Revelation 4:1-11 Part 6

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”.


“And the One Sitting like stone………”

We went through a little exercise with this in the second hour last Lord’s Day; but we need to work with it more thoroughly today.  For this is right at the heart of what John sees in “the heaven”.  And if we don’t get this, then we won’t get a full understanding of the letter to the Church.

And let me begin with a statement made during the discourse that occurred at the council of Nicea.  The Nicene creed is used frequently in this Church; the Athanasian creed is used less frequently.  But there in that city which is now in western Turkey, not too far from the seven cities to which this letter was originally written, there occurred, in 360AD, a mighty battle for The Faith against arianism… an eternally deadly heresy which is still much alive in jehovah’s witness and in mormonism AND in mohammadanism.  It argued that Jesus Christ was NOT eternal triune God the Son, but was a being created by God.

Here is the discourse.  It is from Athanasius himself.  And I quote:


"The fact is, then, that the Word is not from things created, but is rather Himself their Creator. For this reason did He assume a body created and human: so that, having renewed it as its Creator, He might deify it in Himself, and thus might introduce all of us in that likeness into the kingdom of heaven. A man would not have been deified if joined to a creature, nor if the Son were not true God; neither would a man have been brought into the Father's presence if He had not been the Father's natural and true Word who had put on the body. Since we could have had nothing in common with that which is foreign, we would not have been delivered from sin and from the curse if that which the Word put on had not been natural human flesh; so also the man would not have been deified if the Word which became flesh had not been by nature from the Father and true and proper to Him. The union, therefore, was of just such a kind, so that He might unite what is man by nature, to Him who is in the nature of the Godhead, thereby assuring the accomplishment of salvation and His deification. Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to His essence, deny also that He took true human flesh from the Virgin Mary. In neither case would it have been profitable to us men: if the Word were not by nature true Son of God, or if the flesh which He assumed were not true flesh." (St. Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians, 2,70, ca. A.D. 360.)


This One defended by Athanasius, of course, is the One true God the Son prophesied in the garden.  He is also the One prophesied all through the Law and the sacrifices and the ceremonies.  He is prophesied too, in all of the Psalms.  And listen carefully to some verses from Psalm 118:


19) Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter into them, I will give thanks unto Yahveh.

20) This is the gate of Yahveh; The righteous shall enter into it.

21) I will give thanks unto thee; for thou hast answered me, And art become my salvation.

22) The stone which the builders rejected Is become the head of the corner.

23) This is Yahveh's doing; It is marvellous in our eyes.


What does John say in verse three of our text?  “And the One Sitting like stone….”

And our Lord Jesus Christ, in one of His confrontations with Israel’s pharisees, says this:


42) Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?

43) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

44) And he that falleth on this stone shall be broken to pieces: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust.


And having read that from Jesus as He quotes from Psalm 118, we have to immediately be reminded of Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Here it is:

44) And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces (scatter) and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45) Forasmuch as thou sawest that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces (scattered) the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.


What Jesus says to the pharisees in Matthew twenty one is the same thing Daniel saw in the vision and prophesied to king Nebuchadnezzar.  Israel would be snared and crushed on the Stone; and the great dominating, culture-changing kingdoms of earth would be broken and scattered by the Stone, so that there would never be another dominating rival to the Kingdom of our Lord.  No oppressive, tyrant-dictator would ever again rule the earth and change the world’s culture to his own, for the “Stone” has broken and scattered the nations as dust and established His never-ending Kingdom over all the mountains!  And HIS culture changing Kingdom would extend into all the nations of the earth.

Once again, what did John see in the heaven?


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

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


The other prophets as well saw visions of the “Stone”, and prophesied the Corner Stone.  Listen to Isaiah at chapter eight and verse fourteen:


14) And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of crushing and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.


And Isaiah again at chapter twenty-eight:

14) Wherefore hear the word of Yahveh, ye scoffers that rule this people that is in Jerusalem:

15) Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

16) therefore thus saith the Lord Yahveh, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner -stone of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not be in haste.

17) And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place.

18) And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.


And from Ezekiel chapter one we read this:

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 a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above.


Now let’s quickly go back to Sinai, to Moses’ book of Exodus, at chapter 24:

3)    And Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahveh, and all the ordinances: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which Yahveh hath spoken will we do.

4)    And Moses wrote all the words of Yahveh, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

5)    And he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto Yahveh.

6)    And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

7)    And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Yahveh hath spoken will we do, and be obedient.

8)    And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Yahveh hath made with you concerning all these words.

9)    Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.

10) And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven for clearness.

11) And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: and they beheld God, and did eat and drink.


And right after that we read this:

12) And Jehovah said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandment, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.


Please note carefully that the covenantal Law-word was written on Stone.  And is there any wonder that the God-ordained means of execution of law-breakers was stoning?

Right after the giving of the covenantal Law on stone, God begins giving Moses the details for the building of His tabernacle.  And one of the first things required was onyx stones for the ephod of Aaron the priest, upon which was written the names of the twelve tribes.

And then listen to the description of the breastplate to be made for Aaron:


15) And thou shalt make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skilful workman; like the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.

16) Foursquare it shall be and double; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof.

17) And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row;

18) and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond;

19) and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;

20) and the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be inclosed in gold in their settings.

21) And the stones shall be according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names; like the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes.


The names and colors of the stones on the breastplate of the high priest of Israel are very significant here as we consider what John sees here in our text; for, please remember that everything about the tabernacle and the sacrificial system corresponds to the judgment seat throne-room of God in the heaven.  For the priest wore the stones corresponding to the Stone that John sees.

And, by the way, a “carbuncle” is a translation of a Hebrew word for a fiery red stone resembling a burning coal, which is found below the throne of God in the visions of the heaven.

In Deuteronomy chapter ten, Moses receives direction from God to build the Ark of the Covenant; and we need to see that it is not the “box” itself that is holy.  But it is the box holding the stones which is holy, for the Law of God written on the stones corresponds to the judgment seat of God in the heaven.  So it is the box holding the stones, upon which is written the Word of God that is placed in the holy of holies in the tabernacle.

So, the entire older Scripture (and by no means have we covered it all) (the old testament) reflects the judgment seat of God in the heaven as, in every part, it prophesies the “Stone” that John now sees as the door is opened in the heaven.   And we’ve heard our Lord Himself refer the pharisees to Himself as the Stone Who was prophesied.

Let’s now look at the newer Scripture and see how the inspired writers, post-resurrection, teach the Churches about the Stone and about what is necessary to be done quickly!

First, after only a couple of months after Jesus’ resurrection, the apostles Peter and John are preaching and teaching the people in the temple complex, Acts chapter four.  A lame man has just been healed; hundreds are believing, and the apostles are arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to testify.  Here’s what the apostle Peter says to them:


9)    if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole;

10) be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who ye crucified, who God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole.

11) He is the Stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner.

12) And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.


“He is the Stone…” Peter says.  He is the Stone in the heaven, prophesied in all the Scripture.  And all the princes of Israel have dashed themselves upon this Rock.

The apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Rome, says this at the end of chapter nine:

33) even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.


Paul quotes directly from the Isaiah 28 passage that we read earlier.  And, by the way, the word “stumbling” is not a good translation of the Hebrew word in Isaiah, and it’s not a good translation of the Greek word.  The word refers to “dashing” one’s self on the Rock of Offense.

Paul, writing to the Church in Ephesus, reminds the seven Churches of Asia of all of these things in the older Scripture when he says this:


19) So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,

20) being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner Stone;

21) in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;

22) in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.


But the primary passage in all of the New Testament, corresponding to the heaven, and filling up all of the older prophetic Word, is the apostle Peter’s first letter to the refugee elect Jews sent out of Israel into the nations.  Here it is in chapter two:


1)    Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

2)    as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;

3)    if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:

4)    unto whom coming, a living Stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,

5)    ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6)    Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.

7)    For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner;

8)    and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

9)    But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

10) who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.


Peter says to the Jewish refugees from Israel that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is a “living Stone”, and that each of His elect are “living Stones” built up to be a new holy temple and a royal priesthood, thereby recalling the stones set in Aaron’s garments, and all corresponding to the sight that John sees in the heaven!

The vision of the heaven that Daniel saw was of a “Living Stone”, cut from the mountain without hands, upon which Israel would fall and dash itself to pieces, and which, itself, would crush and scatter the nations.

That’s what the apostle Peter explains to the refugee elect from every tribe of Israel.  The Stone that John sees in the heaven, prophesied in the Law and the prophets, is the Stone of offense upon which Israel is dashed to pieces; and He is the Stone which crushes the nations and scatters them so that there is never another nation which rules and oppresses all the nations of the earth.  For HIS kingdom is over all the mountains and all the kingdoms.

And this is all coming to pass before John’s eyes right in our text as Jesus says to him, “I will show you what is necessary to be done quickly, for the time is near.”

“And upon the throne One Sitting, and the One Sitting like stone….”

“…jasper and sardonyx in appearance.”

Lastly, I want to read from the prophecy of Ezekiel for you.  For this puts a “cap” on all of our preaching of the “Stone” this morning.  And it brings the stones and the colors that John sees in the heaven into full array.

In the prophecy of Ezekiel, God causes the prophet to prophesy against nations and city-states that have broken covenant with God from the beginning.  As the condemnation of this city-state, Tyre, proceeds, listen to the original perfections of God’s creation as it reflects and corresponds to the beauty and colors and the Stone that John sees here in our Revelation text.  Ezekiel 28:


12) Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord Yahveh: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

13) Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was in thee; in the day that thou wast created they were prepared.

14) Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee.

16) By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.


Even so, said our Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter eleven, Even so….  Should Tyre and Sidon have seen the works of the Lord and heard His Word as Israel had, those cities would have repented.  But Israel did not.  It was offended by that Word and those works.  And Tyre would not suffer a fate nearly as severe as that coming to Israel.

And even to this day, Jews will not turn and believe that the Stone, the very One seen by John in the heaven, the One rejected by the princes of Israel, (the Stone) is become the corner Stone of the new Holy Temple, in the new city of God, on the new holy mountain of God, which reigns over all the mountains of the earth.   And they still wish to bring the old temple back and reinstitute the sacrifices.

As we gather at the Lord’s table we have heard the Word.  The chief Corner Stone has been laid, with the apostles as the remainder of the foundation; and all His people are precious stones in the structure of His new holy temple.  Israel was, indeed, dashed to pieces on the Rock; and the nations have been crushed and scattered that they no longer have dominion over the earth.

The King and High Priest is in His holy temple; and His throne is one of grace and mercy to those who fear Him and repent in faith and obedience.  As we eat His body and drink His blood, let us remember all of these things and celebrate all that He has done.