After this I looked, and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
Immediately I was in the Spirit, and a throne was set there in heaven. One was seated on the throne, and the One seated looked like jasper and carnelian stone. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne. Around that throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones sat 24 elders dressed in white clothes, with gold crowns on their heads. Flashes of lightning and rumblings of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne. (Revelation 4:1-6)
In Revelation chapter 4, John’s visit starts with an open door and a voice like a trumpet, and then immediately he is before the Throne Room of Heaven. This is a preview of our blessed Rapture – our rescue!
Notice the 24 elders are:
* Wearing crowns
* Seated on thrones (having authority)
* Dressed in white
The promises to “the victor” in the 2 chapters previous to this one, apply to all of us who are true believers, who have been baptized, covered by His blood, and sealed by His Spirit:
Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
But hold on to what you have until I come. The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations — and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery—just as I have received this from My Father. (Revelation 2:25-27)
In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:5)
I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. (Revelation 3:8)
Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. (Revelation 3:10-11)
Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
The 24 elders represent all of us, the entire Body of Christ – every Old and New Testament believer:
When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
How else do we know that the elders represent believers, and are not angels?
Our first vision of the Lord on His throne is at the covenant ceremony:
Then He said to Moses, “Go up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel’s elders, and bow in worship at a distance. Moses alone is to approach the Lord, but the others are not to approach, and the people are not to go up with him.”
Moses came and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. Then all the people responded with a single voice, “We will do everything that the Lord has commanded.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early the next morning and set up an altar and 12 pillars for the 12 tribes of Israel at the base of the mountain. Then he sent out young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Moses took half the blood and set it in basins; the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. He then took the covenant scroll and read it aloud to the people. They responded, “We will do and obey everything that the Lord has commanded.”
Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you concerning all these words.”
Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel’s elders, and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the sky itself. God did not harm the Israelite nobles; they saw Him, and they ate and drank.
In this meeting, we witness God on a sea of glass, just like John’s experience in the Revelation. Present is Moses and his inner circle, as well as 70 elders. They represent the 12 tribes of the Old Covenant, and are redeemed by the blood. The similarities are hard to miss.
Ezekiel also witnessed the Glory of God:
The shape of a throne with the appearance of sapphire stone was above the expanse. There was a form with the appearance of a human on the throne high above. From what seemed to be His waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire enclosing it all around. From what seemed to be His waist down, I also saw what looked like fire. There was a brilliant light all around Him. The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the form of the Lord’s glory. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
Now, focusing back on John, we read about a great celebration:
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:
The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!
I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:
Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Note that the reference to countless thousands of “angels” can also refer to humans, just like the “angels” of the seven churches referred to the overseers of the churches:
The secret of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven gold lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20)
The heavenly celebration starts around the throne, and then the Earth, and finally to “every creature in heaven.” The entire Universe of sentient beings are rejoicing!
They are celebrating the coronation of the Lamb, the Rapture of all of the Christians, and preparing for the great wrath that is about to be released upon the Earth.
The very next chapter, Revelation 6, opens up with the wrath of God, that begins the 7 year Tribulation:
Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer.
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him.
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a black horse. The horseman on it had a set of scales in his hand. Then I heard something like a voice among the four living creatures say, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do not harm the olive oil and the wine.”
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. The horseman on it was named Death, and Hades was following after him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.
This is only the start of the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, and already the world is dealing with global war, famine, plague, and dangerous animals.
Throughout history, these 4 horsemen (war, famine, plague, and dangerous animals) have always been associated with wrath:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, if a land sins against Me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out My hand against it to cut off its supply of bread, to send famine through it, and to wipe out both man and animal from it, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.
“If I allow dangerous animals to pass through the land and depopulate it so that it becomes desolate, with no one passing through it for fear of the animals, even if these three men were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not deliver their sons or daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.
“Or if I bring a sword against that land and say: Let a sword pass through it, so that I wipe out both man and animal from it, even if these three men were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not deliver their sons or daughters, but they alone would be delivered.
“Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out My wrath on it with bloodshed to wipe out both man and animal from it, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not deliver their son or daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.
“For this is what the Lord God says: How much worse will it be when I send My four devastating judgments against Jerusalem—sword, famine, dangerous animals, and plague—in order to wipe out both man and animal from it! (Ezekiel 14:12-21)
The rescue of the righteous and the wrath to the wicked is coming soon!
Are you ready?
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”