Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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LORD GOD THE ALMIGHTY
April 22, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Revelation 4:1-6, 8-11
The theme of
The first three chapters of Revelation describe the Church Age from the time of the apostles until the Rapture (i.e. the “catching away” of the Church and taking the Church to heaven). Beginning with this chapter, the subject is “things which must be hereafter.”
· There is a definite break between chapters 3 and 4.
From this point on, the Church is NEVER mentioned as being on earth. What then has happened to it? We believe that it was taken to heaven in the Rapture by the Lord at the end of Revelation chapter 3.
· In Revelation chapter 4 the first scene is in heaven, where John is given a vision of the glory of God.
The Lord frequently gave a vision of
His glory to His prophets before permitting them to foretell the future (Isa.
6; Ezek. 1). In
I. THE END OF WAITING. (Revelation 4:1-5)
A. The Summons from the Throne. (Revelation 4:1)
(Revelation 4:1) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
1. This is a vivid picture of the RAPTURE (i.e., the “Catching up”) of the Church.
2. Notice how John’s experience RESEMBLES the rapture:
(1) heaven is opened to receive God’s child; (2) there is a voice like a trumpet, (1 Thess.4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52); (3) it is a sudden event; (4) it comes at the end of the “Church age” (Revelation 2-3); (5) it introduces John to the throne room of heaven; (6) it signals the beginning of God’s judgment on the world.
B. The Glory of the Throne. (Revelation 4:2-3)
1. The person on the throne is GOD THE FATHER. (Revelation 4:2)
(Revelation 4:2) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Spirit is represented by the lamps before the throne (Revelation 4:5) and the
Son comes to the throne in
2. Around the throne was an emerald-colored RAINBOW. (Revelation 4:3)
(Revelation 4:3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
a. This takes us back to Genesis chapter 9.
b. This gives us the whole picture.
Noah saw only an arc in the sky, while John saw the complete rainbow all around the throne. What we see of God’s mercy is incomplete today, for we “see through a glass darkly”; but when we get to heaven, we will see the whole pattern.
C. The Elders around the Throne. (Revelation 4:4)
(Revelation 4:4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
INSIGHT: The Greek word for “elders” is “presbuteros.” By the way, the word presbyterian comes from that, and I am reminded of the story about the little girl who came home from her Presbyterian Sunday school, and her mother asked her what they had talked about. “We talked about heaven,” the little girl replied. “Well, what did they say about it?” her mother asked. “The teacher said that there were only twenty-four Presbyterians there!” -- J. Vernon McGee (a Presbyterian), “Thru the Bible by J. Vernon McGee”
INSIGHT: ANYBODY can be saved by trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 3:16). There will be many Presbyterians in heaven including Billy Sunday, Carl MacIntire, J. Vernon McGee, and others.
1. These Elders CANNOT be angels, for several reasons:
We never see angels on thrones; (2) We never see angels with crowns; (3) In
2. These Elders were KINGS AND PRIESTS.
Twenty-four priests served in the OT temple (1 Chron. 24:3-5, 18, and
D. The Judgments Out of the Throne. (Revelation 4:5)
(Revelation 4:5a) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices..:
5 describes NOT a throne of grace, but a throne of JUDGMENT. Thunder and
lightning are warnings that the storm is coming! God thundered at Sinai when He
gave the Law, and He will thunder again to judge those who have broken His Law.
God warned Egypt in this way in
“And voices” (Revelation 4:5) indicates that it is not a haphazard judgment, but it is directed by the One on the throne.
E. The Lamps. (Revelation 4:5b)
(Revelation 4:5b)… and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
“The seven Spirits of God” is a clear reference to the Holy Spirit. These are symbols of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 1:4), who is the Spirit of burning (Isaiah 4:4). Christ has the fullness of the Spirit, for seven is the number of fullness (Revelation 3:1).
INSIGHT: During this age of grace (the “Church age”), the Holy Spirit is pictured as a dove of peace (John 1:29-34); but after the Church is taken away (the “Rapture”), the Holy Spirit will minister a judgment of fire!
(Revelation 4:6a) And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal…
have here a heavenly temple, similar to the OT temple (see
The twenty-four Elders would correspond to the priests in the temple, and the living creatures to the cherubim embroidered on the veil. The heavenly sea pictures God’s holiness. The lamps of fire picture God’s judgment on sin because He is holy.
II. HOLY IS THE LORD. (Revelation 4:6b-11)
INSIGHT: The theme of
(Revelation 4:6b-7) 6b …and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
is a statement from Dr. Warren Wiersbe:
“Four is the number of the earth, so we have here God’s covenant with creation.
“God gave man dominion over creation, but this rule was lost through sin. However, in Christ, that dominion will be regained when the kingdom is established. The presence of the four creatures (symbolizing creation) before God’s throne teaches us that He is in control of creation, and that He will keep His promise to one day deliver creation from the bondage of sin (Romans 8:19-24).” – Warren Wiersbe, “Be” Books, Revelation
B. These creatures are not named. (Revelation 4:8)
(Revelation 4:8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
four living creatures are a combination of the seraphim of
III. GOD IS WORTHY. (Revelation 4:9-11)
A. The Elders join in this praise. (Revelation 4:9-10)
(Revelation 4:9-10) 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
The Elders join in this praise and cast their crowns before the throne. These crowns symbolize their REWARDS FOR SERVICE while on earth. When we get to heaven, we will realize in a new way that all praise belongs to God and to God alone.
B. The heavenly beings sing a doxology. (Revelation 4:11)
(Revelation 4:11) 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.
Verse 11 is the first of several doxologies in Revelation. Here the heavenly beings praise God because He is the Creator of all things.
In Revelation 5:9-10, the beasts and Elders join to praise God for His REDEMPTION through Christ’s blood; for even creation is redeemed through the cross.
I'm sometimes asked what we'll do in heaven. Will we sit on clouds and strum celestial harps? Will we flit about on gossamer wings? In his vision, John the apostle saw three future heavenly activities.
· The first one is SERVING (Revelation 22:3). Perhaps we'll explore an unknown corner of the universe, or, as C. S. Lewis suggests, govern a distant star. Whatever that service may entail, there will be no sense of inadequacy, no weakness, no weariness. In heaven we'll have minds and bodies equal to the task to which we're assigned.
second activity is SEEING: We "shall see His face"
(Revelation 22:4). "Now we see in a mirror, dimly" (1 Corinthians
13:12), but in heaven we shall see our Savior FACE TO FACE, and we "shall
be like Him" (1
This is what
· Finally, there is REIGNING (Revelation 22:5). We shall serve our King by ruling and reigning with Him "forever and ever".
What will we do in heaven? (1) We'll serve God, (2) see our Savior, and (3) reign with Him forever. We'll be busy!
In heaven we'll see our Savior
And like Him we will be;
We'll praise Him and we'll serve Him
For all eternity! -- Fitzhugh
– Adapted from David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread, December 30, 2003
CONCLUSION: What have we learned from Revelation chapter 4?
· We learned that the stage is now all set.
· We learned that the Lord God Almighty is ready.
It is interesting to note that the name of God used here is “LORD GOD ALMIGHTY” (Revelation 4:8). History tells us that this was the official title used by Emperor Domitian, who was responsible for the persecutions that sent John to Patmos.
Men and women may honor themselves, but the day will come when everybody -- great and small -- will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords!
(Philippians 2:9-11) 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “The more we love Jesus the more we'll long for heaven.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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