Revelation 4:1-11 John’s First View Of Heaven

by | Apr 26, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

I. A Change Of Perspective; From Earth To Heaven V. 1

A. Four Perspectives On Revelation

1. Preterist-events described in Revelation came to pass by 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem

2. Historicist-described history of mankind up to the time of Jesus’ Second Coming.

3. Spiritual-Revelation is a book of spiritual metaphors and illustrations, and not literal.

4. Futurist-The Book of Revelation addresses the past and the future, primarily future

a. See Revelation 1:19-For Futurists, this verse breaks the book into three sections.

i. Things you have seen: A vision of Jesus walking among the churches.

ii. The things that are: Letters to churches that existed in that day.

iii. Things which will take place after this: Things after the Church age.

B. “After These Things” V. 1

1. After these things-appears twice in this verse, emphasizing forward linear movement.

2. The Futurist position holds that the rest of Revelation happens after the Church is removed from the Earth through the event that has come to be called The Rapture.

C. “Come Up Here”-The Rapture, A Controversial Topic V. 1

1. Jesus invited John to have the view from Heaven. This may be an illustration of the Church off of Planet earth during the time of God’s judgment.

2. The idea is that God will remove all Believers from the Earth before bringing judgment.

3. Many believe that John represents the future experience of the Church Universal.

4. Rapture- from Latin, rapturos; Greek harpazo; English caught up, to snatch away

5. The word Rapture doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the concept does appear.

6. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words. (See also 1 Corinthians 15:50-55)

a. Additional passages-1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:1-5; 2:6-12

7. Considerations that support the idea of the Rapture.

a. The word church is not referenced again until chapter 19, mentioned in chapter 22.

b. Converts are called saints, redeemed. The corporate idea of church isn’t seen.

8. Those who disagree with the Rapture at this point would point out that The Church Universal is never mentioned in Revelation, even in chapters 2-3. They would also say that the terms saints, redeemed are frequent New Testament terms describing Christians.

a. This group would say that Christians are given grace to endure the world-wide judgement of God, and that they are protected through it, ala Noah in the Ark.

b. These Believers would be exhorted to endure until the end, and not turn away.

II. What John Saw Vs. 2-7

A. A Throne Vs. 2, 3

1. V. 2-John is given a vision of a throne in Heaven.

a. Throne(s)-appear 40x’s in Revelation, and only 15x’s in the rest of the New Testament

b. Throne(s) speak of dominion and sovereignty. God is in control in all that follows.

2. V. 3-God is not described in form or shape, but in terms of color. Clear, red, and green.

B. Around & Before The Throne Vs. 4-7

1. V. 4-24 elders-presbyteros– Those who rule among God’s people.

a. White robes- purity; Gold crowns– governmental oversight.

b. Perhaps representative of all those saved by faith.

c. Representing the 12 tribes of Israel, and the 12 original disciples (-Judas, +Paul)

d. In Rev. 5:9, 10, they sing a song of all the redeemed people of God.

e. Crowns- Believers who have been crowned, ruling with Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:12)

2. V. 5a- Lightening, etc. Reminiscent of Mt. Sinai, where God appeared to Moses.

3. V. 5b- Seven lamps- The fullness of expression of the Holy Spirit. (Revelation 1:4)

a. The Holy Spirit is not normally visible and is seen in various forms.

b. I.e., the Holy Spirit appears like a dove, tongues of fire, lamps of fire.

4. V. 6a- Sea of glass-

5. V. 6b- Four creatures- We know from Ezekiel, that these creatures are cherubim.

a. Ezekiel 28:14; Isaiah 14:12-14-Satan was once a cherub, a mighty angelic creature

b. These creatures exist to worship God; Satan wanted to be exalted as God

6. V. 7-Different faces: many ideas on this, and nonconclusive.

a. In Ezekiel, each creature had four same faces; here, they have one each.

b. The highest of creation: man, ox, lion, eagle. Represents the fullness of nature.

c. The four Gospel presentations of Jesus. Matthew-Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah; Mark- Jesus as the ox, the humble servant; Luke-Jesus as humble man; John-Jesus as the eagle, the one who came from heaven; speaks of His deity.

III. What John Heard Vs. 8-11

A. Unending Worship

1. V. 8- These angelic creatures never stopped or rested, but constantly worshipped.

2. Obviously, they have a physical capacity that we do not have. We need to sleep.

3. They are creatures of volition. They choose to worship God day and night.

4. According to the abilities given them, they chose to worship God.

5. Satan chose to not worship God and sought to gain worship for himself.

6. Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

B. God Exalting Worship

1. V. 8- Holy, holy, holy- In Hebrew, repetition is for emphasis. Twice is strong; three times states the highest emphasis. It speaks of the infinite holiness of God. Sacred, blameless.

2. V. 8- Theologically correct worship, speaking of the eternality of God. Was, is, is to come

3. V. 9- These creatures gave glory, honor, and thanks.

a. Glory- magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity

b. Honor- to esteem something/someone as extremely valuable

c. Thanks- gratitude, grateful language.

4. V. 11- A profoundly insightful statement of the meaning of all creation.

C. Corporate Worship

1. V. 10- When the four cherubim worship, it prompted the 24 elders to join them.

2. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

3. Whoever these elders are, we know this: They are worshippers of God.

4. Elder implies leader. Cast their crowns- they gave the recognition/credit back to God.

5. See also Revelation 5:8-14; 11:16-18; 19:4, 5. These elders/leaders were worshippers.