Sunday, August 16, 2009

Revelation 4:1-5

Chapter 4

Now we are going to see that John is shown what is going on in heaven up to and through the Day of the Lord. From this point on, events unfold as to what is going to happen at that time.

Verse 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.”

John is now given the next part of the vision. He sees a door open in heaven and identifies the voice that calls him up as the first voice he heard back in Rev. 1:10. Since his description likened it to trumpet back then, he refers to it the same way here to identify it as the same individual who is speaking now as was speaking then. Again, just as in the first chapter, this is not a real trumpet blast, simply a voice that makes him think of a trumpet blast. This does not correspond to the trumpet blast of the angel in Matt. 24:31 or 1 Cor. 15:52, where He gathers His elect. That is a literal trumpet blast. This is not.

John is told to come up for one reason and one reason only. The only way he can write and relate what he sees, is to be there and see it. Nowhere does it imply that anyone other than John is invited up. There is no “event” here. It is simply John being shown what will take place up to and during the Day of the Lord. This is the last phase of what John was told to write in Rev. 1:19 “….the things which will be hereafter.” To make this mean more than it says is to add to the prophecy of this book. There is a serious consequence to that. Rev. 22:18 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.”

Verse 4:2 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”

John is now again in the Spirit. He did not have to be in the Spirit to hear the voice and take dictation for the letters to the churches. He does have to be in the Spirit to see this vision. The first thing he sees is a throne in heaven and a person on that throne.

Verse 4:3 “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.”

The jasper stone comes in several colors. There is dispute as to exactly which color this is referring to here. Some say green, some white, some clear, and some purple. This verse does not tell us enough to determine which it is, however in Rev. 21:11 we see the jasper stone again. This time it is described as being clear as crystal. “Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” By scripture's description then it would seem that the jasper is a clear stone. However, a stone can be clear in the sense of transparent, and still have color. To see what was indicated, I checked my concordance dictionary and in it the Greek definition of the word "clear" says "to resemble ice". This would seem then to indicate that there is no color. The sardine stone was one of red color. It was a carnelian stone, but as it came from Sardis, it was called a Sardin or sardius stone. These are two of the stones that would have been found in Aaron’s breastplate. We will study more about the stones when we get to the foundations of New Jerusalem. For now we will just keep it in mind that there are colors emanating from the throne. There was also a rainbow around the throne. When God put the rainbow in the sky after the flood, He said that He would put “His bow” in the sky. The rainbow in the sky is like everything in the temple, a replica of what is in heaven. God has a bow around His throne, but this is an emerald bow. I do not know that the other colors are visible, as John does not mention them, but if they are, the green is certainly dominating. Where I live, we look up and down a rural valley from our front porch. When there is a rainbow, it is huge. We see almost 180 degrees of rainbow that often seem to end in our field. Sometimes there will be a double rainbow. The predominant color that seems to overshadow the others is the green. In Ezekiel 1:28, when Ezekiel saw the vision of God’s throne above the four wheels, he described a bow that was around the throne that was “as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain.” This would seem to indicate that the other colors were visible, but obviously overshadowed by the green color.

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

We have studied the Order of Melchizedek (See my articles in archives - May 2009 on Melchizadek and 24 elders) and now see that these twenty-four elders can be no other than he and the rest of the priests in his order. There has been no rapture of the church, no resurrection. Had there been a rapture at this point, the saints would most certainly be seen in heaven and they are not. The saints are not seen in heaven at all. There is no sign of their presence there. John is seeing the occupants of heaven, and so far we have seen the One sitting on the throne, and we will see that in the next few verses he sees several different types of angels. The only other people there at the moment are the twenty-four elders. The priests of God’s heavenly temple. The missing saints would seem to verify that the rapture has not occurred at this point in the narrative of the vision.

Verse 4:5 “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices; and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne which were the seven spirits of God.

When God speaks it is in thunderings. Job 37:5 “God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.” Possibly God created thunder and lightning storms to give us a taste of what it will be like in His presence. His throne is one in which lightnings shoot out and His voice is like thunder. When the Israelites were in the wilderness and called to stand at the foot of the mount in which God was residing, they experienced this phenomena. Ex. 19:16 “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.” Ezekiel also experienced this lightning when he saw the throne of God held up by the wheels within the wheels. Ez. 1:13b “and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.” Again we see the seven-fold spirit of God, this time manifesting Himself as seven lamps, as was described in Zechariah 4. The Holy Spirit seems to manifest in different ways for different reasons. When Jesus was baptized, He manifested as a dove. At Pentecost as cloven tongues of fire. Possibly it was He who was the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night when the Israelites left the land of Egypt. We again see the number seven mentioned. The number seven, the number of perfection, will be occurring yet again several times in Revelation.

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