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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Revelation 4

 

 

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Introduction

Jesus Is Worthy Of Praise
- Revelation Four -

John had observed the vision of Christ in the midst of the golden candlesticks. God had told him, "What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia..." After he had written those seven letters he looked to see what else he could see.

God opened a door in heaven and by way of prophetic vision showed John many other things. This chapter provides the background for the reminder of the book of Revelation. John's situation is much like Ezekiel"s when, in a vision, he was taken to Jerusalem and allowed to look through a door of the Temple and see all the present abominations.

In this vision John saw twenty-four elders, and four beasts or living creatures covered with eyes, front and back. John observed all of these as they gave glory to God. As these visions were given he was in a very devout state of mind. His mission was to record accurately the things he observed in these visions. The focus of this vision is upon the Almighty God that was sitting on the throne. (Revelation 4:3) The one true God is living, pure, and holy. We must hold Him in awe!


Verses 1-3

John described what he saw - Revelation 4:1-3 : After the letters had been completed to the seven churches John saw a door opened in heaven. The voice of the Son of God is heard by John and is compared to the sound of a trumpet. Just as the Spirit lifted Ezekiel up so John was called up into heaven to see things concerning God and the church. John was shown things that would come to pass in the church, the world and in the Roman Empire. The things shown to John were things that "must be." John was made again to understand that there is a close connection between how a person lives his life upon earth and what happens to him at the great Judgment Day.

John used the figure of the open door in several senses in the book of Revelation. The "open door" pictured opportunity for sinners to correct their situations. (Revelation 3:8) The door is also used to represent the "human heart." (Revelation 3:20) Now in Revelation four "a door" is a picture of the entrance into heaven itself. The reality of heaven is greater than any description we have of it.

John is focused on the occupied throne. All the other things in the vision are described in relationship to this throne. In the mind of the atheist there is no throne. The humanist says there is a throne, but man is upon it. There is a throne for the Christian and the Almighty sits upon this throne. As the sovereign God, Jehovah has the right to be one the throne in heaven. We will never get it right in life until we understand that God is on the throne and has the right to rule our lives.


Verse 4-5

John described who He saw -- Revelation 4:4-5 : Around the throne John saw twenty-four elders. John observed that these elders were sitting on thrones. The elders are representative of the people of God, or the great company of the redeemed. The picture of victorious saints is seen even more clearly as we observe the white robes and crowns. Isaiah 61:10 says, "...He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness." The white robes represent the righteousness gained by the faithful through the Christ. The crowns show final victory for the faithful. (2 Timothy 4:8) God"s faithful people have eternal victory through Christ. They can look forward to a robe and a crown. Christians become joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) What a joy to anticipate reigning with Christ!

The lightnings, thunderings, and voices around the throne are reminiscent of God"s presence at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:16-19) These things communicate the power and majesty associated with the throne of the Almighty. The "Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." This is a representation of the Holy Spirit of God. What a victory it will be when the Christians sit on a throne with the Christ, in the presence of God and in the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.


Verse 6-7

John described four beasts - Revelation 4:6-7 : The crystal sea made possible a clear view of God. The sea often represents populations of the earth. This likely provides a picture of the tranquility and peacefulness of souls that have died in the service of God.

At this point both Ezekiel chapter one and Isaiah chapter 6 provide us with much help. The visions are so much alike that we feel justified in accepting what is revealed there as having the same meaning here. "This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims." (Ezekiel 10:20) These are spectacular angelic beings that surround the throne of God. The thought of being full of eyes indicates that these angelic beings have greater insight than any man does. They totally understand the value of worship and service to God.

The beast or living creatures are pictured as having faces like a lion, a calf, a man, and a flying eagle. Many have thought that this pictures different gifts God has given to men in the spreading of His word. Some do so with courage, others with more meekness, some with more wisdom and others with great insight. The result being that when the truth is taught and obeyed it leads people to the throne of God.


Verses 8-11

John described God as worthy - Revelation 4:8-11 : We quickly observe that the focus of John"s vision is not on the twenty-four elders, nor on the four strange creatures. The focal point is God on the throne, worthy of praise and worship. Those around the throne are living under a continual sense of the holiness of God, the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In their worship the cherubim declare that the Lord God is Almighty. His hand is on everything that is good. The worship of the cherubims caused the twenty-four elders to bow down in worship. Their worship should also promote our worship. In our worship we must recognize the worth that belongs to our great God. These elders removed their victory crowns in respect to Him that make victory possible.

Those around the throne could only say, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11) The Creator of all things, the provider of our salvation is certainly worthy of all praise.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 4:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-4.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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