The Book of Revelation
The fourth chapter begins the third part of the great book of Revelation. The book is divided into three parts:
1. “…the things which thou hast seen,…”according to Chapter 1
2. The Things Which Are according to Chapters 2 & 3
3. The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter - Chapters 4 through 22
This chapter is made up of the following:
1. The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter - Revelation 4:1
2. The Heavenly Throne - Revelation 4:2-3
3. The 24 Elders - Revelation 4:4
4. The Seven Spirits - Revelation 4:5
5. The Sea of Glass and the Four Living Creatures - Revelation 4:6-8
6. Heavenly worship - Revelation 4:9-11
The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter
Even though the major part of the book of Revelation, chapters 4-19, take up the bulk of this book, this particular part covers approximately seven years. Chapters 20, 21, and 22 pertain to the eternal ages.
1 After this I looked,
-represents the time after the churches, or in other words, the time after the rapture
and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
-gives John the ability to see what is taking place there
and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;
-is actually the voice of Jesus harking back to Revelation 1:10
which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
-after the rapture of the church
Verse 1 Note: The words “after this” refer to the time after the rapture of the church. The Greek word is “meta tauta” and it means “after the things of the churches” of Revelation 2:3
The door opened unto heaven constituted a real opening or portal or entrance that John might see into heaven. And the first voice that he hears is still the voice of Revelation 1:10, the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When he tells John to “…Come up hither…” and saying “…I will show you things which must be hereafter.” He, Jesus, is speaking once again of the things that will take place in the great tribulation period after the rapture of the church.
The Heavenly Throne
2 And immediately I was in the spirit:
-John saw these things in a vision.
and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
-God the Father
Verse 2 Note: John says in the first part of verse 2 “…immediately I was in the spirit…” which means “I came to be in the Spirit.” However, it should be noted that John could not have seen these things had he not been in the Spirit.
Bible scholars have long debated the question whether John actually was physically transported to heaven or saw all of this in a vision. The Lord is able to have done either. However, it is probable that John was given this tremendous revelation in a vision.
In the second verse, he says that he saw a throne in heaven and “…one sat on the throne.” He then describes the throne.
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.
-This proclaims the glory of God which is beyond comprehension
Verse 3 Note: The throne and its surroundings resemble jasper and the sardine stone. The jasper is semi-transparent. And the sardine or sardius stone is red. He said there was a rainbow round about the throne, and it looked like an emerald which is green. The sight of this throne must have been a wonder to behold.
When you mix the colors of the rainbow, set in a sea of emerald green, and combine the red of the sardius stone with the semi-transparency of the jasper stone, the beauty must be beyond compare. God the Father sat on the throne. He has a spirit body. Notice, I said a spirit body, not a flesh, blood and bone body. Some deny that God has a spirit body, but John plainly said He saw One sitting on the throne, so it must have been a figure encased in light seated on this beautiful throne. I realize that some quote John’s statement “no man hath seen God at any time” according to John 1:18. This would seem to be a contradiction. However, the word “seen” in John 1:18 in the Greek is “horao.” It means “to see with the eyes and with the mind.” In John 1:18, it means to comprehend or understand fully. John is saying that no man has ever comprehended or experienced God at any time in all His fullness save The Only Begotten Son. He hath declared Him. The Greek word John used was not used in the sense that men had not seen God with their eyes because there are several instances in the Word of God where men have seen God: Genesis 18:2, 33; 32:24-30; Exodus 24:10; 33:11; Joshua 5:13; Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 7:9-14; 10:5-6. So, if John said it was God on the throne, then we must believe that he actually saw God.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: (thrones) and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting,
-These men represent the entirety of the work of God as it pertains to believers with, no doubt, a mixture of prophets and apostles.
clothed in white raiment;
-represents the righteousness of Christ
and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Verse 4 Note: In this 4th verse reference to four and twenty seats, the word “seats” is the same word translated “throne” in verse two. So, around God’s throne are 24 literal thrones. On those thrones, John saw 24 elders clothed in white raiment, and they wore crowns of gold. Who are these elders? The Greek word for “elder” is “presbuteros” which means “elder” and is never used of angels. In Revelation, angels are never seen on thrones or wearing crowns. The white raiment is used relative to Christ and the saints. We are speaking only of Revelation. It is clear from other passages that one of these elders is a redeemed man, so if one is redeemed, then all are. These 24 elders could have been any of the prophets or saints who lived before John. It is even possible that some of the elders could have been New Testament saints who lived until the Rapture of the church because the events John was seeing would take place thousands of years later. As far as fulfillment is concerned, it is not brought to pass even yet. So, these 24 elders could have been anyone who lived from the Rapture back to Abel.
Why are there 24 elders, and how is this number significant? The answer is not given. But two facts we know:
1) The whole priesthood of old was represented by the 24 elders - 1 Chronicles 24:1-19.
2) The names of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles are written on the Holy City, New Jerusalem - Revelation 21:10-14.
The Seven Spirits
John sees a beautiful throne in colorful array. He sees the thrones and the elders. He sees lightnings, thunderings, and voices proceeding from the throne, then he says something even more peculiar, “and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” So, what did John see? We know first of all that there are not seven Holy Spirits. In the 6th verse of the 5th chapter, John elaborates saying, he saw a Lamb slain, “…having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God…” Since the Lamb has the seven horns and seven eyes, and we know there is only one Lamb, we also know this is symbolic of Christ. The seven lamps of fire in Revelation 4:5, the seven horns and seven eyes are all symbolic of the One Holy Spirit. They denote the fullness and power upon the Lamb and before the throne.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices:
-whatever all of this is, it is constant.
and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
-This represents the totality and universality of The Holy Spirit. The number seven is God’s number of perfection.
The Sea of Glass and the Four Living Creatures
The Living Creatures
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal:
-presents that which is perfectly transparent
and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts (living creatures) full of eyes before and behind.
-This is introducing creatures we have no knowledge of and are beyond comprehension as so much in Heaven actually is.
Verse 6 Note: The sea of glass which John saw was like crystal was the floor of the Throne Room. John said “…and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”
The beasts were “zoa” which means “living ones” or “living creatures.” These were strange looking beings similar to the ones Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel 1:4-28 and chapter 10:1-22. John said these creatures were full of eyes before and behind which obviously meant there was a row of eyes that encircled each.
7 And the first beast (living creature) 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.
-these strange creatures are before the throne constantly
Verse 7 Note: From this description, we can conclude that each creature was different. One was like a lion, the other a calf, another like a man, and another like an eagle. Each one had a head. The one in Ezekiel’s vision had one head with 4 faces (a man, a lion, an ox, an eagle.) Each creature John saw had six wings whereas those Ezekiel saw had four. Ezekiel 1: 6
There are seven things living creature continually do.
1. Call attention to God’s Holiness – Revelation 4:4-8
2. Fall prostrate in worship – Revelation 5:8-10
3. Sing and play harps – Revelation 5:8-10
4. Offer prayers of saints to God – Revelation 5:8-10
5. Call forth the horsemen – Revelation 6:1-8
6. Give vials to angels – Revelation 15:7
7. Listen to worship of others – Revelation 14:3
8 And the four beasts (living creatures) had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within:
-signifying the revealing of their innermost nature and being
and they rest not day and night,
-proclaiming that these beings are spirit and not flesh
saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
-Using this threefold repetition calls attention to the infinite holiness of God.
Verse 8 Note: From the description, it seems that these living creatures resting not day and night constantly saying “…Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” were created for this purpose. They have been praising God since they were created and are doing so at this very moment and will be doing so forever.
In the Word of God, we are given only a glimpse of the wonders God has created and no doubt, we will be very pleasantly surprised when we see all He has done. Many interpret these creatures to be symbolic of all God’s creation, but there is no reference in the Word of God to the veracity of such. However, He does give us a hint of Heaven. Romans 1:19-20 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” So, it would seem that God’s creation on earth of the lion, the calf, and the eagle were not new. At least the possibility exists that there are creatures in heaven similar to those on earth, but they will not have suffered the curse of the fall as the animal kingdom on earth has. We know that the lion, the calf, and the eagle John described were similar to what we know as a lion and a calf, but there were differences. The animals on earth have only two eyes. John said these were full of eyes as before and behind. They also had six wings. An eagle has two wings on earth, but the eagle that John saw had six wings. The lion, the calf, and the man had six wings. These speak. The earth’s animal kingdom does not.
9 And when those beasts (living creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
-If these creatures can constantly give God glory and honor and thanks, how can we, who have known the glorious redemption of Our Lord, do any less?
Verse 9 Note: We are given a glimpse into heavenly worship. Even though these living creatures do many things, it seems their major function is to worship God.
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever,
-The action of the 24 elders who represent the church of the Living God in Heaven proclaims what the church on earth ought to be.
and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
-presents the acknowledgement of their royal state. It all comes from God.
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
-Unless the Lord’s worth is sensed by the worshipper, one’s own unworthiness will never be realized
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
-In effect, the praises of those 24 elders tell us that the creation (every part of the creation) is going to be completely restored and all because of what Christ did at The Cross.
Verse 11 Note: When these living creatures begin to worship God, the 24 elders will fall prostrate before the Lord, and cast their crowns before the throne. This seems to say we acknowledge the supremacy of God, “You have redeemed us, and we have our crowns because of your blessings.”
We are told in the 11th verse the purpose for creation “and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Of all God’s creation, which evidently is so vast, that we only know in part, earth is the only part of rebellion. What we see on this earth was not created by God to be this way. The rebellion against God that resulted with the fall of man (instigated by lucifer) is the cause of the difficulties of this planet. Man has been cursed. The animal kingdom has been cursed and the earth as well. It now “groans for redemption” according to Romans 8:21 and 22. The book of Revelation tells us how God will complete the work of redemption to bring the earth and all of its inhabitants to its rightful place and position.
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT