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Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
Revelation 4



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Questions For Revelation Chapter Four

1.What did John see opened in heaven?

2.Tell what he heard.

3.What was it like?

4.Where was John told to come?

5.He was to be shown what?

6.What did he find himself in?

7.Tell how soon this happened.

8.What did he behold?

9.Where was it set?

10.Was it occnpied?

11.Describe the looks of the person John saw.

12.What was ronndabout the throne?

13.Describe the sight of this.

14.What were stationed round the throne?

15.With whom were they occupied?

16.How were they clothed?

17.What did they have on their heads?

18.From where did lightning proceed?

19.What else came from this?

20.Tell what seven objects John saw.

21.What were they doing?

22.In what place were they doing this?

23.What did these represent?

24.Tell what was before the throne.

25.To what was it like?

26.What were in the midst of the throne?

27.In what other position were these?

28.What did they possess in full measure?

29.How were they located?

30.To what was the first beast likened?

31.The second?

32.What did the third beast have?

33.Tell what the fourth beast was like.

34.What was common to all four?

35.Tell what they possessed inwardly?

36.When did they rest?

37.What person did they praise?

38.How did they describe his existence?

39.What else did the beasts ofl"er now?

40.To whom did they ofl"er these?

41.Describe the extent of his life.

42.Before whom did the24elders fall?

43.When did they do so?

44.What did they do toward Him?

45.Tell what they cast before the throne.

46.What did they call the one on the throne?

47.They accorded Him to be worthy of what?

48.What had he created?

49.Why were they created?

50. Was that pleasure still continuing?

Verse 1

With this chapter we start into the symbolic part of this book. I urge the reader to turn back to the "General remarks" at the introduction of chapter1 , and carefully read through the paragraphs, especially for the purpose of being prepared to appreciate what will be said relative to the symbolic and literal features of the book. Bear in mind that literally John is on the isle of Patmos and will be there all through the book. When the langauge seems to take him to some other place it is only figuratively so. When he speaks about going somewhere or of seeing something that we know is not actually out there on that isle, we must understand that he had a vision of such things and is only writing a description of what he sees. Door opened in heaven signifies that John was to be admitted into the confidences of the Lord and be told things not known by other men. A voice like a trumpet indicates that it was strong and filled with the characteristic of authority. fI‘hz"ngs which must be hereafter has direct reference to events in the future. However, we should not forget the overall scope of his vision as stated in Revelation 1:19. That passage says he was to write of things pertaining to the past, present and future. That explains why he here tells us of conditions then existing, which will be involved in many of the future events of the book.

Verse 2

In the sp/irit means the vision was opening up before him. The first thing he saw was a throne in heaven and the throne was not vacant; one sat on the th- Romans -ne. That indicated that heaven had an occupant who had authority to give rule over the earth as well as over-other persons in heaven.

Verse 3

These precious stones are used to indicate the worth and also the brilliance of the one on the throne. The rainbow refers to the arched halo that is generally pictured over the head of one occupying a place of authority. Like unto an emerald. This is another precious stone that is used to signify the glory about the head of the person occupying the throne.

Verse 4

God has had two organic systems of religion in the world, the Mosaic and the Christian. The former was arranged under twelve tribes (with their heads) and the latter is administered under twelve apostles ( Matthew 19:28). The four and twenty elders represent the two systems of religion. Clothed in white raimcnt signfies a life of righteousness. because all men who live righteously before God, whether they were in the days of the Mosaic system or in those of the Christian, will be permitted to surround the throne in heaven as victors over the world. These elders are in the vision to represent all the saved under the two systems.

Verse 5

Lightning am! 17zundm"- "in_as and "voices symbolize authority issuing from the throne and it is C0111-ing from some being whose voice is as penetrating as ligthning and as impressive as a roll of thunder. Seven. lamps denote complete illumination and the sewn. Spirits of God are explained at Revelation 1:4.

Verse 6

A sea is deep-and c"r_z/stal _r/lass is clear and pure, symbolizing the beauty of the scene around the throne, Four beasts is an unfortunate translation, for we always think of a "beast" as an animal of the lower world, and hence not a. fitting symbol of something enjoying the dignity of these in this verse; the proper rendering of the original word Isaiah , "living creatures." Fall of cg/cs befo-re and beh-inrl symbolizes the ability to look in a universal direction.

Verse 7

In comparing one living creature with another it is intended only to consider one or two points of similarity, because there might be some characteristics common to all of them. A Zion is bold and strong; a calf represents meekness; a man signifies more intelligence than other creatures; an eagle denotes exaltation and fieetness. The identity of these creatures and the reason why there were just four of them will be shown in the next chapter.

Verse 8

Had each of them six wings. Had it said that they had four wings even, it would have aroused our inquiry since a flying creature normally uses only two wings. We must conclude, therefore, that these wings were not all for the .purpose-of flying. A similar figure is given in Isaiah 6:2 where the creatures that stood near the throne had each six wings.We may obtain some suggest.ions for our verse by reading the use Isaiah said these creatures made of their six wings. Each one used-two of his wings to cover his face (indicating humility in the presence of God); with two of them he cover his feet (indicating modesty before the throne); with two he did fly (denoting a. readiness to go on any errand desired by the Lord). Full of e_z/es uri.thz"n. denotes that they could make an intelligent application of the things they could see outwardly or around them. Rest not means they did not pause day or night in ascribing praise to the Lord. Was and-is and is to come is commented upon at Revelation 1:4.

Verse 9

These beasts (living creatures) not only ascribed glory and honor to the Lord, but also gave thanks to Him who sat on the throne continuously. That for which they were thankful will be understood when we study the next chapter.

Verse 10

The four and twenty elders are explained at Revelation 4:4. Cast their crowns is not a movement as if discarding the crowns for all the circumstances are against anything that unfavorable. It was a gesture of respect, recognizing the Lord as the one to whom they owed all the honor that was being enjoyed in possessing crowns.

Verse 11

Thou art worthy is not anoverture of flattery, for they immediately give their reasons for the expression of praise, namely, He was the Creator of all things.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 4:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 31st, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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