Summary: This is a mid-week Bible Study on Rev 4, showing some of the sight and sounds of glory as the believer anticipates heaven.
Studies in Revelation
In and Around Heaven
Text: Revelation 4:2-11
Introduction: Following the rapture in 4:1 John makes it very clear where he is now located – vs 2 – “in heaven,” and that is where we are in this book for the next two chapters. These are exciting verses because they give us a glimpse of what lies ahead for us. The environment of heaven is strange to us, but that is where we are going, but thanks to Revelation we have something of a travel guide before we arrive. We feel somewhat out of our depth here for there is little to which we can relate. Its like being in a strange country, where language, customs, and architecture are enough like our own to be recognised, yet sufficiently different and strange to make us feel somewhat alien.
In chapter 4 we discover eight clear features of heaven, but all eight centre on the first: God’s throne. Let’s consider each of these features in turn as we look in and around heaven:
I. The Seat – vs. 2
A. The centerpiece of heaven is God’s throne.
1. The throne is referred to nine times in the first six verses of chapter 4, and 17 altogether times in chapters 4 & 5.
a. It is the focal point of heaven – everything revolves around the throne.
b. Peruse these chapters and you will constantly run into phrases like:
(i) “…on the throne…” (vs 2)
(ii) “…about the throne…” (vs 3)
(iii) “…out of the throne…” (vs 5)
(iv) “…before the throne…” (vs 5)
(vi) “…in the midst of the throne…” (vs 6)
(vii) “…upon the throne…” (5:7)
2. This divine seat of sovereignty is firmly set in place.
a. Stable. Secure. Fixed. Established. Permanent. Immovable. Enduring. Eternal.
b. The Psalmist said, "Thy throne O God is forever and ever." (Psalm 45:6)
c. This throne is the highest seat of absolute sovereignty.
B. Now as the chapter unfolds we begin to get a better picture of the throne, and the entire goings on around about it.
II. The Saviour
A. John says, “one sat on the throne”
1. John sees that this throne is not vacant, but occupied.
a. Someone is enthroned upon it and that “Someone” is God Himself.
b. Now get a grip on this …. John actually saw God sitting upon His throne.
c. The word "sat," describes the position of a king who is actually reigning.
(i) For example, if a politician is seated, he is said to be in office. If an elected official is put out of office, he is said to be unseated.
(ii) John sees God seated, He is actively exercising the duties of His executive office, administering over the affairs of all His creation.
2. 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.
B. Now, the one John sees has to be Jesus.
1. Why do we say that?
2. Because Jesus is the only member of the Godhead with a body.
a. Jesus taught us that, “God is a Spirit”, and “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.” (John 6:46) and John 1:18 says, that “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
b. John is unlikely to contradict his own gospel, is he?
c. So the One he sees is the One who redeemed us – 5:9
d. He sees Jesus, just like Stephen saw Him, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56)
3. John sees Jesus and He is seated upon His throne, just as He was when Isaiah the prophet saw Him.
C. Now notice (vs 3) how John describes Him:
1. “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.”
2. He is a figure of brilliance and beauty.
3. The jasper is not the gem we know by that name which comes in a variety of shades and is an opaque stone, rather this gem looks more like crystal – see Rev 21:11
4. In all likelihood what we are looking at here is not what we call the jasper, but in fact the diamond.
5. The other stone, the sardine, or sardius stone, is blood red in colour, and may actually be a ruby.
6. These two stones speak to us of glory and sacrifice
7. The bright light of the diamond symbolises Gods absolute, unadulterated holiness.
a. It pictures His flawless character, moral perfection, and unstained essence.