The Throne Room of God (Pt. 1 – Worshipping the Creator) – Revelation 4:1-11
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Have you ever thought about what your first view of heaven will be?
All of us will live eternally, in heaven or hell, depending on whether your name is found written in the "Lamb's Book of Life." (Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 20:12, 15, 21:27)
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
John the Apostle, the writer of Revelation, was given a view into the very throne room of God.
The task of describing what he saw must have been incredibly difficult. The finite, human mind can't possibly understand and describe all that our infinite God is!
But it was the Holy Spirit that led John into heaven (Vs. 4:2), and revealed to him, and us, what He wanted seen and described.
Whether or not we see and understand is also up to the Spirit.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
(1 Cor. 2:12)
While we consider what John saw in God's throne room, let us also consider what was happening there.
To worship means "to ascribe worth."
"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."
...saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
It means that we are to use all that we are and have to praise God for all that He is and does!
True spiritual worship is one of the greatest needs in our individual lives and churches.
Much emphasis is placed on witnessing for Christ, and working for Christ, but not enough on worshipping Christ.
Heaven is a place of worship; God's people will worship Him throughout eternity.
Maybe it would be good for us to learn and practice worship now.
After all, would God make you do something forever that you didn't enjoy or were good at?
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."
"...I looked, and behold..."
* A common phrase in visionary texts throughout Scripture. (Eze. 1:4, 15, 2:9, 8:2, 7, 10, 44:4, Dan. 8:3, 13, 10:5, 12:5)
"Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming..."
"I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in white linen..."
"...a door standing open in heaven."
* Open heavens often accompany revelations in Scripture. (Eze. 1:1)
* Heaven - The third heaven, set apart from the terrestrial and celestial heavens. (1 Cor. 15:40, 2 Cor. 12:2)
"...come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this."
* God's summons to John.
* Much as He had when Moses received the law. (Ex. 19:20, 24, 24:12)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."
“Things which must take place after this.”
* The revelation of the end times events (Great Tribulation, Matt. 24:1-31)
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
"...I was in the Spirit..."
* Like earlier prophets, John is transported to heaven by God's summons and the Spirit's inspiration. (Eze. 2:2, 3:12)
"...One sat on the throne..."
* The "One" that sat on the throne is God the Father since the Son approaches the throne (Vs. 5:6) and the Spirit is before the throne. (Vs. 4:5)
* "Throne" is the key word in this chapter used 14 times, and a key word in the Book, used 46 times.
* By this, John is emphasizing the glory and sovereignty of God.
And by this, we should be encouraged. No matter what happens on earth, God is on His throne, and in complete control. And since He is our God and Father, we can trust Him in all things.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
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.
There is no way for human eyes and words to be able to accurately describe the very essence of God. But John does his best and gives us several images and comparisons that we might try to understand what he saw.
* A clear, white stone, symbolizing the glory of God:
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, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
* A red stone, like a ruby.
Might the white jasper symbolize the holiness and righteousness of Christ, and the red sardius His precious blood shed for us?
* The rainbow reminds us of God's covenant to never again destroy His creation with water. (Gen. 9:11-17)
* This symbolizes God's mercy, that He is merciful even when He judges. (Ex. 34:6-7)
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.
* Positions of authority.
* 12 Tribes of Israel plus 12 apostles. A picture of the O.T. and N.T. saints who are believer-priests. (Rev. 1:6)
"And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
* 24 Courses of priests in the O.T. temple. (1 Chron. 24:3-5, 18)
* White robes - The righteous acts of the saints. (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:9, 13-14)
* Crowns - Given to overcomers and for other acts of service. (Rev. 2:10)
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
(1 Jn. 5:4-5)
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.
* The power of God's righteous judgment displayed so we can revere Him, as He did on Mt. Sinai. (Ex. 19:16, 20:18)
People don't want to think of God as a God of righteous judgment (lightning, thunder), but rather as a God of mercy (rainbow).
The other side of God's mercy is grace, but His grace reigns through righteousness:
...so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This truth was made apparent at the cross of Christ by His love for sinners and wrath against sin.
"...seven lamps of fire..."
* Like the menorah in the tabernacle. (Ex. 25:31)
"...which are the seven Spirits of God."
* The Holy Spirit in all His attributes. (Isa. 11:2, Rev. 1:4)
* The "seven lamps" are also the picture of completeness in Scripture.
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
“…a sea of glass…”
* The bronze “sea” of Solomon’s Temple for the priests to wash in. (1 Kgs. 7:23-44)
* During John’s time, glass was not clear like “crystal,” thus he might be making reference to Ezekiel’s vision of God’s throne. (Eze. 1:22)
Have you noticed the similarities of the earthly tabernacle and the heavenly temple? (Heb. 8:1-5, 9:11)
“…four living creatures…”
* They resemble the “cherubim” that Ezekiel saw in his vision of God’s throne room. (Eze. 1:4-14)
The living creatures signify God’s wisdom and omniscience (“eyes in front and back”) and proclaim God’s holiness. (Vs. 8)
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.
* Again, more Scriptural symbolism pointing to the Old Testament, Ezekiel’s vision of heaven.
* In Ezekiel’s vision, these creatures carry God’s throne so he uses the most powerful and regal creatures to communicate God’s majesty. (Eze. 1:10, 10:14)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. 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, saying..."
* These heavenly creatures praise and worship God without ceasing.
* Glorious beyond human conception, these creatures serve no purpose other than to extol God's holiness.
Their song was from Isaiah 6:3, and was incorporated into regular Jewish prayer that John would have been familiar with.
Their song was also spoken by Christ of Himself:
"Lord God Almighty" (Rev. 1:8)
And John of Christ:
"Who was and is and is to come." (Rev. 1:4)
This speaks of God's absolute power and eternal nature.
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, saying:
"...the twenty-four elders fall down before Him...and worship Him..."
* "Fall down" - They prostrate themselves in complete obedience through their worship.
* Again, an O.T. word picture from when Abraham fell down before God and His two angels. (Gen. 18)
Should we also?
"...they cast their crowns before the throne..."
Do we want to cast our crowns of service before the Lord of heaven and earth?
Will we have any crowns to cast?
"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."
As Christian's we believe this.
Unfortunately, the unsaved worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, and this is idolatry. (Rm. 1:25)
Furthermore, sinful man polluted and destroyed God's wonderful creation and there is a price to pay:
"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."
Creation was made for God's praise and pleasure, and man has stolen that which is rightfully God's.
Man fell to temptation and plunged the creation into sin. (Gen. 2:16-17, 3:1-7)
Creation still "groans and labors...until now" and "eagerly awaits" to be made new at "the revealing of the sons of God." (Rms. 8:19-22)
Thanks to the work done by Christ on the cross, creation will one day be delivered and again become His glorious creation!
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