Saturday Study

Saturday Study

Revelation 4-8 (11.16.19)

Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Revelation 4.

The Holy Spirit is giving John a view of the throne room of God. Let’s be honest for a moment and realize that sometimes we can think our world is out of control. There are people killing each other, people manipulating and cheating others to make themselves feel pleasure, governments or political terrorists raping the communities they rule with no regard for life, Godless ideas being embraced and taught to our children, and so much more.

But the world is not out of control nor will it ever be because of who sits on the thrown of the universe. The God of creation is at the helm and will carry out His plans. One of the reasons I believe we are given this view of God’s throne room is to give us a sense of peace. In the chapters that follow Revelation 4, we are let in on the horrific times that are to come, but we need not fear because of Him who sits on the throne! He is God! He is our God!

Let me ask you this: When you go to prayer, how often do you stop, not speak, and just ponder to whom you are about to speak? Do you approach His throne with total reverence? Is there a holy wonder, respect, and awe in your heart as you go to God? My prayer is that after this study, you will see and savor God with a greater reverence than you did before. May it be so.

Revelation 4:3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

Now, you have to picture the fullness of this in order to capture the power and beauty of God’s surroundings. The brilliant gemstones it speaks of are:

  1. Jasper: not the opaque jasper stones we know today, but a clear jasper that would be similar to our diamonds today.
  2. Carnelian: also known as rubies.

A little fact about these two stones: They were the first and last of the 12 stones worn on the breastplate of the high priest in biblical times. They create a radiant, rainbow-esque beauty when combined with the emeralds that encircled His throne. Wow!

Revelation 4:4-6 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

Imagine what it must have been like for John to stand in the presence of the Almighty who “from his throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder” all radiating amongst a sea of shining glass!

Who are these 24 elders? It is not totally clear to us, but some study brings us to consider that they may represent the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and the 12 apostles of the New Testament. Or maybe the number 24 is a representation of the fact that the law of Moses has 24 orders to the priesthood. Most importantly, the 24 elders represent those redeemed by God both before and after Christ. Notice the gold crowns on their heads, which symbolize that they had been judged and then rewarded for eternity.

Now, before we look at what is next, remember that we serve a God that is capable of much more than you and I have ever dreamed or witnessed.

Revelation 4:6-8 … And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within.

I am taken aback by the choice of God to install four beings around Him in this form! If I am honest, it’s weird to me, but with a closer look it begins to make sense! Think for a moment with me about what each of these beings represent:

The lion: the most powerful of the wild animals (this represents power)

The ox: the most powerful of the domestic animals (this represents faithfulness)

The human: called to rule over all the land and animals (this represents intelligence)

The eagle: the most powerful of the flying animals (this represents sovereignty)

These beings are the “authority of their species,” and God installs them in His presence to do a mighty and holy work. They are always watching! They have eyes everywhere. Why? We don’t know, but it is pretty awesome. To me it is just another part of the wonder and awe of God and His workings.

This is just a taste of what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). My prayer is that this interaction with God’s word this morning draws you to a place of reverence and honor—for He is worthy!

What would you do if one of those beings appeared where you are right now? How would you react to seeing a being so powerful and so far beyond anything you have ever seen? In reading about these creatures that are so different than what we have experienced, we must ask, what is their purpose? Well, beyond watching, if we read on, we discover their purpose.

Revelation 4:8-11 And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty- four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.

They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

“… by your will they existed and were created …” This includes you and me! It is for His pleasure that we exist and were created! Day and night, they worship and give reverence and glory to God who is so much greater than they are.

In chapter 5, it says there are 100 million angels praising God. Imagine the glory and magnificence in that. Wow! Total reverence! Think about one throne with the being of God (lightning, thunder, the rainbow, beautiful stones). The four living creatures bowing before Him. The 24 elders on their faces and worshiping Him. One hundred million angels submitting in song only to God. Every living creature worshiping Him.

When we pray, it is this God to whom we are speaking. When we meet together to sing praises, this is who we honor and worship! Beloved, we were created to glorify Him. We are commanded to worship Him. As John looks at this most amazing wonder, what position is everyone in as they worship? They are on their faces! This is what a life of reverence looks like—a constant state of being prostrate before God. Prostrate means to put or throw flat with the face down, as in submission or adoration. The Lord of all should bring us to our faces!

Now, we need to regularly find ourselves in this place of worship. Do it now. Get down on your face and just be still before your holy God. Know that He knows you and sees you and hears you. Know that your heart before Him is seen. Worship Him. Honor Him in your silence, in your prayers, and in your singing. Pour out your heart to Him in adoration and thanksgiving.

Do you look to Him and talk to Him with total reverence? Is your reverent worship of Him a daily thing? This huge God wants to have a moment by moment relationship with you—His created, His child. He even calls you His friend!

Too often when we pray or worship God, we are not even thinking about who God is, and yet the very words we speak are for Him. Our mouths are moving, but our hearts are not engaged!

This is the God of the universe to whom we are speaking and singing: the One who is and determines all! The One who determines and decides if I will even take my next breath or if you will even live through the rest of this very day.

Today, I hope and pray that you can see God in a new and powerful way!

May we, day and night, never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” May we cast down our crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Amen!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

Revelation 8

Revelation 8

8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

(ESV)

Revelation 7

Revelation 7

7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:


  12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
  12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
  12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
  12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
  12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
  12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
  12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
  12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
  12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
  12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
  12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
  12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


15   “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16   They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17   For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
  and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

(ESV)

Revelation 6

Revelation 6

6:1 Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

(ESV)

Revelation 5

Revelation 5

5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,


  “Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
  for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10   and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,


  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
  to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
  and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,


  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
  be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

(ESV)