In Revelation chapters 4 and 5, we transition from the message of the seven churches to the heavenly realm. John is whisked away into the presence of God, and he begins to see things that will forever change history.
This place has been described by Isaiah, Ezekiel and Paul, but no one gives us so detailed a tour as John. God is pulling back the veil of heaven for we believers to be able to peer into eternity. This is the beginning of a truly life-changing encounter with God.
John is only writing the main points of what he sees from now on, and doing the best he can with human language and experience. We are seeing everything from here on in Revelation through the lens of a first century Jewish Christian. We must understand that John saw this all clearly, but what he saw likely confused him at times. We see that by the end of this Revelation in chapter 19, he is so undone by all of it he is willing to fall down and worship anything that seems to have any amount of glory on it.
- Throne Room
- Color: The first thing we notice is color. For whatever reason, John described the color of God and His throne first before anything else. We should take this to heart—God is architect, designer, engineer, master builder and expert craftsman. He has given Himself beautiful accommodations and He intends them for us too, and it caught John’s eye first and foremost.
- The Elders
- Sounds: Next John notices sounds. This is a fully immersive experience like no other. John is really there, not in a dim visionary state
- Seven lamps: Seven Spirits of God
- This is the second time we see this in Revelation. We don’t know what the seven spirits are, or what is meant, but many believe it is a reference to the seven spirits of God listed in Isaiah 11:2 (inclusive of the “Spirit” Himself)
- Sea of Glass: How big? Why is it there? It is what was represented by the sea that was part of the tabernacle Moses was commanded to build. We see here that the tabernacle and the temple were meant to represent and foreshadow the very real place that exists around God’s throne.
- Living Creatures
- Same as Ezekiel saw?
- Why only four?
- What do their faces represent?
- The Activity Of The Throne Room
- The four living creatures sing constantly: Are we to understand that they literally never stop, or is it a regular thing that breaks out at set times?
- Is this singing why David established 24/7 prayer and worship around the tabernacle? David alluded to having visited this place (in person or in a vision) when he gave Solomon the temple plans in 1 Chronicles 28.
- When the elders hear the songs of the creatures, they join in the song and throw down their crowns before God. They realize that they are in the same debt to God as we are. Everything given to them, and to us, is due back to God and God alone. That cannot help but recognize this in His presence.
- God is worthy of all power and glory because He created everything, therefore we owe everything to Him.
- The Plan
- God is holding the plans for the culmination of this temporary world, wrapped up within a scroll and sealed with wax seals on the outside.
- Why does John see Jesus as a slain lamb with seven horns and seven eyes?
- Jesus Himself will open these seals and release the deadliest battle plan in human history upon the earth.
- The Song
- Here we find that the elders are each holding harps and bowls of incense – which we are told represent the prayers of the saints. This is important, because we will see that as the judgments of God are released on the earth, it is actually these very prayers that will play a primary role in this plan’s release.
- Jesus is alone is worthy to open this scroll. The judgments that will come can only be released by Jesus Himself because He paid for this right with His own blood. Only the lamb who was slain for our sins and so redeemed man to God has the right to release judgments on those who refuse Him.
- Here we bring together two aspects of God’s nature that cause Western Christians trouble: The God of love and the God of wrath. They are not two separate identities, but two aspects of the same God manifested on different groups of people based on their acceptance of His grace.
- The Chorus
- The song builds as a very large throng in heaven joins in. They repeat again that Jesus is worthy of this great burden and honor because He was slain for our sins. He is due all honor and glory forever.
- The Conclusion
- The song ends as John hears all the earth join the song. John says that anything and everything that could join the song does.
- The elders are once again undone by this Revelation of God and they fall down and worship Him again.
The power and weight of what is taking place in chapters four and five do not sink in the first time you read Revelation. I encourage you to read this book over and over again. The more you read it, the more it will force you to contemplate the cross, and this scene will begin to unravel your heart. It will bring you kneeling before the One who began this world, and the One who is worthy to transition it to eternity.