Revelation 4:1-11 Part 4


1)    After these I looked and, lo, a door having been opened in the heaven and the sound, the first that I heard as a trumpet, speaking to me saying “come up here and I will show you what is necessary to take place after these”.

2)    Immediately I did come in spirit and, lo, a throne set in the heaven, and upon the throne One sitting,

3)    and the One sitting like stone, jasper and sardonyx in appearance, and a rainbow round about the throne like emerald in appearance.

4)    And round about the throne twenty-four thrones, and upon the thrones twenty four elders having been clothed in white garments, and upon their heads gold crowns.

5)    And from the throne coming forth lightnings and sounds and thunderings, and seven fiery lamps ablaze before the throne that are the seven spirits of God,

6)    and before the throne as glassy sea like crystal, and in midst of the throne and round about the throne four creatures being entirely of eyes front and back,

7)    and the first creature like unto a lion, and the second creature like unto a calf, and the third creature having the face as of man, and the fourth creature like unto a flying eagle,

8)    and the four creatures one by one of them having six wings each, being entirely of eyes around and within, and they have no pause saying “holy holy holy Kurios The God The Almighty, the Was and the Is and the Coming.

9)    And whenever the creatures will present glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One sitting on the throne, to the One living into the ages of the ages,

10) the twenty four elders will prostrate themselves before the One sitting on the throne, and they will adore the One living into the ages of the ages, and they will cast their crowns before the throne, saying

11) “worthy are You, the Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You, You did create all, and by Your will they are, and they were created”.


In this fourth sermon in chapter four of John’s Revelation, we now proceed with John’s description of what he saw in “the heaven”.  And he begins, of course, with the throne and the “One sitting”, all introduced with the little word “lo” (verse two).  And that means that all of this is of ultimate, prophetic significance.

The throne-room/judgment seat of God is, of course, prophetically pictured for the nation of Israel in the infinitely detailed instructions for the man-made tabernacle in the desert, with the ark of the covenant and the cherubim in the holy of holies.  That entire gilded structure was reproduced on the temple mount in Jerusalem by David’s son Solomon in the ninth century BC.  The entire structure, and everything in it, corresponded to the Creator and how His creation responds and worships Him.  Central to that response and worship is the altar of whole burnt offering at the entrance, foretelling and forth-telling the One Sacrifice for the sin of the cosmos, and the “Way” into the presence of the Creator King and His Kingdom.

The throne of the Creator is separate from all He has made; and any attempt to approach Him, or to reach Him, other than the “Way” provided, was met with instant death and eternal separation.  But the “Way” provided was greeted with love, life, beneficence, and every good thing.

Once inside the holy place, having been covered by the blood of the One Sacrifice for sin, one sees the seven fiery lamps – God the Spirit; the Bread of Life – God the Son; and the incense table – which is the worship of those admitted, all foreshadowing the “opening” in the heaven through the atonement made by Jesus Christ at His crucifixion.  That opening – the door – is the Christ; and the opening is to the throne of God.

And what we’re going to do now is to see the throne of God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.  First, let’s see that king David is very aware of Who the King of Israel actually is, and that His throne is in the heaven.  He is also prophetically aware that his own son will occupy that throne.  Listen to this series of verses from the Psalms:


6)    O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

7)    But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

8)    And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.  (Psalm 9)


4)    The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in the heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.  (Psalm 11)


7)    7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

8)    8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. (Psalm 48)


3)    I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

4)    Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.  (Psalm 89)


27) Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

28) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

29) His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.   (Psalm 89)


1)    The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

2)    Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

3)    A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.

4)    His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.

5)    The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

6)    The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.   (Psalm 97)


11) The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.

12) If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.   (Psalm 132)


One of the things that I’ve learned over the course of thirty-five years of study and preaching is that my own assessment of my knowledge and skills constantly diminishes.  My abilities are never as good as I thought they were; and my knowledge is always less than I thought it was.

Funny how that happens.

Sort of like the young man who thinks his dad is as dumb as a rock; but, when he gets older, his dad gets smarter and smarter.  That’s not always true, but, you see, wisdom doesn’t come with just age.  Wisdom comes with knowledge of God and His Word.  And the more you know about it, the more sure you are that you ARE as dumb as a rock!

That’s putting it in the vernacular, of course, but it’s true.  I’ve always said that I don’t yet know what I don’t know.  But now I’m sure that what I don’t know grows daily!

And every time I ponder these things, I think about Job all over again.  I really think about him a lot.  He had a whole bunch of stuff to say.  But then God told him things that Job didn’t know that he didn’t know.  And finally he just shut his mouth.  God revealed Himself to Job (about four chapters worth), and Job could do nothing but confess and be quiet.  And, at that point, God gave him twice what he had before.

Does that make sense?

When Job thought he was strong and knew stuff, he was weak.  But when God’s Word was revealed to him, he became weak, and he was strong!   Paradox?  Nope!  It’s not.

David’s Psalms are reflective of this as well.   When he recognized and acknowledged that the rule of all things was from the throne in the heaven, he was strong.  When he acknowledged that his son (to be) was his Lord, and that He would rule from His throne in the heaven, David was strong.

Over the course, I’ve learned that God the Word and God the Spirit conjointly execute the singular will of the One Triune God in order to bring glory to God in the heaven.  Word and Spirit are effective, vigorous and efficient in bringing to pass the unique and incomparable will of Almighty God in His throne.

Skills and gifts to men are not to be overlooked.  After all, they are gifts.  However, they are for service to God the Word and God the Spirit.  But at the point at which they bring strength and honor to the orator, at the expense of the glory of Triune God, then they become weakness.  And it becomes of little use to Word and Spirit.  The apostle Paul is a prime example, isn’t he?  His weaknesses in body and in speaking skills were strengths by Word and Spirit.

All this to say that I can do nothing better for you than to connect you, in some articulate and coherent manner, with what God the Word says and what God the Spirit does.  We need to see and hear the Word in order to gain knowledge of God and what He’s said.  That’s the reason why we read large portions of Scripture.

Of course it’s all “folly” to the Adamic dead.  But to those “being saved” it is life!

If I’m permitted to use one example, it’s like an anastomosis in the river of life in the human body.  Miles and miles of tiny rivulets of blood connect (an anastomosis) connect to a larger vein, or artery.  They’re not just there by themselves.

What we do as servants of Word and Spirit is make the connections in all of His Word to the hearing of men.  The Word is perfect in all of its parts.  Nothing, for example, in The Revelation of John is disconnected from any other part of the Word of God, because the entirety of the Word is spoken from One Triune God.  There is no “vacuum”, so how could anything spoken by God the Word be spoken in a vacuum – or all by itself!  Well, it most certainly isn’t.  It’s all connected.

So when John sees a throne, although it is glorious to behold, it’s not something “new” to God’s Revelation.  It is a sight to be anticipated, because the throne is revealed many times by God the Word!  Even kings and head of state have thrones.  And those thrones are in some form of “likeness” to the revealed throne of the Lord of Hosts.  There is a “correspondence” there, you see. And we’re about to hear much more about God’s throne shortly.

But God the Word is to be heard by God’s people.  And we are all to be servants of the Word.  We come across some incredible passage, or some unusual word, by reading or by hearing, and immediately we ought to be saying to ourselves, “where can we go to expand our understanding of these marvelous words?”  And “where has the Word spoken this previously”?  And we search for and make the connections!

Then when speaking the Word to others, we can bring “what God has said” to them.  May I say it once more?  What GOD has said!

And now, for the next few minutes, let’s hear what God the Word has said regarding the throne in the heaven, as recorded by the prophets.

The first is from Isaiah chapter six.  And I want you to hear what Isaiah saw and heard; compare the sight that he describes in his prophecy to what we read in Revelation chapter four; hear what God says to Isaiah, because it has direct reference to what “is necessary to be done in quickness” and “the time is near” in The Revelation.  Here it is:


1)    In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.

2)    Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3)    And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Yahveh of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4)    And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5)    Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Yahveh of Hosts.

6)    Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

7)    and he touched my mouth with it, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin forgiven.

8)    And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Who shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.

9)    And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.

11) Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land become utterly waste,

12) and Yahveh have removed men far away, and the forsaken places be many in the midst of the land.

13) And if there be yet a tenth in it, it also shall in turn be eaten up: as a common terebinth tree, and as an oak, whose stock remains when they are felled; so the holy seed is the stock thereof.


So the throne that Isaiah sees is the throne of judgment.  And God sends him to Israel to speak His Word to them in order that hearing they may not hear, and seeing they may not see.  Isaiah asks “how long”?  And God says, “until I lay it waste and desolate”.  But the “tenth” He will save, for they are the “stock” of the Holy Seed.

This is the passage that is quoted by Jesus to His disciples when they asked Him why He spoke in parables, isn’t it?  Listen to it in Matthew thirteen:


13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15) For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16) 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.


Seven hundred and fifty years before Jesus, the Word of God through Isaiah, directly from His throne of judgment, closed the eyes and ears of unbelieving Israel.  And Jesus, the Word incarnate, spoke parables for the same reason, and in continuation of the Word to Isaiah from the throne, all the while searching out the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” – the “stock of the Holy Seed”!!  And all in preparation for the desolation to come.  See the connections?

“Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear”!!!

Three chapters later, God speaks these words to Isaiah, confirming David’s prophecy regarding his son and his Lord.  Isaiah chapter nine:


6)    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7)    Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.


And seven chapters later (chapter sixteen), Isaiah hears these words in further confirmation:


5)    And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.


Then in the prophecy of Ezekiel, the heaven is opened to the prophet, and he vividly describes the creatures and their movements and the sounds and the colors.  And then he writes this at the end of chapter one:


26) And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

27) And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

28) As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.


What comes after this is the Word of God against Israel through the prophet, for Israel is a rebellious and idolatrous people.  The point being that the Word of judgment comes from the throne/judgment seat of God in His heaven… even to hot coals of fire from beneath the throne being distributed to the great city of rebellion (chapter ten), and leaving it completely desolate.

Then in chapter 27, God shows the prophet the new holy city with His throne in the midst of her.  Here it is:


7)    And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.

8)    In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.

9)    Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcasses of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.


And then, lastly, the prophet Daniel, after seeing the four great, civilization-changing kingdoms of the earth destroyed, sees the following in the heaven:


9)    I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

12) As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.


The Lord Jesus Christ, having completed His work of atonement for the sin of the world, is received at the throne of the Ancient of Days to obtain His inheritance – dominion over all things in the heaven and upon the earth.  His is the fifth great civilization-changing kingdom – one that shall not pass away.

Then Daniel receives instructions regarding the “book”, or the “scroll”.  Listen to it:

1)    And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

2)    And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

3)    And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

4)    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.


“Seal the book, even to the time of the end.”

As we read in chapters four and five of the Revelation, it is the same heaven; it is the same throne; it is the same God – Father, Son, Spirit.  The time is the “end”.  The judgment seat/throne of the Ancient of Days is about to show John what is necessary to be done “quickly”, for the “time is near”.  The Lamb Slain is declared ‘worthy” to break the seals of Daniel to open the scroll.  The “seals” are about to be broken; the trumpet voice of Almighty God is about to sound; the fiery coals and streams of flame are about to be distributed in destruction and desolation to the whore of Babylon as the Parousia of the newly crowned King of Kings is revealed as He reigns from the throne in the heaven.

Not only is He our reigning King of Kings on the throne, but He is also the One Who entered – once – into the throne room having made atonement for our sin.  We close this morning with the Word of our High Priest through the writer to the Hebrews:


14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.