Major Turning Point
Everything covered through chapter 3 is now past and the Church Age will soon be over. Now every chapter beginning with this chapter reveals what is to come in the future.
Revelation is one of the most sequence-oriented books in the Bible. We must understand this before going any further. Revelation 4:1 reveals the Rapture, Revelation 6:2 reveals the appearance of the Antichrist, and Revelation 6:17 reveals the beginning of the Tribulation Period. Between the Rapture and the Tribulation period is unknow of how long this period is. We only know that the Antichrist must have enough time to rise to power in Europe, take over the world government, and negotiate a covenant to protect Israel (more on these events later). It is also important to note that there are three different theories reguarding the sequence of these events. They are called:
1.) Pre-Tribulation Rapture - The Church is raptured before the Tribulation Period
2.) Mid-Tribulation Rapture - The Church is raptured during the Tribulation Period
3.) Post-Tribulation Rapture - The Church is raptured after the Tribulation Period
The 7,000 Year Theory of Mankind
Now that we are in the 21st centry, and the new millenium, there is a sense off change in the air with mounting anticipation about the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Today, Messianic expectations are rampant among Jews in Israel, predictions of the Rapture and the Second Coming are widespread among Christians, and doomsday prophecies are flourishing among cults. The 7,000 Year Theory is on of the oldest theories dating from the earliest days of the Church. It begins with God creating the heavens and the earth in six days and resting on the seventh. It rationalizes that God will deal with mankind for six days and rest on the seventh. It also assumes that all the days of the week are of equal length. Knowing hree other Scripture verses will help in understanding:
1.) II Peter 3:8 teaches one day with the Lord is 1,000 years.
2.) Hebrews 4:4-11 presents the Millennium as a day of rest.
3.) Revelation 20:1-9 gives us the idea of a 1,000 year millennium.
The theory states that God willdeal with mankind for six of his das (6,000 of our years) and rest on the seventh day(the 1,000 year Millennium). According to the Jewish calendar, 3,760 years after Creation the Christian Era began (1 A.D. on our calendar). That is almost four of God's days since its beginning, the Christian Era has lasted almost 2,000 years or two more of Dod's days. This means mankind is approaching the seventh God-day the Millinnium. But before the Millennium occurs two things must take place - the Rapture and the Tribulation Period.
Rev. 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.
John first saw a door opening to heaven. He then heard a voice, that sounded like a trumpet, inviting him to come in and see the things that wil take place after the Church Age. John looked and heard. What we see with out own eyes and hear with out own ears is real to us, but what John saw was a world that the natural eye cannot see and the natural ear cannot hear. The voice John heard was like a trumpet. It was the same kind of voice the Bible says will (rapture the Church). For that and other reasons, many prophecy experts believe John represents the whole Church, and his ascending into heaven is symbolic of the Rapture. When the Rapture occurs, the Church will ascend into heaven at the sound of a trumpet just as John did.
Cunfusion over whether or not there will be a Rapture does exist. One reason for this is that the word "Rapture" is not in the Bible. This is correct, but only to a point. The word rapture is not in English translations of the Bible. It is an English version of a word that appears in Latin translations. Keep in mind that most of the New Testament was written in Greek which was then translated into Latin translation in 405 A.D.. His translation eventually was translated into the English Bible we know today. Several verses of one of its derivations. It means to be caught up, plucked up, or taken by force. Christians translate this Latin word to mean Rapture. Christians will be both called up and caught up to heaven just as John was. Refer to Rapture
Rev. 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne
In The Spirit
John saw the door, heard the voice, and suddenly he was in the Spirit. In the Spirit means his spirit left his body. It was changed by the Holy Spirit into a sort of spiritual rocket ship. His body could not enter heaven because it had not yet been glorigied. However, his spirit could enther because of the righteousness of Christ and the cleansing or purifying of his sins.
Rev. 4:3 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.
Jasper and Carnelian
The one on the throune, Jesus, had the appearance of white and red light flashing off of two precious stones, jasper and carnelian. These are the first and the last stones in the Breastplate of the High Priest. They remind us that the one on the throne is our opaque or translucent like a diamond and represents the purity or holiness of Jesus. Carnelianthe red flashing light is fiery red like the blood Jesus shed on the cross.
In the Old Testament God promised Noah he would never destroy the earth with a flood again. He placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of that promise. When the Church enters heaven, there will be a rainbow surrounding God's throne promising he will not destroy the earth during the Tribulation Period. The Rainbow is a reminder that God is God of grace, a God who keeps his promises. Where Jesus had the appearance of Jasper and carnelian, the throne has the appearance of Emerald green. Green is the color of life, the Eternal Life which comes from God as a result of the shed blood of Jesus and the grace of God.
Rev. 4:4 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.
The Twenty-Four Elders
The number twenty-four occurs six times in the Old Testament. In every case, it is associated with the priest of Israel. On one occasion, the entire nation of Israel was repreented by twenty-four special priests. Just as these priests represented all of Israel, twenty-four elders will one day represent all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture. They will surround the throne of God as representatives of a nation of kings and priest. They will stand in for all overcomers.
Just as these elders were dressed in White, in heaven we will all be clothed in white representing the righteousness of Christ. We will wear golden crowns - rewards for our earthly deeds. These elders will stand in for all those who love the Lord. It is very important to note that the Church will receive its robes and crowns, and it will begin its reign with Jesus in heaven before the Tribulation period begins. There can be no doubt that God is showing us the pre-tribulation Rapture
Rev. 4:5 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.
A Storm Is Approaching
Think of the last time you saw lightning and heard thunder in the distance. You turn on the television and the weatherman says a storm is appoaching. He obviously appears to be right. In the same way the lightning and thunder from the throne of God is also a signal that a storm is coming. God's patience with those on earth is wearing thin. The Tribualtion Period is approaching.
We learned in Revelation 1:4 that the Holy Spirit has a sevenfold nature, and that the seven spirits of God are the seven virtues of the Holy Spirit. Following the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will occupy a place in the presence of God.
Rev. 4:6 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.
A Glassy Sea
In front of the throne was something that was so calm that it looked like a beautiful, crystal, glassy sea. Prophecy experts suggest this sea of glass is:
1.) The Church because the sea is a Biblical symbol for the masses of humanity.
2.) The Water of the world
3.) the water of baptism.
Whatever it is, it indicates that all is calm in front of the throne of God. Nothing is present that could cause turbulence or unrest. The Church will be at peace with God when it goes before him.
Around the throne were four unusual creature with many eyes in front and in back. These creatures are some type of angelic beings who possess characteristics of the seraphim and the cherubin. Their many eyes indicate they can see all that is happening in every direction. They could be the highest and greatest of all heavenly beings.
The Water Of Baptism
Jesus was baptized with water and he told his disciples to baptize others in the same way. For that reason, the Church uses water Baptism as an outward sign or symbol that a change has taken place in the believer's heart. Upon being baptized a new believer is added to the list of members of his Church. Water baptism by immersion symbolizes the death, burial , and resuuection of Jesus. Being put under water (immersed or buried in water) symbolizes the death and burial of Jesus. Being brought up out of the water smpolizes his resurrection. When a new believer is baptized by immersion he is also announcing that his old self has died, his old ways have been buried, and he has been raised to live a new life in Christ. Some churches pour water over the new believer as a form of baptism. This may symbolize the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Other churches sprinkle water ofer the new believer. This symbolizes the cleansing work of God in our hearts and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.
Rev. 4:7 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.
The Four Gospels
The first angelic being is like a lion - Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The lion is the king of beasts and Jesus is the King of Kings. the Apostle Matthew describes Jesus as the King of the Jews.
The second angelic being is like an ox - Jesus came as a servant. Just like the ox, a beast that carries its burden, Jesus carried out sins. The Apostle Mark describes Jesus as a servant.
The third angelic being is like a man - Jesus was human. The Apostile Luke describes Jesus as the Son Of Man.
The forth angelic being is like an eagle - Jesus is God. Just as the eagle rules the skies, Jesus rules the heavens and reigns over all things. The Apostle Hohn describes Jesus as the creator of all things. These four living creatures remind us of the qualities of Jesus that are found in the Four Gospels;Matthew (King of kings), Mark (servant), Luke (Son of Man) and John (Son of God).
The Four Living Creatures
1.) Lion (king of beast) - The Gospel of Matthew calls Jesus the King fo the Jews.
2.) Ox (beast of burden) - The Gospel of mark calls Jesus a servant.
3.) Man (human) - The Gospel of Luke calls Jesus the Son of Man.
4.) Eagle (rules the skies) - gospel of John calls Jesus God.
Rev. 4:8 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.
Holy, Holy, Holy
The six wings are characteristic of the seraphim. Their eyes are like the eyes of the Lord: They are everywhere, beholding everything. Their stamina is like the stamina of the Lord: they never stop singing, and they never Sleep. They are there to exalt the name of Jesus, the one who was, and is, and is to come.
Rev. 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
Glory, Honor, And Thanks
The purpose of the four living creatures is to worship and give glory, honor, and thanks to the one on the throne. In doing so they acknowledge that he is eternal and almighty. But each time they glorify the Lord, something else happens.
Rev. 4:10 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,
Fall On Your Knees
The twenty-four elders always follow the lead of the four living creatures. Whenever the four living creatures worship the one on the throne, the twenty-four elders also worship him by falling down and exalting him. This falling down is a deliberate act of humility. the elders remove their crows and place them before the throne. Even these king, high priests and leaders recognize that he is their power and their source.
Rev. 4:11 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.
Creater Of All Things
This has been called the song of creation. The twenty-four elders proclaim his worthiness and acknowledge him as the creator of all things, the one who holds all things together. By your will expresses the desire of Jesus to create all things. We may not understand a great deal about his marvelous creation, but we can understand that it was brought into existence because Jesus wanted it to exist. And it continues to exist because it is his will.