A Vision Of God’s Throne
2. Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
3And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
5And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
7The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
8The 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!"
9Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who
sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and
worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the
11"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
Our sermon series on the Book of Revelation continues today.
Last week, we concentrated on Verse 1 of chapter 4.
I am convinced that this represents the rapture of the church
and begins the 7 year period known as The Tribulation.
If you missed that sermon, I urge you to listen to it.
So let’s get right into today’s passage from chapter 4.
Verse 2. Immediately I was in the Spirit;
In spite of what Verse 1 seems to indicate,
John does not go bodily to heaven.
Verse 2 makes it clear that John is translated in his spirit.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 12
the apostle Paul says he had an experience like John’s.
2 Corinthians 12:1-5
It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.
Paul didn’t know if he was in the body or out of the body.
My guess is that he was NOT taken bodily to heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:50 says,
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
The Bible says that Elijah and Enoch were taken to heaven,
but they did not soon returned to earth.
John remains on the earth receiving more revelations from Jesus.
Verse 2 continues: and behold, a throne set in heaven,
John sees the same throne in heaven that Paul saw.
John makes it very clear he sees a vision of heaven.
These are wonderful verses
because they give us a glimpse of what lies ahead for us.
What we will be told about heaven will seem strange to us.
It is much different from what we see here on earth.
Nevertheless, that is where we are going.
In chapter 4 we discover 8 clear places of heaven,
and all 8 of them center on God’s throne.
#1. The Throne
The centerpiece of heaven is God’s throne.
The throne is referred to 9 times in the first 6 verses of chapter 4
and 17 times in chapters 4 and 5.
It is the focal point of heaven.
Everything revolves around the throne.
This divine seat of power and control is firmly set in place.
Psalm 45:6 says,
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
Verse concludes: and One sat on the throne.
Now we begin to get a better picture of the throne
and what goes on around about it.
John sees that this throne is not vacant.
Someone is upon it and that “Someone” is God Himself.
John actually saw God sitting upon His throne.
The word "sat" describes the position of a king who is reigning.
For example, if a politician is seated,
he is said to be in office.
If an elected official is voted out of office,
he is said to be unseated.
John sees God seated.
He is actively exercising the duties of His office
administering over the affairs of all His creation.
The message is clear to John.
No matter what may happen on earth,
God is still on His throne in Heaven.
God is still in control.
Now, that brings up a good question?
We know that God exists in a Trinity.
There are God the Father, God the Son Jesus,
and God the Holy Spirit.
So which One of the Trinity is seated on the throne?
I believe the one John sees has to be God the Father.
Why do I believe that?
While he was being stoned to death,
Stephen saw Jesus in heaven.
Acts 7:56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
Stephen saw Jesus and He was standing at the right hand of God.
Romans 8:34 says,
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
So Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father
Who sits on the throne in heaven.
Now notice in Verse 3 how John describes God the Father.
Verse 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance;
God the Father is a figure of brilliance and beauty.
Now, the stones mentioned here are different
from what we know about precious stones today.
The jasper mentioned here
is not the gem we know which comes in a variety of shades
and is an not clear stone.
Instead, this gem looks more like crystal clear.
Revelation 21:11 says,
having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
The jasper mentioned here in Verse 3
looks more like the diamond.
The bright light of the diamond
symbolizes the absolute, pure holiness of God.
The sardius stone mentioned in Verse 3 is red in color.
It likely resembled what we know as a ruby.
These 2 stones speak to us of glory.
Clearly John sees God the Father seated upon the throne.
Verse 3 continues, and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
This is no ordinary rainbow.
Unlike the semi-circle rainbows we see,
this one is a perfect circle surrounding the throne of God.
That is a symbol of the eternality of God.
He has no beginning and no ending.
The Bible tells us that after the Great Flood
God created the rainbow.
He promised never to destroy the world again with the flood.
The unending rainbow symbolizes His eternal faithfulness.
Verse 4. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
John sees 24 thrones around God’s throne.
These are thrones subordinate to God’s higher throne.
Upon these thrones are seated 24 elders who share in God’s reign.
Now who are these elders?
Well, obviously they are associated
with God’s government in some special way.
They are called “elders”.
Jesus doesn’t give their names.
If that were important for us to know, He would have told us.
Just as elders represented all the people of Israel
and elders represent all the members in a church today
these 24 were representatives of all who are in heaven.
King David appointed 24 elders
as representatives of the entire Levitical priesthood.
The priests numbered many thousands.
They could not all come before his throne.
Therefore, David appointed 24 to stand before him.
They represented the whole tribe of Israel.
Well, 24 is a number best suited
to representing the saints of every age.
Israel of old had 12 tribes.
The church rests upon the foundation of Christ and the 12 apostles.
12 + 12 =24.
These elders represent the saints of every age
gathered around the throne of God the Father.
Notice also that these elders
are clothed in white and wearing golden crowns.
The white clothing a symbol of righteousness
which is imputed only through faith in Jesus.
The golden crown is the reward
for those whose works Jesus judged to be done right
and who remained faithful.
Verse 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.
Lightening, thunderings and voices
are symbols associated with judgment.
These are a prelude of all that is to take place on the earth
as we will see in chapters 6 through 19.
The tribulation judgments are coming from the throne of God.
Man will NOT bring human history to an end.
Nuclear bombs won’t destroy it.
Neither will thermal warming or any other catastrophe.
God’s wrath will come upon the earth!
Verse 5 continues: Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
We read about the 7 Spirits twice in Revelation
back in 1:4 and 3:1
As I said back then, it’s a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout scripture, 7 is often a symbol of perfection!
These are not 7 different spirits of God,
but 1 spirit perfectly manifested in 7 ways.
Verse 6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.
The crystal sea shows us the purity of heaven.
No color stains here.
In chapter 15 we will find the Tribulation saints standing on it.
This sea conveys complete security and perfect sanctification.
Verse 6 continues: And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
Some translations use the word "beasts"
but that word can be seen as something evil.
I think "creatures" is a better word here!
Who are these 4 living creatures?
These are angelic beings sometimes called “seraphim”.
We know that from their description.
They resemble creatures seen by the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 6:1-3 says,
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 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. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"
These 4 creatures are in the immediate vicinity of the throne
forming an inner circle of worshippers.
John gives us more information about them.
One had the face of a lion, one the face of an ox,
one the face of a man, and one the face of an eagle.
Now, what are these seraphim doing?
Isaiah told us!
They are doing what they were created to do.
They are worshipping the God.
They are praising God for:
His holiness – “Holy, holy, holy…”
His sovereignty – “Lord…”
His omnipotence – “God Almighty…”
His eternality – “which was, and is, and is to come.”
Well, let’s finish up this chapter.
Verse 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to
Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
Heaven is a place centered around God the Father.
He is the object of its affection and praise.
Verse 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
The 24 elders join the angelic chorus of praise
and cast their crowns at His feet,
praising God for His will to have them created.
Genesis makes it clear that creation
was made by all three members of the Holy Trinity.
In Genesis, the word “God” in our English Bibles
Is translated from the Hebrew word “Elohim”
which is a plural noun.
So God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit worked together
in the creation of the earth and all that’s in it and above it.
Colossians 1:13-17 says,
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
John 1:3 declares: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Hebrews 1:10 "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
Do we ever praise Jesus for creating us?
We must never forget that without Jesus
we wouldn’t even be here!
Why do you come to church on Sunday?
Some people go to be entertained by praise bands.
Some go to be seen because it’s good for business.
Some go because somebody made them go.
Some go because they like the preacher.
The #1 reason should be to worship God.
Only as we worship Him in humble submission
can we see more fully the glories of God.
That is the scene John saw in Heaven.
God the Father is still on the Throne.
In spite of how it may sometime seem,
He is still in control.
Here in chapter 4 is how we must worship.
Let’s come to church to worship and give Him the glory.