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Bible Studies in the Book of Revelation Study 7

Revelation 4    I saw a Throne               

John has been given the messages for the individual churches in the last two chapters and now moves from earth to see heavenly events in a new vision. The starting point was an open door in heaven, as he stands in awe he hears a trumpet like voice calling to him, he recognises it as the voice of Jesus which he heard in ch1. The promise from God that one day he will call his people into heaven, but we need to be aware of the current open door of service for the Lord.

CALL to enter and see the future events. He was still aware it was a spirit led experience, essential to the validity of what was about to be revealed. The testing of the truth depends on the leading of the Holy Spirit; this is recalling the message to the churches, when they were to claim the spiritual promises.

His vision was now filled with a central THRONE, the Book of Revelation is the book of the throne, and it appears in many of the visions that John is given.

  • Someone was seated on the throne, he does not describe this person, God is here in his indescribable glory, and so no picture or description could do him justice.
    • Appearance of jasper and carnelian, stones which represent the glory and majesty of God, but also the judgment.
    • Surrounded by a rainbow like an emerald, this surrounds the throne, a complete circle. It is a symbol of God’s grace, just as the rainbow of Genesis 9. In Genesis it was grace after the storm, but here it is grace and preservation before the coming storm of judgment.
    • Overwhelmed he uses precious stones to try and portray what he sees. Satan’s throne is on earth as we saw in the messages to the churches, but God’s throne is in heaven where he rules and he cannot be defeated.
  • Twenty four thrones for the elders
    • Dressed in white, showing their purity
    • Gold crowns on their heads showing their kingship
    • Who are they? 24=12+12 Twelve tribes of Israel and twelve Apostles of Jesus? So we have the people of God under the Old and New Covenants. Some commentators suggest the 24 represent just the redeemed church as Israel were God’s earthly people.
  • Flashing lightening from the throne, thunder sounds, reminiscent of Exodus when the people approached Mt Sinai and the presence of God.
  • Standing before the throne were seven lamps
  • The whole tableau was on a base, glass like clear crystal. This is reminiscent of the polished laver of the tabernacle. It needs to be remembered that glass was very rare in those days; polished metal was used for mirrors.

Around the throne were FOUR LIVING CREATURES; they are also described in Ezekiel 1.5 and 10.20.

  • Covered with eyes, front and back
  • Four descriptions
    • Lion like - power
    • Ox like - strength
    • Man’s face - relationship
    • Flying eagle like – majesty
  • Each had six wings; see also Isaiah 6 for similar descriptions related to the seraphim. 
  • They also had a song which they sang continually
    • Holy, Holy is the Lord, past present and future


Whenever the creatures gave glory, the twenty-four elders react,

  • Fall down and worship the one on the throne
  • Lay their crowns before the throne
  • Worship him with words
    • Worthy Lord
    • Glory, honour and power
    • Creator of all things
    • Creation was an act of His will
    • Creation is sustained by the same will

The living creatures can be seen as creation praising the creator and the elders as God’s people worshipping him. Sinful man prises himself, ignoring the creator. But notice the creatures are around the throne but further from the throne than the twenty-four elders, this is because the Redeemed people have a privileged position in heaven. They are in an exalted position higher than the highest angels. So those closest to Jesus are his redeemed humanity, for which he died. But why do they use the words of this song or chant? Jesus is worthy of honour, because he is the Sovereign Lord, creation was made for his glory, mankind was the pinnacle of his creation, so he created man for the supreme glory of God. It is no wonder that in heaven around the throne, his glory is preeminent, in creation, in redemption and in voice.  


Page last updated: Saturday 16th April 2016 4:40 PM
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