Today we are back in Revelation chapter four, and we are studying about the throne of God. This is powerful stuff, y’all.
When my small group and I studied the book of The Revelation for a solid 18 months, we used material from Precept Ministries as our guide. As part of the Precept study of The Revelation we were asked to do something that left us all ragged and gasping for air. Some of us more ragged others! We were asked to draw the events of each chapter of The Revelation (4-22).
Let me assure you, I was not happy about this assignment, for I am not an artist. I can barely write my name and stick figures are a huge challenge for me. Nonetheless, I gave it a whirl, and I admit that the drawing exercise helped cement the events of each chapter in my mind. My stupendous lack of artistic ability will cause me to need to do a lot of apologizing in heaven for the mess I made of the events and people of Revelation, however!!
While my drawings were pitiful, such was not the case for all in my group. In fact, my friend, Lisa Cockerham, wowed us with her drawings. We spent a goodly amount of time ooo-ing and ahh-ing over what her colored pencils produced. So, when I was praying about what to offer you as a downloadable printable for each chapter of The Revelation (4-22), the Lord prompted me to ask Lisa if she would be willing for me to offer her drawings to you. I was over-the-moon happy when she said ‘YES!’.
Y’all, Lisa’s drawings of each chapter will help you visualize what is going on as you study. I think you will find them to be incredibly valuable in your personal journey through The Revelation. As we get started in Revelation 4, I want to go ahead and give you the drawing for this chapter so you can download, print, and have it handy as you study.
First, let me introduce you to Lisa.
Now, for the printable. (There are several steps in the download process. You may receive an error message at one point telling you that you must enable a payment source in order to download. Ignore the message and continue following the prompts. The download is free and you do not need a payment source.)
Today, we are back with John on Patmos as he is being called up to heaven. Let’s refresh our memories of what Revelation 4:1-6 (ESV) tells us. Have your printable close by as you read so you begin to get a visual on what is going on in chapter 4.
1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
6a and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
In one moment John was on Patmos, minding his own business. In the next he was in the Spirit in heaven with the very throne of God right smack in front of him. Makes me dizzy to think of it.
Four times in The Revelation John tells us that he was ‘in the Spirit’.
- Revelation 1:10
- Revelation 4:2
- Revelation 17:3
- Revelation 21:10
Each time John is ‘in the Spirit’, what comes next is an unveiling, or a revelation. Here is where you have a homework assignment. Read each verse referenced above to discover what was unveiled, or revealed, each time John was ‘in the Spirit’. Come back here and share what you found. It doesn’t matter if others have already shared their answer. I want to hear what you found and your thoughts about it.
As we lift our faces from the floor of Heaven’s Throne Room, we see God’s Throne. Let’s take a minute and list the descriptors:
- A person on The Throne who had the appearance of jasper and ruby
- A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircling The Throne
- 24 other thrones surrounding The Throne with 24 elders seated on them
- From The Throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder
- In front of The Throne were 7 blazing lamps, representing the seven Spirits of God
- Before The Throne was a sea of glass, like crystal
Any one of these descriptors is enough to nearly send me over the edge, but take them all together and we are served up a picture that should shut our mouths and send us to our knees.
Let’s ponder this description for a moment.
The word ‘throne’ is used seven times in our focal verses. Jesus opens the 4th chapter with a picture of God on His throne being worshipped. I do not believe this to be accidental. Jesus knew the devastation that will come on the earth as the end approaches. I believe He wanted to make certain believers across the ages know and understand, to the very marrow of our bones, that GOD IS ON HIS THRONE. No matter how bad things get, God never leaves His throne. He is in absolute control of what happens, and He is working it all out toward an end that will be glorious for Christ-followers. Hold onto that, friends. It has the power to get you through difficult days.
The pictures we see in Revelation 4 tell us of God’s presence, God’s purity and holiness, and the worship of God that goes on in heaven. May I offer a few thoughts about two of the descriptors:
A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircling the throne. Note that this rainbow was a complete circle signifying the perfection and completeness that heaven will offer. God’s judgment is coming, but the rainbow is a reminder of God’s covenant of mercy with Noah and the earth. You and I are accustomed to seeing rainbows after a storm. This rainbow is evident before the storm of the last days, signifying God’s care and mercy on followers of Christ.
24 other thrones surrounding The Throne with 24 elders seated on them. There are different thoughts about who these elders are, and what they represent. My personal opinion is that these represent the 12 tribes plus the 12 apostles, signifying the presence of believers in heaven that reach from pre-cross until Jesus returns.
While there is so much more we could discuss in these few verses, I think this is a good time to wrap our discussion up. Next week we will move on to the remaining verses in Revelation 4.
Let’s engage! Don’t forget that every comment you leave on the blog gains you an entry into my May giveaway. So, comment often!
Also, remember that I have a private Facebook page where I link all of these posts, making it fairly easy to find them if you need to go back and read one. I would be happy to add you to that page. Simply send me an email ([email protected]) and ask to be added.
- What questions do you have about the first 6 verses of Revelation 4?
- Did anything we studied today challenge or strengthen your faith?
- If you have varying opinions on any part of our focal verses, please offer them.