Thursday, February 4, 2010

#Revelation 4> The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> God's #Throne ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth 
          (4 - 19) 
          1. The throne of judgment (4) 

Chapter 4 marks a transition from the "things which are", to the "things which shall be hereafter". John is transported--in spirit--to the throne room of heaven. The traits of God which this chapter views could be summarized in two words--power and glory. 

The phrase "things which must be hereafter", points not only to the future, but to the sovereignty of God. These are events which "must" occur. The word "throne" occurs 12 times in this chapter. It is the focal point, and also proclaims God's sovereignty over all creation. 

John can only liken God's glory to that of a jasper and sardine stone. The jasper was clear, and the sardine ruby-red in color. These were the first and last of the stones the high priests wore on their chest. Also, these rocks will be in the foundation of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:19-20). 

Around the throne was an emerald colored rainbow. The rainbow showed God's promise not to utterly destroy the inhabitants of the earth (Genesis 8:20-22). This would be fitting, since it surrounds the throne from which judgment is about to proceed. 

Also around the throne, are twenty four seats with twenty four elders, who are clothed in white raiment, and crowned with crowns of gold. The word for crown (stephanos) is the word for "victor's crown". These elders likely represent believers who have been rewarded in heaven. 

The term "elder", is never used for angels, and there is no indication God rewards them. These are terms usually applied to true believers in Christ (Mt. 19:28; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:2-4; Revelation 2:10; 20:4). Their white clothes may picture their redemption and righteousness in Christ. 

Lightning and thunder proceeded from the throne. These terms are used eight times in Revelation, usually in connection with judgment on the inhabitants of the earth. The seven Spirits of God which are before the throne may refer to the Holy Spirit, with the number seven symbolizing perfection. The clear glass sea may picture God's holiness. 

Also around the throne are four beasts. The picture, here, is much like that of Isaiah 6:2-3. If that is the case, these beasts are angels, likely cherubim (cf. Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). Their eyes reflect God's all knowing trait, and the different beasts may reflect different attributes of God. 

Some think the beasts may represent Christ as seen in the four gospels. Matthew portraits Christ as the lion of the tribe of Judah, Mark as the servant, or ox, Luke as a man, and John as divine (pictured by the eagle). 

In any case, both the elders and the creatures give continual glory to Him who sits on the throne. Notice the emphasis in this chapter, on the fact that God is sovereign over all creation. 

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.

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