23 Nov. Revelation 4:1-11

23 Nov. John's vision of God's heavenly rule

"After the vision of these things, I looked, and there before me was an open door in heaven."

"And the same voice that spoke to me before, that sounded like a trumpet, said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.'"

"Immediately I was in the Spirit, and before me was a throne in heaven, and someone was sitting on it. The one who sat on the throne looked like precious stones, like jasper and cornelian. All around the throne was a rainbow the colour of an emerald."

"Around the throne there were 24 other thrones with 24 elders sitting on them. They were dressed in white and had golden crowns on their heads. Lightning flashes and noises and thundering came from the throne."

"Before the throne seven lamps were burning, which are the seven spirits of God. And before the throne there was something that looked like a sea of glass, clear like crystal."

"In the centre and around the throne were four living creatures with eyes all over them, in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion. The second was like a calf. The third had a face like a man. The fourth was like a flying eagle."

"Each of these four living creatures had six wings and was covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop saying:
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
He was, he is, and he is coming.'"

"These living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to the One who sits on the throne, who lives for ever and ever."

"Then the 24 elders bow down before the One who sits on the throne, and they worship him who lives for ever and ever. They put their crowns down before the throne and say:
'You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
because you made all things.
Everything existed and was made,
because you wanted it.'"

          (Revelation 4:1-11)

 

 

Following his messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor, John has a vision of God ruling from his throne in heaven.

John's vision is full of symbolic pictures and numbers. He sees 24 other thrones on which 24 elders are sitting. The number '12' in the Bible usually stands for either the 12 tribes of Israel (in the Old Testament) or the 12 apostles of Jesus (in the New Testament). Here, the leaders of the Jewish and Christian communities are brought together, symbolically, before God.

In the Bible, the number '7' often signifies perfection. The world was created to perfection "in 7 days", and the "7th day" became a 'holy' day set aside to worship and praise God (see Genesis 2:1-3). Before God's throne, listening to God's Word, we discover that "seven lamps were burning, which are the seven spirits of God" (Revelation 4:5). John was, of course, revealing this vision to the 7 churches who were filled with God's Spirit and shone out the gospel message across the Roman province of Asia.

And around God's throne were four living creatures - resembling a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle. The four living creatures have been identified by Christians down the ages as symbols of the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – who wrote the gospel (‘Good News’) accounts found in the New Testament.

Matthew’s symbol is a man – symbolising his gospel’s emphasis on the humanity of Jesus who came to earth as a human being at Bethlehem.

Mark’s symbol is a lion – the 'king of the jungle' - representing the kingship of Christ, the ‘Lion of Judah’ (see Revelation 5:5).

Luke’s symbol is an ox (or a bull) – pointing to the sacrificial offering of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary (Revelation 4:7).

And John’s symbol is an eagle – a vivid depiction of the words of revelation given by Jesus, the ‘Word of God’ (see John 1:1), flying directly to John from heaven.

In many Christian churches today, the lectern (the reading stand) holding the Bible (the Word of God) is fashioned in the shape of an eagle with outstretched wings (Revelation 4:7). This symbolises the Word of God flying directly to the church from God in heaven.

The photo shows what is believed to be the site of the tomb of St Luke, indicated by a cross above a bull, at Ephesus.

You can read more from John's vision of heaven @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/johns-vision-of-gods-hea…/


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