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Revelation 4: The Throne Room of the King Part 1

Revelation 4:1-5

Snug Gospel Chapel: November 1st, 2015

Good morning!
Once again, we find ourselves in the book of Revelation. Having seen the Revelation of the King in chapter 1, and
studied the seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor in chapters 2 and 3, weve now arrived at a transitional
point in the book. What were about to see is a distinct and dynamic shift from what weve seen so far, in more ways
than one.
Now, before we delve into the Word of God, lets come to the Father in prayer.
Lets pray.
Lord, as we come to you once again this morning, I pray that you would leave us open and vulnerable before your
Word. As we read this incredible book, as we learn more about you, and about your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the
King of Kings and the Lamb of God, we are keenly aware that you are inviting us into the very throne room of the King
today. Open our eyes, Lord, we pray, to enable us to see what you see. Grant us understanding, that we might know
how to apply these things to our lives. But perhaps most of all, Father, we ask that you would fill us with a new vision
of the King Himself with the glorious truth of the majesty and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, as shown here in the
pages of this book that we might see, and know, that you alone are God, that you alone are worthy, and that your
name would be praised both among us, and because of us, as we bear your name in this dark world.

We ask these things in and through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, for your
sake, and for your glory.
Amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles, if you would, to Revelation, chapter 4 and verse 1. Were only going to be looking at
roughly half of this chapter today, because there is so much to cover, but were going to read the entire passage,
because I want you to really take in the context. If were going to understand this passage, we need to see and
understand the scene that is being set here and perhaps more importantly, why it occurs here, as opposed to
anywhere else in the book.
Revelation, chapter 4, beginning at verse 1.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a
trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there

was[a] like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like
an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting,
clothed in white robes; and they had crowns[b] of gold on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings,
thunderings, and voices.[c] Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the[d] seven Spirits of God.
6

Before the throne there was[e] a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the

throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second
living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying
eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day
or night, saying:
Holy, holy, holy,[f]
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!
9

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and

ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and
ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11

You are worthy, O Lord,[g]

To receive glory and honor and power;


For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist[h] and were created.
Weve now come a long way in our studies in the book of Revelation. While we may have covered just three chapters
so far, those verses have spanned more than 2,000 years of church history, from the time of the apostle John himself
to the Last Days of the Age of Laodicea the time in which we now live.
But now, for the first time, were about to see a distinct transition take place; a transition that takes us from the things
of earth, to the very throne room of heaven.
Before we move on this morning, Id like to remind you of something we covered in the very first sermon in this series.
Id like to remind you of the layout of this incredible book.
The best way for us to do that is to read a few verses from Revelation chapter 1. Revelation chapter 1, verses 17 to
19.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am
the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the
keys of Hades and of Death.

19

Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

So we can see here that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave the apostle John the breakdown of the book that you
currently holds in your hands. He told him to:
Write the things which you have seen,
The things which are,
And the things that will take place after this.
These are the three sections or segments that the book of Revelation is broken down into. In Revelation chapter 1,
John wrote the things he had seen. He saw the Lord Jesus Christ, glorified, radiant and mighty presented not merely
as Saviour, but as the righteous judge of all the earth.
In chapters 2 and 3, we saw the things which are: seven letters to seven churches, detailed so brilliantly and so
insightfully as to outline the length and breadth of the church age.
but its what the Lord told John to write next that concerns us today. He said He would show him the things that will
take place after this. The words used here in chapter 1 are a specific phrase here in the Greek, meta tauta, meaning
after these things. Turn with me now back to Revelation chapter 4.
Revelation 4 verse 1:
After these things I looked.
so there they are. Those two words, meta tauta.
What the Holy Spirit is indicating to us here is that weve reached a transitional point in this book. Upon entering
chapter 4, weve graduated from the things which are, to the things which must take place after this. Thats important.
Its important because it tells us that everything were about to see, everything the apostle John is about to experience,
comes after the time period defined by the letters to the seven churches. We stand now on the threshold of a future
age: the churches behind, the seven year tribulation ahead.
That, in the simplest rendering of the text, is what the words meta tauta mean and what the apostle John
experiences from this point onward couldnt possibly be more different, more dramatically glorious and terrifying and
awesome than anything he could possibly have conceived.
So lets explore that.
Look at verse 1.

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice I heard was like a trumpet
speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.
You can imagine it, cant you. Up until this point, everything that John had seen, he had at least some frame of
reference for. While many of the things discussed, seen and heard were incredible to him, they were still nonetheless
familiar. He met a Saviour that hed known perhaps better than anyone on earth and although the Revelation of
that King was enough cause him to fall upon his face as though dead, it was still Christ. The churches, he knew even
more intimately. These were his churches, in more ways than one John had pastored them, fed them, preached to
them, rebuked them, written to them they were His flock. It is here that these things come to an end. John is about
to be thrust into a world that is entirely alien to his experience.
The opening verses of chapter four strike like a blinding flash of light in the text. Suddenly, abruptly, dare I say even
rapturously, we see the apostle John swept up, swept away, and flung into the very throne room of God. It doesnt
get much more dramatic than that. but what Im going to suggest to you is that we need to be mindful of manner in
which John is taken up, though, because its significant for two very key reasons.
The first reason that these verses are significant is because I believe they serve as a type for the Rapture. Now, I want
to define that word, type, because its important that you understand what I mean by it. I am not suggesting to you
that this would serve as an ideal proof text for the doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture of the church. I say this
because what John experiences here is quite clearly exceptional, and for a very specific purpose, as the Lord Jesus
Himself outlined for us in chapter 1. But what I would say to you is that the pattern here, and the parallels between
the doctrine of the Rapture, and the catching up of the apostle John, are hard to ignore.
Lets look at that, briefly.
Verse 1. After these things, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.
I want to contrast this verse with another. Listen to Isaiah 64:1. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come
down!
What is the picture that is being presented here? Why does the apostle John need a door in the heavens, and why
does the prophet Isaiah so desire that the Lord would tear the heavens open, and come down? Well, Scripture
presents the image to us, consistently, that there is a veil between heaven and earth a veil that prevents us from
seeing the glory of that realm, and that prevents that which is physical, man, from laying hold of that which is eternal.
Well come back to that another time, but take in the magnitude of what John is seeing here and of what he
experiences. Where the prophet Isaiah wished that the Lord would rend the heavens and come down, John, in
isolation on the isle of Patmos, receives a sudden revelation, sees the skies tear open, and hears a voice summoning
him to come up! Look at verse 1 again.

I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking
with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.
What an amazing verse! Imagine the apostles absolute astonishment, to look, and see that veil torn aside, to see an
open door leading into the very throne room of God, and a voice like a trumpet calling him to ascend!
Now, weve seen throughout this series that the Word of God is never casual in the way that language is used. This is
no exception. Listen to the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by
no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice
of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the
Lord.
Now, doesnt that sound like exactly what the apostle John experienced here? A voice, speaking like a trumpet, saying
come up here? This, too, occurs after these things, both textually and literally. After the churches, after the
revelation of the King, after all the persecution, after all the failure, after all the idolatry, after all the frustration and
the hurt and the heartache and the weakness after all of these things, after all of the history of the church is said
and done
I looked!
and behold, a door standing open in heaven.
and there was John, in the Spirit. Now, I believe that when Scripture says that the apostle John was in the Spirit, its
not merely telling us that he was carried away in the power of the Holy Spirit. What the Holy Spirit is communicating
in this passage, what the apostle John saw, felt and heard in this amazing chapter, is no mere dream or vision. Look
again at the last half of verse 1.
And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying Come up here, and I will show you the
things which must take place after this.
At this point, the apostle John was literally taken up lifted up to heaven, and shown with very real eyes, a revelation
of the throne room of God. This is not written as a figurative piece of prose, nor is it allegory or mythology.
There are many, many literary devices employed in this book; but I would strongly argue that there is nothing in the
text that would suggest that the overall function of the text is anything other than a literal recording of the events,
people and places that John saw. Rather, what the apostle John is writing here is a future history of the church of Jesus
Christ and the Revelation of the Lamb of God as King over all the earth; a history that he is literally watching unfold
with his own eyes.

The manner in which Scripture suggests this to us is hard to miss; and if we take careful note of the language that John
uses from this point onward, well see it everywhere. Everything that occurs from this point in the book onward
happens like the plot of an action movie. I looked. I saw. I wept. I heard. Those are just four of the verbs
John uses, and theyre all in this single scene in the throne room of Heaven. In fact, as we progress through this book,
and particularly from this point onward, well find it hard to avoid the fact that heaven itself is full of action. There is
lightnings, thunderings, and voices repeatedly breaking out. There are blinding flashes of light; all the colours of the
rainbow; crowds crying out and singing before the throne of God; stars screaming their way to earth, great throngs of
people, hordes of locusts, fire like rain the list goes on, and on but what is utterly unavoidable is the fact that
everything that is seen, everything that is heard, everything that John experiences is truly, undeniably real. but note
one other point here. Look at verse 1 again.
And the first voice I heard (theres that word again! Action!) was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying Come up
here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.
Note that there is a sense of exclusivity here there is a hint, a suggestion in this text, that the apostle John could not
have seen the things that were to take place afterward from an earthly, physical perspective. John had to be translated
from earth to heaven in order to see the things that were to occur after the Church Age. He needed spiritual eyes to
see, and spiritual ears to hear.
and when He did, the things He saw were incredible indeed.
Look at verse 2.
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there
was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like
an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed
in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings,
and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
I hope you can see the picture being painted here.
The apostle John steps into heaven, and immediately his view expands out, filled with the glory and majesty of the
King of Kings enthroned before him. I can only imagine the impact this must have had upon him. How he managed
to even write this down is beyond me. Now, were going to look at the representation of Jesus Christ in more depth
in a future sermon, but what Id like to draw your attention to today is the scene that is being set, and the absolute
supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 3. He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.
Ive mentioned repeatedly throughout this series that the Holy Spirit likes to layer meaning in the text. There are very
few things in the book of Revelation that have a singular application to them. This is no exception. You see, this

reference to the Jasper and Sardius stones stems back to the Breastplate of Judgment worn by the sons of Aaron in
the administration of the tabernacle in ancient Israel. Turn with me to Exodus 28, and verse 15.
Exodus 28:15.
You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall
make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it. 16 It shall be doubled into a
square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width. 17 And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of
stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; 18 the second row shall be a
turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row, a
beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings. 21 And the stones shall have the names of the sons of
Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be
according to the twelve tribes.
There are two things that I want you to note here. The first is that what the Holy Spirit is revealing through this
description: that just as the sardius and jasper are the first and the last of the stones on the breastplate, so too Jesus
Christ is the first and the last (and everything in between). This reference mirrors what weve seen over and over in
the book of Revelation so far: that everything begins and ends with Jesus Christ.
The second thing that we need to be sensitive here is the nature of the description of Jesus and this, too, ties in with
the idea that weve now reached a turning point in terms of the context of the book. This is a distinctly Jewish
description of the King as opposed to those weve seen before, which were primarily gentile descriptions and it
sets the scene for those to come, which will continue in this vein. Look briefly at chapter 5 and verse 5.
But one of the elders said to me, Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed
to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals..
You see, what were witnessing here isnt just a shift from a heavenly perspective to an earthly one; its also a shift
from a gentile perspective to a Jewish perspective. It is from this point onward that, for the first time, the Lord Jesus
Christ turns His attention from the churches, to the Jewish people and He does so in judgment. This image is
reinforced by the breastplate, a sign of the righteous judgment to come from the One who is both priest and King.
Theres yet another layer to this representation, however, and its all in the names. You see, each of the stones on the
breastplate of the High Priest correlated with one of the tribes of Israel. In this case, were talking about Benjamin,
being the Jasper, and Reuben, as the Sardius. Now, the meaning behind each of these names is defined for us in
Scripture, and what it reveals is just amazing.
Turn with me to the book of Genesis. Were only going to read a couple of verses for each of these names, but I think
its important for you to see these things for yourselves. First, lets look at Reuben. Turn with me to Genesis 29, and
verse 31.

When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and
bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore,
my husband will love me.
So, Genesis 29 defines the name Reuben as See, a son. You may see this in your footnotes. Hebrew commentaries,
however, have a slightly different implication. They suggest that the nuance of the text here provides an emphasis on
sight; that is, not physical sight, but the ability to see with unveiled, spiritual eyes: that is, were being told here not
that we should see Leahs son, but that God Himself saw Leahs need for a son, and intervened.
Bear that in mind and now turn with me to Genesis 35, and verse 18.
Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in
childbirth, and she had hard labor. 17 Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her,
Do not fear; you will have this son also. 18 And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his
name Ben-Oni;[c] but his father called him Benjamin.[d] 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath
(that is, Bethlehem). 20 And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachels grave to this day.
Now, if you have footnotes in your Bible, the name Benjamin will be defined there for you. It means, literally, Son
of the Right Hand.
If we put these two names together, used as they are to describe the One seated on the throne, what do they suggest
to us? That we should see with the eyes of God, and look upon the Son at my Right Hand.
What does this remind you of? This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.
It pleases God the Father to glorify the son even in the most minute details of Scripture, He is glorified. In life and
death, He is glorified. Enthroned in radiant light, surrounded by rainbows, praised by angels and worshipped by elders,
He is glorified.
This is Jesus Christ: King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Worship Him.
I want to quote to you from a sermon written by S.M. Lockeridge. Its a long quote, but one that simply needed to be
included here.
My King was born King. The Bible says Hes a Seven Way King. Hes the King of the Jewsthats an Ethnic King. Hes
the King of Israelthats a National King. Hes the King of righteousness. Hes the King of the ages. Hes the King of
Heaven. Hes the King of glory. Hes the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now thats my King.
Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him Do you know my King?
Hes enduringly strong. Hes entirely sincere. Hes eternally steadfast. Hes immortally graceful. Hes imperially
powerful. Hes impartially merciful. Thats my King. Hes Gods Son. Hes the sinners Saviour. Hes the centerpiece of

civilization. He stands alone in Himself. Hes honest. Hes unique. Hes unparalleled. Hes unprecedented. Hes supreme.
Hes pre-eminent. Hes the grandest idea in literature. Hes the highest personality in philosophy. Hes the supreme
problem in higher criticism. Hes the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. Hes the physical necessity of spiritual
religion. Thats my King.
Hes the miracle of the age. Hes the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. Hes the only one able
to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. Hes available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves. Hes the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses
the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the
young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. Thats my
King.
Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. Hes the wellspring of wisdom. Hes the doorway of
deliverance. Hes the pathway of peace. Hes the roadway of righteousness. Hes the highway of holiness. Hes the
gateway of glory. Hes the master of the mighty. Hes the captain of the conquerors. Hes the head of the heroes. Hes
the leader of the legislatures. Hes the overseer of the overcomers. Hes the governor of governors. Hes the prince of
princes. Hes the King of kings and Hes the Lord of lords. Thats my King.
His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His
love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden
is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but Hes indescribable. Thats my King. Hes incomprehensible, Hes
invincible, and He is irresistible.
Im coming to tell you this: that the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You cant
get Him out of your mind. You cant get Him off of your hands. You cant outlive Him and you cant live without Him.
The Pharisees couldnt stand Him, but they found out they couldnt stop Him. Pilate couldnt find any fault in Him. The
witnesses couldnt get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldnt kill Him. Death couldnt handle Him and
the grave couldnt hold Him. Thats my King.
He always has been and He always will be. Im talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and Hell have no
successor. Theres nobody before Him and therell be nobody after Him. You cant impeach Him and Hes not going to
resign. Thats my King! Thats my King!
The things weve seen this morning in this amazing book are no mere vision; they are reality a reality more vibrant,
more radiant, more awe-inspiring, thunderous and deafening than anything we could possibly conceive and certainly
more than even the apostle John could even describe with human words. In our time together today, weve barely
scratched the surface, and God-willing, well come back to this in two weeks.
But today before you go home, before you open your lips to pray, or sing, or take communion, remember this:

in all weve seen, in all weve read, in all weve learned from this incredible book every verse, every passage, every
title, every name, every word and today, quite literally even the rocks cry out that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
exalted, glorified, and ascended to the right hand of Almighty God.
Do you know Him?
Lets pray.

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