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Revelation 4 (Q and A) July 5, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Eschatology, Praise, Rapture, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Throne of God, Worship.
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A bit late this week with the Q&A. I am also posting the Q&A for chapter 5 which we didn’t quite finish and for chapter 6 which we should get to this Sunday evening.

Revelation 4 

1.     To what do the phrases in verse 1, “these things” and “after this”, refer (Compare with Revelation 1:19)?

The events following the present situation in the seven churches described in chapters 2-3 as well as following John’s vision of Jesus Christ in chapter 1.

2.     Who is the voice speaking with John in verse 1 (Compare with 1:10-13)?

 Jesus Christ

3.     Is there any reason within the text to believe that verse 1 refers to the Rapture (Compare with 11:12)?

No. Although a voice like a trumpet (Christ’s voice) says, “Come up here…” there is no indication in the text that John is intended to symbolize the church at this point. This does not mean that the Rapture does not take place at this point in the eschatological chronology, only that it is not to be found (as thought by many) in verse 1.

4.     Everything in chapter 4 is described in relationship to the throne of God. What do we already know about this throne and what is the significance of this knowledge so far (1:4-5; 3:21; see also Ezekiel 1:26-28)?

The Trinity is pictured as directly related to each other and equal with each other at the throne of God. This is also the hope of those who overcome (believers in Christ), to be with the Father and with Christ throughout eternity. Many of the things mentioned in relation to the throne are also mentioned in one or more Old Testament passages that describe the presence and glory  of God.

5.     What is the significance of the number of elders seated around the throne (Compare with 21:12-14)? What is the significance of the white robes and the crowns, i.e. victory laurels in verse 4?

The twenty-four elders seem to symbolize the unity of Israel and the church as represented by the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles. The God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. The white robes are worn by the true believers both from the Old Testament and the New Testament (testament = covenant in this context). They are also united in their victory as “overcomers” over the wicked one.

6.     What is the significance of the lightnings, thunderings, and voices (Compare 8:5; 11:19; 16:17-18 with Exodus 19:16)?

This seems to be an Old Testament allusion to the presence of God on Mt. Sinai. In the book of Revelation these phenomena also seem to be connected to the coming judgment from God on the world.

7.     What is the significance of the seven lamps of fire representing the seven Spirits of God, the sea of glass, and the four living creatures when taken together as one picture (See Exodus 37:23; 38:8; Number 2:2ff compared with Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah 6)?

These all allude to the furniture of the Tabernacle and the Temple where God’s presence housed itself during the time of the wilderness wandering through the time of Ezekiel. There were visions of God’s glory by Ezekiel and Isaiah. Isaiah’s was connected to the temple but the vision in Ezekiel 1 is apart from the temple although chronologically, the glory had yet to depart.

8.     Is there any reason in the text to assume that the four living creatures are referring to the four gospels or the four aspects of the character of Christ?

No, this is allegorical interpretation which should be avoided even when the interpretation seems to be benign or perhaps even inspirational.

9.     What purpose do the elders and living creatures serve?

To worship and glorify God throughout all eternity.

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