The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Revelation 4

Rev 4:1

Rev 4; 5: Heavenly visions = prophecies re those in covenant relationship with God. Earthly visions = prophecies re those "outside" -- whether Jew or Gentile. "Heaven" = most holy place in 2Ch 6:20,21; Psa 11:4 20:2,6. Cp 2Ch 7:1 with Lev 9:24 (WRev 39). Here, a vision of the heavenly things, of which Moses' tabernacle was the pattern (Heb 9:23): in Rev 4; 6:9; 7:4 8:3.

This is the true beginning of the prophetic portion of the Apoc -- as promised in Rev 1:1.

God enthroned in the Most Holy.

Rev 4:3

EMERALD: Green, the predominant color of life.

Rev 4:4

Encampment of 24 orders of priests and Levites (cp 1Ch 24:18). 12 + 12 = Jew and Gentile (spir Jew).

The 24 elders = saints in present age, serving God around "tabernacle" -- while only the High Priest Lamb (Rev 5:6,7) can approach the throne. The 4 cherubim = saints in immortal, glorified communion with God, in most holy place.

CROWNS OF GOLD ON THEIR HEADS: Either victory over sin (2Ti 4:8), or authority and dignity (Est 8:15; Song 3:11; Eze 16:12).

Rev 4:5

The 7-branched lampstand.

PEALS OF THUNDER: Forces of judgment -- still in preparation at this time (Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).

Rev 4:6

A SEA OF GLASS: The nations today are represented as "a troubled sea, casting up mire and dirt" (Isa 57: 20). They are to be subdued unto Christ, and made subject to his law. Peace and righteousness will come to the world, so that in contrast to Isa 57: 20, the nations are represented as a sea of glass -- completely calm -- like crystal -- purified of dross.

CLEAR AS CRYSTAL: "As the body of heaven in its clearness" (Exo 24:10; Psa 113:6).

AROUND THE THRONE: Above mercy seat the 4 cherubim. Other cherubim, on walls, ceiling, and vail (Eze 1:5).

FOUR LIVING CREATURES: The "four faces" of the Cherubim (Ezek 1:10) are identical with the four standards under which Israel marched. When Israel marched out from Sinai, the 12 tribes were organized into four divisions (Num 2), and at the head of these four groups flew the standards of the principal tribes: Judah (Num 2:3), Reuben (Num 2:10), Ephraim (Num 2:18), and Dan (Num 2:25). These four marching columns became the "four living creatures" of the desert, marching in the Name of Yahweh, to occupy the Promised Land. As a symbol the four beasts represent the saints in militant manifestation, whereas the "24 elders" represent the saints in their priestly functions.

COVERED WITH EYES: The living God (Heb 12:22).

Rev 4:7

LION... OX... MAN... EAGLE: Four camps in wilderness (Num 2:3,10,18,25). But different order: lion, man, ox, eagle. The order here seems to mirror the order of God's revelation in the 4 gospels.

Rev 4:8

SIX WINGS: "This identifies with with the seraphim, as well as the cherubim. (See Isa 6:2,3 and cp Rev 4:8). "Seraphim" is derived from a verb meaning "to burn or consume". When applied to the Redeemed, it reveals their mission to burn and consume all that is evil in the Kingdom of God (cp 2Th 1:8; Dan 7: 9,26).

Six is the number of man (cp Rev 13:8), for Adam was created on the sixth day. It is appropriate that the number of man should be associated with this symbol, because the four beasts have to do with man. They, themselves, represent Deity manifested in man, and they extend their conquests to overshadow mankind" (ApEp).

Thus, 4 times 6 = 24, the number of elders (v 4).

DAY AND NIGHT: 24 hours for 24 orders/elders, who give ceaseless praise. "They are immortal and need not rest; their service to humanity is constant, never ending, for they represent Yahweh on earth. In that they are like priests in the Temple, contingents of which served day and night (Psa 134:1). No matter what time an Israelite looked towards the Temple, he knew that there were ministering priests in attendance. A similar continuous service will be a feature of the Age to come" (ApEp).

THEY NEVER STOP SAYING: "We never love God enough. That is what we must constantly work on. Pray and strive for a love for God of such drive and intensity that it will never rest until it has cleared from your life everything that is in the slightest way out of harmony with God -- negative and positive. That is, right down to every empty thought, every wasted moment of time. The Cherubim cease not day and night to worship and praise God in holiness. This doesn't mean they just stand still and sing. It means that every moment of their lives, every activity, every thought -- is intense with love and service to God. That is the ideal. We can, and must, get a lot closer to that ideal than most ever dreamed of. At least, we must recognize it, and how far we fall short of it, and never rest in our striving toward it" (GVG).

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY: That is, "Most holy". The "Most Holy" typified the immortal state which Christ figuratively entered at his resurrection (Heb 10:19,20). It is the state of complete union with the Father (John 17: 21), which we can only attain unto when clothed upon with His nature (2Pe 1: 4; Rom 5:1,2). The four living creatures proclaim that they have attained unto that state.

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