The Vision of the Seven Seals (Rev. 4-7)a. The Throne-room of Heaven (Rev. 4:1-11)
Revelation 4:5-6a • 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. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.
“lightnings, thunderings, and voices” • Simply showing the power of God
Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God • Representing the Holy Spirit (Rev. 1:4; 3:1)
“sea of glass” • The sea was before the tabernacle, a basin of water • 1 Kings 7:23; Exodus 30:18 • What we see here is the original • Some say it represents Christ who cleans us from sin.
“sea of glass” • Having said that there appears to be a real sea in front of the throne • Rev. 15:2
Revelation 4:6b-8 • And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 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. 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, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"
Is this the first time we have seen these creatures? • Ezekiel 1:5; 10:12 • Their being “covered with eyes” (vs. 6; Ezek. 1:18; 10:12) suggests that nothing on earth is hidden from them (Zech. 4:10), with the implication, “How much less from God himself?”
Four Creatures • Beasts is a very poor translation, should be creatures or living beings • Are different from angels (Rev. 5:11) • Similar to Isaiah 6:2, 3 • Earliest view said they represent the four gospels and their writers, thus John is the eagle • Irenaus said the lion is John, calf is Luke, man is Matthew, and the eagle is Mark
Four Creatures • Augustine – Lion is Matthew; Calf is Luke; Man is Mark; and the eagle is John • Jerome – Lion is Mark; Calf is Luke; Man is Matthew; and John is the eagle
CANO, Alonso Spanish painter (1601, Granada, d. 1667, Granada)
Four Creatures • Later view said they are the four virtues of Christianity • Lion- nobility • Ox/calf – patience or strength • Man – intelligence/wisdom • Eagle - speed
Four Creatures • Likely represent the four types of life on earth • Lion – wild • Calf – domesticated • Man – us • Eagle – birds
Jewish rabbinical document Midrash Shemoth says: • Four kinds of exalted beings have been created in the world. The most exalted of all living creatures is man; of birds, the eagle; of cattle, the ox; and of wild beasts, the lion. All of these received royalty and had greatness bestowed upon them, and they are set under the chariot of God…
lion • Lion is king of the beasts, he represents majesty and power
Ox or calf • The most useful of domesticated animals in the ancient world, representing patience, strength, and continuous labor
man • Man is the highest order of God’s creation, representing intelligence and rational power
Eagle • Excels among the birds and portrays swiftness and supremacy
Covered with eyes • God has oversight over all things, He is in charge • Notice why they praise Him
Revelation 4:9-11 • Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 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: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
Scene in heaven • Notice there is no liturgy in heaven • They cast their crowns before Him • What do they sing about? • In chapter five it is about redemption • Notice that God did not create out of need, he chose to create • This gives us purpose in life
How would you describe God to someone who had never read the Bible? • How would you answer someone who complained that “heaven will be boring…like one eternal church service”?
Revelation 5 The Lamb of God and the Scroll
The Vision of the Seven Seals (Rev. 4-7)a. The Throne-Rome in Heaven (Rev. 4:1-11)b. The Scroll and the Lamb (Rev. 5:1-14)
Revelation 5:1 • And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. • See Ezekiel 2:9-10 and Exodus 32:15-16
What is the purpose of a seal? • To designate ownership • To assure genuineness of authorship • To protect against change or abuse of contents • To conceal until official opening by the proper authorities • In the case of a will, seven seals were required with the presence of designated individuals for the solemn opening.
Revelation 5:2-3 • Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
Why was no one able to open it? • It took a divine hand, one that is able to control history again see Ezekiel 2:9-10 • Recall back in 4:11 what it said about God • The contents of the scroll is described in 6:1-8:1 in the sense that it tells us what happens when it is opened and God’s will is executed.
Strong Angel • Daniel 8:16; 9:21; 12:4 speak of a mighty angel • Revelation 10:1 and 18:21 use this same term
Revelation 5:4 • So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. • Why did he weep? • The prophet is drawn in emotionally and later physically.
Revelation 5:5 • 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."
Overcome or Prevail is a theme • To overcome is to plow through difficult times and stay faithful, this is a clear theme. • Clearly Jesus has overcome
Lion of the Tribe of Judah • Genesis 49:9-10
Root of David • Isaiah 11:1
He has prevailed • What has He prevailed over? • Romans 1:3-4 • Matthew 12 – sign of Jonah • At the same time get the central paradox of the Christian faith: Jesus conquered not by force but by death, not by violence but by martyrdom. The Lion is a Lamb!
Revelation 5:6-7 • And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
What is the significance of a lamb? • Remember our discussion on Wednesday night from Hebrews? • John 1:29 • Gen. 22:7 • Exodus 29:38-42 • Passover 1 Cor. 5:7 • Isaiah 53:6, 7, 12 • 1 Peter 1:18, 19
7 horns • 1 Samuel 2:10 • Deuteronomy 33:17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth • Jeremiah 48:25 The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD. • Daniel 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. • Daniel 8:3-8 • Lam. 2:3 He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel
Notice the source of this great power • Zech. 4:6 So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.
7 eyes • Jesus has the fullness of the Holy Spirit • Luke several times says this, Acts 10 • Zech. 3:9; 4:6, 10 • But in Zechariah, the eyes that watch over God’s purposes and his people belong to God Himself; here they belong to the Lamb
Revelation 5:8 • Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints • Harp – a lyre or zither
Prayers of the saints • What would have been astonishing to a Jewish audience is that the prayers are offered to the Lamb