BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 3: Revelation 4:1-8

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.


5)  Colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13) or God’s glory (white). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man. God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us.  Flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of 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).

6)  In Exodus, Moses and others saw a pavement made of sapphire (colors again).  Isaiah sees the same seraphs singing the same song to the Lord.  They also had 6 wings.  The temple shook and smoke filled it.  Isaiah was cleansed before the Lord.  Ezekiel sees the same living creatures John saw.  He sees lightning and light and fire.  He sees a throne of sapphire as well.  He sees glowing metal, fire, and brilliant light and a rainbow.

Micaiah (2 Chronicles 18:18), Ezekiel, Daniel, and John saw God on a throne.  Stephen saw the glory of God and Jesus at his right hand (Acts 7:55).  Jacob saw the Lord in heaven (Genesis 28:12-13).  Paul was caught up to the third heaven and heard inexpressible things (2 Corinthians 12:2-6).

7a)  Verse 5 says God is on the throne with the seven lamps (Jesus) burning and seven spirits of God (Holy Spirit).

b)  Being God is the Triune God, if you have a relationship with God then you have a relationship with all three.  The Holy Spirit lives inside all of us and “teaches us all things and reminds us of everything”  (John 14:26) and “guides us into all truth, speaking only what he hears and telling you what is to come” and “making it known to you” (John 16:7-15).  The Spirit “intercedes for us” and helps us pray (Romans 8:26-7).  The Spirit marks us as His (Ephesians 1:13).  We believe in the saving grace of Jesus as our Savior, which makes us righteous before God who is Lord over all, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega.

Conclusions:  Had to dig for number 6.  Very interesting.  In Revelation we see the Triune God as in no other book and their interlinkedness.  All three are integral to God and who He is and we need all three.  All passages in 7b refer to the Holy Spirit.

I love the study of colors.  For all those opthamologists out there, this is fascinating.  All color is white and color changes based on its reflection and absorption when it hits other materials.  And it’s our brain and eyes which tell us which color is which.  Something that is black absorbs all colors.  Amazing how God has designed us to see color and how He has color in heaven.

Was hoping to discuss the living creatures more.  These are fascinating to me.  But maybe because they have so many interpretations BSF did not want to open that can of worms.  See End Notes for a discussion of possible meanings to the living creatures and comparisons to those Ezekiel saw.

End Notes:  These are the same from yesterday’s lesson.  Nothing has changed.

We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where one breaks it up is different) with the words “After this”. We are going to study Revelation 4-5 and then take another break and jump to Joel. These are a heavenly perspective and deals with God’s judgment on earth and its people. This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduce the rest of Revelation. The number 7 will be prominent here.

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 scholars 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.

4 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 3: Revelation 4:1-8

  1. There is so much in this first verse: I went looking for commentaries and chose the comments that made sense to me.

    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.

    Matthew 24:31 – And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. All the elect are gathered and assembled before Christ.

    I think “four” means the entire world. We’ve all hear the saying: “from the four corners of the earth. This assembly will be for the true believers from every country of the world.

    This gathering together of His elect is what is commonly referred to as the rapture of the church. His church has no denomination. It is “all” who truly believe in Jesus Christ.

    We will see the number “seven” throughout Revelation. Seven means “spiritually complete”. Perhaps in this number, God is saying, this is it. There is nothing else to read.

    John takes a look toward heaven and is startled “behold”. The door of heaven is open. Jesus is the door to heaven. The door of heaven is not closed to the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus opened the way to the very throne of God, when the temple curtain was torn from the top to the bottom (opening the way to the holy of holies), when He died on the cross, Matthew 27:51.

    The word “looked” is important also. We must seek before we can find. Jesus is coming back for those who are looking for Him.

    Notice, this door was “opened” in the past tense. It is not going to be opened. Jesus opened it for us. It is now open to believers.

    This door has never been closed to the true believers.

    The voice said, “come up hither” to John, but is always saying to us, “come up hither”. Get your mind off the things of this world and look heavenward. The call of Jesus has always been “come”.

    Notice that these things of the hereafter must be. Why must they be? Because God ordered it from the beginning of the world and God never changes. We must change to fit His plan, not the other way around.

    We do not completely understand God, if we did He would not be God

    This Spirit of God which is burning is to illuminate the minds and Spirits of all who will accept it. Jesus is the Light. Somehow, all three are present in these lamps (Spirit) that illuminate.


    1. The meaning of jasper has changed. In ancient times, jasper was used for opaque, clear stones. In the New Testament scholars believe when jasper is mentioned it is referring to crystal clear, transparent stones or what we would call high-grade diamonds.

      The word diamond has an interesting history. It comes for the Greek word “adamas” and means unbreakable, unalterable, or untamed. However, diamonds in ancient times were not cut nor polished like today and some may even have used the word diamond for sapphires or even iron. It was first discovered in India and it was used as talismans or for cutting.

      No one is quite sure when they were first worn for ornamentation but by the Middle Ages it had become a symbol of royalty and King Louis IX of France even banned anyone but royalty from wearing diamonds.

      Hence, it is doubtful John would have known of the term “diamonds” or what it exactly referred to since it had so many uses. Scholars believe what he called jasper is diamonds.


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