Today, as we move further into the book of Revelation, we will be looking at chapters 4 and 5: The Throne in Heaven and The Scroll and the Lamb.
The Throne in Heaven
Chapter 4 is the scene in Heaven when God is ready to execute His universal administration. In the first verse the Lord says, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Jacob, Ezekiel, Jesus, Stephen, Peter, and now John, have seen Heaven. Soon it will be opened to all believers. God sits on a large throne in Heaven. Verse 3 refers to him being like jasper and carnelian (or sardius). Jasper is dark green and signifies life in richness. It also signifies God’s communicable glory. Carnelian represents redemption; therefore, we know God is a god of redemption. In the Old Testament High Priests wore breastplates with gems starting with carnelian and having jasper at the end. This showed that the redeemed have a beginning in redemption and an end in God’s glory. The rainbow around His throne signifies that during His judgment He will stay true to the covenant He made with mankind and won’t destroy them flooding nor destroy ALL mankind.
The 24 Elders
Next, in verse 4, the elders are introduced to us. Who are they? There is much speculation as to whom they may be. Some think they are the 12 apostles and the leaders of each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Others say they are the church saints or 24 men from the bible. However, we know that they are not the 12 apostles and the leaders from the tribes of Israel because Matthew 19:28 says this:
“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man
sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on
twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The men and women of Israel are not raptured. The twelve apostles will serve as judges during the millennial kingdom. Also, John was an apostle; did he see himself around the throne or fail to recognize the other apostles? You may believe something different then me but I believe that these elders are angelic angels, celestial beings that help carry out God’s administration. Firstly, from the times of Solomon when the first temple was built to 70 AD, Levitical priests were rotated in groups of 24 elders and leaders. Where did they get this pattern from? From the angelic administration. In 5:10, they refer to the redeemed people as THEY which implies that they are not part of the redeemed people but of angelic descent. White garments do not just signify salvation. Angels also wear white.
“…and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.”
Also, crowns represent authority; they are not just given to overcomers and followers of Christ. Not only are they the elders of the thousands of angels but they are the elders of all creation. The seven lampstands that are mentioned next are based upon the lampstands in Exodus 25:37 and Zechariah 4:2. They represent the enlightening and searching of the Spirit of God and His judgment. The sea of glass is not water but fire (15:2). All negatives will be seen and judged.
The Four Creatures
Verse 6 tells us that there are also four living creatures around the throne. What are they and what do they represent? They represent all living creatures that God created. The beasts of the earth, cattle, man, and fowl are all represented. You may be wondering right now why there is nothing that represents the things that crawl the earth or swim the oceans. The serpent, which represents crawling things, also represents Satan. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, therefore he has no place in Heaven. Revelation 21:1 tells us that the creatures of the water won’t exist in the new heaven and the new earth. The lion and the eagle are unclean but become clean after redemption (Acts 10:11-16). Also, the lion and eagle are fierce and the cattle and man are meek but they can live together now through redemption as well (Isaiah 11:6-9). Christ’s redemption is for all things that God created (Colossians 1:20). Since the creatures are covered with eyes all around and within we can tell that they are crystal clear in every aspect. With 6 wings, they resemble the cherubim in Ezekiel 1:5-10 and seraphim in Isaiah 6:2. The cherubim represent God’s glory and expression (Hebrews 9:5) and the seraphim represent God’s holiness (Isaiah 6:3). When the creatures say “holy, holy, holy” they are implying the triune of God.