Summary: The book of is first a revealing of Jesus Christ who is both the Lion and the Lamb.
We begin a new sermon series today on the book of Revelation. We are studying that book on Wednesday evenings and this will go with that study. And I need to catch you up since we just finished the fifth chapter.
Some major points:
• Written by John the apostle to seven church in Asia Minor – present day Turkey.
• They were going through persecution and John who was their apostle was in exile on the Island of Patmos, put there by the Romans.
• The purpose of the book was to encourage, strengthen, and correct those churches.
• Written in genre of literature of their time known as “apocalyptic” just like the book of Daniel. Makes it difficult to understand. Most is symbolism and relies heavily on OT images and passages.
• So we need some help when we read Revelation, and most people have tried and stopped. Left behind series.
• I do not claim to understand everything, but what I do understand is enough.
• It is a revelation – a revealing of Jesus Christ. That is what it says in the first verse of the book:
Revelation 1:1 (NIV84)
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
So the major purpose is to show us Jesus Christ, in his glory, and that is not what most people go to the book to get. Most go to get some timetables or some hints about the end of the world. And they treat it like Nostradamus or some other secular fortuneteller, but it is not that. We do learn about the “last days” or the “consummation” and the Great Tribulation, but even in that the purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ, the Risen One in all of his glory.
Now we are joining this book at the fifth chapter. We are skipping over the first four chapters and we are doing that not because they are insignificant. I encourage you to read them. In chapters 2 and 3 there are messages directly to the seven churches in which they are commended for their faith and five of the seven are warned to repent.
But then the letter shifts the focus from earth to heaven and the throne room of God. That begins in Chapter 4 where John sees a door is open in heaven and he hears a voice that says
“Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
And he is caught up in the Spirit and taken into heaven and what he sees is a throne and God is on the throne and John doesn’t tell us what he looks like. He says that he is like jewels, like Jasper and sardius and there was a rainbow over his head like emerald. He is in the throne room of God Almighty. And around God are twenty four more thrones and on those thrones are twenty-four elders who are wearing white and have golden crowns on their heads. And the first thing we want to know is who are these elders and some say they are from the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles, but that is really not important. What is important that we grasp the majesty and the authority of the throne room, that the one who sits on the throne is in fact God himself and he knows all, sees all, and has all power.
And we get that message because coming out of the throne is lightning and there are sharp peals of thunder. And before the throne it looked like a sea of glass. And around the throne with the 24 elders on their thrones, the rainbow overhead, the sea of glass are also four creatures and they are really strange looking. One is like a lion, one like an ox, one like a man, and one like an eagle, but they have six wings each and they have eyes all over – all over their wings and eyes in front and eyes in back.
And by this time we say – “Okay – I am lost. I don’t understand this at all. Who are the creatures?” And again – what is important is not who they are but what they communicate to us. And we think they represent all of creation, because they never stop worshipping Creator God on the throne as they sing “Holy Holy Holy” and the 24 elders fall down in front of God and they sing and worship 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV84)