. Things which shall be hereafter means after the things which are, that is, the conditions of the seven local churches in Asia Minor shown to John who was asked to write a letter to each of them. See Revelation 1:19. Simply, it means the things which would come to pass from John's time forward into the future.
Verse 2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Straightaway John was caught up in the Spirit of Revelation. He was caught up into heaven in a vision and saw the Almighty sitting on a throne. Let me emphasize once again that the spirit of John was not transported into the future, to every century, to witness events literally as they happened. Unfortunately, this is what some preachers are teaching. For example, they believe that John's spirit was literally carried to the time of the Dark Ages to witness the slaughtering of men, women and children by the Roman Catholic Church. They believe that John's spirit was also literally there at the precise time to witness Christians being eaten alive by wild beasts in the Roman sports arenas where pagans gathered to enjoy the brutalities. They believe that his spirit was again literally taken further into the future to see the Two Witnesses prophesy the Word of God in the Land of Israel. Such teaching is completely contrary to simple Bible exegesis. The fact is that John was never literally taken by the Spirit of God into the past or the future to witness the events. If it was so, he would have recorded literally all that he had witnessed. Instead the Book of Revelation is full of symbols. The truth is that, though his physical body was on the Isle of Patmos, John was caught up in the Spirit of Revelation, in a vision, to see and bear witness of all that he was shown concerning the future (and a little of the past). It all happened in 96 A.D. What he actually saw were pictorial scenes depicting certain truths and events. Symbols were mostly used in the series of visions so that only the true endtime Bible believers who have the spirit of wisdom and revelation would understand what they mean. The true believers will understand between what was depicted symbolically and what was shown literally in John's vision.
In this Laodicean Age, which is the last Church Age, the Lord has advised the believers in the church to have their eyes anointed with eyesalve, that they may see and understand their condition (cf. Rev.3:18). However, one must prayerfully seek for the eyesalve from the Lord. The eyesalve is that which the faithful Apostle Paul had prayed to the Lord for the Ephesian believers Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places (Eph.1:15-20). Amen. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph.1:3). That's right. Now, God does not want your flesh, which is corrupt and full of deceit. He wants your spirit, which is your inward man, that He may set you in heavenly places in Christ Jesus in the revelation of His Word. He wants you to be enlightened and to understand all things concerning the Bride of Christ until you are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and be caught away in the rapture of the Bride.
And one sat on the throne. This is a self-evident statement: John saw One sat on the Throne because there is only One God. If there is a Trinity (of Gods) John would have seen three Gods sitting on three thrones in heaven. If you are a believer of a Holy Trinity, you should now realise that you are being deceived by traditional theology of man. Most theologians have chopped God into three pieces. Some theorize that there is One Throne with Three Persons sitting on it; others believe that there are Three Thrones for the Three Persons of God. However, let God be true, but every man a liar (Rom.3:4). The Bible states that John saw only one sat on the throne and He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Who has been invested with the authority of the Almighty God. He now sits in the Father's throne because He has overcome and defeated all the forces of evil by His obedience to the Word of God.
Verse 3: And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
Christ Jesus, Who is sitting on the throne, is full of the glory of God. He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9). He is the image of the invisible God (Col.1:15). Jesus Christ is the visible form of God that man could see, for the Almighty God is an invisible Spirit Whom no one can see (1 Tim.1:17; 6:16). Amen. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim.2:5). He who knows the Son of God knows the Heavenly Father (Jhn.14:9, cf. 1:18).
The emerald coloured rainbow round about the throne signifies the Life, Grace and Mercy of the Almighty as the God of covenants. He cannot lie nor will He fail to keep His promises (cf. Heb.6:13-19). Jesus Christ was the promised SON of the covenant which God made with Abraham.
Verse 4: And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
These twenty-four Elders represent the Old Testament and the New Testament Church of God. They typify the twelve Patriarchs of Israel of the Old Testament and the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ of the New Testament. These two groups of twelve speak of the following: '2' testifies of witness and '12' signifies the perfect government of God. The Oracles of God came through the Patriarchs of Israel and the foundation of these Oracles was laid by the Apostles through the revelation they received of the Holy Spirit. In Revelation 21:12 we see that the names of the twelve tribes and of the twelve Apostles are inscribed on the gates and on the foundation of the Holy City New Jerusalem respectively. In a way this pictorial scene depicts how the glory and the authority of the Heavenly Father come into His Holy City New Jerusalem, the City that Abraham was looking for (Heb.11:10). They come through the Son (the One sitting on the throne, with the glory of the Father), to the Patriarchs and then to the Apostles (the twenty-four elders, with glorified bodies and crowns of authority on their heads, sitting around the throne of God). Now, the glory and authority of God are given not only to the twenty-four elders; they are also given to the members of the Bride of Jesus Christ of every age as more thrones will be set in Heaven according to Revelation 20:4. (Read Revelation 3:21, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 and Daniel 7:27.) In the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, during the Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28), all the members of the Bride of Christ will be delegated a position of authority by Christ as they reign with Him over the earth. They will continue to hold their positions of authority, after the Great White Throne Judgement is complete, when all the saints that make up the Holy City New Jerusalem will come down upon the New Heaven and New Earth. See? The glory and authority of God come from the top and are spread downwards, like a pyramid, so to speak.
Verse 5: And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
In the Old Testament era, when God met with the people of Israel on Mount Sinai and when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, there were lightnings, thunders, a thick cloud, the voice of trumpet, and earthquake, smoke and fire (Ex.19:16-18). Such phenomena show the awesome omnipotence of the Almighty God particularly when God is about to pass judgement or show His wrath from His throne. On Mount Sinai, the thick cloud shrouded the glory of God from the people below. But in the vision of John, no shrouding cloud was necessary. Why? Because seated on the throne was the Mercy of God Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and man. It is the Lord Jesus Who stays the wrath of God and save all those who trust in Him. He is the Mercy of God Who took the form of man to feel our infirmities (Phil.2:7; Heb.5:1-6). He imparts to man the Grace of God.
Notice that John also heard voices coming from the throne. These voices denote revelations proceeding from the throne. Every true revelation must originate from the Throne of God. In Revelation 1:15; 14:2 and 19:6 we read that His voice sounded like many waters. It is soothing, sweet and peaceful compared to the loud trumpeting voice on Mount Sinai which produced fear in the children of Israel.
And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. This shows that the fire of God lit the lamps of all the Seven Church Ages. In every age, after a message was given, the Spirit that was responsible for the message would keep the Word of God alive in the Bride of Christ in his age until God lit another lamp. In the Old Testament, the golden candlestick with seven lamps was placed on the southern side of the Holy Place facing the table of shewbread. Its fire, which brightened the whole room, was actually taken off from the brazen altar which stood on the western side by the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. This fire from the altar originally fell from God. The High Priest took the fire and lit the first lamp and from it he lit the rest. Hence, we see a reflection of this in the New Testament. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Fire of God came down like a mighty rushing wind and stayed on for about 23 years. As the fire began to die, the Seven Candlesticks were set up. Picking up the original fire that fell at Pentecost, Jesus Christ lit the first lamp through the first of the Seven Spirits. The fire burned for some years and before it went out, Christ lit another lamp as the second Spirit picked up the fire. This continued consecutively until all the Seven Lampstands were lit. The fire on the last Lampstand, which was lit sometime in the beginning of the 20th Century, is about to go out in this age. But the living members of the Bride of Christ are pulling away from the spirit of Laodicea as Christ lifts them higher into the prophetic realm of the Spirit of God. There, in that prophetic 'Eagle' realm, Christ imparts the complete revelation of Himself to His Bride. The Bride does not only get the revelation of the Word, she also reaches out for the anointing, the life and the glory all that Christ is. Amen! She is gradually dying to self as she gets into the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 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.
Verse 7: And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
This sea of glass like unto crystal denotes a sea of people who are pure and holy. These are the chosen few who are the redeemed and the overcomers of every age. They stand before their Lord and Master and await their rewards (Rom.14:10; 2 Cor.5:10). Later, they will sit on thrones set up for them (Rev.20:4).
There is another sea of glass in Revelation 15:2 but it is mingled with fire. This sea of people came through the fire of the Great Tribulation. They died for their faith. They are the Tribulation Saints who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. They will resurrect and be judged before the Millennial Reign of Christ begins (Rev.20:4).
The four beasts should be called the four living creatures. They are guardian angels with great intelligence. They know what is before and behind them (cf. Ezek.1:5,18). They guard the way to the Tree of Life. Right after the Fall of Adam and Eve, God expelled the couple from the Garden of Eden and placed these cherubim (some are called seraphim, see Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1 and 10) in the east of the Garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve (in their fallen state) from ever eating of the Tree of Life and live forever. The Tree of Life is the Living Word of God. Adam and Eve were eating of this tree until they fell into temptation and ate of the other tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (which represents the perverted knowledge of the Truth). Hence, what is recorded in the Book of Genesis and in this verse show that fallen man, try as he may, can never partake of eternal life by any other way except the ordained way of the Cross of Christ. Figuratively speaking, no one can sneak up on the Tree of Life when so many eyes are constantly watching. Even in the Old Testament time, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and camped out in the wilderness, God organized them in divine order. Compassing around the Tabernacle of Moses, there were three tribes on each side with one of these four banners the likeness of a lion, an ox, a man and a flying eagle. Every one of those warriors of Israel would fight and die, if necessary, just to guard the Ark of the Covenant that was in the Tabernacle.
In the New Testament, we have the Four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Respectively, these four books reflect the nature and characteristics of Jesus Christ as the lion, which represents His royalty and kingship; the ox, which represents His patience and sacrifice; the man, which represents His sympathy and humanity; and the flying eagle, which represents His glorious majesty and divinity. These four books guard as well as open up the way to eternal life. They are the 'Good News' of salvation in Christ Jesus Who is seated on the Throne of God. So, the only way by which one can come into the Life of God is the 'Gospel Way'.
Verse 8: And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
These living creatures were not created and programmed by God to worship Him day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Some preachers, in an effort to ensure that their teachings stick, have literally made a nonsense of certain Scriptural doctrines. They teach that the angelic beings were programmed to worship God robotically. In Genesis 1:26, in speaking to the angels, God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. If the angelic beings were created in the image and likeness of God, then they certainly could not be robots. They have the freewill to make their own choices. Like Adam and Eve, these living creatures, together with all the other heavenly beings, were tested at some point in time past after they were created. Unlike the one-third of the heavenly host who chose to follow Lucifer in His rebellion against the authority of God, these creatures made the right choice of serving the Lord willingly. Of course, the difference between the angelic beings and mankind is that, one is created to be the bond-servants of God; the other to be the children of God. One is accepted through OBEDIENCE as servants, the other is accepted through the BLOOD (of God's Only Son) as children.
Verse 9: And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
Verse 10: The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Verse 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.
What humility! Even with such high positions bestowed upon them, the 24 Elders placed their crowns before the throne, prostrated themselves before the Lord and worshipped Him whenever the four beasts offer glory, honour and thanksgiving to the One sitting on the throne. They offer us an excellent example of humility in respect of our position in the Church of God because people tend to get high-minded when they are in certain positions. Some make themselves lords over God's heritage while others make themselves the chiefest of God's servants.
Let us be really humble and worship the Lord, giving Him all glory, honour and power. Amen.
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Revelation Chapter 5
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