The TEXT for PART THREE: Read Revelation 4:1-11
“AN OPEN DOOR” – Revelation 3:20:
JESUS speaking,  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.”
The conversation continues, but with John speaking – Revelation 4:1:
AFTER THIS I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future.” (Amplified)
ENTERING THE THRONE ROOM –
Understanding Spiritual Things…
People today have an unprecedented longing to understand spiritual things by going to “mediums” or spiritualists and paying thousands of dollars in attempting to touch the supernatural.
Despite all these claims of going to heaven and the Lord, the person returning with a message from “God” are in contrast with REVELATION 4 and the rest of the Scriptures depicting the THRONE OF GOD.
To claim that someone has gone to see “God” in His highest heaven is not only wrong, unscriptural–NO ONE has seen God at anytime, even those who saw the THRONE ROOM. They didn’t see GOD in His full glory!
That said, I do believe people can have visions and dreams that should be tested purely with Scripture and not with our own reasoning, or logic, but solely based on the Word of God.
CHAPTER 4 Looking Through the OPEN DOOR…
Past What Was Said In the Letters to the Churches:
The Apostle John’s writing style spins the story ever wider and wider until you get a full picture of what he sees. He does this throughout his Epistles, and Gospel, and now in this letter of Prophecy as well. It is so the reader, you and I, can have no disagreement who JESUS is in the midst of our own lives.
THE PURPOSE OF REVELATION…as we find ourselves drawing closer to JESUS…we’re not afraid of the images and symbolism portrayed on the pages in the upcoming chapters. Sure, the events are unnerving at times, even scary, but “the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 111:10).
Drawing near to JESUS during our study is the objective, NOT CLOSER to what you want, but closer to who He is!
REVELATION 4 & 5
In chapters 4 and 5 are found the greatest descriptions of HEAVEN in the whole Bible. G.K. Beale, one commentator’s scholarly opinion said,
“The main point of chapters 4-5 is God’s punitive and redemptive purpose for the world beginning to be accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ, through whose reign God’s purpose for creation will be consummately executed and divine glory accomplished. The pastoral purpose is to assure suffering Christians that God and Jesus are sovereign and that the events that the Christians are facing are part of a sovereign plan that will culminate in their redemption and the vindication of their persecution.” [See Footnote [i] ]
Our First Glimpse Into the THRONE ROOM – Revelation 4:1:
The Lord specifically commanded John “to come up here,” which refers to heaven. This is in contrast to the “so-called” visions that people have had today in being transported to heaven. Scripture clearly teaches, only two human beings have been to heaven while here on earth, the Apostles John and Paul in the third heaven and live to continue their life on earth.
Some may see this “coming up” to refer to THE RAPTURE of the church, however, this verse doesn’t describe the church ascending to heaven in resurrected glorification, but John going to heaven to receive glorification.
Who IS on the THRONE?
John plainly tells us who’s ON THE THRONE–
What is going on around the throne–
What comes from the throne–
What stands before the throne–
Who is in the center and around the throne and…
What is directed toward the throne.
Verse 4:2 Amplified Bible:
At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne! [Ezek. 1:26 for reference].
Four times in the Book of REVELATION, John says he was “in the Spirit” [1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10].
“AT ONCE I CAME UNDER THE [HOLY] SPIRIT…” means, he was immediately transported from where he was to where he finds himself, at the THRONE in heaven.
This means he stood face to face right in the middle of the throne room, right where our Lord and Savior dwells and someone is sitting on it.
THRONE=Rule and Authority
The THRONE is a symbol of God’s sovereign rule and authority [Psalm 11:4; 103:10 and Isaiah 66:1].
The use of the THRONE here, emphasizes that although God’s realm is separate from the earthly, He is nevertheless in control over earth’s affairs. Regardless of the circumstances of how rampant evil seems to run causing God’s people to suffer, they can know that His hand controls everything for their good and His glory.
The Picture Revealed in REVELATION 4:3 NIV:
“And the one who sat there had the appearance of JASPER and CARNELIAN. A RAINBOW, resembling an EMERALD, encircled the throne.”
GOD SITTING on His throne is in contrast to the posture of REST displayed by Christ (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12; 12:2)–the act of Jesus sitting initiates, while the work of redemption has accomplished judgement and is about to take place.
GEMSTONES and the RAINBOW Significance–
John’s description of He Who is sitting on the throne–as being as brilliant as GEMSTONES–JASPER as clear, because Jasper is used first in the list.
This is KEY in understanding the importance, because JASPER stone is used in Revelation 21:11 describing the latter-day city as the GLORY OF GOD–JASPER STONE, shining like crystal and reflecting the “unapproachable light”; hence the GLORY surrounding God Himself with light. (1 Timothy 6:16; Psalm 104:2)
“SARDIS” or “CARNELIAN”
SARDIS, from which the city got its name, is a fiery-ruby red color. The gemstone expresses the shining beauty of God’s glory, and it may also symbolize God’s blazing wrath about to be poured out on the sinful rebellious world (Chapters 6-19).
The RAINBOW is significant and demonstrates God’s serious in showing His mercy, despite the fact the great judgment is rapidly approaching. This MERCY is undeserved and unmerited on His part, but shows further, how serious He is for us.
The PRECIOUS STONES surrounding the THRONE with the RAINBOW is the initial hint; not only that this vision eventually will issue a NEW CREATION, but it already portrays the beginning of the new creation in heaven: Precious Stone in Revelation 21:10-11, 18-23. All are part of a depiction, “A RAINBOW” in the first revelation in Genesis of a new creation that emerged after the Noahic flood.
24 THRONES – Revelation 4:4
“Twenty-four other thrones surrounded the throne, and seated on these thrones were twenty-four elders, arrayed in white clothing, with crowns of gold upon their heads.”
WHO ARE THE “ELDERS”?
They are 12 Tribes from Israel in the Old Testament and 12 Apostles in the New Testament.
In this VISION, collectively, probably represents… ALL the REDEEMED of God for ALL time (both before and after Jesus’ death and resurrection).
They represent all those–both Jews and Gentiles–who are now part of God’s family. The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS shows all the redeemed of the Lord worshipping Him.
The fact they were clothed in WHITE is also symbolic: Symbolizes Christ’s given righteousness to believers at SALVATION.
Also, the number 24 in Scripture is used to speak of completion and representation.
REVELATION 4:5 (NIV):
“From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.”
SCRIPTURE and the phrasing in it, without a doubt, identifies God as the source of the later judgments to take place. This means those who suffer for their FAITH can be rest assured, that those who deal out the punishment here on earth, God has not forgotten them. He will surely JUDGE them with fire (19:20; 20:9-10; 21:8).
In Revelation, LIGHTNING and THUNDER are connected with significant events in heaven. They remind us of the lightning and thunder at Mount Sinai, where God gave the people His Law (Exodus 19:16).
Also, His POWER and MAJESTY are reflected (Psalm 77:18).
The “seven spirits” = another name for the Holy Spirit.
REVELATION 4:6 (NIV):
At the FRONT of the THRONE–
“Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.”
At the front of the throne is where John finds himself. A front row seat with no one blocking the view.
The “SEA” is metaphorical since there is no Sea in heaven.
John saw at the base of the THRONE was a vast pavement of glass, shinning brilliantly like sparkling crystal.
REVELATION 4:7 (Amplified Bible):
“The first living creature (being) was like a LION, the second living creature was an OX, the third living creature had the face of a MAN, and the fourth living creature [was] like a flying EAGLE.”
The descriptions view the four CHERUBIM (“four creatures”) in relation to the created world–
THE LION= Strength.
THE OX= Domestic animals.
MAN= The height of creation.
THE EAGLE= Flying creatures.
Symbolically…the LION represents strength; the OX, is service; the MAN, reason and the EAGLE, speed.
REVELATION 4:8 (NIV):
The FOUR LIVING CREATURES never stopped saying…
“Holy, holy, holy–
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”
The repetition of holy, holy, represents God’s attitudes. And it’s at the core of who God is… is His HOLINESS!
HOLINESS is the essence of Who God is–
The theme of God’s holiness, as been displayed in Revelation 4, and is the PRAISE for God’s HOLINESS specifically demonstrated through His JUDGMENT.
Being HOLY, God hates sin and pours out His wrath on it.
The Lord Almighty…
The three words above is a distinction of who He is. It shows His…POWER, STRENGTH, HIS UNCHANGING CHARACTER, HIS CONQUERING POWER.
Because God IS ALMIGHTY, He effortlessly does whatever His Holy Will purposes to do.
— WHO ALWAYS… was described that He was before time…
— WHO IS…describing that He exists outside of time and out of our understanding.
— WHO IS…still to come; describes the reference to the fact that He is coming again for His people.
GOD IS TO BE GLORIFIED – Revelation 4:9-11 (NIV):
 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and Who lives for ever and ever,  the twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne, and worship Him Who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for You created all things,
and by Your will they were created and have their being.”
These hymns direct us to the main point of the VISION and the whole of Chapter 4: God is to be GLORIFIED because of His Holiness and Sovereignty.
The bowing down of the elders is significant by the manner in the way they addressed the One on the throne. And that is significant for us, because they understand that it was not them worshipping them, but the One Who deserved the worship.
The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS specifically represent the purpose of the redeemed humanity, which is to PRAISE and GLORIFY God, and this purpose is actually carried out not only by them in heaven, but also by the true community of FAITH on earth.
The BASIS OF FAITH is two-fold:
One, God’s creation is based solely on His will and proceeds from it–and two, God’s POWER is revealed through creation, as demonstrated by the PRAISING recognition of His created beings.
The verses signify once again, depicting ALL that is going to happen in the coming future, and that He is absolutely HOLY; we can WORSHIP Him because He knows all that is going to happen. As He is under control, we can worship Him in the “right now” as the result of knowing this.
In this case then, express who you are, to Who He is and allow Who He is to radiate who you are. He created everything for His divine pleasures and that includes you reading this.
This glimpse of HEAVEN should remind all of us today, that ultimately, everything in this life is fleeting away. But, in pursuit, we come to know that life is everlasting.
*Part Four to follow next week in Revelation Chapter 14: “Rapture Ready”
Footnotes, Credits, and Photos:
Footnote [i] – Exposition of Revelation (MP3 Series) by G. K. Beale at http://www.monergism.com
Photo Credits: “JASPER” the revelation painting journals wordpress.com/; Revelation 4:2-3 God’s Throne Room courtesy of http://www.neverthirsty.org. ; Four Living Creatures, Google IMAGES.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).