Summary: The first vision of Revelation is complete, now we start the second vision. In the first vision John saw and heard Christ on the earth. The second vision begins with John being taken to heaven.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS
Revelation 4: 1-11
The first vision of Revelation is complete, now we start the second vision. In the first vision John saw and heard Christ on the earth. The second vision begins with John being taken to heaven.
As he wrote the vision down, John included what he saw and heard in heaven as well as what he saw on earth.
Everything connected with the throne as it appears in this chapter, is awesome, strange, and unexpected. We instinctively feel out of our depth, for there is little or nothing to which we can relate. Everything described is outside the realm of normal experience.
Who ever thinks of God as a stone? We can think of God having physical part, or of Jesus described as a lion of lamb. The symbolism of Jesus as the Vine is also understandable, but the idea of God being like a stone is startling and unexpected.
Then the mysterious creatures with four faces. The twenty four elders, and the seven fold Spirit referring to the Holy Spirit. We are definitely in the realm of the unfamiliar.
Before we go any further please remember one basic principle. As John describes heaven to us, he has the unbelievable task of describing the unfamiliar things of heaven to us. Just imagine taking a native from a primitive tribe in the jungle to New York City. How would he describe to his fellow tribesmen the things he saw that they knew nothing about.
i.e. cars, planes, bicycles, TVs, ice cream. Any way you look at it, it’s hard. For this reason many things are presented symbolically.
For us, these symbols are not hard to understand when you keep in mind the background and understanding of the people to whom John was writing. Most of the symbols in Revelation depicting heaven have a counterpart in the Old Testament.
vs 1 After this
Many Bible scholars believe that at this point in Revelation Christ takes the faithful overcomes of his churches out of the world. Thus, the catching away, or rapture, precedes the tribulation period. They believe this for several reasons,
1st Beginning with 4:1 the word church(es) is not mentioned until 22:16.
2nd The bride of Christ, the church, appears in chapter 19 already with Christ in heaven before he returns to earth to judge the wicked and to reign in the millennial kingdom.
3rd The promise given to the Philadelphia church to keep it from the hour of worldwide trial pertains to all believers who stand true to Christ before the tribulation.
A door standing open in heaven is like the beginning of the prophet Ezekiel’s visions. In the New Testament the heavens opened when Jesus was baptized, when Stephen was stoned, and when Peter saw a sheet filled with unclean animals.
We understand the Bible to speak of three heavens. First is the atmosphere, what we see everyday. The second heaven would be the universe, and the third is where God is. Paul spoke of this and I believe this is where John went to.
The voice I had first heard speaking to me was that of Jesus. His first command had been to write on a scroll, now his command is come up here.
The words I will show you reminds us that the contents of Revelation belong to Jesus, He is the revealer. All the events to follow must take place. The future is determined, not only is God in control, He knows what will take place.
This truth certainly would bring comfort to the struggling believers on the seven churches.
The events described in this vision plainly follow in time those described in the first vision. On the other hand, the initial scene of heavenly worship is ongoing through time.
The Throne of God
The central object of heaven is the throne of God. It is referred to eight times in the first six verses of chapter 4 and eighteen times altogether in chapters 4 and 5.
The Throne of God is the place of authority and the center of God’s rulership for the activities of heaven and our earth.
Seven Things Around the Throne of God
1. The Triune God
At once I was in the Spirit directly refers to being in the Holy Spirit. John was able to see and hear by the Spirit’s power things that in the normal he could not see or hear.
Before John can describe the throne, which he never actually describes the throne itself, he observes someone sitting on it. Later John explains that this is the Creator of all, God the Father.
Remember, Jesus is the one speaking to John, revealing heaven to him.
Human language fails at this point. God’s form simply has the appearance of jasper and carnelian. What are these stones? Not 100% sure, although we have a good idea. English translations for yaspis include, jasper, jade, green quartz and diamond. This stone is also the first foundation stone for the new Jerusalem.