4:1-11 The Throne Of The Lord God Almighty
Memory Verse: Revelation 4:11
4:1-2 An Invitation To Come Before The Throne Of God
- 1:1-3:22 The timeline for the book of Revelation is given to us in 1:19: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The book of Revelation is patterned after this timeline. We have the introduction in 1:1-8, the vision of Jesus in 1:9-20 which are the things John saw, the seven letters to the seven churches in 2:1-3:22 which are the things which are, and finally 4:1 starts the things hereafter and will continue until the end of the book in 22:21.
- 4:1 After John finished recording the seven letters from Jesus to the seven churches, a door was opened in heaven and he heard the authoritative voice of Jesus talking to him (as it were of a trumpet). The voice told him to go up to heaven and he would show John the things which must be hereafter. This confirms the timeline is switching from “things which are” to “things which shall be hereafter”.
- 4:2 Immediately John was spiritually transported to heaven. The first thing He sees is a throne and the One seated on it. He will spend the rest of 4:3-11 describing what He sees and what is taking place at the throne of God. The throne represents God’s place of sovereign rule. For Christians this is exciting, because (1) we get a glimpse into the dwelling place of God, a place we will dwell when we die; (2) because we get to better understand what our God is like as He is reigning in Heaven. We also need to note that what follows is not a literal description of God, not something that can be drawn on a piece of paper, but a word picture that helps us better understand Him.
4:3-6a The Vision Of The Throne of God
- 4:3 John starts with describing what He sees on the throne. He sees God sitting on the throne with the appearance of a jasper and a sardine stone. Then around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. All of these represent beautiful luminous colors that signify the magnificence, glory, splendor and greatness of God. The rainbow could also signify God’s faithfulness (to keep promises) to mankind. All of this should lead us to seeing God with a respectful awe, knowing He is an awesome God.
Isaiah 6:1–6; Ezekiel 1:26–28; Genesis 9:13-17
- 4:4 Also, around God’s throne are twenty-four seats with twenty-four elders seated in them all wearing white raiment and crowns of gold. These twenty-four elders are most likely twenty-four representatives of the church because (1) the seats signify places of authority and believers will reign with Jesus; (2) believers will be clothed in white garments, symbolizing our righteousness in Christ; (3) and believers are promised crowns.
1 Corinthians 6:2–3; 9:25; Revelation 2:10; 26–27; 3:5, 18; 19:8
- 4:5 Next, John says out of the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings and voices. This represents the judgment coming from God. Before the throne were seven lamps of fire burning, which are the seven Spirits of God. The seven Spirits of God is a name that represents the Holy Spirit and the seven lamps of fire burning represent God’s coming wrath which the Holy Spirit will carry out. God’s judgement and wrath will be poured out later in the book of Revelation.
- 4:6a Before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal. This isn’t an actual sea but they are describing what the ground under the throne looked like. The ground was see-through, yet reflected the luminous colors. It was an incredible sight that is hard to describe and imagine. But one day believers will get to be eye-witnesses of this greatness. All of this together shows the Almighty God sitting upon His throne and is ready for pending judgement.
4:6b-11 The Worship Before The Throne Of God
- 4:6b-8a Finally, John describes two groups who are worshipping before the throne of God. The first group is the “four beasts” or cherubims. They are a special type of angel. John sees them in the midst of and around the throne. He described them as being full of eyes before and behind—meaning they are aware of all that is going on. Then he says the first beast was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of these represent all the creatures that God made. Each of them had six wings—which from the Old Testament we know probably represent their acts of worship. Thus they represent all created beings and worshippers of God.
Ezekiel 10:15; Isaiah 6:2
- 4:8b-9 These four beast rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” This helps us understand what the One sitting on the throne is like: (1) The four beast ascribe holiness unto Him, repeating it three times for emphasis. Holiness means that because He is perfect in goodness and righteousness He should be exalted and is worthy of our complete devotion. (2) He is Lord, meaning He has authority. (3) He is God, meaning He is the source of all life, the Supreme Being. (4) He is Almighty, meaning He is the most powerful. (5) He is the Eternal One, meaning He has always existed and will always continue to exist. Understanding what God is like should cause us to have reverential respect and make us to join in with these four beast praising the Eternal One who sits on the throne.
- 4:10-11 When those beasts gave glory, honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, the second group started worshipping God. They are the twenty-four elders. They fell down before the eternal God on the throne, worshipped Him and cast their crowns before His throne, saying, “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.” God is the Creator of everything. He created everything for His own pleasure. Therefore, because He is the Creator, He is worthy to receive glory, honor and power. These three things are usually attributed to a king or the highest ruler, thus attributing them to God shows He is their Sovereign Ruler above all else. As believers, we only worship God because He alone is worthy. He is worthy of our complete devotion.
Psalm 33:9; 90:2; Exodus 20:3-5
- Are we now studying past, present or future events?
- Where is this scene taking place?
- What is God and His throne like?
- Is God worthy to receive glory, honor and power? Why?
- Are you worshipping God and living a life of complete devotion to Him? Is He worthy?