Read Revelation 4:1-11
In the book of Revelation, Chapter 4 presents readers with a remarkable and otherworldly vision that the Apostle John experiences. This passage is laden with symbolism and spiritual significance, offering a profound glimpse into the heavenly realms. In this article, we will explore the key verses of Revelation Chapter 4 and delve into the deeper meaning of this divine encounter.
Verse 1: Transition and Elevation
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
The chapter begins with the phrase “After this,” indicating a transition from one part of the vision to another. John, the author of Revelation, had been receiving a series of revelations, and this marks the start of a new phase in his experience. It’s crucial to note that John is a symbol of the bride of Christ, being lifted up to perceive spiritual realities, often associated with the “Eagle Anointing.”
As believers, we are invited to “come up higher” in our understanding of God’s truth. This call challenges us not to remain complacent in a state of spiritual lukewarmness, often likened to the Laodicean condition, nor to be confined by denominational boundaries. It encourages us not to limit our understanding of God’s revelation to the teachings of any single individual, even great teachers like “Bro. Gan.” Truth, it is suggested, is not the exclusive possession of any one person.
Verse 2: In the Spirit
“And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
John’s experience is described as being “in the Spirit.” It’s essential to understand that these are visionary experiences rather than physical transportations. Only those with divine revelation can fully grasp the true meaning of these visions. In Ephesians 1:17-19, the Apostle Paul prays for believers to have their spiritual eyes opened to perceive and understand these profound truths.
The vision presents one throne with one seated on it, not three thrones with three distinct beings. This underscores the Christian belief that the one we will see in heaven is our Lord Jesus Christ. The notion of seeing God the Father apart from Jesus is questioned, emphasizing passages like 1 Timothy 6:16 and Hebrews 1:1-3, which affirm Jesus as the express image of God.
Verse 3: Symbolic Stones
“And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”
The description of jasper and sardius in this verse carries symbolic significance. Jasper represents the tribe of Reuben, the first stone in the breastplate of the High Priest, while sardius represents Benjamin, the last tribe. This signifies Jesus Christ as the God of both the Old and New Covenants, unifying the children of Israel and the followers of the Gospel.
Verse 4: The 24 Elders
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”
The 24 elders in this vision symbolize the 12 patriarchs of the Old Testament and the 12 apostles of Christ in the New Testament. This dual representation signifies the unity of the Old and New Covenant believers, illustrating the concept that both groups are part of the bride of Christ, as indicated in Revelation 12:17. The 24 thrones suggest a connection to the foundation of both Israel and the Church.
The presence of the 12 patriarchs’ names on the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem and the names of the 12 apostles in the foundations of the city underscores their significance in God’s plan. The distinction between Matthias and the Apostle Paul is noted, emphasizing the importance of apostles being personally chosen by the Lord rather than appointed by men.
Verse 5: Thundering and 7 Spirits
“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
The reference to thundering and lightnings in this verse is reminiscent of the awe-inspiring moment when God descended upon Mount Sinai, as described in Exodus 19:16-18. The seven spirits mentioned are understood as the attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ, as outlined in Revelation 5:6 and related to the seven church ages.
These attributes, associated with the lampstands in Revelation, are derived from the fire of the brazen altar, as seen in Leviticus 9:23-24. This fire was first given to the people during Pentecost, highlighting the role of early believers in igniting the Church through the Holy Spirit. The parable of the Sower is discussed, and it is emphasized that it should not be called the “Kingdom of Heaven,” a subtle distinction that carries significant theological implications.
Verse 6: Sea of Glass
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”
The “sea of glass like unto crystal” symbolizes a multitude of people who are pure and holy, representing the overcomers of every age. These are the faithful believers who have conquered their spiritual challenges and remained steadfast in their faith. The concept of a “sea of glass mingled with fire” in Revelation 15:2 is also briefly touched upon, representing the tribulation saints.
Verse 7: Four Living Creatures
“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”
The four beings mentioned in this verse, often referred to as the four living creatures, are better understood as the anointings of Christ, closely related to the attributes and anointings associated with the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These beings with eyes before and behind represent their ability to discern spiritual truths from all angles.
Verse 8: Worship of Living Creatures
“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
The living creatures are not mere automatons programmed to worship but are genuine in their worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their worship is characterized by authenticity and fervor, reflecting the deep reverence they hold for the Divine.
Verses 9-11: The Worship of the 24 Elders
“And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the 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.”
The closing verses of Revelation 4 depict the 24 elders casting their crowns before the throne, signifying their acknowledgment that all honor and glory belongs to the Lord alone. This act symbolizes humility and recognition that any rewards or achievements they possess are the result of God’s work in them. It reinforces the biblical idea that salvation and reward come through faith in Christ and His grace, rather than through human efforts alone.
IN CONCLUSION, Revelation Chapter 4 offers a profound spiritual journey into the heavenly realms and the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The symbolism and deeper meanings within this chapter remind us of the unity of Old and New Testament believers, the significance of divine revelation, and the importance of acknowledging Christ as the central figure in our faith. This vision provides an inspiring vision of heavenly worship and underscores the central role of faith, grace, and humility in our relationship with God.
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