Bless the Lord, oh, my Soul. Bless His Holy Name, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. This week we’re doing a deep dive of chapter four and five of the Book of Revelation: The Throne of God. Hi, I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. This show is dedicated to you in hopes of encouraging your spirit, feeding your faith, and blessing your life. [Intro music plays]
Hey, did anybody gain weight, or am I the only one that ate a little bit more than they should have? Now, at the time of this recording, I’m heading toward Hatteras, North Carolina to fish for tuna out in the ocean. So, hopefully, prayerfully, you’ll hear from me again this week, or you’ll see me on social media. So, check on our Speak Life Church Facebook page to make sure I came back from the ocean. If not, send help! But I have faith that everything’s going to be okay. You know, just this week, I realized that I’ve been pretty vocal about some things, and I may have pissed a few people off. I gotta watch that. I’m becoming that uncle. Yeah, that old guy that just has no filter. I mean well, but man! — It’s not coming out that way, so please pray for me.
1After 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.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. — Revelation 4:1-2
Eternal God, our Father, it is in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before you now, that I ask that You forgive me of everything that I have done, everything that I’ve said, everything that I have failed to do. Help me, Lord God, to do what You called me to do. I ask a blessing for the hearers, the doers, and the person right now listening to this podcast. We are separated by time and space and distance, but through You, we are together. I thank You, Lord God, for all that my ears have heard, and my eyes have seen. Allow it to be used for the glory of Your Kingdom. Forgive us, Father God, for everything we’ve done contrary to what You would have us to be and to do. Help us to be better servants, children, ambassadors for You. Thank you, Lord God, for this day. Thank You for all the blessings in which You have given us. As we enter into this season of thanksgiving and gratitude and love, help us to remember the good things because we are bombarded daily by the negatives. Help us to focus on You, on The Throne of God. This is my prayer, and in the Name of Your Son, I ask. Amen.
Somewhere high in the heavens, out in the universe, a throne is set, which is The Throne of God. Remember I said that The Bible teaches us that there are three heavens — the first, the atmospheric heaven where the Prince of the Power of the Air holds forth but will one day be destroyed. The second heaven is the stellar heaven known to us as the universe. The third heaven, into which John was caught up in Revelation 4:1, is the Heaven of God. This could be the empty space referred to by Job in 26:7. Now although the heavens are filled with stars, wherever the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space. For that reason, it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven. We know nothing, actually. We are just guessing, but if it was, it would be the Heaven of God where His Throne is. The central object of Heaven is the Throne of God, referred to eight times in Revelation 4:1-6 and eighteen times altogether in chapters four through five. It seems to be a fixed point with everything else in Heaven being located in relationship to it. We find such expressions as “about the Throne,” “out of the Throne,” “before the Throne,” and ‘in the midst of the Throne.” The Throne of God has been considered the fixed center of the universe, the immovable point of reference, just as the North Star had been the ancient navigators’ positional guide because of its fixed position among the stars. So, the Throne of God is the place of authority, and the center of God’s Rulership and for the activities of Heaven. This Throne before which everyone in Heaven worships may well be the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians will one day stand. That’s in Romans 14:2, and 2 Corinthians 5 and 10. Now, immediately after the Rapture, to receive their rewards, is when this is going to happen (and that’s coming out of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15), or to have them burned up, and that’s depending on how faithfully we have served our Lord.
Seven things are around this Throne of God. The remainder of chapter four conveys to us these distinct characteristics of what we’ll see, so we’re going to break them down individually:
1. The Triune God. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Revelation 4:1-2). It reveals all three members of the Triune God when John said, “At once I was in the Spirit” — with a capital S. He was referring to the Holy Spirit. John is a Christian who was always filled with the Holy Spirit, but as he indicated in chapter one, verse 10, he was “in” the Spirit, in a special revelatory sense his God was revealing to him in the same manner he had “moved” the prophets and apostles in times past to write the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21). Here, the Spirit was revealing to him “the things that shall come hereafter.” Verse two indicates someone sitting on the Throne. Greek does not denote singular or individual characteristics, instead it refers to a presence on the Throne, but it does not say how many. Consequently, we know that God the Father is there. However, if you look at verse three, it suggests that God the Son is likewise present as is taught in other passages of Scripture. He is seated at the Right Hand of God. Note that the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, a rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. This verse describes the Lord Jesus Christ for we know from several passages of Scripture that God the Father cannot be seen. That’s written in John 1:18, John 6:46, and 1 Timothy 6:16. So, the One John looked on was none other than the only member of the Trinity that can be seen — The Lord Jesus Christ, who is described in two ways: First, Christ is our High Priest. John’s description of the One he looked on as “appearance of jasper and carnelian,” is the most illuminating. Jasper of the Revelation is not only an opaque stone, but it’s also later described as a crystal in chapter 21. It is probably a diamond — the most brilliant of all precious jewels. The other stone is blood red which is probably a ruby. Thus, the two together give the idea of glory and sacrifice. Remember that the first people who read this thing were converted Jews, so we might ask, “What did these stones suggest to them?” Surely, every instructed Hebrew would instantly recall that they were the first and last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:17-20), and as these stones bore the names of the Tribes of Israel, arranged according to the births of the Twelve Patriarchs. One would suggest at once the name Reuben (behold the Son) and the other Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand). It is Christ in Throne, The Son about to reign in power who was before the seer’s vision. So, why is it the first thing we notice about Jesus here is that He’s presented in a priestly role? The answer to that is seen in the location of this description; it comes right after the Church Age, before the Tribulation. It represents the first time Christ has had His entire Priesthood together at one time. The Priesthood of Believers began at the Day of Pentecost. Every member of the Body of Christ is a member of this Priesthood of Believers, and we are called a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). The Church of Jesus Christ, made up of that Royal Priesthood, is not now in the presence of Christ, at least in its entirety. Only after the Rapture of the Church, when the dead in Christ are raised and we are changed, will the entire Priesthood of Christ be united at one time. Therefore, the sardius and the jasper stones are used to depict Christ as our High Priest. The second way Christ is described is as The Eternal One — as seen by John in that rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. Now, I said “circle” — not like a regular rainbow. This one’s a complete circular rainbow, and we only see half of a rainbow on Earth, but in Heaven, we’ll see that perfectly circular rainbow which, like a green emerald, represents the true nature of Christ, Truly, He is The Eternal One. Alright, look back at the Scripture (chapter four), and as you examine these two descriptions of Christ: the first, the Greek, the Christian after the Rapture, they remind us that we are in Heaven not because of anything we have done, but because Christ, our faithful High Priest, has given us a Royal Priesthood, freely, by His Grace. He has imparted of His Eternal Nature to us entitling us to share His Everlasting Life. When we take this into consideration, it should not be difficult for us to offer God continually a sacrifice of praise as it says in Hebrews 13:15. One of the most commonly neglected Bible subjects is the Priesthood of All Believers, that is, that we today are Priests of God, and as His Priests, we should be faithful in exercising our privileges and responsibilities. So! What are our responsibilities, you ask? Well, basically, they are twofold: Intercession and Sacrifice. That’s what priests do. Intercessory prayer should occupy much of the life of a believer, according to 1 Timothy 2:1. If we really understood that unbelievers cannot pray, and that Christians out of fellowship with God cannot pray, then we would be burdened to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the unsaved. The course of history could well have been changed had we been more faithful in this regard. Other works of the priests in the Old Testament was to do the sacrifices. The New Testament tells us four sacrifices we should be making. The first is to our bodies (Romans 12:1-2), the sacrifice of praise or worship (Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of good works (Hebrews 13:16), and the sacrifice of giving (Hebrews 13:16). Now, when I say “works,” don’t go crazy on me, because I know that by works we are not saved, but it is a sacrificial work that God wants you to do as a priest.
2. The Twenty-Four Elders. Scripture says that 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.
3. Twenty-Four other thrones with elders in white clothing with crowns on their heads sitting on the seats. One of the most controversial questions raised by this vision of The Throne of God is the identity of the twenty-four elders. The world “elder” means “leader.” Actually, it is a title of rank, and it has been pointed out that, militarily speaking, we have a similar expression in English. The Commanding Officer of any unit is often called “the old man.” This has nothing to do with the age or the size of the unit he or she heads, for he or she may be a commanding general of an entire army. On the other hand, he may be a twenty-four-year-old 1st lieutenant who is a company commander. Both are more or less affectionately referred to as “the old man.” Essentially, that is what the word “elder” means: the old man. This word is used of pastors and church leaders to indicate leadership. Obviously, good Bible scholars can be found on both sides of this issue when they’re talking about the heavenly elders, but further biblical study convinced me that these elders have been redeemed by the Blood of The Lamb, as it says in 5:9. Angels have not been redeemed, so it could not be angels. In the NIV translation, it identifies the twenty-four elders in 5:9 with “your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” So, nothing could be clearer. These are, indeed, redeemed men.
4. How about the Signs of Judgment? From the Throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Three things are mentioned here: lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder — all proceeding from The Throne of God. Lightning and thunder have long been associated with the concept of judgment. Thus, we conclude since they come from The Throne of God that they are a prelude of the judgment that is about to fall upon the earth. It should be remembered that the Tribulation judgments come from The Throne of God. They are not the result of the Evil One, a human being, or what we do to one another, but appears a direct judgment of God. How about the Seven Spirits of God? Before the Throne, Seven Lamps were blazing.
5. These are the Seven Spirits of God. The Seven Lamps that are fire burning from The Throne are defined as the Seven Spirits of God. We’ve already read this in the description in Revelation 1:4 where John was apparently referring to the sevenfold characteristics of the Holy Spirit. This was also revealed in Isaiah 11:2. The Seven Spirits: the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Knowledge, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. The Seven Spirits do not mean seven different spirits, but the seven characteristics of one Holy Spirit. It should be born in mind, however, that these characteristics are not limited to His Role in Heaven, His Role during the Tribulation, or His Role during the Church Age, but are an eternal part of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, in addition to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), we should expect to manifest these characteristics: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and reverence for the Lord. When someone says, “Do you know God?” You know His characteristics. You know His traits. That’s how you can tell whether it’s from Him or not.
6. How about the Sea of Glass? Also, before The Throne, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. Now, it’s impossible to me dogmatic as to the meaning of the sea of glass, though no one can conclude it meant to convey stability, for a glassy sea is a calm sea, untroubled by winds or storm. Two suggestions for the sea itself are: the church at rest or The Word of God. The latter, taken from the Sea of Glass in Solomon’s Temple, symbolized the Word of God for the means of sanctification. So, we are cleansed by the washing of water through The Word (Ephesians 5:26). A sea in Scripture usually refers to people, and this is in accord with what we find in Revelation 15 later, where the tribulation Saints who have been martyred by the Antichrist stand on the Sea of Glass. It would seem, then, that the Sea of Glass represents the Sure Foundation, the Word of God, our means of cleansing. The stability speaks of a completed sanctification and security of believers. One of the things that shakes our confidence or our feelings of security is sin. The strife that goes on in the lives of believers, between the old self and the new self, causes them to yearn for ultimate sanctification when they will no longer be tossed about by the winds of life. Here, we see the Tribulation Believers after the Rapture standing on a solid, untroubled foundation — the Sea of Glass.
7. Now, this next part really gets funky. The Four Living Creatures. Ooooooooh! In the center, around the Throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes in front and in back. It is most unfortunate for readers in the King James Version that they translators rendered this Greek word used here: “Zoa,” as in “beast.” This word, from which we get “zoology,” is better rendered “living creatures” or “animals.” As we look at the descriptions of these creatures, we find that they take on animal-like characteristics. These four living creatures are Seraphim, described by Isaiah in his vision of The Throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-2). They have six wings, and they cry, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” There are many orders of angels of which the Elders are leaders, but over the Elders are: Seraphim, which number only four. It seems that they are engaged in the worship of God constantly, but their forms suggest that they also have other duties, and because of their characteristics, it may be that they are leaders of a realm that they depict. For example, note the forms: a lion, a calf, a man, a flying eagle. A lion — leader of the kingdom of wild animals. That’s where we get that whole King of the Beasts thing. It comes out of The Bible, actually. A calf — leader of domesticated animals. Man — leader of the angelic hosts responsible for the human race. A flying eagle — leader of the kingdom of the fowls of the air. And, then we get to our last piece: The Heavenly Worship of Christ. The Living Creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on The Throne and who lives for ever and ever. This describes the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of worship in Heaven. He in The One who sits on The Throne, the Object of their affections. The cause for this worship may be well-linked to the fact that the Church will be raptured at this point and, for the first time, believers will be gathered together before The Throne in resurrected body. That’s kind of cool, right? You’ll be in your new body. That’s bringing to fulfillment the purpose of Christ Incarnation. Only the Lord Jesus Christ could have left the glories of Heaven to take on the form of a man, identify Himself with human beings, become their sin, and thus pay the penalty for their sin, as He did on Calvary’s Cross. Don’t forget that. As mighty as these celestial beings of the angelic order are, none of them could have qualified to redeem the human race from our sin. However, the Blood of God’s Own Son could and did. These angelic beings seem to be responsible to God for humanity and were, no doubt, frustrated because Satan had perverted himself and subverted God’s Plan by bringing sin into the world. They stood by helplessly while generation after generation of human beings fell into sin, and lost fellowship with God. This present act of worship seems to be their expression of devotion and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ for redeeming them from the earth when they could not, themselves, redeem.
Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worth, oh Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your Will, they were created and have their being.”
The song these celestial beings sing is a song of glory and honor to God because He is the Creator of all things. This, of course, on the basis of John 1:3, is another evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is The One being worshipped. One cannot help but be moved at the loving concern and the feeling of adoration and worship in the heart of celestial beings because the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed human beings from sin. How much more should our hearts rejoice as we worship Him, since we are the recipients of this redemption? Chapter five goes onto the Seven-Sealed Scroll. We’re going to save that for the next time. Amen?
You know, life is still good, no matter what’s going on. Every day you get up is another chance to do what’s right. I want to thank you for being a part of this podcast, part of this mission, part of this ministry. If you want to contact me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m going to give you one, two, three different ways you can support the ministry if you care to — no obligation whatsoever. Let your heart be so moved. I’ve got some plans to — I’ve still got a baptism I have to do in the Midwest. Haven’t done it yet. Also, a baptism up in New England I didn’t do this year as well. I know the Lord has some plans for us. If you want to help, there’s a PayPal account. There is a patreon.com for Speak Life Church Podcast, and there’s a Givelify also, and there’s even some really smart people who use Zelle, which I never would’ve figured out on my own. And, you can also support the ministry by check or money order, just by sending it to Speak Life Church at P.O. Box 2, Upper Marlboro, MD 20773.
This morning I woke up thinking about the Marine that we helped out a few years back around this time. We raised about $10,000 for him to help him. He was dying of cancer that he had gotten from being on Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. We raised the money a whole bunch of ways, and you guys came through on that. He wanted to help his widow out, and she wasn’t even his widow yet. We actually sat on the porch and talked and prayed and laughed about our old times together. Then, when he went on to Glory, his wife was set just as he had tried to do before he left. You were part of that. You helped. And there are so many other people who have asked me to pray for them, and God answered. It’s almost…it’s not almost, it’s humbling. It’s fearful that God listens to people like us. Sometimes you think you have to be real pious and have a big hat or something, some special thing. There should be a sign or…how you know some person’s real and some person’s fake…but I’m telling you, God answers prayers. I’m telling you that I’ve seen it through this ministry, people that I know on this site, on this podcast, on this thing! I don’t know about the rest of the world, but we are in the Apple of God’s Eye. We are being touched. [music plays] So, thank you for allowing me to be a part of that because I can see it. Sometimes folks don’t want anyone to know, can’t put their business out on the street, but God’s blessing. God is answering prayer. God is healing people. God is doing what God does. [Hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” plays here]
Now, to Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Let the church say, “Amen.” [closing music]
You can support the ministry by check or money order by sending it to Speak Life Church, PO BOX 2, upper Marlboro, MD 20772