REVELATION 4-5 [5-22-11]


Revelation 4-5

[5/22/11]

Review:

Revelation 4:1) [GW] After these things I saw a door standing open in heaven. I heard the first voice like a trumpet speaking to me. It said “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.”

Revelation 1:19) (GW) Therefore, write down what you have seen, what is, and what is going to happen after these things.

QUESTION: What is the “after this” being referred to here?

ANSWER: The “after this” is after “what you have seen,” and “what is,” i.e., the church age.

QUESTION: What, then, is chapter 4, verse 1, referring to?

ANSWER: I believe it to be referring to the Rapture of the Church.

QUESTION: When will the Rapture of the Church occur?

ANSWER: It will occur, in my view, between “what is,” i.e., the church age, and “what is going to happen after these things,” i.e., the Tribulation Period.

On To This Week’s Lesson:           

Revelation 4:2-11) (GW) Instantly, I came under the Spirit’s power. I saw a throne in heaven, and someone was sitting on it.

QUESTION: Where did the door that was opened lead to?

ANSWER: Heaven.

QUESTION: Where was John after the voice of God said, “Come up here”?

ANSWER: He was in Heaven.

3) (GW) The one sitting there looked like gray quartz and red quartz. There was a rainbow around the throne which looked like an emerald.

QUESTION: What was unusual about the One sitting there?

ANSWER: He sparkled like costly stones.

QUESTION: To what does the rainbow speak?

ANSWER: 1) It speaks of the calm after the storm.

2) It speaks of the promise God made to Noah.

4) (GW) Around that throne were 24 other thrones, and on these thrones sat 24 leaders wearing white clothes. They had gold crowns on their heads.

Revelation 5:8-9) (GW) When the lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 leaders bowed in front of him. Each held a harp and a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of God’s holy people.

9) (GW) Then they sang a new song, “You deserve to take the scroll and open the seals on it, because you were slaughtered. You bought people with your blood to be God’s own. They are from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

QUESTION: Who were these 24 leaders/elders?

ANSWER: Some say they are the 12 Apostles and the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. Their argument is that the people of the nation of Israel, Abraham’s physical descendents came from the children of the 12 sons of Jacob; and, that the people of the church, Abraham’s spiritual descendents came from the teaching of the 12 Apostles. That’s possible, but many others think that they simply represent the redeemed. WE DON’T KNOW FOR SURE BECAUSE THE BIBLE DOESN’T TELL US.

NOTE: The KJV says, in verse 9, “hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” This causes many to believe they are simply a representation of the redeemed church. However, Greek scholars argue that the correct interpretation is not “us,” but rather, “men.”

ANOTHER NOTE: It’s also possible that they are simply 24 individuals of prominence in Heaven that we don’t hear about anywhere else in Scripture.

5) (GW) Lightning, noise, and thunder came from the throne. Seven flaming torches were burning in front of the throne. These are the seven spirits of God.

 QUESTION: Who were “the seven spirits of God”?

ANSWER: Some translators render it “the seven-fold Spirit of God.” Some believe that seven is the number of completion/perfection; therefore, it’s referring to the perfect Holy Spirit.

6) (GW) In front of the throne, there was something like a sea of glass as clear as crystal. In the center near the throne and around the throne were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back.

Revelation 15:2) (GW) Then I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. Those who had won the victory over the beast, its statue, and the number of its name were standing on the glassy sea. They were holding God’s harps

QUESTION: What is the “sea of glass”?

ANSWER: In Revelation 15:2 the Tribulation saints stand upon this “sea of glass.” Some prophetic teaches see this “sea of glass” as representing the raptured church. “As clear as crystal” represents the saints who have left all imperfection behind.

7) (GW) The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like a young bull, the third had a face like a human, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.

QUESTION: Who are the “four living creatures”?

ANSWER: They are the “four living creatures” Ezekiel spoke about.

Ezekiel 1:5-10) (GW) In the center of the cloud I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were shaped like humans,

6) (GW) but each of them had four faces and four wings.

7) (GW) Their legs were straight, their feet were like those of calves, and they glittered like polished bronze.

8) (GW) They had human hands under their wings on each of their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings.

9) (GW) Their wings touched each other. The creatures went straight ahead, and they did not turn as they moved.

10) (GW) Their faces looked like this: From the front, each creature had the face of a human. From the right, each one had the face of a lion. From the left, each one had the face of a bull. And from the back, each one had the face of an eagle.

Ezekiel 10:18-19, 22) (GW) Then the glory of the LORD left the temple’s entrance and stood over the angels.

19) (GW) The angels lifted their wings and rose from the ground. I was watching them as they left with the wheels beside them. The angels stood at the door to the east gate of the LORD’S temple, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

22) (GW) Their faces looked exactly like the faces that I saw by the Chebar River. Each one went straight ahead.

QUESTION: What is the function of the “four living creatures”?

ANSWER: They operate under “the glory of the Lord.”

8) (GW) Each of the four living creatures had six wings and were covered with eyes, inside and out. Without stopping day or night they were singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.”

9) (GW) Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, to the one who lives forever and ever,

10) (GW) the 24 leaders bow in front of the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever. They place their crowns in front of the throne and say,

11) (GW) “Our Lord and God, you deserve to receive glory, honor, and power because you created everything. Everything came into existence and was created because of your will.”

QUESTION: What happens whenever these four living creatures sing/say “Holy! Holy! Holy!”?

ANSWER: All Heaven breaks forth in praise and worship.

Revelation 5:11-14) (GW) Then I heard the voices of many angels, the four living creatures, and the leaders surrounding the throne. They numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands times thousands.

12) (GW) In a loud voice they were singing, “The lamb who was slain deserves to receive power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise.”

13) (GW) I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and on the sea. Every creature in those places was singing, “To the one who sits on the throne and to the lamb be praise, honor, glory, and power forever and ever.”

14) (GW) The four living creatures said, “Amen!” Then the leaders bowed and worshiped.

QUESTION: Where do you find these four living creatures?

ANSWER: You will find them wherever worship breaks out.

Revelation 5:1-14) (GW) I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. It had writing both on the inside and on the outside. It was sealed with seven seals.

2) (GW) I saw a powerful angel calling out in a loud voice, “Who deserves to open the scroll and break the seals on it?”

3) (GW) No one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it.

4) (GW) I cried bitterly because no one was found who deserved to open the scroll or look inside it.

QUESTION: What is this scroll that is sealed with seven seals?

ANSWER: Many say that it is the announcement of the Seven Seal Judgments; I say it is the Previews of Coming Attractions. I’ll speak more about that later.

QUESTION: What made John cry?

ANSWER: It appeared as though no one was worthy to open the scroll by removing the seals.

QUESTION: What was so unusual about this?

ANSWER: They were in Heaven! No one, in Heaven, was found worthy!

5) (GW) Then one of the leaders said to me, “Stop crying! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the victory. He can open the scroll and the seven seals on it.”

6) (GW) I saw a lamb standing in the center near the throne with the four living creatures and the leaders. The lamb looked like he had been slaughtered. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent all over the world.

7) (GW) He took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne.

QUESTION: What made Jesus, the very Son of God, worthy?

ANSWER: He won the victory.

QUESTION: How did He win the victory?

ANSWER: He had been slaughtered. His death on the cross won the victory. God became man and kept the Law man could not keep; He then forgave us for breaking that Law. All of this made Him worthy to open the scroll; it made Him worthy to administer judgment upon mankind. HE WALKED A MILE IN OUR SHOES!

8) (GW) When the lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 leaders bowed in front of him. Each held a harp and a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of God’s holy people.

9) (GW) Then they sang a new song, “You deserve to take the scroll and open the seals on it, because you were slaughtered. You bought people with your blood to be God’s own. They are from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

10) (GW) You made them a kingdom and priests for our God. They will rule as kings on the earth.”

11) (GW) Then I heard the voices of many angels, the four living creatures, and the leaders surrounding the throne. They numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands times thousands.

12) (GW) In a loud voice they were singing, “The lamb who was slain deserves to receive power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise.”

13) (GW) I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and on the sea. Every creature in those places was singing, “To the one who sits on the throne and to the lamb be praise, honor, glory, and power forever and ever.”

14) (GW) The four living creatures said, “Amen!” Then the leaders bowed and worshiped.

NOTE: We discussed these verses while we were discussing Chapter 4.

QUESTION: Who are the “four living creatures”?

ANSWER: I call them Heaven’s cheerleaders! Whenever they worship all of Heaven joins in!

The # 7:

Among every ancient people, especially in the East, a religious significance attaches to numbers. This grows out of the instinctive appreciation that number and proportion are necessary attributes of the created universe. This sentiment passes over from heathenism into the Old Testament. The number seven was regarded by the Hebrews as a sacred number, and it is throughout Scripture the covenant number, the sign of God’s covenant relation to mankind, and especially to the Church. The evidences of this are met in the hallowing of the seventh day; in the accomplishment of circumcision, which is the sign of a covenant, after seven days; in the part played by the number in marriage covenants and treaties of peace. It is the number of purification and consecration (Lev_4:6, Lev_4:17; Lev_8:11, Lev_8:33; Num_19:12). “Seven is the number of every grace and benefit bestowed upon Israel; which is thus marked as flowing out of the covenant, and a consequence of it. The priests compass Jericho seven days, and on the seventh day seven times, that all Israel may know that the city is given into their hands by God, and that its conquest is a direct and immediate result of their covenant relation to Him. Naaman is to dip in Jordan seven times, that he may acknowledge the God of Israel as the author of his cure. It is the number of reward to those who are faithful in the covenant (Deu_28:7; 1Sa_2:5); of punishment to those who are froward in the covenant (Lev_26:21, Lev_26:24, Lev_26:28; Deu_28:25), or to those who injure the people in it (Gen_4:15, Gen_4:24; Exo_7:25; Psa_79:12). All the feasts are ordered by seven, or else by seven multiplied into seven, and thus made intenser still. Thus it is with the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, of Tabernacles, the Sabbath-year, and the Jubilee.”

Similarly the number appears in God’s dealing with nations outside the covenant, showing that He is working for Israel’s sake and with respect to His covenant. It is the number of the years of plenty and of famine, in sign that these are for Israel’s sake rather than for Egypt’s. Seven times pass over Nebuchadnezzar, that he may learn that the God of his Jewish captives is king over all the earth (partly quoted and partly condensed from Trench’s “Epistles to the Seven Churches”).

Seven also occurs as a sacred number in the New Testament. There are seven beatitudes, seven petitions in the Lord’s Prayer; seven parables in Matthew 13; seven loaves, seven words from the cross, seven deacons, seven graces (Rom_12:6-8), seven characteristics of wisdom (Jam_3:17). In Revelation the prominence of the number is marked. To a remarkable extent the structure of that book is molded by the use of numbers, especially of the numbers seven, four, and three. There are seven spirits before the throne; seven churches; seven golden candlesticks; seven stars in the right hand of Him who is like unto a son of man; seven lamps of fire burning before the throne; seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb; seven seals of the book; and the thunders, the heads of the great dragon and of the beast from the sea, the angels with the trumpets, the plagues, and the mountains which are the seat of the mystic Babylon, – are all seven in number.

The # 4:

So there are four living creatures round about the throne, four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds; the New Jerusalem is foursquare. Authority is given to Death to kill over the fourth part of the earth, and he employs four agents.

The # 3:

Again the use of the number three is, as Professor Milligan remarks, “so remarkable and continuous that it would require an analysis of the whole book for its perfect illustration.” There are three woes, three unclean spirits like frogs, three divisions of Babylon, and three gates on each side of the heavenly city. The Trisagion, or “thrice holy,” is sung to God the Almighty, to whom are ascribed three attributes of glory.



Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church