A Study of Revelation

Rev. 4:4
4* Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Who are these guys? We must rely on the symbolic number 12 which is used to represent organized religion. God has made two covenants with man–the law of Moses and the law of Christ. The law of Moses was represented by the twelve children of Israel and the law of Christ is represented by the twelve apostles. If we take “12” the number of organized religion, and double it for the two covenants, the result is “24.” These twenty-four elders represent the lawgivers of the Old Testament and New Testament.

Later in verse 10 these elders worship God just as the four living creatures do in verse 8. This shows that these two laws came directly from God. He gave the laws to mankind through a certain chosen few. The law of Moses was given directly to the twelve tribes of Israel, but the law of Christ was given to all mankind through the twelve apostles. When Christ came, he fulfilled the Old Law and established the New. The law which Christ gave is the method whereby mankind can be spiritually acceptable to God. These twenty-four elders represent these spiritual laws.

Man is a spiritual being by nature. Throughout history he has proven this by worshiping all forms of gods. God is showing us here that the one true form of spiritual worship must be according to the laws he has set up.

If mankind is to be acceptable to God, all of his spiritual worship must be according to the law God has given through his chosen lawgivers, and it must be directed to the one and only true God.

The twenty-four elders are dressed in white, indicating purity or cleanliness. In Rev. 3:4-5 we are told that Christians are the ones who are worthy to be clothed in white. Our obedience to the law of God makes us worthy to be clothed in white. If we are to be pure or cleansed from our sin in the sight of God, we must put on these white garments. These twenty-four elders are dressed in white because they gave mankind the law which will allow us to clothe ourselves in white. When we obey the law, we are spiritually cleansed, and we wear the spiritually white garments of righteousness.

These twenty-four elders also had crowns of gold upon their heads. Crowns are representative of authority. In this case they represent the authority of those who have given man the laws of God.

Rev. 4:5
5* Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

“Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God”

The lightning and thunder indicate that the voices coming from the throne come from God. These symbols are used in Exodus 19:16 to describe God’s presence when he gave the 10 commandments to Moses.

The 7 lamps burning before the throne are representative of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119:105
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

1 Cor. 2:10-13
10* For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
11* For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
12* Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
13* which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

1 Peter 1:3-4, 20-21
3* seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4* For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

20* But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
21* for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

The Word of God is a lamp , a “light” to guide us so that we might be able to walk according to the ways of God. The Holy Spirit gave us the Word, therefore, the Holy Spirit is described as 7 lamps burning before the throne of God. 7 represents the complete divine revelation of God. Rev. 4:6
6* and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.

The sea of glass like crystal is important to see here. “Like crystal” is probably the key here. Pure crystal is completely transparent and colorless. It has no spots or discolorations. Throughout Revelation the “sea” is used to represent masses of people (Rev. 8L8). This must be describing a mass of people without flaws standing before the throne of God. This is a representation of Christians. Christians have their sins forgiven, therefore, they are figuratively “flawless.”

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

“The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.”

Now, take a look again at Genesis 9:9-10:

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Genesis 9:9-10
9 “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;
10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the
earth.
Do you see the similarities between these two passages. The Rainbow throne takes us back to the book of Genesis, Genesis 9:9-10 tell us of the covenant that God made with man after the flood. The use of the number 4 here (the lion, calf, face like a man, eagle) indicates physical things, the things of this world. Each of these four creatures is used in chapter 6 to introduce one of the first four seals which have to do with physical events which will take place in the world during the Christian age.

These creatures are similar to the 24 elders in that their purpose is to continually worship God, the number 4 indicates that all physical things are from God, and we should apply our physical talents in service to him.

These 4 creatures represent the four fold division of animal life mentioned in Genesis 9, the lion represents wild animal life, the calf represents domestic animal life, the man represents human life, and the eagle represents bird life. All physical creatures are created by God and are to devote their physical activities to Him.

Notice something else about these living creatures:

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 4:8
“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within…”

The main point here is that they never cease to worship God. We as Christians should always be conscious of keeping God first in our lives.

These creatures have six wings full of eyes. In Isaiah 6:2 we have a similar creature with six wings.

In Revelation the number 6 brings to an end all things of this world. The number 6 seems to deal with the period of time man spends here on this earth. Therefore, these living creatures with many eyes have total vision of everything that happens on this physical earth. This may represent the power of God to see and know all of man’s physical actions.

Rev. 4:9-11
9* And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,
10* the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11* “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

These verses show that all physical things (4 living creatures) and all spiritual things ( 24 elders) are created by God. Because of this they never cease to worship God who sits on his throne forever and ever.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

In verse ten the 24 elders cast their crowns before the throne, indicating their authority came from God and that He is the supreme authority. All things, both physical and spiritual are created by God and for his pleasure. We must always give God the glory for our physical lives and for our spiritual lives.

4-Jpeg9a.jpg

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The purpose of chapter 4 is to show man that God is the supreme being. He is the final source of all power. He created all things. He created them for his own pleasure (Col. 1:16).

Rev. 4:11
Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. ”

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Chapter 4 pictures God’s throne as it exists today. This is NOT a description of heaven, but rather a symbolic description of God on his throne as he rules over all things today. We who are in the church are before that throne serving him continually.

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