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Read Introduction to 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. 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. 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. 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!‘”


4:4

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting,

Around the main throne were 24 lesser thrones on which 24 elders sat.

clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads

The 24 elders dressed in white wore crowns of gold. These elders probably received their glorified bodies and a crown of rewards for service. The twenty-four elders are in close proximity to God.

4:5

And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.

John sees displays of lightning and thunder and voices. Each time lightning and thunderings occur in Revelation, God exercises His judgment on earth. These are manifestations of God’s judgment. This may refer to the coming tribulation.

Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God

In this vision, John sees seven lamps burning. These seven burning lamps may be seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

4:6

Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.

A “sea of glass” was before the throne of God. John gives no interpretation as to the meaning of this sea. This could be an analogy to the sea of brass in the Tabernacle or the molten sea in the Temple. Both were washstands so that the priests could cleanse themselves before entering the place of worship.

And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

These living creatures had eyes all over their bodies. God unceasingly exercises His omnipresence and sovereignty over creation.

4:7

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.

These four creatures represent dominance and majesty (lion, the king of animals), vigor (calf), wisdom (man) and speed or sovereignty (eagle). The emphasis is upon the nature of these creatures. These living creatures may simply represent aspects of God’s attributes. Whatever the true interpretation, the idea is that of the majesty of God.

4:8

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.

Each of the four creations had six wings. These creatures swiftly see God’s uniqueness because their bodies were full of eyes.

And they do not rest day or night,

These creatures never stop praising God.

saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come

They thrice repeat the word “holy.” Note the similarity to Isaiah 6 where two angels repeat three times the word “holy” (Isaiah 6:3). The word “holy” conveys the idea of unique and distinct. There is no one like God. He is stands distinct from His creation in majesty. God is “Almighty.

“This is the first of 14 doxologies in the book of Revelation.

Principle:

There comes a point where God turns from grace to judgment.

Application:

God turns from the period of grace toward the church to judgment upon Israel in this passage. Throughout the Bible God exercised His grace, but in the Tribulation He turns from His mode of grace to a mode of judgment. God gets the attention of the world by judgment.

However, God may manifest Himself, He is unique and distinct from creation. We cannot merge our idea of God with our idea of man or creation. He is transcendent.

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