The Little Book of the Revelation - Third in a series
Rollover the Scripture links to read the referenced Bible verses.
In Chapter 4 we see the ‘one on the throne’ (Rev 4:2) who appears as a jasper and a sardine stone, that is, brownish and blood red. This scene shows ‘things that are’ as did Chapters 2 and 3.
God’s throne, encircled by an emerald rainbow, rests on the banks of a crystal sea where he basks in the praises of his 24 elders and attending beasts. These lovely beasts or creatures have eyes all over and within!
Perhaps the number of elders combines the 12 Old Testament tribal heads of Israel and the 12 New Testament disciples of the Lord, all with crowns of gold (Rev 4:4). In heaven there is unity and reward.
The four beasts seem to be a lion, calf, man, and an eagle (Rev 4:7). There are many points of view about these beasts. See here.
Thunders and lightnings show God in complete control, in glory with his companions, conversing and ruling from his throne (Rev 4:5), and before it are seven lamps of fire. These are identified as his seven spirits, viewed by numerous theologians as the Holy Spirit. We see these again in Chapter 5—the slain lamb has seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (Rev 5:6b)
The book sealed with seven seals is presented in Chapter 5 (Rev 5:1) and a strong angel proclaims, not asks, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (Rev 5:2)
No one is found who can, not in heaven or earth or under the earth; in fact no one could even look at it. This made John weep profusely but an elder tells him not to, because the Son of Man has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. (Rev 5:5)
Some commentators believe the sealed scroll is a title deed to the earth (ref Jer 32), which Christ alone may open, proving his right of ownership. Others say that John’s Revelation continues the prophecies given to Daniel, and describes the consummation of those which he was told to seal up till the time of the end. (Dan 12:9) Whichever view one takes, the sealed scroll and the Little Book are integral to God’s providential work in salvation and judgment. Each person will form his or her understanding. The author is a layperson, not a pastor or professor.
The Son is seen “in the midst of the throne” (KJV) or next to it (ESV) as a lamb slain (Rev 5:6), where he also takes the book from his Father and is worshipped by the unusual beasts and by the elders who hold golden bowls filled with believers’ prayers that manifest as scents. (Rev 5:8)
Things that are?
John next sees hundreds of thousands of angels around the group, also worshipping Christ, and hears every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. (Rev 5:11-13; refs: Isa 45:22-25; Rom 14:11; Phil 2:10)
This may be a ‘vision within a vision’, for the worship of God by all his creatures has not yet occurred.
Will the opening of the seals also begin a ‘vision within a vision’? Are we about to see events yet to unfold? Or, isn't the procession of the four horses of the Apocalypse— deceit by antichrists, wars, famines and death, characteristic all of history?
Do the seven seals of the Revelation only relate to the final days on the earth when God moves to shake all nations, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain? (Heb 12:26-27; refs: Is 13:13; Joel 3:16) Or do the four horsemen not revisit mankind each century?
Bible commentators differ on this question, yet it does not seem reasonable for the Lord to show John a vision of how things have always been if this final book of Scripture pertains to the last days.
The current world of lockdowns, lies, food shortages, fiscal ruin, sexual mayhem, and the erosion of the rule of law, bring to mind David’s question: “If the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3) Vaccine passports have begun to facilitate buying and selling. Yes, we do sense that lines are being drawn and a different day is dawning. But of course, “of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” (Mat 24:36 ASV)