Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Revelation 4:1-6

Revelation 4:1-6
After this I looked up and behold a door has been opened in the heaven.  And the first voice that I heard was as a trumpet which called out with me while saying, “Go up here and I will point out to you that which is necessary to become after this.”  Immediately I became in a spirit.  Behold!  A throne was situated in the heavens and upon the throne was one seated.  And the one who is sitting was of a similar nature in appearance of jasper stone and carnelian and a rainbow around the throne in appearance in a nature similar to emerald.  And around the throne there were twenty-four thrones and upon the thrones twenty-four elders who sit having been clothed in brilliant garments and upon their heads golden crowns.  And lightning, a voice, and thunder proceeded from out of the throne.  And seven lamps of fire – which are the seven spirits of God – were being kindled in the presence of the throne.  And in the presence of the throne as a sea of glass in a similar nature to ice.

Thoughts for Today


First Thought:

I believe that it is important to see this opening section of Revelation as a break in the action.  The first three chapters where a contemporary message to the churches in Asia Minor.  Jesus had a message to those people who were on the mind of John as he sat in exile.  Now, it is not the message that comes to John; it is John who is caught up in a vision.  The scene is intentionally changing.  This message from God is a message for all about the world and its status.  Notice that God tells John that these things are necessary.  They aren’t suggestions or things that we can know as we feel like it.  These are necessary things.  The rest of this book isn’t a message for a specific collective of people, it is a message for all who are willing to listen.

Are you willing to listen to the message?  Why do you think God considers it important to view the images and concepts we are about to learn as necessary?

Second Thought:

Not surprisingly after the last two chapters, we start with an image of God.  We get a glimpse on the identity of God.  This is a valuable thing indeed!  In this section of scripture, God is described using things that prevent anthropomorphism.  God is described in ways that are foreign to us.  He is described as jasper and carnelian and emerald.  His voice is like a peal of thunder and lightning!  God’s presence is like a sea of glass.  None of those things can be related to human flesh, sinews, and joints!  What is John saying?  The fullness of God is beyond our comprehension.  Yet at the same time, the fullness of God is very precious.  We cannot describe the presence of God in ways that words can do much justice, yet we know that His presence is far more precious than anything that we could ever imagine.

How do you think about God?  Why is it easier to think about the flesh and blood Jesus and difficult to conceive of a God who is truly holy – remembering that the word holy means “different” and “separate?”  In what way is God precious to you?

Third Thought:

We next visit the elders and the four living creatures.  Notice that they surround the throne.  God is the center of life.  God is the center of worship.  When it comes to the 24 elders, there are several possible explanations.  My favorite of these explanations is an attempt to show unity between the Jews and the followers of Christ.  The history of the Hebrew people – God’s people – is largely focused on the 12 tribes of Israel.  The history of the church is founded on the witness of Jesus’ own Twelve disciples.  In eternal life, the witness of God’s people, all of God’s people, is united. 

Is god the center of your life?  How is your faith tied to the witness of God’s people in the Old Testament and the witness of God’s people in the New Testament?


Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 4:6-7
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