Study of Revelation, Chapter 4 – Things Which Shall Be Hereafter

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Revelation

As we saw in Chapter 1, John was given a vision, and was revealing the past.  Chapters 2 and 3 dealt with the letters to the Seven Churches, and was dealing with the present.  As we move into Chapter 4, we will see that Chapters 4-22 deal with future events.  It is also worthy of noting that in Chapter 1-3, Jesus is talking.  Chapters 4-21 is John speaking to us, revealing everything that he sees.  In chapter 22, the last chapter in Revelation, Jesus addresses us once again.

Chapters 4 and 5 record glimpses into Christ’s glory.  We will see into the throne room of heaven, where God is seated on the throne and directing all of the future events that are to occur.  From this chapter forward, the scenes will go back and forth between heaven and earth.

Please keep in mind what I discussed in Chapter 1 regarding the symbolism used in the book of Revelation.  John’s vocabulary probably didn’t have the words to even begin to describe what he would see throughout the book of Revelation.  He did his best, and although we may not understand any particular symbol that he uses, we can use our imagination to visualize what he was trying to impress upon us.  It is probably just as difficult for us to imagine what he was seeing, as it was for him to describe it.

Revelation 4:1-2Revelation 4:1-2
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4 1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.  

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¹ After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:  and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.  ² And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

The phrase after this and things which must be hereafter carry us into the future, beyond the church age.  These are in essence the same words that Jesus gave John in Revelation 1:19Revelation 1:19
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19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;  

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.  I looked signifies that Jesus is returning for those who are seeking Him.  The words, a door was opened, signifies entrance by way of revelation, into heaven.  Notice that the word ‘opened’ is past tense, meaning that the door has always been open to believers and ever since Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  There are many prophets throughout the Bible who were actually given a glimpse into heaven, i.e. Ezekiel, Stephen, and Daniel.

The first voice which John heard was like a trumpet talking with him.  This voice is Jesus Christ [see Revelation 1:10-11Revelation 1:10-11
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10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.  

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].  When John is directed ‘Come up hither’ , he was immediately transported into heaven in spirit form.  This certainly can be compared to the Rapture, or the raising of the dead and the evacuation of the living Christians when God calls us [ 1Thessalonians 4:16-18]   Verse 1 and 2 should be of great comfort to us as well as the Thessalonians verses.

 1 Corinthians 15:521 Corinthians 15:52
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52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  

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In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The dispensation of grace will end with the Rapture, and will be replaced by the Wrath of The Lamb.

The last trump discussed in the above verses is not the last trumpet as described in Revelation 11:15Revelation 11:15
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15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  

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.  It is not a judgment.  This trump is designating the end of the present age, and represent the authority of God.

John is being shown the future, after the believers in Christ are Raptured into heaven.

Behold‘, which is an expression of indescribable awesomeness, a throne was set in heaven.  A throne displays a powerful ruler.  Set in heaven shows that this power was established and unchallenged, and that God is actively ruling over His creation.  The seat of this throne is already occupied by God in heaven, where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.  In this verse, it does not stipulate that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father.  This could have one of two meanings:  either the one sat on the throne indicated the unity of the trinity, or it meant that Jesus had left the throne.  But what reason would Jesus have to leave the Father alone at the throne?  We know that Jesus will leave the throne to come to earth at the end of time to rule the millennium, but we are not at that point in the Bible.  The only other reason that Jesus would leave would be to retrieve his Church from the earth and bring it to heaven.  If this is the case, then John has arrived in heaven immediately after the Rapture, but directly before Jesus returns to the throne.

Revelation 4:3Revelation 4:3
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3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.  

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And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:  and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Imagine seeing God before you.  How would you describe Him?  Could you describe Him?  John is in awe at God’s beauty and compares the sight of Him as though gazing your eyes upon the two most precious stones of time.  The breastplate worn by the high priests in the Old Testament displayed stones.  The sardine stone was the first and the jasper was the last stone [Exodus 28:17-20Exodus 28:17-20
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17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. set...: Heb. fill in it fillings of stone sardius: or, ruby 18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. inclosings: Heb. fillings  

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].  These stones are also found in the foundation of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:19-20Revelation 21:19-20
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19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.  

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.

 http://www.biblestudytools.com shares a very detailed description of the jasper and sardine stone:

like a jasper
Jasper describes the light of, foundation, and walls of the holy Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 21:11Rev. 21:11
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11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;  

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+Rev. 21:18-20Rev. 21:18-20
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18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.  

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+). It was the last of the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel which were mounted in the breastplate of the high priest (Ex. Ex. 28:20Ex. 28:20
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20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. inclosings: Heb. fillings  

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Ex. 39:13Ex. 39:13
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13 And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings.  

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). When Satan was in the Garden of God, his covering included precious stones like jasper (Eze. Eze. 28:13-14Eze. 28:13-14
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13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. sardius: or, ruby beryl: or, chrysolite emerald: or, chrysoprase 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.  

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). “Modern ignorance of ancient terminology makes precise identification of the stones quite tentative (Morris). Probably the equation of iaspidi (‘jasper stone’) to the modern jasper which is dull and opaque (Alford) is wrong because the modern stone is hardly considered costly as the text implies.”1 “From Rev. Rev. 21:11Rev. 21:11
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11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;  

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+, where it is called most precious, which the jasper was not, Ebrard infers it was a diamond.”2

like a sardius stone
“The sardius, better known in our day as the carnelian, is red. Hengstenberg quotes ancient authorities who call it ‘blood-colored’ and takes it to describe the righteous wrath of God, the color of the fire of divine anger.”3 This stone is also mentioned as part of Satan’s covering in the Garden of God (Eze. Eze. 28:13Eze. 28:13
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13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. sardius: or, ruby beryl: or, chrysolite emerald: or, chrysoprase  

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). It is the sixth foundation stone of the holy Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 21:19Rev. 21:19
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19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;  

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+) and the first of the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel in the breastplate of the high priest (Ex.Ex. 28:17Ex. 28:17
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17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. set...: Heb. fill in it fillings of stone sardius: or, ruby  

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Ex. 39:10Ex. 39:10
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10 And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row. sardius: or, ruby  

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). The inclusion of both the first stone, sardius, and last stone, jasper from the breastplate denote the idea of all Israelfirst and lastbeginning and end, or alpha and omega (Rev.Rev. 1:8Rev. 1:8
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8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  

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+Rev. 1:17Rev. 1:17
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17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  

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+Rev. 2:8Rev. 2:8
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8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  

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+).

The jasper and the sardine stone are the first and last of these twelve stones [representing the tribes of Israel]. The jasper represented Reuben, the first of the tribes, since Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob. The sardine stone represented Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. In other words, the two stones represented the first and the last and therefore may be regarded as including all the other stones in between, that is, the whole of the covenanted people.4

Most see the references to precious stones here (and in Eze. Eze. 28:1Eze. 28:1
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28 1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,  

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) as a description of brilliant colored lights which radiate from God and His throne (Eze. Eze. 1:26-28Eze. 1:26-28
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26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.  

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): “We need not find symbolism in each element of the vision; it is enough to allow the archetypical imagery to create the impression of transcendent glory.”5

When John reveals a rainbow around the throne, it is a constant reminder to us of the promise that God made to man that He would never destroy the earth again with water [Genesis 9:12-17Genesis 9:12-17
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12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.  

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].  The rainbow is also described again in Revelation 10:1Revelation 10:1
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10 1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:  

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.  The description of the rainbow signifies to me the Glory and Holiness above all that is present in heaven.  The emerald is also found in the breastplate and in the foundation of New Jerusalem.  When John is comparing the rainbow to the sight ‘like unto an emerald’,  (earthly) he is emphasizing God’s covenant with man.  The color green also signifies grace and mercy.

Jonathan Edwards shares his interpretation of the descriptive use of emerald in his book, Jonathan Edwards’s Interpretation of Revelation 4:1-8:1Revelation 4:1-8:1
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4 1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. rest...: Gr. have no rest 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 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. 5 1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. odours: or, incense 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. 6 1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. A measure: the word choenix signifieth a measure containing one wine quart, and the twelfth part of a quart 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. unto them: or, to him 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. untimely figs: or, green figs 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 7 1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 8 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  

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,
 as this:

Even the color of the rainbow provides a symbolic representation of God’s mercy and grace, according to Edwards.  Green is a “lively and lovely” color, not dull like some of the others, nor too bright as others.  It is unclear whether Edwards interprets Revelation 4:3Revelation 4:3
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3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.  

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to mean that the rainbow is multicolored with green the primary hue, or if he interprets the rainbow as being purely green.  In either case, green is the only color in John’s vision of the scene of the throne in heaven in which he finds significance.  Green, in Edwards’s view, represents life, prosperity, and happiness, which are due to the grace and mercy of God.  Thus, the rainbow itself symbolizes God’s grace in redemption, but, in addition, the green color signifies God’s grace as seen in his abundant provision of life, prosperity, and happiness for his people.

The point that I take from this verse is that God is perfect in every way that the only thing that John can compare Him to is the precious stones that he knows of in his time.  What other words could even begin to describe the sight of God?  What a glorious sight that will be!

Revelation 4:4Revelation 4:4
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4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.  

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And round about the throne were four and twenty seats:  and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

John is seeing 24 thrones with 24 elders sitting on them surrounding the throne of God, but not superior to God’s throne.

There is much speculation as to who the 24 elders actually are?  The use of the word elders indicates that they may be leaders of the Church, describing the function of office.  If we look back in the the Aaronic priesthood, believers were called a kingdom of priests.    In Revelation 5:9Revelation 5:9
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9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;  

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, we will see that these same 24 elders sung a new song:   ‘…and hast redeemed us to God…’  So, these 24 elders are redeemed men.  This reveals their human nature, which also confirms that the Rapture will occur prior to the start of the tribulation.

There is a consideration that 24 could be two sets of 12.  The number twelve, in the Bible, relates to divine government.  One set of twelve would include twelve prophets representing the believers of the Old Testament.  The second set of twelve would be the twelve disciples representing all of the believers from the New Testament.

We must also note that they sat on their thrones, were clothed in white raiment, and had on their heads crowns of gold.  The scriptures tell us that it will be the church (believers) who sit on the throne, will be clothed in white garments, and wear crowns of gold.

Matthew 19:28Matthew 19:28
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28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  

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And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Revelation 3:5Revelation 3:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  

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He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

The 24 elders wore crowns of gold, plural.  This verse doesn’t specify what crowns these are, but we know through scripture, that God will give believers crowns of gold.

We have much information surrounding the 24 elders in this verse, but the bottom line is that they are redeemed saints who are in heaven prior to John being given the revelation of the tribulation.  They are a part of the Pre-tribulation Rapture as shown by the witness of this scene in heaven being revealed at this time.

Revelation 4:5Revelation 4:5
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5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  

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And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices:  and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Lightening and thunderings shows us the power, the majesty, and the awesomeness of God, and are connected with significant events in heaven.  In Exodus 19:16Exodus 19:16
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16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.  

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; Ezekiel 1:13Ezekiel 1:13
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13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.  

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;  we see the use of lightening and thunder as a proclamation of God.  John’s attention has been taken away from the beauty of the throne to the power of God.  He sees the lightening and thunderings coupled with voices.  These things that John is hearing in this verse is certainly revealing the presence of God!  We will see this again in Revelation 16:18Revelation 16:18
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18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.  

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.  It is difficult to discern who’s voice John is hearing.  In Revelation 6:9-11Revelation 6:9-11
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9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.  

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, we hear the martyred souls cry to the LORD.  Throughout Revelation, John records voices of angels.

With the vision of  God being seated on His throne, the elders about along with the seven Spirits of God, I believe the voices to be the cries of all Christians who have died throughout history.  This scene presented to John reveals to me that our LORD is about at the end of His rope.  For centuries, people have rejected and mocked God, and He is about to deliver His judgment on the world.  He is about to step in and put an end to all the evil that is running a muck in our world.  He is about to deliver a handful of well-deserved justice to the people of this world!

The number ‘7’ in the Bible represents divine perfection or completeness and is the most significant number in the Bible.  In the KJV, the number seven is mentioned 391 times, but in other translations is dependent on what translation you are using.

Not only did John hear powerful sound coming from the throne, he also saw seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  The seven lamps, or seven Spirits of God represent the Holy Spirit of God.

We see in Zechariah that the seven lamps are equated with one spirit:

Zechariah 4:2-6Zechariah 4:2-6
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2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: a bowl: Heb. her bowl seven pipes...: or, seven several pipes to the lamps 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. might: or, army  

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2 and said unto me, What seest thou?  And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:  3 and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these my lord?

5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be?

And I said, No, my lord.

6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

John is seeing the Holy Spirit of God before the throne.  Wow!  What a vision to behold!

Fire has been used throughout the Bible to symbolize God.

Hebrews 12:28-29Hebrews 12:28-29
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28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: let...: or, let us hold fast 29 For our God is a consuming fire.  

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28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  29 for our God is a consuming fire.

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 How honored John must have felt to have been given this vision of God’s throne.  I think about how something would affect me personally, if I were given a similar vision.  There is so much throughout Revelation that John witnessed!  I thank God that John recorded his experience in this book.  It is truly a blessing, just as God promised it would be!  Although we cannot possibly understand everything that God has done, or is doing presently, we must always have faith and put our trust in Him.  We must submit ourselves to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to bring Glory to God!

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Revelation 4:6-7Revelation 4:6-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  

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And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal:  and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

Glass was very difficult to find during the times of the New Testament, and glass that was crystal clear would have been impossible to find.  John’s vision accentuates God’s magnificence and holiness.

Surrounding the throne were four beasts.  Having eyes before and behind shows their overwhelming wisdom.  They not only look into the past, but can also see the future.  When we look back to Ezekiel chapter 1, we can see similar beasts in great detail.  They are also called seraphim and cherabim.  They are the protector of, and guard God’s throne, they lead others in worship, and proclaim God’s holiness.

When John is describing the beasts, it is symbolically representing the qualities and character of God.  The lion represents majesty and power, or strength; the calf, or ox, represents faithfulness and service; the face as a man represents intelligence; and the eagle represents sovereignty.  These symbols show that all of creation is represented before the throne.  All of creation is worshiping God.

It is also noted in some studies that the number four denotes the four gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Matthew:  Jesus is shown as the Lion of the tribe of Judah; the strength of our savior.

Mark:  Jesus is shown as the servant of man.  The calf, beast of burden; service.  Jesus carried our burden of sin to His death.

Luke:  Jesus is shown as a man; human; intelligent.  He was God made into flesh.  Jesus was tempted but was without sin.

John:  Jesus is shown as God.   The eagle is swift; rushes the heavens with its superiority; the sovereignty of God.

Revelation 4:8-9Revelation 4:8-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. rest...: Gr. have no rest 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,  

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8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within:  and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

Wings depict swiftness and movement.  The number six in the Bible is the number of man; Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day.  The use of the words wings and numbering the wings could indicate that work was being done, quickly and swiftly.  If we reflect back to Ezekiel 1:14Ezekiel 1:14
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14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.  

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, we see that they ‘…ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning’.  Ezekiel’s vision appears to run parallel with John’s vision.

Again, we see John mentioning the eyes.  This represents wisdom.  They rest not day and night.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  These heavenly creatures will proclaim God as He really is: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come, around the clock!  The words, is to come, show us that Christ will return, just as He promised us.

Revelation 4:10-11Revelation 4:10-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 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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10 the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou are 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.

Here, we see that the 24 elders fall down and cast their crowns before God, without hesitation.  Can you not feel the Spirit moving in these verses?  Both activities are an act of great humility in the presence of God.  In the last four verses of this chapter, we can visualize a great, spontaneous outpouring of worship.  God IS worthy to recieve glory and honour and power!  He is the creator of all!  We are able to see why God should be praised by all.

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Are we putting God first in every aspect of our life? It is so easy to fall into a trap of worshiping false gods.  You may not even realize it. That’s how Satan works.  Let me ask you…what is the first thing that you do when you crawl out of bed?  Is your answer prayer?  If not, maybe it is getting a cup of coffee, or maybe you turn on the TV to catch the news?  Maybe, your mind races through everything you didn’t get done last night before you went to bed.  Maybe, you wiggle the mouse on your computer to log into facebook to check your notifications?  It is a common occurrence in today’s high-tech world.  We begin to rest our focus on something other than God.  Making sure we have enough money, the nicest clothes and accessories, have the nicest home in the neighborhood, the fanciest car(s), and plenty of vacation time to rest, has made its way to the forefront of our mind.  Sometimes, one or more of these consume our thoughts.  Now, let’s consider how many people take out time to check their horoscope on a daily basis.  All of things mentioned above, along with much more, take away the praise and worship that our LORD is worthy of!    Now, let me ask you…when something goes wrong in your life, what is the first thing that you do?  Is your answer prayer?  If not, are you complaining about it?  Are you trying to fix it yourself?

It is not easy being a Christian all of the time.  We have to learn to have faith in someone that we have never physically seen, and we also have to learn to put our total trust in that someone – GOD.  We must learn to consciously keep God in the forefront of our mind throughout our day.  When something goes wrong, we need to lean on God for His guidance and direction.  We do not have the power, nor the ability, to do this on our own.  We need God!  He is so very generous with His children.  When we truly begin to know God, by reading and studying His Word, and we submit ourselves to Him, we begin to see a change in our life.  Our faith grows, and we become stronger.

Romans 10:17Romans 10:17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  

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So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I would like you to re-read verses 8-11.  Now, think about yourself in church during Sunday service.  Why are you there?  Why have you awoke early, took time to get dressed and drive to a building with all of the other people?  What is YOUR purpose for being there?  Most of you will say that you go to church to celebrate and worship God.  Some may add that they go to fellowship with fellow Christians.  I have no doubt that there is great fellowship in churches across the nation.  Where my question lies is with worship…do you truly worship in God’s house? In the heavenly scene that John described, there was real, uninhibited worship going on!  Is this how we worship?  Or, do we restrain ourselves for fear of what others will think of us?  Do we feel free to display our love for our LORD, or do we hold back?

Being honest here, I will admit that I am guilty of this myself.  But, after writing this post, God has shown me His worthiness, more so than I ever realized before.  Therefore, I look forward to this Sunday’s service.  I am going to begin to worship God as He so deserves.  He is so worthy of praise, and I want to be a part of that praise.  I am proud to be a creation of God!  After all, we will all be present in the scene that John foretold.  I don’t want to wait until that day to give God my whole heart in worship!

Study of Revelation, Chapter 1

Study of Revelation, Chapter 2

Study of Revelation, Chapter 3

Detailed Description of the Seven Churches

Do You Believe In The Rapture

The Proclamation of the Three Angels in Revelation, Chapter 14

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Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

4 thoughts on “Study of Revelation, Chapter 4 – Things Which Shall Be Hereafter

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  3. Galen Pearl

    This was wonderful! Revelation is so hard to read and understand. I really appreciate your careful progression through the verses. And it’s so helpful that you can make so many connections to other parts of the Bible. You are very knowledgeable and also very insightful. Thank you.

  4. Pingback: Study of Revelation Chapter 5 - The Scroll, Seven Seals, and The Lamb

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