The key word of chapter 4 is throne. The Book of Revelation makes it clear that it is the throne of God that rules in the universe, not the throne of men. Everything from chapter 4:1 through the remainder of the book is prophecy.
The fact that John is "caught up" at this point is another evidence that the Church will not go through the Tribulation. Note how this experience pictures the Rapture: Heaven is opened to receive God's child; there is a voice of a trumpet; it is a sudden event; it comes at the end of the Church Age outlined in chapters 2 and 3; it introduces John to the throne-room of heaven; and it signals the beginning of God's judgment on the world. John is called up and he sees the glory of the throne (chapter 4:2,3). The Person on the throne is most likely God the Father. The Spirit is represented by the lamps before the throne (chapter 4:5).
The Son comes to the throne in chapter 5:6. John uses precious gems to symbolize the glory of the Father. Jasper is a clear stone, speaking of God's purity; sardine is red, speaking of God's wrath and judgment; and the emerald is green, a color associated with grace and mercy. All of these stones were found on the beautiful breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:17- 21).
In chapter 5:1-5 we read about the sealed book. The word "book" means, of course, "scroll," since they did not have bound books in those days. Some students think the scroll contains the judgments of chapters 6-- 9. The fact that the scroll is written on both sides shows that nothing can be added or changed. The destiny of this sinful world is already determined.
In chapter 5:6-10, John looked for a Lion but he saw a Lamb. In the two names, Lion and Lamb, we have the two-fold emphasis in Old Testament prophecy. As the Lion, Christ conquers and reigns; as the Lamb, He dies for the sins of the world. It is worthy to note that Christ is called "the Lamb" 29 times in the Book of Revelation. In fact, the entire Bible could be summarized by tracing the theme of "the lamb." Isaac asked, in Genesis 22:7, "Where is the Lamb?" and John the Baptist answered, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29). Now John writes "Worthy is the Lamb.".
In chapter 6 we enter into the first half of Daniel's 70th week (Daniel 9:27), that seven-year period of Tribulation. The Lamb has taken the sealed book (His title deed to creation) and is about to open the seals and declare war on this godless world. With the opening of each of the seals in heaven, an important event takes place. It would be very interesting to compare these seals with what Christ taught about the end times in Matthew 24. The first seal is opened and the Antichrist rises to power (verses 1,2); the second seal is opened and wars break loose (verses 3,4); the third seal is opened and famine breaks loose (verses 5,6); the fourth seal brings Death riding a pale horse and Hades rides with him (verses 7,8). Death claims the body, and Hades the soul. The fifth seal is the seal of the martyrs. These people are those who were saved after the Rapture, but who paid for their testimony with their lives. Their murderers were, at that time, still alive on the earth, and they had not been judged. These martyred saints pray for vengeance. It is true that saints in this age are told to pray for those who persecute them. This is what Christ, Stephen, and Paul did. But this period will be a time of judgment, when God will be answering the prayers of His people for deliverance and vengeance. The sixth seal opens a time of world chaos (verses 12-17). As we read of the opening of these seals, we should make every effort to get our lost friends and loved ones into the fold of Christ. If you are not saved, the truths of the prophecies of chapter 6 should move you to immediately fall upon your knees, repent of your sin, and ask Christ to save you today.
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