Summary of passage: John was invited into heaven for a glimpse. He was in the Spirit. Before him was a throne. Sitting on the throne was one who appeared jasper and carnelian and a rainbow and 24 other thrones with elders surrounded the main throne. Seven lamps or spirits of God shone before the throne. Thunder came from the throne. Four creatures surrounded the throne: a lion, ox, one like a man, and an eagle. Each creature had 6 wings with eyes everywhere and were singing God’s praises constantly.
3) Personal Question. My answer: God. Appeared like jasper and carnelian. God is to be worshipped constantly.
4a) 24 elders. Elders could be angels or man–most likely man. White represents righteousness and glory. Angels are sometimes presented in white robes or garments (Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10), but saints also have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14) for righteousness (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:5-18). We never see angels crowned but believers will be (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). This shows man as heirs with Christ and reigning with Him (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12). (See End Notes for full explanation and interpretations).
b) Personal Question. My answer: Eternal. Crown of life (James). Crown of glory that will never fade away (Peter). Crown of righteousness (Timothy). Crown that will last forever (Corinthians). To be honest, on this day, a Saturday at 6:25 am, it doesn’t encourage me. Not one bit.
Conclusions: Being far from encouraged today and being tired of being asked about how I am encouraged in this study when truthfully I’m pretty down-in-the-dumps, I decided to count how many times we are asked this (so far).
Lesson 1: We are asked what hope, comfort, and/or confidence we receive 3 times
Lesson 2: We are asked what gives us alarm, hope, and/or help 3 times
Lesson 3: We are asked what helps, strengthens, and comforts 2 times and encourages 2 times.
Lesson 4: Hope 1 time.
Lesson 5: Encouragement 2 times, comfort 1 time
Lesson 6: Confidence 1 time
Lesson 7: None. Mainly factual lesson.
Lesson 8: Encourage 2 times. Hope and confidence 2 times.
Totals: Encourage 6 times. Hope, help, comfort, confidence 13 times.
Being that the definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.” (we talked about it in Lesson 8 Day 5) has the words “hope” and “help” and “hearten” which means confidence, we can probably add all of these together for a grand total of 19 times.
Maybe I’m being petty or cynical or what-have-you (and I’m sure you all will let me know if I am).
The book of Revelation does not intimidate me. It does not scare me (check out my poll in the sidebar. Half of you aren’t scared by the End Times either). It is like any other book of the Bible–given by God for us to discover a bit more about Him and His desires for us. It is no harder than say Matthew to study or any other book. I don’t understand why Christians shy away from it (my church included. In the 11 years I have been attending it has NEVER done a series on Revelation which is a travesty in my opinion).
I think this is why people are intimidated–no one talks about it. Plus, with all the doomsayers out there, putting out movies (which are fiction) and writing novels (fiction as well) about Revelation, people can’t separate fact from fiction. It’s simple: Bible is fact. Everything else fiction. Believers have nothing to worry about. Nonbelievers do.
Point of my rant: Knowing I have an eternal future doesn’t encourage me when the bank is calling and I’m late on my mortgage and it doesn’t encourage me the day I file for bankruptcy, hold my baby close, and cry, knowing I’m leaving the house all my children were born in. Daniel’s story doesn’t encourage me when my husband loses his job. It doesn’t encourage me when my husband is passed over for promotions because he lives out God’s words in his deeds. Knowing there is a kingdom awaiting me doesn’t give me hope in my daily life at times when loved ones are in car accidents, my dogs die in my arms, or cancer strikes friends and relatives.
(Note to prevent emails: All of this stuff has happened to me, some of which I have written about here. I’m actually in a really good place right now. Just goes to show you whether your down in life or up hope and encouragement can still be far away. The main thing weighing on my heart right now and is probably the root cause in all of my down-in-the-dumps attitude is my inability to get a book published–my life long dream and God’s will for my life I believe. When doing God’s will for your life ends up perpetually at a dead-end road, discouragement, disappointment, and heartache reign and skew your vision of life–be it daily life and eternal life. I’m working to pull myself up but am not there yet).
At the end of the day, God does give me encouragement when I pause to listen and pray. But every day? No. It just doesn’t.
I mentioned in Lesson 8 Day 5 I have become numb to most of the world’s happenings in order to maintain my sanity. I think the same is try for God’s encouragement and hope. Yes, I should be encouraged and filled with joy that there is more for me besides the daily grind. But do I believe it and live it out every single second of the day? No. Will I? Perhaps. Am I getting closer each day? I’d like to think so. I recognize it though. That’s the first step to changing it.
Sorry for the information dump. Sometimes when BSF asks questions about hope and encouragement and comfort and I don’t feel any it can be depressing. (I have mentioned this before in other studies). But I shouldn’t feel guilty about it (and neither should you if you are in my boat). Because God will comfort and encourage and give us hope when we need it. Not necessarily when we are asked the question. Not everything has to encourage. In fact, it can be the opposite.
Note: We were asked about the crown as well with the exact same reference Bible passages in Lesson 6 Day 3 for Revelation 3.
End Notes: We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where scholars break it up) with the words “After this”. We are going to study Revelation 4-5 which begins John’s visions when he was taken up to heaven and then take another break and jump to Joel who prophesied about the Day of the Lord. Here we’ll see a heavenly perspective and how God metes out judgment on earth and its people. This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduces the rest of Revelation. The number 7 will be prominent here. A separate post on the significance of numbers in the book of Revelation will follow this lesson.
After Jesus finishes speaking to the 7 churches, John is called up to heaven to see events that will take place –leading up to Jesus’ return to earth. This echoes Moses’ call up to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. Many see this as symbolic of the rapture as John is taken to heaven before the judgement. Chapter 6 will describe the wrath. As noted before, the word “church” is not used from Revelation 4-19. This will bring in the debate about the Tribulation but we’ll save that for later on.
John immediately sees a throne in heaven whereupon sits God. Note he doesn’t describe God as a figure but as emanations–colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man (Genesis 9:13-16). God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us. This is a reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace for us.
The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).
Lightning, rumblings, thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him. In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).
7 lamps are the Holy Spirit. 7 Spirits of God are completeness again (Revelation 1:4).
Sea of glass–scholars are divided whether it is literal or figurative. The “Sea” in the Old Testament is the basin of water priests would wash in before administering in the temple (1 Kings 7:23-26). See also Exodus 30:17-21. This was before we were made clean with the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5). Hence, it may symbolize our righteousness before God.
Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).
The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10). The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.
Some say they represent Jesus. Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics. Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle. All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.
The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness.
Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8). Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how He is fully God always.