Sunday at CrossHope Chapel we opened to Revelation 4 and 5 and talked about John’s vision of the throne room in Heaven. Chapters 4 and 5 are a transition of sorts from the seven letters to the seven churches and to the seven seals.
When we are back together on Sunday, January 16, 2022 we will get into the 6th chapter of Revelation and see that the seven seals will lead us to the prophecies in the remainder of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 4:1-7 — We spent a great deal of time talking about the presence of the throne room, like the appearance of God the Father, the 24 elders, the four creatures and John’s state in vision being similar to Paul’s experience of being in vision.
All three members of the Godhead appear in this sanctuary throne room scene of chapters 4 and 5. We saw God the Father in Revelation 4:2; the Holy Spirit in Revelation 4:5 and Revelation 5:6; and Jesus in Revelation 5:5-6. ).
Revelation 4:3 — It was interesting to us that the rainbow marks the throne of God, and we noted that God’s rainbow actually has seven colors while man’s rainbow — the symbol fallen man uses to proclaim his pride in self — is one color short. God’s rainbow is a symbol of His mercy and authority over creation that reminds us of His covenant that He will never destroy the earth by flood again (Genesis 9:8–17).
Revelation 4:4 — The twenty-four elders that we see in the throne room could be representatives of redeemed humanity that will testify throughout all eternity that God’s judgments are just and righteous. Matthew 27:51–53 tells us that at Jesus resurrection others also came forth in a resurrection in Jerusalem and Ephesians 4:8 indicates that others ascended to heaven with Jesus.
The 24 elders are seated on thrones and wearing crowns, and the Greek word used by John is the “stephanos” crown which is the crown of victory. It speaks of receiving such because of a victory earned. It is also worth noting that these are called elders and that elders engage in an overseer role in the church (1 Timothy 5:17).
Revelation 5:1-4 — Here we have a scroll with seven seals in the right hand of God. The scene in the throne room here is one of heightened interest in the scroll and in verse 4 we see John is in distress over it getting opened. What is this scroll? What is the interest and why the distress?
We have some clues as to what the scroll could be about and why One who is worthy must come forth. The first clue may be that John specifically noted the scroll is in God’s right hand. That could be significant because in the Bible “the right hand” is often significant for justice and judgment.
When Isaiah 41:10 says “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” it is a promise that God is the ultimate judge and despite the accusations of enemies His judgment will uphold us.
We discussed some possibilities of the scroll and what some have pointed to as its possible meaning. We mentioned the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 21:27), the Book of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 17:18–20; 2 Kings 11:12–17), or the title deed to the universe (Jeremiah 32:6–15), or the judgment scroll of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:9–3:3), or some type of record of human history.
It seems most likely that the scroll would be the title deed of earth because only Jesus paid the price to redeem us from Satan’s stolen control of Jesus’ creation.
Revelation 5:6-7 — We are introduced to Heaven’s use of imagery and symbolism, that will play a prominent role throughout the prophecies of this book, right here in that John saw a lamb that was slain that was the One worthy to take the scroll and open its seals.
As we dig through the prophecies ahead it will be important to not overlook the meaning presented in symbolism by assuming literal interpretation of those prophecies when the Spirit of God has given us greater meaning through the use of imagery and symbolism.
In this vision it wasn’t the actual person of the Lord but the symbolism of the Lamb that John was presented. The message of the symbolism may also clue us in on the nature of the scroll because only the Lamb that was slain was worthy to take it and open its seals.
When we are back together on Sunday, January 16, 2022 we will open to the 6th chapter of Revelation and read about the opening of these seals.