Revelation 4, 5: The Second Facet
Week 4, Tuesday: Saints in glory
The glory and mystery of John’s vision of the great throne is compounded and made more brilliant by other elements present in that scene. More colors, more thrones, more impressive sounds, elders and living creatures – a spectacular landscape of wonder, beauty, and holy fear and delight! John had never seen anything like this, but he was shown this amazing scene so that he would make it known to all who read and hear the words of the book of Revelation.
We have to wonder: What’s in this vision for us?
Read Revelation 4
Meditate on Revelation 4.4-7
1. The angle from which we view this scene is important. Remember John is coming up to heaven (v. 1). Resist the temptation to look down on this image, as from a bird’s eye view. Let yourself emerge into this vision, and let it unfold and expand before you. What John sees is above him, spread out before him, and reaching to the farthest horizons of what he can take in with his eyes. Imagine yourself emerging into that landscape. How would you feel?
2. A rainbow surrounds the central throne (v. 3). This image reaches all the way back to Genesis 9. Review God’s purpose in giving the rainbow there (Gen. 9.8-17). The rainbow should call to our minds particular attributes of God. What might these be?
3. The 24 elders on thrones represent all true believers from both the Old and New Testaments – the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles. We’ll see this symbolism again. But these 24 elders and thrones are themselves symbols of a larger reality. Meditate on Hebrews 12.1. What is that larger reality? Who is reigning (note the crowns) with God at this time? What does that “reigning” involve (we’ll see more in a bit)?
4. Notice what proceeds from the great throne: thunder, lightning, and voices. These are symbols meant to suggest God’s sovereignty over creation and His continuously upholding Word of power (cf. Heb. 1.3). The rule of God from His throne reaches to all creation, and the saints in glory somehow share in that rule. Do we? How does Psalm 8 lead us to think about this?
5. The Holy Spirit illuminates the throne room of God (for the reference to “seven” Spirits, or the “seven-fold” Spirit of God, see the aspects of the Spirit as described in Revelation 1.4 and Isaiah 11.2. Other creatures are present – in the midst of the throne and around it, suggesting constant movement. With the elders, they are symbols, here, of creation redeemed. The “sea” of glass may be reminiscent of the bronze “sea” – or large washing basin – that Solomon constructed before the altar of sacrifice in the temple. Taking all these images together, including the colors, sounds, creatures, and their placements, what “message” does the Lord want us to take away from this glimpse into the unseen realm?
Suppose this glorious vista were suddenly to open before you, right now. How would you feel? Now, know that this unseen realm is present and before you, not just now, but at all times. How should this lead you to think about your daily life in the Lord?
The Glory of God
Color, sound, objects, movement, placement, size – all these forms, themes, and images are intended for one purpose: to represent and augment the glory of God. Why is this so important? What is the effect of all this on your understanding and experience of the glory of God?
Glory to Glory
In a very real sense, we “travel” in the midst of this glorious scene, our lives unfolding daily under the watchful eye of God, saints, and all creation, every day of our lives. In the light of Hebrews 11.1, do you think it’s important to keep this in mind? What would Paul say (Col. 3.1-3)?
Let’s look more closely at our memory verse, Revelation 4.11. Recite your memory verse aloud. In your own words, define the following words (from the NKJV): worthy, glory, honor, power.
The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
Psalm 93.1, 2
T. M. Moore
The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.