REVELATION 2012: #4 – A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN
REVIEW: Over the past couple of weeks, we have been studying the Book of Revelation.
• In chapter one, we saw John in exile on Patmos receive a vision of Jesus.
• In chapters 2-3, we saw the first six letters that Jesus wrote to seven churches in Asia.
• Themes we have discovered in Revelation: Jesus, His second coming, and worship.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.” (Col. 3:1-2, NLT).
• We’re going to take pull back the curtain and peek into Heaven today.
• What will Heaven be like? Not walking around on clouds wearing white dresses playing harps and eating Philly cream cheese!
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” (Rev. 4:1).
• John saw a door open in Heaven, and an angel said, “Come up here.”
• In Ch. 4, John has a Vision of God the Father, declaring God’s POWER as our Creator:
REVELATION COMPARED WITH EZEKIEL:
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” (Rev. 4:2).
• One of the themes in Revelation is the throne – God is on the throne!
• “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8).
• Jesus is the main character in Revelation, and the throne is a main prop.
• We still have thrones today – how many of you dads have a throne? I have a ‘throne’.
• Four purposes of thrones: A King to rule, a judge to render a verdict, a warrior to celebrate victory over his foes and a priest to mediate between people and God = Jesus!
“And 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.” (Rev. 4:3).
• In Heaven, there is an explosion of light and color and sounds.
• Remember Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12).
• “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.” (Rev. 21:23).
• That’s why we love good lighting & colour – God is Creator and creative!
• Beauty is one of the attributes of God.
• Rainbow - covenant mercy. Gen. 9:13 – “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”
O.T. PROPHET CROSS REFERENCE:
“26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord…” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
• The more familiar you are with the OT, the better you will understand Revelation.
“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. (Rev. 4:4).
v.4 - around God’s throne = 24 elders seated and wearing white robes and gold crowns
“Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates… and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel… Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:12-14).
- 24 - 12 tribes of Israel (Old Covenant) & 12 disciples of Jesus (New Covenant)
THE 24 ELDERS:
- sitting = rest and satisfaction (we have overcome & are victorious in Heaven)
- white robes = righteousness (we have become the righteousness of God in Christ)
- crowns = ruling and reigning with Christ (kings and priests)
And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal…” (Rev. 4:5-6a).
• This picture symbolizes God’s awesome power
• Cross Reference: “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (Ex. 19:6).
REVELATION COMPARED WITH EZEKIEL:
“And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The 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.” (Rev. 4:6b-7).
“Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures… As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle…and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.” (Ezekiel 1:5,10,18).
INTERPRETING THE SYMBOLS:
- Full of Eyes - Knowledge and Vision
- Lion - Strength
- Calf/Ox - Service
- Man - Intelligence
- Flying Eagle - Speed … in the Service of the Creator
WHO ARE THESE FOUR LIVING CREATURES? Cherubim.
“This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim.” (Ezekiel 10:20).
• Cherubim: an angelic being: as guardians of Eden (Gen. 3:24); as flanking God's throne (Ezek. 1,10); as an image hovering over the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8:6-7). (KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon)
“The 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!” (Rev. 4:8).
• A picture of the awesome worship of Heaven – one of the themes of Revelation.
• The Lord is exalted first for: His holiness (holy, holy, holy) and His power (Almighty)
REVELATION COMPARED WITH ISAIAH:
“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. 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. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Is. 6:1-3).
“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 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: "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.” (Rev. 4:9-11).
APPLICATION: How does this chapter in Revelation apply to us today?
• REMEMBER: One of the themes of the book of Revelation is WORSHIP.
• Our response is to give glory to God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth!
• Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22:39-40).
• Our highest calling as Christians is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.
Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/