Christ's Throne and the Seven Seals (Revelation 4–5)
Chapter 4 of Revelation opens with an invitation to view the throne of God and the scene surrounding it: “Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this'; (Revelation 4:1).
John, now in the Spirit, saw a throne with a figure on it who was as brilliant as gemstones. The glow of an emerald circled the throne like a rainbow, and twenty-four thrones surrounded it. On the thrones were “twenty-four elders” — all of whom were clothed in white and wearing gold crowns. From the main throne came lightning flashes and thunderclaps. In front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames, which represented the sevenfold Spirit of God. Also in front of the throne was a shiny, sparkling sea of glass.
There were four living creatures — each of them covered with eyes front to back — in the center and around the throne. One of them looked like a lion, another like an ox, the third like a human, and the fourth like an eagle in flight. Each of them had six wings, which were also covered with eyes. Day in and day out, night in and night out, these creatures spoke these words: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty — the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come” (Revelation 4:8).
John saw that whenever one of these beings gave glory and honor to the one sitting on the throne, the twenty-four elders fell and worshipped him also and laid their crowns before the throne.
The number seven, which appears repeatedly in the book of Revelation — seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven signs, seven plagues, seven dooms, seven new things — is important in Jewish tradition because it represents God';s own perfection as He rested on the seventh day.
John also saw in his vision a scroll in the right hand of the one sitting on the throne — Christ, the Lamb of God. There was writing on both sides of the scroll and it was sealed with seven seals that no one on heaven or earth was able to open and read.
John was bitterly distraught that no one was worthy to open the scroll, but one of the elders told him, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David';s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). John saw a vision of a lamb looking as if it had been slaughtered but which was standing. It had seven horns and seven eyes (which represented the sevenfold spirit of God). As the lamb stepped forward and took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before him. They sang a “new song.”
What did the one sitting on the throne look like?
What are the words of the “new song” being sung in this scene (Revelation 5:9–13)?