Summary: After the Church is raptured, and the Holy Spirit will not be here to restrain the forces of evil, this earth will become a living hell. The rapture takes place in verses 1 through 3 of chapter four.
By: Tom Lowe Date: 7-13-15
Title: God on the Throne (Revelation 4:1-11)
Revelation 4:1-11 (KJV)
1 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.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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 phrase “which was, and is, and his to come” describes God’s transcendence over time—he is eternal (1:4).
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 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,
11 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.
At this point we should be reminded of the three fold division of the book as it appears in 1:19: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (KJV).
“The things which thou hast seen”—the vision of the glorified Christ in chapter 1.
“The things which are”—the history of the Church on earth prewritten from Pentecost to the Rapture as seen in the letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3.
“The things which shall be hereafter”—the future events to take place after the true Church has been taken out of the earth as recorded in chapters 4 through 22.
In chapters 2 and 3 we saw the Risen Christ walking amidst His churches upon earth. Now the scene changes to the courts of heaven. With this passage, John’s writing transition’s from the letters to the churches to the vision of heaven. He begins with a vision of God Himself.
From 4:1 to the end of the book all the events follow the rapture of the Church. By this time God will have completed His Church and the Church will have completed her mission on earth. In fact, the word “church” does not appear again in the book until the end, where the glorified Lord speaks to the churches (22:16). We are now living somewhere toward the close of the second period designated by the phrase, “the things which are,” awaiting our Lord’s coming to rapture the Church to Himself. Thus we are about to view the thrilling panorama of wonders which are to take place after the church’s mission on earth has ended and she is caught up to being with Christ, “things which must be hereafter.” If we miss this divine division of the book we have lost the key to its understanding.
God has never relinquished His sovereignty and majesty, thus we are reminded of God’s power and authority of which the throne is a symbol. “The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19). Presently, during this Age of grace, God’s throne is one of grace and mercy where sinners and saints may come boldly to “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). But the throne in Revelation 4 appears after the rapture of the saints, when the present dispensation has ended and a new dispensation of judgment has begun.