REVELATION 4 - HEAVEN'S TEMPLE

Sacrifice was the first part of the salvation process. The priest then ministered in the sanctuary. The ministry on earth typified Christʼs ministry in heaven. Revelation chapter 4 gives us a glimpse into heavenʼs sanctuary where Christ ministers for us...


Revelation Chapter 4

1. After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne.

3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

4 And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

7 And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle.

8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

OVERVIEW

John chapters 4-5 given a vision into Godʼs sanctuary in heaven. Almost every item points to the sanctuary: The mention of a trumpet (v 1); precious stones (v 3); 24 elders (v 4); the seven lamps (v 5); the slain lamb (Rev 5:6); the odours (Rev 5:8).


verse 1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: A door was opened IN heaven, not into heaven. The seven lamps of fire within (v 5) shows that this was the door opening into the Holy Place of the temple in heaven because the seven lamps of fire stood in the holy place of the temple on earth (Heb 8:1-5; Exo 25:37; 26:35) which was made after the pattern of the heavenly temple (Heb 8:5). The second apartment (which discloses the ark containing the command- ments) is not opened until the sounding of the seventh angel. Rev 11:19.

“...he [John] beheld there ʻseven lamps of fire burning before the throne.ʼ [Rev 4:5]... Here the prophet was permitted to behold the FIRST APPARTMENT of the sanctuary in heaven,” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p414. See also Patriarchs & Prophets, p356; Review & Herald, Dec 9 1905; Great Controversy, 1888 ed. p414.


verse 1 and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were a trumpet talking with me... Trumpets are associated with war (Jer 4:19). The first four trumoets are horses which are also associated with war. (Prov 21:31; Rev 19:11):


verse 1 ...which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. Does this mean that EVERYTHING John was to see from this point would be future of his time, i.e. AFTER ~AD96?

No. NOT EVERYTHING John was to see after this in chapters 4-22 was to occur after his time. For example:

(a) Rev 12 describes things BEFORE AD96 including the birth of the Son of man (Jesus) who is to rule all nations, and Satanʼs attempt to kill Jesus at His birth

(See on Rev 12).

(b) The Seven Seals (Rev 6, 8:1) parallel the events described in Matthew 24. As the prophecy of Matthew 24 began in Apostolic times, long BEFORE AD96, so also did the first of the Seven Seals. (See on the Seven Seals Rev 6).

Rev chapters 1-3 began with the phrase “ “things which must shortly come to pass.” Rev chapters 4-22 begin with the phrase “things which must be hereafter.”

The period Rev 1-3 covers is also covered by Rev 4-22, i.e. the entire Christian Era.


verse 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne. John goes into vision (“in the spirit”) a second time. This occurs AFTER the first vision which began in Rev 1:10 and ended in Rev 3:22.


verse 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. John first beholds a dazzling representation of the Father (cf. Eze 1:26-28). The rainbow reminds us that God keep his covenant (Gen 9:13-15). As Godʼs throne is mobile (cf. Eze 1:21-26; 1Kings 8:10-11) its presence here cannot be used to prove that this was the Most holy place, as some conclude.


verse 4 And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sit- ting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

24 shifts of priest assisted the earthly high priest in the earthly sanctuary (cf. 1Chron 24:18-19). They ministered and burned incense ONLY in the holy place confirming that John here beheld the holy place (Exo 30:7-8; Luke 1:9; Rev 5:8).

These 24 elders are their heavenly antitype assisting Christ in His heavenly sanctuary (Rev 5:8). As the priests were only a part of Israel so these elders are only part of Godʼs people.


The seats or thrones mentioned were moved from the holy place into the Most holy place of heavenʼs temple at the begin- ning of the judgment (See on Dan 7:9).


verse 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

The seven lamps (Gr. lampades) should not be confused with the candlesticks (Gr. luchnia) of Rev 1:12. The candlesticks of Rev 1 represent the “seven CHURCHES” (Rev 1:20). The seven lamps of Rev 4 represent the “seven SPIRITS” (Rev 4:5; cf. Rev 5:6). The association of the seven Spirits with the Father & Son in Rev 1:4-5 suggests that the seven spirits represent the Holy Spirit whose ministry is sevenfold, a symbol of completeness. (Isa 11:2). The Spirit enables us to “see” the truth.


verse 6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal... The location of this sea of glass before the throne shows that it is not the antitypical laver.

Rev 15:2 tells us that upon this expanse all the overcomers will stand.


verse 6 ...and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind. The four beasts (Heb. zoa, “living beings”) are heavenly beings. They are similar to those described in (Eze 1:5, 6, 10, 18, 26). They happily praise God continually. Their faces symbolize Christʼs work:


verse 7 And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle

LION - King. CALF - Servant. MAN - Priest. EAGLE - Divine.

The gospels emphasize these aspects:

  • Matthew - Christ as KING.

  • Mark - Christ as a Man of action CALF.

  • Luke - Christʼs as Minister MAN.

  • John - Christ as God the Son DIVINE.

In order these four “beasts” introduce the first four seals in Rev 6. Each one is ap- propriate to the message revealed.


verses 9-11 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy plea- sure they are and were created.


Overwhelmed with Godʼs love and mercy heaven gives glory to God. “Thou art worthy, O Lord...” Because God created man, He is worthy of all honour and glory. The Sabbath was the permanent reminder of creation given by God to man.


QUESTIONS

Could this vision be of the Most Holy Place? The scene described in Rev 4-5 is very similar to the judgment scene in the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary as described in Dan 7:10.

Rev 4 & 5 and Dan 7 both refer to: 1. Ten thousand times ten thousand Rev 5:11 2. God sitting on a throne Rev 4:2 3. Additional thrones Rev 4:4 4. Jesus before the throne Rev 5:6 5. Books and a book being opened Rev 5:1


However there are differences:

  • (a) In Rev 4 & 5 the thrones are already in place and the attendants are already seated whereas Dan 7 describes the thrones being set up before the attendants are seated.

  • (b) Rev 4 & 5 are not explicitly called a judgment scene.

  • (c) Jesus dramatic arrival in Daniel 7 is not mentioned in Rev 4 & 5.

  • (d) Rev 4 & 5 depict only one book being opened but Dan 7 describes “books,” plural, being opened.

  • (e) Dan 7 makes no mention of the four heav- enly beasts described in Rev 4 & 5.

  • (f) The presence of the candlestick (Rev 4:5) indicates that Rev 4-5 is a vision into the holy place as this is where the seven branched candelstick stood.

  • (g) This passage falls into the part of Revelation which has had an historical fulfillment. See this booklets introduction. Such differences indicate that Rev 4 & 5 and Dan 7 are not the same scene.

Conclusion: “...he [John] beheld there ʻseven lamps of fire burning before the throne.ʼ [Rev 4:5]... Here the prophet was permitted to behold the FIRST APPARTMENT of the sanctuary in heaven,” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p414. See also Patriarchs & Prophets, p356; Review & Herald, Dec 9 1905; Great Controversy, 1888 ed. p414.

0 views