Being Late, Yet Still On Time!

SCRIPTURE – JOHN 11:1-40

Please, if you have the time, watch this YouTube Video of a scene from the movie Son of God.  This four-minute plus scene sets up my Bible study in John 11.

BEING LATE IS A BAD THING!

I’m a person who always believes in being punctual.  Being late is a bad thing.  My dad was the same way: “Better an hour early than 5 minutes late” he used to say.

TRAINS and PLANES leave at appointed times and connecting flights are dependant on the earlier flights being on time.  Delays or cancellations can cause big problems for people.

But by far the most punctual person in the universe is God!  He set up the galaxies and our solar system like giant timepieces, run with precision.  The timing of the sunrise–a thousand years from now–can be calculated to a millisecond.

So, how strange it is then, to find God being late!  God–all-knowing and all-powerful–how can He not be on time?

And yet, we find God being so late to heal a man that he even missed his funeral by 4 days!  We’ll look together at the Scripture in this blog-study and find out, how God “Being Late, Yet Still On Time!” will give some perspective and understanding.

SCRIPTURE – John 11:1-7, 11-15, 39-40 (New International Version)

(Verses 1-7)

[1] Now a man named Lazarus was sick.  He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  [2] (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and washed his feet with her hair.)  [3] So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  [4] When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  [5] Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,  [6] So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,  [7] and said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

(Verses 11-15)

(Verses 39-40)

[39]  “Take away the stone,” he said.  “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

[40]  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

“Lord, the one you love is sick”  (11:3)

Note that Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, didn’t say, “Lord, the one who loves You, but the one You love.”

(1 John 4:10)

“This is LOVE: not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Our LOVE to Him is not worth speaking of but His to us can never be enough spoken of.

Jesus has the POWER to alter the forces of nature; calm the winds and waves; to suspend the movement of the universe in answer to the prayer of one man.  Jesus did miracles with many elements–He made arms grow out, made bread and fish multiply, turned water into wine.  He didn’t have to be present to work a miracle.  He told the Centurion “Go your way, your servant will be made whole.”  Another long-distance healing was the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter.

No circumstances could stop Him.

No limit of time was a factor.

QUESTION:  Then, why does Jesus wait until a man, who He dearly loves, is dead, before setting out to help him?

Even the disciples knew there was a special bond between Lazarus and Jesus.  Imagine if you will, you or I call our best friend and say, “I think I’m going to die!”  And our friends’ response, “Well, I’m pretty busy right now.  It’s Sunday, I’m in church, I’ll try to make it by Friday.  Do you think you can hang on that long?”

Doug Greenwold, with Lamb & Lion Ministries, gives us a deeper look into the events that occurred:

“A messenger is commanded to go and find Jesus, to tell Him that Lazarus was about to die.  The messenger traveled by foot for two days, then faithfully informed Jesus about Lazarus’ condition.”

Here’s what I found fascinating.  When Jesus heard the message, He replied (verse 4), “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Notice the very first thing that Jesus did.  He gave the messenger a PROMISE.  Jesus often does this when He’s going to stretch our FAITH.

He provides a PROMISE, and then He gives the reason why what’s about to happen was going to happen.

Lazarus’ sickness was not to end in death, rather it would be used for God’s GLORY so that God’s Son would be glorified through it!

Jesus stayed two more days.

Jesus didn’t leave right away.  So something puzzling was going on there.  We’re talking about God incarnate here, so everything Jesus does here is strategic and for a reason.

In Mr. Greenwold”s article, he points out something I never knew before, so I wanted to share this in the blog-study:

“The Hebrew view of death believed that when a person died during the first three days their NEPHESH, which is the Hebrew word for soul, hovered over their body.  In fact, by the beginning of the fourth day, the body would already be fallen into such a rapid state of decomposition, it would stink to high heavens, and then the NEPHESH flees.”

The upshot is for the first three days you’re just dead, but from the fourth day on, you’re totally dead-dead.

Why does this matter in the grand scheme of things?

Because the rabbis and the religious leaders had been teaching when the Messiah finally arrived, he would be able to achieve something so amazing they would easily know he was the prophesied one.  It’s so impossible to bring someone back from the dead.  Only the Messiah or his prophets could bring people back from death.

From the Religious Leaders’ Point of View –

If Jesus was really the Messiah as some had claimed, then the religious leaders, in order to keep their positions of wealth and power, would have to kill him.  They’d attempt creating some uncertainty.  They’d claim that bringing a person back from the dead during the FIRST DAY didn’t count.  The nephesh (the SOUL) hadn’t left yet.  Doesn’t count!  For Jesus to truly be THE MESSIAH, in the people’s eyes, Jesus needed to overcome this obstacle.

A Sign Of A Much Greater Love –

By Jesus delaying to answer the sister’s prayer and letting the situation to become seemingly hopeless and impossible…He showed more LOVE than anyone else!

NOTE:  GOD’S GREATEST INTENTIONS MAY BE SIGNALED BY HIS LONGEST DELAYS!

Look at the words found in Ezekiel 37:11, 13 (AMP)

[11]  Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.  Behold, they say, Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost; we are completely cut off.”

[13]  And you shall know that I am the Lord [your Sovereign Ruler],  when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, O My people.

Jesus’ DECISION was for His Disciples too!

VERSE 15 says,  “…and for your sake, I am glad I was not there. so that you may believe.  But let us go to him.”

God may be delaying because DELAYING is good for us!  He may be testing our faith or developing perseverance in us.  It may actually be dangerous to give us something at the moment we first ask.

Another idea is that God is setting up an impossible situation, in order that He may perform a MIRACLE or an even bigger miracle!

So the question may come up in your mind, “How long will God wait?”

And the answer?  TILL IT STINKS!

Sometimes Jesus waits until the situation you find yourself in really “stinks”.  When it “stinks,” God will get complete GLORY!

Another REASON God Waits So Long…RESURRECTION LIFE is not for the living, it’s for the dead!

You don’t get resurrected while you’re alive, you get resurrected when you’re dead!

THE PRINCIPLE IS LIFE OUT OF DEATH!

We must grow in our handling a bumper crop –

You don’t see a young apple tree bearing 150 apples; if it did, it would collapse under the weight.  Over time, God strengthens and prepares the tree so it can handle the weight for what it can bear in maturity.

It’s the same way with us.  We want everything NOW!  But God knows we can’t bear it, so He only gives us an apple or two until we grow stronger.

Jesus said to Martha,  “I AM the resurrection…”  That’s present tense.

PATIENCE!

The word “patience,” doesn’t occur in the Old Testament, but we have “patiently” in Psalm 40:1; meaning to “wait,”to expect,” or waiting on God.

In the New Testament, the Greek word “hypomone” carries in it the ideas of endurance, continuance (Luke 8:15; 21:19; Romans 5:3-4).  [Bible Study Tools – International Standard Bible Encycolopedia]

PATIENCE is often hard to give and maintain, but in Romans 15:5, God is called “the God of Patience” (ARV – “steadfastness”) as being able to grant that GRACE to those who look to Him and depend on Him for it.

NEVER CLOSE THE BOOK OF YOUR LIFE WHEN GOD HASN’T FINISHED WRITING YOUR STORY!

Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV Bible) –

[35]  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

[36]  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.

Never hang up–throw in the towel–when God is still on the line with you.  Hang in there!  God is still working in your life!!

God wants us to know that even if we don’t see Him, He’s always there and He will be on time!

THE CALL!

Many teachers have asked the question and attempted to explain why JESUS WEPT.

Jesus knew at the time that in a matter of minutes He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet He still wept, because He felt the hurt of Mary & Martha’s pain so deeply that He grieved for their hurt.  HE WEPT!

Jesus is touched by feelings of our own infirmities, our pain, our grief. 

Let us then turn EVERYTHING over to Him in prayer.

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~CREDITS~

Movie Clip:  YouTube video – Lazarus Raised scene from The Son Of God movie.

IMAGES:  Google Image Search – Advance settings.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); American Revised Version (ARV); Amplified Bible (AMP), or where noted.

Credit and courtesy of LAMB & LION MINISTRIES Deeper Insights Into the Resurrection of Lazarus by Doug Greenwold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Out Our Lives In the Anointing

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  AMOS 3:7-8 (ESV)

WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW AND UNDERSTAND –

VERSE 7:  “SURELY the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secrets to His servants the prophets” (AMP).

We know that we can prepare boldly for what is coming because Jesus gave us the prophetic signs of our time.  He told us what we should look for and because of His words, we know that we’re living in the LAST DAYS because prophetically the Bible has shown us where the CHURCH will be in the future.  We know that it will end in glory and will end strong and not weak.

The Laodicean Church, one of the 7 churches mentioned in The Revelation to John (Rev. 3:14-17).  In this passage of scripture, Jesus spoke about the last days but it will not be the final church because the LAST CHURCH will be united and strong and will grow into the full stature of Jesus.

God is equipping and preparing us for great and mighty things so we will finish strong!  We will take the NATIONS for Jesus’ sake by PREACHING the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth!!

The DEVIL has already been defeated and although he will exert great power on the earth, his reign of terror will end in the lake of fire.

THE ENTIRE WORD OF GOD IS PROPHETIC…meaning “foretelling,” and “forth telling.”

But it is also apostolic because the word “apostolic” is a DOING word.

James 1:22 (The Message Bible)

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.  ACT on [or “DO”] what you hear.”

To be apostolic means we must be “doers”: acting on what you hear!  And what we do should extend beyond the four walls of our church by extending to the ends of the earth.

An APOSTLE is a person who performs the Word IN DEED.

At Pentecost, the disciples became apostles because they were ANOINTED to do ministry.

Jesus’ ministry was apostolic because of what He did (Acts 10:38).

[38] How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him  (AMP).

And since Jesus gave us the command to “go then and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19), as fellow disciples we are ANOINTED to do ministry.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (AMP)

[21] But it is God Who confirms and makes us steadfast and establishes us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and has consecrated and anointed us [enduing us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit];  [22] [He has also appropriated and acknowledged us as His by] putting His seal upon us and giving us His [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise].

The definition of an APOSTLE is, “one who is sent forth” to represent another.

And as the ANOINTED, we, as believers are sent by God to represent heaven on earth.  We are to be the answer to a distressed world.

The true definition of the apostolic ministry is “Someone who is anointed by God [not man] to perform a supernatural task on earth by adding to God’s Kingdom.”  It implies that we can ALL be apostolic through the indwelling Holy Spirit’s power!

But are we really “doers”?

God has always been building His Kingdom or building His church which is the same thing.

Some Terminologies in the WORD May Change.

The first time the word “apostle” was used was in the New Testament.  It was never mentioned in the Old Testament, but its meaning carries the same function in the Old and New Testaments–because God has always sent man and woman to represent Him and to perform work for Him.

There are ANOINTED people who are DOING in the name of the Lord but they are not sent by God to do whatever they’re doing.  If we are not sent by God we will not be acknowledged by Him.  So it is important to DO only what God directs us to DO.  That’s what Jesus did.  He never did anything without God’s permission.

God has called each one of us to work with Him and He is building His Kingdom with us and through us.

GOD IS THE BUILDER!!!

Colossians 1:15-17 –

From this revelation in Scripture (God’s Word), we can see the great apostolic power of Jesus as the Creator and because He created everything, He has POWER and AUTHORITY over everything He created.

Those who have an apostolic anointing are also creative and the things they BUILD for God are a testimony against the kingdom of darkness.

Matthew 16:18 (NIV)

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

What God BUILDS will defeat the devil and the things we BUILD with God cannot be destroyed by the enemy.

To be APOSTOLIC…and I know there are those reading this blog who are uncomfortable using this term…is being sent in BUILDING SOMETHING that exults God and overcomes the enemy.

Anything that was built by God and His workers in the Old Testament, by definition, is APOSTOLIC and anything built by God and His workers since then is APOSTOLIC.

GOD IS NOT YET FINISHED BUILDING HIS KINGDOM!

For example, He has not yet created a new heaven and a new earth which He will do in the future.  That’s part of His future plans and we are part of His present plans.  That is why we need the BLUEPRINT for today.

God has ANOINTED every one of us to BUILD apostolically.

Everything we see in the physical or natural environment responds to WORDS.  That’s the way God’s creation is designed:  “God said…God saw”  (Genesis One).

God has given us the ability and the authority to frame our world with His Words.  Prophetic Words have POWER and can be spoken into our circumstances in order to shape our world so that it reflects the MAJESTY AND POWER of God’s Kingdom.  So watch your words!

When these spoken words are applied to God’s creation, there will be a response.  However, there’s a time to SPEAK and a time to DO things.  That’s why we need both the APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC ANOINTING.

Any impressive building has a CORNERSTONE to show that it is valuable.  It usually contains inscribed the names of the Architect, the Master Builder, and the Visionary.

All that God BUILDS is valuable and JESUS is the Chief Cornerstone of everything He builds (1 Peter 2:6-8).  If Jesus isn’t part of the building then it’s not worth building.  And if it is not built by Him, then it’s not His building.

When Jesus is the CORNERSTONE, what we build, whether it is our spiritual life, our marriage, our home life, our career, our businesses, the name of Jesus will always be a stumbling block to those who oppose Him because the CORNERSTONE will reflect heaven.

God wants everything to be built on His apostolic BLUEPRINT.

The reason being that it can EXALT Jesus who is the Creator and the greatest example of the APOSTOLIC ANOINTING.

Hebrews 3:1 (NIV)

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

God wants every family to have an apostolic blueprint so that they can be built according to His plans with Christ Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone.

When others see the building, not necessarily a physical building…God will be given the GLORY.  God wants to be glorified in our families, our ministries, our businesses, and every other aspect of our lives.  But He can only be GLORIFIED if things are built according to His design.

When His name is on the building, it becomes a stumbling block to the kingdom of darkness, but LIFE and HOPE to the world.

Every Ministry Should Have An Apostolic Blueprint to Succeed.

In order to fulfill our the requirement, we need to find the BLUEPRINT of the cities and nations that God is giving us to REBUILD.  And because anything that hasn’t been built according to how God wants it built MUST be broken down and rebuilt.

AND…there’s nothing wrong with rebuilding.

Rebuilding because there are things that must be redesigned, restructured, and repositioned so that God can be given the GLORY.

If your life, my life, is not offending the kingdom of DARKNESS, that means that Jesus is not the CORNERSTONE because the Cornerstone will be the Rock of offense to everything that refuses to bow to Hum.

The laying of the CORNERSTONES is in accordance with our apostolic built-up anointing because God wants us in our ANOINTED lives to place Christ back in the cities and the nations.  And when the building is complete, Jesus is going to be the CORNERSTONE of that city or nation.

Revelation 11:15 (AMP)

The seventh angel blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, The Dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and forever (for the eternities of the eternities)!

WHEN WE BUILD THINGS FOR GOD He places us into the foundation of that building as a TESTIMONY for eternity.

The New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:12 & 14 (NIV)

[12] It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates.  On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

[14] The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The names of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles are etched on the FOUNDATIONS of the New Jerusalem that contributed to the building.  God advanced His Kingdom through the TWELVE TRIBES of Israel who possessed the Promise Land and laid down the FOUNDATION for the nation of Israel performing their apostolic part.

After Pentecost in the New Testament, God built the CHURCH through the early apostles and they laid down the FOUNDATION of the New Covenant for Believers (that’s us) to build on and they completed their apostolic part.

Ephesians 2:20 (AMP)

You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.

What we do for God today means something and He remembers the names of those who have worked for Him and with Him.  God doesn’t merely use your life and resources and then forgets about you, but He remembers your name and blesses you and your children up to the THIRD and FOURTH generation.

When we operate prophetically and apostolically in our lives God will make sure that your name is in the FOUNDATIONS for all to see and He will send others to BUILD on that Foundation generation to generation.

You Have An Unique Anointing – 2 Corinthians 6:1 (AMP)

Laboring together [as God’s fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them–do not receive it to no purpose].

That unique anointing should express itself in you PASSION.  And as an example, if you have a PASSION for seeing people HEALED…God will use you for healing.

Remember, we can’t do anything without Christ because He is the SOURCE OF THE ANOINTING.  ALWAYS!

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CREDITS FOR THIS BLOG:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

Commentary:  What is the anointing?  What does it mean to be anointed? – gotQuestions?.org.

PHOTOS:  Google Image search, using the referenced Scripture verses.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP) except where noted.

 

 

 

 

The Door Is Opened With A Glimpse of Heaven – Part Three

The TEXT for PART THREE:  Read Revelation 4:1-11

“AN OPEN DOOR” – Revelation 3:20:

JESUS speaking,  [20]  “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 –

Picture-Of-GOD-On-Throne-In-Heaven-Bible-Verse-Revelation-4-2-3-HD-Wallpaper-1024x656

 

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–

“JASPER”

"CLEAR" JASPER/QUARTZ
“CLEAR” JASPER/QUARTZ

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). 

“A RAINBOW”

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):

Four Living Creatures
Four Living Creatures

“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):

[9] Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and Who lives for ever and ever, [10] 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:

[11] “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).