3Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God First, let’s be reminded of some basic rules of interpretation:>Always keep in mind the book’s primary audience- it was written to and for them.>It is written in symbolic language- don’t try to make figurative symbols literal.>It is a book of visions, or a series of visions- obsessing over minute details will prevent seeing the big picture.>Interpret difficult passages in light of clearer ones- keep the consistency of the Text.
4Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God Next, be familiar with the Message of Revelation:>Warning to the Church- keep yourself pure from worldly entanglements;>Warning to the Enemies of the Church- through Christ the Church will triumph;>Comfort to those who Sorrow- freedom from pain and suffering will come in time;>Hope for the Discouraged- lift up your heads; God has not abdicated His throne!
5Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God See the Big Picture of the Book:Christ among the Lampstands, chps.1-3The Letters to the Seven ChurchesThe Throne Scene, chps.4-5God on the ThroneChrist the Lion/Lamb is Worthy to Open the BookThe Loosing of the Seven Seals, chps.6:1 - 8:2The Seven Trumpets, chps.8-11The War, chps.12-14The Bowls of Wrath, chps.15-16
6Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God See the Big Picture of the Book:The Fall of Babylon - The Harlot, chps.17:1 - 19:10and then finally,The Complete Victory of Christ and the Church, chps. 19: :21
7Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God “Numbers” in Revelation have meanings:One- generally a single unit; or one out of several; symbolically it may represent unit, cf. 17:13Two- either a definite number, “two woes” (9:12); or suggests strength as in “two are better than one” cf. Eccl.4:9-11; Rev.11:3-4Three- significant number throughout the Bible; represents a complete and ordered whole as in the Godhead; hence, the divine numberFour- the boundaries of the Earth; North, South, East and West; represents the world
8Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God “Numbers” in Revelation have meanings:Five- half of the complete number, ten; a short but definite periodSix- one short of perfection; used in triplicate form of “666” to represent Satan and those with himSeven- by far, the most significant number; perfection, completeness; the combination of the divine (3) and the world (4); the most sacred among HebrewsTen- 10 fingers, 10 toes; completeness or fullnessOne Thousand- completeness x completeness
9Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God “Numbers” in Revelation have meanings:Three and half (years) / 42 months / 1260 days- half of the perfect number seven; an indefinite period of time, but far less than the perfect or full periodTwelve- significant in the OT such as “12 tribes” and “12 patriarchs”; also in the NT “12 apostles”Multiples and additions of these other numbers such as 144,000 and 24 Elders.Numerology could seemingly have no end in Revelation, but these should give us an ample basis for understanding.
10Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God An Overview of chps. 4 & 5:>These chapters represent the sovereignty of God as it is vindicated by the work of Christ (cf. 5:1-5).>It has sometimes appeared that the wicked are in control of just about everything in the world- certainly it must have seemed so to Christians of this time given Rome’s domination.>But all things were still then (and still are now) governed by God from His heavenly throne!>Thus we see in chp.4 this great depiction of that scene to bolster the faith of the faithful.
11Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God The Description of the Throne Scene, vv.1-6v.1 John was allowed a visionary glimpse into heaven itself. The clear and strong voice like a trumpet bade him to come up and see.v.2 This was a spiritual vision in which he was transported, again “in the spirit”, to the heavenly scene to view the very throne of God.v.3 God was like a jasper stone (cf. 21:11 crystal clear) representing God’s holiness; sadius (reddish)- representing His righteous judgments (Heb.12:28-29); with a rainbow around the throne- the symbol of hope and mercy, cf. Gen.9:12-17.
12Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God The Description of the Throne Scene, vv.1-6v.4a Twenty-four with twenty-four Elders- 12 is symbolic of God’s people; thus, 12 Patriarchs of the first covenant and 12 Apostles from the New Covenant = 24. (cf. Rev.21:12,14)v.4b They are clothed in white garments (pure / holy) and are wearing golden crowns (representing the victory of their faith over their enemies).v.5a Lightnings, thunder, voices proceeding from the Throne- signs of God’s Omnipotent presence, cf. Ex.19:16.
13Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God The Description of the Throne Scene, vv.1-6v.5b Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne- represents the Holy Spirit, whose work has always been that of illumination, cf. John 16:13.v.6a Sea of glass like crystal- the clear divider between God and His people; later, the there will be “no more sea” cf. 21:1.v.6b Four living creatures around the throne with eyes in front and behind- ever watchful.
14Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God The Four Living Creatures, vv.7-8v.7 These creatures are identified as:>a Lion- representing strength>a Calf/Ox- representing service>a Man- representing intelligenceand >an Eagle- representing swiftnessv.8 They sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” perhaps tied to God’s holiness throughout all time- “who was and who is and who is to come”.
15Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God The Song of Creation, vv.9-11vv When the living creatures sing this song, the 24 elders join in by falling before the throne in worship- those closest to God ought to always know and sing of His worthiness to be praised.v.11 If those closest to God’s throne (the living creatures) and the greatest of God’s covenant people (the faithful of the Old & New Covenants) all bow and worship before His throne…Then God is still living & reigning in the affairs of men!Even in the later part of the first century when Christians were being persecuted even to death!
16Revelation #3, The Throne Scene: Reigning God What does all of this mean?Do you see how important it was for Christians who were being severely persecuted to know that God was still on his throne?And the faithful icons of their past were before His throne singing His praises and bowing before Him?It is a message of hope, courage, and faithfulness.God is still worthy to be praised now and forever!