STUDY: PART 13
“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. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 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 (Revelation 4:1-3).
Verse 1 of chapter 4 begins John’s second vision. The first vision John had was the prophecy to the churches directly. Notice that this vision was delivered on earth. It was to give the churches praise, or to give them correction. It was a warning of what would befall each church unless repentance was made and their hearts returned to Jesus. John’s second vision leads us into the rest of Revelation, and was given in heaven.
The Dispensationalist use verse one here to prove that we will be raptured before the tribulations begin. But does it? The only pronouns in this verse are first person singular, I and me. Nowhere in the verse is the church mentioned, or a first person plural pronoun used such as “we.” So how do we assume this is true? By understanding that the Rapture and the Revelation are two separate incidences, and occur at two different times. As J. Vernon McGee states, “At the Rapture Christ does not come to earth. He does not touch down on the Mount of Olives. In fact He does not come to the earth proper.” The Rapture is when Jesus will come, shouting in the voice of an archangel sounding like a trumpet to raise the dead first, and then the church to meet Him in the air.
Let’s read I Thessalonians 4:16, 17. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Now many people teach that Jesus is coming at the Rapture with an archangel who will shout and blow a trumpet. Not so. Again, look at the phrasing of verse 16. It clearly states that Jesus “Himself” will descend “with a shout” with the “voice of” an archangel, and with the trump of God which is probably the same trump used on Mount Sinai when the Law was given. It is mentioned twice in Revelation that the voice of Jesus was like the sound of a trumpet: Revelation 1:10; 4:1. Trumpets were sounded to warn the nations to prepare for battle.
Another consideration is, Jesus didn’t need help to raise Tabitha or Lazarus from the dead, why would He need angels to come help Him raise the dead in Christ and His church? Perry Stone often says that when Jesus called forth Lazarus from the tomb, He had to use his name or everyone in the area who was dead and buried would have come at His beckoning.
I firmly believe that we will be raised out of this world before any of the seals are broken, before any of the trumpets sound, and before any of the bowls are poured out. But I also believe we will see far more debauchery than some think. We have already seen prayer removed from school, the Ten Commandments treated like pornographic literature and removed from public buildings, sex education, including live demonstrations in schools, birth control handed out indiscriminately to children, abortion made legal, and euthanasia accepted in many countries, and recommended here. There is an increase in parents killing their children, in devil worship, in the new age movement, and in addictions of every sort that ruin families daily.
Let’s look at four phases of Jesus’ ministry”
1. When Jesus was born it was His incarnation.
2. When He was resurrected, it was for our deliverance.
3. When He comes in the air it will be for the Rapture of His bride.
4. When He returns to earth, and stands and splits the Mount of Olives, it will be for judgment.
The first two phases are finished, the third one is coming soon, and the fourth one MUST take place. Pray for revival and mass conversions so that as many as can be will be saved!
Read I Corinthians 10:32, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
Another reason I believe the church will be “raptured” (caught up) before the second coming is the division made of the people in I Corinthians. They are the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God. As we look further into Revelation, we will see that only two of these people divisions will be sealed for the Tribulation, the Jews, and the Gentiles. Listen to what J. Vernon McGee says about this. “There were 144,000 Israelites sealed, but of the Gentiles there was sealed a great company that no man could number. We see now two divisions of the human family that are sealed: Jews and Gentiles: But how about the third division, the Church of God? They are not sealed. And it would be frightful indeed if the Church went through the Great Tribulation without being sealed. It would be bad enough to go through sealed, but it would be tragic to go through it without some sort of protection.” At this time Jesus will no longer be the Mediator between God and man. He will be standing in judgment. We have to assume that the Church wasn’t sealed because it was already removed and safe with Jesus.
Chapter four specifically states that John was in the Spirit. He was transported to the New Jerusalem as Jesus was from the midst of those trying to kill him (John 8:59), and as was Phillip when he was taken after baptizing the eunuch (Acts 8:39). (I believe we can be translated, moved by the Spirit from place-to-place.) His body was here on earth, but his spirit was in the New Jerusalem with Jesus.
The description of what John saw there in the New Jerusalem gives me chills! He saw a throne with One who sat on it. We know that the One is Jesus. But this is not the final judgment throne yet. This is Jesus’ throne of power from which He will orchestrate the coming events.
John said that Jesus was like two precious gems, a jasper, which now is called a diamond (Revelation 21:11), which represents Jesus’ purity, and a sardius which is like a ruby, representing His wrath, His indignation. And around His throne was the covenant of grace, the rainbow, with the green associated with an emerald prominent. The green represents the peace of the covenant with God, His covenant of grace that is always new every day.
STUDY: PART 14
“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. 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. 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” (Revelation 4:4-6).
V. 4- Many Bible translations say the 24 thrones were “around” the throne of God. This is not accurate. It actually is round about. This means they formed a half circle around God’s throne.. Why do I believe this?
Let’s read Revelation 11:16 “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,”
The elders sat “before” God. No one worships God behind His back. We come face-to-face with the Lord in worship. These thrones are from the right hand of God to His left hand, all facing Him, and all who sit on them see His face. Who are the elders on that throne? Depends who you listen to. Since the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us, we have to assume here.
Some say these elders are the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Others say they are angels, and still others that these elders represent the believers of all times. Let’s do a process of elimination here.
I don’t think these are the twelve tribes and the apostles because God would make that clear. He would say something like the twelve and the twelve, but He said there were twenty-four elders. No distinction between them. To me the appellation “elders” excludes the angels as an elder is a human in position of authority in a place of worship on earth. Nowhere else in the Bible are angels referred to as elders, so it would be a stretch to call them that here. In my opinion, these elders are representatives of the believers from the beginning of the church till the rapture for several reasons. One: They are seated before Jesus, meaning they have been redeemed from sin. “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God...” Two: Each is wearing white robe which, in Revelation, is the symbol of salvation. Angels are not saved. Three: The elders are wearing the crown of victory given to those who ran the race and stayed the course.
Now please read II Timothy 4:7, 8; James 1:12; I Peter 5:1-4.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:7, 8). “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
It follows, then, that these elders are the ones who were raptured and are in the New Jerusalem with Jesus. They were saved, redeemed, judged, and crowned as worthy to worship the Lord. Walvoord and Zuck, in their commentary, say that at this point in time the angels had not yet been judged. I Corinthians 6:3 tells us that we will judge the angels. That is, the born-again Christians. Why will we judge angels? We will judge them because 1/3 of all the created angels form heaven followed Lucifer and were cast out of heaven with him. When received as the truth, this substantiates the pre-tribulation rapture of the church.
V. 5- One thing you can know for sure from this verse, heaven is not quiet or dull. Jesus spoke in the volume of a trumpet, and then one of the four living creatures spoke in a voice like thunder (6:1). Thunder are mentioned in several places in Revelation (4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 11:19; 14:2; 16:18; 19:6), and are the precursor of the judgment that’s on the way.
I believe the seven lamps of fire which are the seven Spirits of God is the One Holy Spirit in His seven attributes. Isaiah 11:2 clearly defines these ministries as the Spirit of the Lord (who the Holy Spirit is), wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord (what He is). Since the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet to light the way, I believe this means the Spirit of God was working His ministries of giving wisdom and understanding, etc... The fire is the symbol of the purified Word of God which has no error, in the original. The Holy Spirit is here ministering the Word of God in all His seven attributes. The number seven is used to symbolized completeness, or fullness. These are the ministry gifts given to church leaders by which they can equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Let’s read Ephesians 4:8-16. “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
In their commentary, Walvoord and Zuck have this to say, ”With God the Father seated on the throne and the Holy Spirit represented by the seven lamps, the stage was then set for the revelation (chap. 5) of Christ Himself as the slain Lamb.”
V. 6- There is several interpretations of the sea of glass, but the one that makes most sense to me is found in Gill’s commentary. It reads, “ I think by it is meant the Gospel, compared to a "sea" for the deep things of God and mysteries of grace which are in it; to a sea of "glass", because in it is beheld, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, of his person, office, and righteousness, as well as many other wondrous things; and to one like "crystal", for the clearness, perspicuity, and evidence of the truths contained in it; and to a, fixed, still; and quiet sea, because it is the Gospel of peace, love, grace, and mercy, and brings peace, joy, and tranquility to troubled minds, when the law works wrath: but here are no tossing, foaming, raging waves of wrath, and fury, but all smooth, stable, solid, tranquil, and quiet. And this is said to be before the throne, where the rainbow of the covenant is, of which the Gospel is a transcript; and where the four and twenty elders, or members of churches be, for their delight and comfort; and where the seven spirits of God are, to furnish men with gifts to preach it; and where the four living creatures, or ministers of the word, have their place, who officiate in it.”
Jack Van Impe says, “The sea of glass depicts the church at rest.”
STUDY: PART 15
“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. 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. 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” (Revelation 4:7-11).
V. 7. The Four Living Creatures really sent me through a lot of study materials, and several commentaries. And what do you suppose my conclusion of who or what they are is? It’s all speculation. Where were the four living creatures? They were before, in the midst of, and round about the throne. That means they covered all the ground.
In John Gill’s commentary, he expresses his opinion that the creatures are symbolic of preachers. “And the first beast was like a lion: this figure expresses the strength of the ministers of the word, the lion being the strongest among beasts: and the second beast like a calf: the laboriousness of Christ's faithful ministers in treading out the corn of Gospel truth, who labour in the word and doctrine, and are labourers with God; as also their humility, meekness, and patience in bearing insults, reproaches, and sufferings for Christ, and instructing those that oppose themselves: and the third beast had a face as a man: points at the humanity and tender heartedness, the wisdom, prudence, knowledge, and understanding, and the use of the reasoning faculty, together with a manly spirit in abiding by the Gospel at any rate; all which are so necessary in the ministers of the word. And the fourth beast was like a flying eagle: which sets forth the sagacity and penetration of Gospel ministers into the deep things of God, and mysteries of grace, and their readiness and swiftness to do the will of God, in publishing the everlasting Gospel.”
Every other thing I read, however, points to cherubim. One interpretation says that the four cherubim represent the attributes of God, and another the attributes of Jesus.
“Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:2, 3 NKJV)
“As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle” (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14 NKJV).
It is always my policy to allow Scripture to explain Scripture, and in their case, because of the testimonies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John, I agree with them being cherubim.
Let’s compare Isaiah 6:3, “And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” with Revelation 4:8, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
If they look the same, walk the same, and talk the same, could be they are the same kind of creatures, or created beings.
Let’s see what Rev. Dr. Allen Beechick has to say about the elders and cherubim:
Perhaps these beasts are cherubim, because they are similar to the cherubim in Ezekiel who were guardians of God's glory. Cherubim were also guardians of the garden of Eden and guardians of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. Here in Revelation they are guardians, along with the elders, of God's throne, of God's right to rule.
V. 8-11. This is the first of the fourteen doxologies in Revelation (the list of these if found at: (http://www.newbeginmin1.org/REVELATIONSTUDYHELPS.html.) The Holman Bible Dictionary defines a doxology this way. “Doxologies generally contain two elements, an ascription of praise to God (usually referred to in third person) and an expression of His infinite nature. The term “doxology” (“word of glory”) itself is not found in the Bible, but both the Old and New Testaments contain many doxological passages using this formula.”
In Hebrew and Greek, the repetition of a word twice indicates emphasis. To repeat it three times makes it a superlative, or of the highest order. Nothing is higher or better than God. The worship and incessant praise of God by these creatures, and the 24 elders is to express the supremacy of God. Within these two doxologies we see that Jesus is Holy (Isaiah 6:3), God Almighty (Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 1:8), the One who was, and is, and is to come (John 1:1; Revelation 1:4), worthy to receive honor, and glory, and power (I Timothy 6:16), and the Lord, Creator who by His mere will created all things (Colossians 1:16).
One way to approach this portion of Scripture is to believe the four living creatures have always been around the throne, doing the work of praise, and that the 24 elders are from among redeemed of the church age from the rapture. We can understand that the elders are not angels when we observe the different jobs each group did in Revelation. The angels announced things that were to come. One angel showed John the harlot, the city of Babylon (17:1–19:10). The second angel showed John the bride, the heavenly city (21:9–22:11). The elders announce redemption. An elder explains the white-robed multitude (7:13–17). An elder introduces the Lamb that was slain (5:5–7).
As we said last week, angels are not among the blood bought redeemed. They rejoice over a person’s salvation, but don’t truly understand it from a personal perspective, yet because the salvation pleases God, they celebrate over each one. But the elders have tasted this washing and regeneration in the blood of Jesus.
We will now read Titus 3:4-7. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Another interesting observation to make is that these are elders (men born into the sin nature therefore having passed through the spiritual aging process, and been redeemed), implying they are older and wiser, therefore able to rule. Angels in heaven have never sinned and they never get older.
Who is worthy of praise? It is God almighty and the Lamb who was slain. To worship means to bow down and pay homage to the One we adore. This is worship for God and the Savior Jesus alone, not for saints, angels, or stone or plaster statues. We give all our worship and praise to the Lord of Heaven, the only living and true God in three personalities: Father: Son, and Holy Spirit. The people of God said? Amen!