I. The Throne In Heaven (4:1-11)
Rev 4:1 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.
Rev 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Rev 4:3 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.
Rev 4:4 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.
Rev 4:5 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.
Rev 4:6 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.
Rev 4:7 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.
Rev 4:8 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.
Rev 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,
Rev 4:10 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,
Rev 4:11 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.
Next John witnesses a door in heaven open and hears a voice saying, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. John is representative of the church which will be raptured at the close of this age. He then describes God as a jasper and sardine stone (precious jewels) that would have adorned the high priest's breastplate. An emerald-colored rainbow completely encircles the throne reminding him of the covenant God made with Noah ensuring the earth would never again be destroyed by water.
The twenty-four elders around the throne are symbolic of the church which has already been judged, rewarded and is now seated on thrones. In the Old Testament David had divided the entire priesthood into twenty-four courses; in the New Testament the believer belongs to a redeemed royal priesthood that offers up spiritual sacrifices unto God.
John now sees before the throne a sea of glass picturing the holiness of God. Around the throne are four beasts who continually praise and give glory to God. These creatures represent God's creative order and are similar to the seraphim and cheribim found in Isaiah and Ezekiel.
Next we see the glorified church praising God around the throne along with the four living beings. I can imagine we'll be doing a lot of this in heaven!
II. Worthy Is The Lamb (5:1-14)
Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Rev 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Rev 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Rev 5:14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
His eyes now filled with tears, John sees a seven-sealed scroll being held by Him (God the Father) who is sitting on the throne. This document represents the title deed to the redemption of the earth which was forfeited by Adam.
Neither man nor angel is worthy to open the book. Only Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer, is both willing and able to redeem creation from its bondage. Only He is worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll.
Christ is described as the Lion of the tribe of Juda, and the root of Jacob. He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. He is all-powerful (seven horns), all-knowing (seven eyes), and ever present (seven Spirits). All heaven is silent as He steps forward to take the scroll.
It's a majestic scene as the living creatures and twenty-four elders prostrate themselves before the throne and ascribe praise and glory to the Son. The church sings a new song exalting Christ and His redemption of a fallen creation.
The bowls of incense symbolize the prayers of the saints as God's people eagerly anticipate their reign and rule with Him! Finally all creation joins in the worship and proclaims--Worthy is the Lamb!
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