2Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
3Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
4Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.
5Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within;
6Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” 9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,
7Revelation 4:1-11 (NASB)10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
8John Called to See Future Voice from heaven calls JohnJohn enters a dream-like “ecstatic” stateNot a physical transportationA spiritual state, similar to OT prophet’s dreamsNot the rapture; reasons:Called for specific purpose: see the futureGod calls, not archangelImmediately in heaven, not with Jesus in cloudsSame call given to witnesses; not two raptures
9Description of Heavenly Scene Seven PartsOne on throne“Rainbow” bandEldersThunder/lightningLamps/Spirit of GodGlass-like seaFour living creatures
10Description of Heavenly Scene One on Throne (vv. 2-3)God, person unknownStones have no clear symbolism; possible:Jasper = holinessCarnelian/sardius = judgmentMost likely descriptive of God’s majesty/glory
11Description of Heavenly Scene “Rainbow” Band (v. 3)Word translated “rainbow” means colored bandPartial or complete circleNot spectral light rainbowEmerald descriptive, not symbolic; possibly patience, mercy
12Description of Heavenly Scene 24 Elders (v. 4)Angelic beings; not believersSong in 5:9-10 divides the two7:9-11; 14:3; 19:1-4 combines Elders with heavenly beingsPurpose: worship, adore God who judges, redeems, about to bring all to conclusion
13Description of Heavenly Scene Thunder/Lightning (v. 5)Present with God appeared in glory in OTOccurs with seventh seal, trumpet, and bowl: Second Coming
14Description of Heavenly Scene 7 Lamps/Spirits (v. 5)7 = fullness of GodSeen in 1:12, 20; 2:1Represents Holy Spirit displayed in fullnessDoes not imply divisionDescriptive of God’s absolute fullness
15Description of Heavenly Scene Glass-like Sea (v. 6)Likely descriptiveRole unclear in textSymbolically could mean:God’s omniscienceUninhibited vision or knowledge
16Description of Heavenly Scene 4 Living Creatures (vv. 6-7)Cherubim/Seraphim of Ezekiel/IsaiahSymbolism:Eyes = all knowledge/vigilance6 wings = swift movementFaces = wild beasts, domesticated beasts, man, flying creaturesDepicts totality of creation
17Description of Heavenly Scene 4 Living Creatures (vv. 6-7)Three possible roles:Show creation worships GodHelp execute divine orders, judgmentsBothOften associated with GospelsIntriguing, but speculativeText does not show this
18The Songs: Vision’s Purpose Song of the 4 Living Creatures (v. 8)Worship God for his necessary attributesGod is “Holy, holy, holy”God is he “who was who is who is to come”Sung day and nightMeaning: God is eternalityReminds John that whatever happens, God is eternalThe world can pass away, God will never pass away
19The Songs: Vision’s Purpose Song of the 24 Elders (vv. 9-11)Follows song of the living creaturesHumble themselves before GodWorship God for his reign over creationGod “created all things”Creation exists “because of Your [God’s] will”Meaning: God is sovereign over creationReminds John whatever happens, God’s in controlNothing happens outside God’s control or rule
20The Songs: Vision’s Purpose Both songs reveal purpose/meaning of the visionPoints to God’s eternal reign over all he createdBehind all creation, even in tribulation, is the eternal God
21What it Means for Us Today Even in dark times, God is still in controlThe world can change, God never doesGod’s glory, majesty greater than anything this world can offerRemain focused on him