End Times: Back to the Future
Lesson 8 w/AnswersRevelation Chapters 4 and 5
During our study in this lesson, we will begin to see "the things to come" revealed to us; as Christ carries John to heaven to see the Throne Room of God and all that will happen. What a breathtaking sight for John to see! Paul wrote that he had also seen heaven and what he saw was so incredible that he could not describe it; but he definitely wanted to be there.
God will show us, through His son Jesus, what is to come following the end of the current Age of Grace. During this process, we will see all of the unfulfilled prophecy come to fulfillment, and much of what we have studied leading up to this book will fall into place. So let’s continue our study by looking at the Throne Room of God, the Lamb of God, and the Seven-Sealed Scroll of God.
Read Revelation Chapters 4 and 5, and answer the associated questions below:
- Beginning with verse 1 of Chapter 4 and following, when will the things that John is shown from here on occur? (see Rev. 4:1)
- ANSWER: These are things that will come "hereafter". From our reading of Chapters 4 and 5, we clearly understand that the rest of the book is future in orientation, i.e., these are things that we can expect to see as we look ahead to Christ’s Second Coming.
- Who is actually speaking to John? (refer back to Rev. 1:12-18)
- ANSWER: Jesus the Christ, the creator of all things and our Lord and Savior, is the one speaking to John directly.
- Where is John when these things are shown to him? (see Rev. 4:2)
- ANSWER: John is in heaven, seeing something so incredible that it almost defies description. He is in the Throne Room of God, with Christ, the Lamb of God.
- Now read Hebrews 4:14-16, 8:1-2. Contrast these passages with Revelation Chapters 4 and 5. Can you see any differences between the activities around the Throne and the role Christ plays in these passages versus the activities described in Revelation 4 and 5? What are they?
- ANSWER: One of the differences relates to the Throne of Grace described in Hebrews versus the Throne of Judgment (lightning, thunder, etc) described in Revelation. We also see another difference: Christ interceding for us in the Hebrews passages versus Christ preparing to unseal the scroll and bring final judgment on the earth in the description in Revelation. One is a picture of a High Priest; the other is of a King. Clearly, the roles have changed, and the picture that we saw in Hebrews — related to the current age of Grace — changes dramatically to a picture of God’s fierce wrath and judgment. In Revelation Chapter 4, we find ourselves in the midst of the most powerful throne, one that is almost unimaginable.
- As we learned from our Lesson 6A supplemental study of prophetic numbers, the number 12 symbolizes God’s perfect way of administration. Can you determine from this what the twenty-four elders might represent? (see Rev. 4:4)
- ANSWER: Much speculation exists regarding the meaning of the twenty-four elders, but my take would be that 12 of them represent the nation of Israel and 12 of them represent the Christian Church (i.e., the 12 Apostles). Thus, we see both Israel and the Church worshipping God. This depiction, combined with the description beginning verse 6 of four creatures (who may represent all of creation), indicates that when Christ steps forward to open the seven seals, all of His creation, His chosen people, and His church will be present, surrounding the throne to praise Him.
- In Revelation 4:5, we again see the phrase "the seven spirits of God" (we saw this earlier in Revelation 1:4). This verse also describes burning (or "blazing") lamps, indicating that they have oil — oil representing the presence of the Holy Spirit (like the parable of the virgins, some of whose lamps had oil, and some of whose lamps did not). Since we know that here is only ONE Holy Spirit, the "seven spirits of God" can be interpreted to symbolize the completeness of the Holy Spirit. Are we somehow able to determine the significance of the "seven" in terms of making the picture complete? Let’s examine the verses below and list the things that we can infer regarding "the seven spirits of God" as they relate to the Holy Spirit.
- Revelation 5:6
- ANSWER: The Holy Spirit is with Christ and was sent to be omnipresent across the entire earth. Christ, full of the Holy Spirit is now standing in the presence of God ready to carry out judgment. This means the Holy Spirit is now in the Throne Room; the Rapture must have already occurred.
- Isaiah 11:2
- ANSWER: Again the Holy Spirit is with Christ, identifying how Christ will judge the earth.
- John 8:12
- ANSWER: Jesus, with Holy Spirit dwelling in him, is the light of the world, not unlike the light provided by the seven "blazing lamps" described in Revelation 4. The lamps that now light God’s Throne Room will become the light of the world in a time of total darkness. As Christ judges the earth, many will see that light and turn to Christ because of His righteous judgments.
- John 14:6,9
- ANSWER: Just as Jesus is one with the Holy Spirit, so are Jesus and God the Father one and the same. During this coming time of judgment, the world will come to see and know that Jesus and God are one. Many will hate Him and His followers because they will not want to accept and confess that He is the ONLY way to God.
- Exodus 25:37, 27:20-21
- ANSWER: In these passages, the design of the seven-lamp lampstand in the Tabernacle is specified, and Aaron and his sons are assigned the task of managing lamp oil and keeping the lamps burning all night long. Note that the light is to never burn out, a lasting remembrance of God’s Holy Spirit. This light in Revelation is now seen in God’s Throne Room burning before God, rather than the Tabernacle or the Temple — and it lives within the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus.
- Numbers 8:1-4
- ANSWER: Again, specific instructions are provided regarding the design, composition, and physical orientation of the seven-lamp lampstand. Positioned to face forward, facing the Ark of the Covenant, it was to burn forever in God’s presence. Again, in this passage as in the previous ones, these instructions were a foreshadowing of the presence of the Holy Spirit shining before God through His Son Jesus the Christ.
- Revelation 5:6
- How many seals were used to seal the scroll described in Revelation 5:1? What does this symbolize?
- ANSWER: As we discussed related to the Lesson 6A prophetic numbers study, seven implies perfection and completion. In this example, the seven seals represent complete judgment and perfect redemption. The scroll itself represents what is required to redeem God’s people and the judgments to be carried out. Only one is able to redeem and carry out these judgments, the one who paid the price of redemption; and the one to whom all creation belongs: The Lamb of God.
- Read Isaiah 11:1,10 and Revelation 5:5. Who are these verses talking about?
- ANSWER: These passages all refer to Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, and the Anointed One.
- Read Revelation 5:6. We learned earlier that horns symbolize power, and that the number seven represents completeness. Based on this interpretation, can you infer what the seven horns and seven eyes symbolize with respect to the Lamb of God?
- ANSWER: They represent God’s omnipotence (i.e., He is all-powerful), and his omnipresence (i.e., He is everywhere at once). The seven eyes represent insight, intelligence, etc.; thus God is all-knowing and all-powerful.
- Referring to Revelation 5:12, list the things the Lamb receives. Specifically how many things does He receive?
- ANSWER: He receives seven things: power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise.
So, in summary, John has now been taken into heaven to see " what must take place after this". Many things are "revealed" in the book of Revelation, the first of which was Christ revealed as standing in the center of the Church. Now, He is revealed as standing at the Throne of God; the only One found worthy to unseal the judgments of God in order to finally and completely redeem God’s creation and mankind for eternity.
What a vision John provides us of the throne room of God, with the Church and Israel worshipping him, and all of creation, including the saved who are following them in worship, as God releases Jesus to redeem the earth through these final judgments.
In the chapters ahead and in our next lesson, even more will be revealed; as God shows us the specific judgments that are about to come upon the earth, and upon Satan himself.
Have a great week everyone!