NT Prophecy – Revelation 4-5

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
                                                “‘Holy, holy, holy
                                           is the Lord God Almighty,’
                                       who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
                                         “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
                                             to receive glory and honor and power,
                                         for you created all things,
                                             and by your will they were created
                                             and have their being.”

  • Revelation 4:1-11

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
                                          “You are worthy to take the scroll
                                             and to open its seals,
                                         because you were slain,
                                             and with your blood you purchased for God
                                             persons from every tribe and language and people and
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
                                          “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
                                             to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
                                             and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
                                          “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
                                             be praise and honor and glory and power,
                                         for ever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

  • Revelation 5:1-14

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Revelation 4:1-3 ‘Things that must take place’: “These three verses form the introduction to the rest of the book of Revelation. They come at the end of ‘the things which are’ (1:19)—that is, the dramatic events, both blessed and destructive, taking place in the seven churches in Asia Minor. Again, it must be remembered that what is said to these churches is applicable ‘to the churches’ everywhere in a general sense. All congregations have many of the spiritual blessings and foibles described in these letters, which is confirmed by the fact each individual letter is addressed to the ‘churches’ collectively.
“Now the spotlight is focused on ‘a door standing open in heaven’ (4:1), where a commanding voice like a trumpet declares to John, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.’ The language implies that what John sees and hears next takes place after the dispensation of the church has ended. There are no references to the church, or the ‘saints in Christ,’ from this point onward, implying that the church has been lifted from the earth. Only a pretribulational rapture seems to explain the absence of any reference to the church. John ‘was in the Spirit’ when he saw ‘a throne standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne’ (verse 2). Before Christ returns to earth to reign in the millennial kingdom, He sits with His Father on the heavenly throne (3:21; Psalm 110:1-2). Here in chapter 4 the emphasis seems to be that the heavenly Father is in view because Christ will appear separately as the Lamb of God. The splendor of the one reigning (Revelation 4:3) seems to clearly refer to God the Father as presented in the Old Testament (1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:26; Daniel 7:9).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 4:2 ‘an abrupt change in the prophecy’: The book of Revelation takes an abrupt turn at chapter 4. Notice the key phrase in verse 2: ‘in the Spirit.’ This phrase occurs four times in Revelation: in 1:10, where John is on the Isle of Patmos and hears the trumpet-like voice that introduces this vision; here in 4:2; in 17:3, when an angel carries him into the desert where he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast; and also in 21:10, when John is carried to a mountain and shown the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. Whenever John says he is ‘in the Spirit,’ it signals that something highly significant is happening.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring Through the Bible

Revelation 4:4-11 ‘Prophecy of the church in heaven’: “The glorious vision in these verses gives a sense of the majesty and holiness of the heavenly court. The 24 seated elders who are arrayed in white garments and wear golden crowns (verse 4) represent the raptured church, the body of Christ in heaven. Two other views have been suggested. Some say the elders represent the saints of all ages, and others say they are priestly heavenly judges—the ‘court that sat’ before the Ancient of Days in glory (cf. 1 Chronicles 24:7-19; Daniel 7:10,26). The word ‘court’ in Aramaic is de’nah, referring to those who adjudicate or pass judgment. This heavenly body gives witness to the actions of God in His providential decisions, and some have suggested the elders here in Revelation are the same body.
“From the throne come awesome displays of lightning and thunder (Revelation 4: 5) . Judgment is about to be passed on events taking place on earth. And there are seven lamps ‘before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God’ (cf. 1:4). The Spirit is represented by seven manifestations, as seen when it was prophesied that He would come upon the ‘branch,’ Israel’s Messiah (Isaiah 11:1-2). In Isaiah 11, the Spirit is said to manifest the Lord, and also wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.
“Before the throne of God there is pristine purity, which is illustrated by the ‘sea of glass like crystal.’ Around the throne are four angelic living creatures who are extremely intelligent, with ‘eyes in front and behind’ (Revelation 4:6). The four creatures are ‘like’ (in comparison) a lion, a calf, a flying eagle, and one with a face like that of a man (verse 7). The lion pictures power and majesty, the calf illustrates docility, the creature with the face of a man represents intelligence, and the eagle shows swiftness and decision. To some scholars these qualities are representative of the characteristics of God and Christ. Walvoord writes,
“Taken in general, the four living creatures are representative of God; they are, as in the case of the seven lamps, a physical embodiment of that which would be otherwise invisible to the natural eye. To John the scene was unmistakably one of majestic revelation. An alternative explanation is that the four living creatures are angels whose function it is to bring honor and glory to God.
“These living creatures move swiftly, ‘having six wings,’ and show supernatural intelligence being full of eyes ‘around and within.’ ‘Day and night’ they do not cease to praise God, saying, ’Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and is to come’ (verse 8). The prophet Isaiah (6:3) refers to these angelic creatures as seraphim (‘burning ones’). They appear to be angelic incendiaries ablaze with the glory of God. God is the most holy One who exists, and He is eternal in that He existed continually in the past, He exists ever in the present, and He will continually exist forever into the future.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 4:4 ‘twenty-four elders’: “Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (19:7, 8), and their golden crowns (2:10) all seem to indicate that these twenty-four represent the redeemed (vv. 9-11; 5:5—14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the seven-year Tribulation time (cf. Dan. 12:1-3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at this point—the church. Here, elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8-10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1-4).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 4:6 ‘sea of glass’: “There is no sea in heaven (21:1), but the crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God’s throne stretches out like a great, glistening sea (cf. Ex. 24:10; Ezek. 1:22). four living creatures. Lit. ‘four living ones or beings.’ These are the cherubim (singular, cherub), those angels frequently referred to in the OT in connection with God’s presence, power, and holiness. Although John’s description is not identical to Ezekiel’s, they are obviously both referring to the same supernatural and seemingly indescribable beings (Pss. 80:1; 99:1; …)  full of eyes. Although not omniscient—an attribute reserved for God alone—these angels have a comprehensive knowledge and perception. Nothing escapes their scrutiny (cf. v. 8).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 4:8 ‘definition of Worship’: “Exactly what is worship? I like King David’s definition. ‘Glorify the LORD with me, and let us praise his name together’ (Psalm 34:3). Worship is the act of magnifying God. Enlarging our vision of him. Stepping into the cockpit to see where he sits and observe how he works. Of course, his size doesn’t change, but our perception of him does. As we draw nearer, he seems larger. Isn’t that what we need? A big view of God? Don’t we have big problems, big worries, big questions? Of course we do. Hence we need a big view of God.
“Worship offers that. How can we sing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ and not have our vision expanded?”

  • Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus

Revelation 4:10 ‘casting crowns’: “The elders confess that any honor they have received has been obtained through the grace of God. They must fully ascribe to grace what they dare not claim to themselves. Gratitude constrains them to lay their crowns where their crowns came from.
“We must ask ourselves if we have learned to cast our crowns at the Savior’s feet. Have we anything that we call our own, or good things that we have done to boast of? Have we been industrious and feel we deserve esteem and honor as an acknowledgment of our distinguished services? No one in glory will ever say, ‘I have done well. I deserve credit and honor.’ Quite the reverse. It is the mark of God’s children that, the more beautiful they are, the more uncomely they think themselves. The one who gives all glory to God and takes no glory to himself is the one who is on the road to heaven.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 4:11 ‘Praising God and Enjoying Him’: “Among the famous sayings of the church fathers, none is better known than Augustine’s, ‘Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.’
“The great saint states here in few words the origin and interior history of the human race. God made us for Himself—this is the only explanation that satisfies the heart of a thinking man, whatever his wild reason may say. Should faulty education and perverse reasoning lead a man to conclude otherwise, there is little that any Christian can do for him. For such a man I have no message. My appeal is addressed to those who have been previously taught in secret by the wisdom of God. I speak to thirsty hearts whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them, and such as they need no reasoned proof. Their restless hearts furnish all the proof they need.
“God formed us for Himself. The Shorter Catechism, ‘Agreed upon by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster,’ as the old New England Primer has it, asks the ancient questions what and why and answers them in one short sentence hardly matched in any uninspired work. ‘Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ With this agree the four and twenty elders who fall on their faces to worship Him that liveth forever and ever, saying, ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created’ (Revelation 4:11).”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Revelation 4 ‘Challenge’: “Pseudo faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails it. Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse. And not since Adam first stood up on the earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted Him. The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so he will have a way out if the roof caves in. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.
“It would be a tragedy indeed to come to the place where we have no other but God and find that we had not really been trusting God during the days of our earthly sojourn. It would be better to invite God now to remove every false trust, to disengage our hearts from all secret hiding places, and to bring us out into the open where we can discover for ourselves whether or not we actually trust Him. That is a harsh cure for our troubles, but it is a sure one. Gentler cures may be too weak to do the work. And time is running out on us.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous

Revelation 5:1-10 ‘The seven-sealed scroll’: “The stage is set in this chapter for the seven-year Tribulation, which will be activated by the commands found in the document described in these verses. A book (scroll) is seen in the right hand of the Lord, who is seated on His throne. What is written is lengthy and detailed, for the scroll is inscribed ‘inside and on the back.’ The scroll is an official document ‘sealed up with seven seals’ (verse 1). A strong and powerful angel asks who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals (verse 2). No one in the entire universe is worthy to open it (verse 3) except for the Son of God, who gave Himself on the cross for humanity. He alone is worthy to carry out the future plan for the world (verse 8).
“John begins to ‘weep greatly’ (literally, ‘sob uncontrollably’) since no one was found to open the scroll (verse 4). John wept because he knew this scroll represented the title deed to the earth and that as long as the scroll was left sealed, Satan would remain in power over the earth (LaHaye,
Revelation Unveiled, p. 86). One of the 24 elders responded to John and urged him to ‘stop weeping’ (verse 5). The Lord Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-I0), the messianic king, the ‘root’ of the first king, David (Isaiah 11:1,10; 53:12; 63:1-3).
“Symbolically, Christ is featured as the Lamb who was slain (Isaiah 53; John 1:29). Revelation pictures Christ as the Lamb 28 times. He is pictorially described as having seven horns (power) and seven eyes (intelligence), which show forth the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:1-2; Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5). In preparation for what is about to come, the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit are sent forth into the earth. Thomas observes, ‘The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son just as He does from the Father (cf. John 15:26). He is Christ’s agent for keeping in touch with the affairs of the world’ (Thomas,
Revelation I-7) p. 393).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 5:1-5 ‘The Scroll of Destiny’: “The transcendent vision of God on his glorious throne, surrounded by representatives of redeemed humanity (the twenty-four elders) and the supernatural order (the four living creatures) now fades somewhat, and as John refocuses he centers on the right hand of the one seated on the throne and the scroll it is holding (5:1). It was sealed with seven seals and no one was found in all of the created order worthy of opening the scroll (vv. 2-3). Because the scroll represented the will of God and only one equal to God could reveal its contents, no one qualified. In the Old Testament both Ezekiel (2:9—10) and Isaiah (29:11—12) experienced their prophetic vision as a scroll, in Ezekiel’s case, to be eaten (i.e., lived through) and in Isaiah’s case, sealed up. The imagery of divine scrolls in the Old Testament is of two sorts, cosmic/historical and personal. The passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel show the destiny of nations, and that is apparently what John sees when the scroll is in the right hand of God. The personal dimension is expressed in Psalm 139, where God is the one who has searched us, known us, loved us, and guided us. While we were yet ‘all the days ordained for [us] were written in your book before one of them came to be’ (Ps. 139:16). Here the scroll contains God’s intimate knowlege of us. The Lamb’s book of life will be opened later (Rev. 20:15) and those found there will be safe from eternal fire.  So the scrolls cover the destiny of nations and persons individually.
“John was distressed that no one could reveal the destiny of the nations, so he wept (5:5). An elder quieted his distress by announcing the arrival of one equal to the task, the long-promised conquering Messiah of the Old Testament. The Lion of Judah/Root of David can open the book! These two images were well known in John’s day, being taken from the two major divisions of the Old Testament, the Law (Gen. 49:9-10, the Lion of Judah) and the Prophets (Isa. 11:1, 10, the Root of David), and as such, summed up the teaching of the Old Testament on the Messiah. He would come now to rule with the strength of a lion and the power of a king.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 5:1 ‘a scroll … written inside and on the back’: “This is typical of various kinds of contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, rental and lease agreements, and wills. The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside—Or back—contained a summary of the document. In this case, it almost certainly is a deed—the title deed to the earth (cf. Jer. 32:7ff.) sealed with seven seals. Romans sealed their wills seven times—on the edge at each roll—to prevent unauthorized entry. Hebrew title deeds required a minimum of three witnesses and three separate seals, with more important transactions requiring more witnesses and seals.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 5:5-6 ‘He is lamb and lion’: “He was a lamb when he became incarnate, submitted to his parents, welcomed little children, suffered the spite of people, and died for the unjust. He was a lion when he conquered Satan in the wilderness, performed miracles, resisted to the point of bloodshed, won victory on the tree, and rose triumphant from the dead. He is a lamb now-—interceding, pleading, and bearing with the sons of men. He is a lion now—protecting his people against Satan. In the end, when every saint is saved, he will show himself to be a lion in the judgment of his foes and in his triumphant entrance into heaven, leading ‘the captives captive’ (Eph 4:8).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 5:6 ‘the center of everything’: “It is for the lamb that the Father acts—he glorifies his Son. All the divine purposes run that way. The chief work of God is to make Jesus ‘the firstborn among many brothers and sisters’ (Rm 8:29). He has made Jesus the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. All 5 things ordained of the Father work toward Christ as their center. So all the redeemed and all the angels stand waiting about the Lord, swelling his glory and manifesting his praise. If Jesus is the center of the whole heavenly family, should he not be the center of our church life? Should we not always delight in him and see how we can magnify his glorious name? Should he not be also the center of our ministry? What will we preach about but Christ?”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 5:8 ‘harp’: “These ancient stringed instruments not only accompanied the songs of God’s people (1 Chr. 25:6; Ps. 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (cf. 1 Sam. 10:5). The twenty-four elders, representative of the redeemed church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled. bowls full of incense. These golden, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple. Incense was a normal part of the OT ritual. Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God. That symbolized the people’s prayers rising to Him. prayers of the saints. Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 5:9 ‘new song’: “Cf. 15:3. The OT is filled with references to a new song that flows from a heart that has experienced God’s redemption or deliverance (cf. 14:3; Pss. 33:3; 96:1; 144:9). This new song anticipates the final, glorious redemption that God is about to begin. redeemed us to God by Your blood. The sacrificial death of Christ on behalf of sinners made Him worthy to take the scroll (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 2 Pet. 2:1).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 5:9 ‘redeemed’: “Have I been redeemed? Has the mortgage that was on me through sin been removed? Do I believe in Jesus Christ? If I believe that Jesus is the Christ and trust in him alone, I have been bought back with a countless price. The sufferings and death of Jesus have set his people free from slavery to sin. They have been purchased—redeemed. They come back to God as lands come back to the owner when the mortgage is discharged. We come back to God to whom we always belonged because Jesus has purchased us for God by his blood.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 5:11 ‘ten thousand times ten thousand’: “Lit. ‘myriads of myriads.’ The number is to express an amount beyond calculation. The Greek expression can also be translated ‘innumerable’ (Luke 12:1; Heb. 12:22).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Coffee and Revelation – Introduction
Coffee and Revelation – Part 22, Revelation 4:1-6
Coffee and Revelation – Part 23, Revelation 4:7-8
Coffee and Revelation – Part 24, Revelation 4:9-11
Coffee and Revelation – Part 25, Revelation 5:1-5
Coffee and Revelation – Part 26, Revelation 5:6-8
Coffee and Revelation – Part 27, Revelation 5:9-10
Coffee and Revelation – Part 28, Revelation 5:11-14

My Thoughts

The first thing that struck me was that John goes through a door into heaven (in the Spirit).  He did not physically go through the door.  He was still on Patmos.  Reference the times that Ezekiel went in the Spirit to various places, but he remained in exile.

But the door, Jesus had just mentioned that He stands at the door and knocks.  This second door is the door to Heaven.  None of the scholars drew a line between these two doors.  As Justin Wilson used to say, One door might have been the front door while the other was the behind door.  But it seems that they both get us to the same person, Jesus.

Jasper, that is usually red due to the iron content, and Ruby are both red stones.  Thus, there must have been a brilliant red appearance, a hot color full of energy.

In all the scholarly comments, none hazarded a guess as to who the 24 elders were.  I disagree with Rev. MacArthur.  Even traveling in the Spirit, John had passed through a door that placed him outside time and space.  Back on earth, the Israelite elders may not have yet been redeemed, but outside time and space, they are both not yet born and redeemed millennia ago all at the same time.  A rookie time and space travel mistake.

And as for the living creatures, there is similarity with the creatures of John and Ezekiel (ch. 1) in that the faces are that of a lion, ox, man, and eagle.  It confuses me that John gets specific to state a “flying eagle.”  I wonder if a flying eagle face looks different.  There are also eyes everywhere, even under the wings.  Although the significance of the four faces and the eyes shows attributes of God Himself, these creatures are limited as a few of the scholars mentioned.  But in Isaiah 6, the seraphim are vastly different in appearance.  Their similarity is that the John and Isaiah visions have them singing the same song.

These variations in eye-witness accounts may be more due to the fact that what these prophets saw simply does not have words in any language that could describe it.

I may place a table in a future Bible Study, maybe for Revelation 19, but Rev. MacArthur has a table of Revelation songs.  He has thirteen of them, five within these two chapters.  It may be why so many people picture Heaven as being a lot of singing all the time, and harp playing, but we might sing for a few millennia, if time means anything then, just because we will be so excited to be in God’s presence.

Note that the 24 elders place their crowns before the Lamb.  Some think that we all will place our crown before the Lamb, that reward for all we did in the name of God here on earth.  After all, it is all His anyway.

And now, the beginning of Chapter 5 has John crying because no one can break the seals.  An elder approaches John.  I still contend that if the 12 Apostles are half of the 24 elders that the glorified John calmed down the John who had not truly come into Heaven yet (only in the Spirit).  Just my opinion.  The scholars above may know a lot more about it.

But the elder says Lion of Judah, while the song that breaks out just after the elder speaks of the Lamb.  Of course, Jesus is both.

Although the elder speaks of the Lion and/or Lamb breaking the seals, the chapter ends with a lot of singing and the Lamb taking the scroll.  The seals come with the next chapter.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

Revelation 4: 1. Imagine yourself in this scene. What do you see? Hear? Feel? What impresses you about God?
“2. What aspect of creation best demonstrates God’s glory and power to you? Why?
“3. How might this vision of God enhance your worship life? Your everyday life?
Revelation 5: 1. Have different members of your small group try to capture this scene of praise and adoration via a poem, a sketch, a piece of music, or a prayer. To do this, put yourself into the scene, seeing and feeling what John saw and felt. Use these praise items from your group for a united concert of prayer and praise.
“2. What would the visions in chapters 4 and 5 have meant to the persecuted Christians of Asia? What does this vision say to us in the twentieth century as we view our out-of-control world? Based on this, what actions will you take this week?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There is one set of questions for each chapter.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

A couple of notes about the last question.  Do not limit yourself to persecution of Christians in Asia, although there is a lot to be said about that one continent.  There are people being persecuted on most of the continents, even to the point of martyrdom.  And consider that the world has become much more out-of-control than when the Serendipity Bible was published.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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