Chapter 4 is a vision of the end. God manifested in Christ on the glorious throne of David, surrounded by his immortalized brethren who are portrayed by the Israelitish symbols of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. Before the throne is a sea of glass-the pacified and purified nations of the peoples of the world to whom Christ has said, "Peace, be still,"-no longer a troubled sea casting up mire and dirt. And circling the throne is the rainbow of the everlasting covenant-the emerald green of everlasting life.
Bro Growcott - Review of the Apocalypse
1 After this [these things] 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.
''After these things''
After all the signs related to the 7 ecclesias including the Laodicean Catholic apostacy...
I looked, and behold a DOOR OPENED in the heaven, and that first voice which I heard as of a trumpet speaking with me, saying, 'Ascend hither, and I will exhibit to thee things which must come to pass after these'."
In the English version, the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse begins with the words "after this;" as if the Spirit referred to one particular thing noted in the previous chapter, after which the subject of the fourth was to be initiated. But the original phrase is meta tauta, and should be rendered "after these things;" the Spirit thereby intimating a plurality of things to be accomplished before the establishment of the throne.
The things to be perfected before the setting up of the kingdom were those styled in ch. i. 19, "the things which are." This sentence must be interpreted of the things existing while John was in Patmos. There are three sets of things indicated in ch. i. 9: first, "the things thou hast seen;" second, "the things which are;" and, third, "the things which shall come to pass, meta tauta, after these."
The first set consisted of the Seven Lightstands, the Son of Man, and the Seven Stars; the second, of the things treated of in the epistles to the Seven Ecclesias in relation to their spiritual condition, which was developing itself into irremediable apostacy and delusion; and the third, of the things to be accomplished after the removal of the lightstands out of their place in the ecclesias (ii. 5); after the tribulation of the ten days (ii. 10); after fighting against the Balaamites with the sword of the Spirit's mouth; after the casting of Jezebel into a bed, and them who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, and the killing of her children with death (ii. 22); after his coming upon the dead in trespasses and sins as a thief (iii. 1,3); and after the Spirit had spued them out of his mouth (iii. 16).
These things were all to come to pass before the promises affixed to each epistle could be fulfilled; which promises in their development in the "Hour of Judgment" (xiv. 7) are symbolized in ch. iv. 2-11.
But as to the time that was to elapse from the epoch of John's abode in Patmos to the opening of a door in the heavens, or from the spuing of the sevenfold ecclesia in Laodicean manifestation out of the Spirit's mouth, to the establishment of the throne in the opened heavens, it is not stated in this chapter how long.
As I have shown, the ecclesia (a remnant only excepted), transformed into "the Holy Catholic Church," had been spued out in the Constantine Era; still "the Church" continued. Jezebel and Balaam still flourish in the heavenlies, or high places of the earth; where they revel in all the pleasures of sin, and in the enjoyment of all the rewards of unrighteousness, the Gentile Balac, the son of Bosor, or the world-rulers of "the state" can bestow.
''A door was opened in heaven''
Yahoshua and the saints begin to exert rule as the new heavens start to shape.
To the saints this aerial expanse is closed. At present they do not shine there as the sun, moon, constellations, and stars of the firmament. The luminaries of the heaven are the dignities, or glories, incarnated in the officials who figure as the civil and spiritual rulers of "the earth and habitable." Although the saints are promised "power over the nations to rule them" (ii. 26,27), "the heaven," in which national government is located is shut and fast closed against them.
...Fortunately for the saints this heaven is shut against them, and its door bolted, locked, and barred to keep out all who will not fall down and worship the Satan, who is prince of the Aerial, and bestows its glories upon whomsoever he approves.
...But though this present inability exists, the expulsion is to be accomplished. The oracle before us proclaims "a door opened in the heaven," which is equivalent to saying, that a power had been apocalypsed on earth, stronger than the Satan; that this power had made a breach in the enemy's works; and that this breach had become practicable, so that the breaching power could march through it as through a door, and take possession of the heaven, or "kingdom under the whole heaven." (Dan. vii. 27).
Thus YAHWEH Elohim, the saints, "come in." By the crashing power of the Stone a door is opened, and they march in. Their Prince, who came as a thief, obtains possession of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and becomes a potentate among the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers of the heaven, in which, until He breaks in upon them, "the Devil and his Angels" only can be found.
''and that first voice which I heard as of a trumpet speaking with me,''
The voice in 4:1 is speaking inviting him into the heaven -
In 1.10 the great trumpet is the call from the grave - same trumpet voice /epoch
Now, in John having referred us in ch. iv. 1, to the first voice of ch. i. 10, it was equivalent to telling us, that the first and second hearing of the same voice related to the same epoch, or point of time. They both relate to the seventh trumpet period; and as John "turned to see" in the first instance, and "looked" and ascended in the other, the vision of the Son of Man, and the vision of the thrones, the elders, and the living ones, are both representative of things destined to come to pass after the advent of Christ and the resurrection of the saints.
The apocalyptic Son of Man is the Stone-Power in manifestation. He shatters Nebuchadnezzar's image to pieces; and having opened the heaven, establishes therein a throne, which becomes the centre of a dominion extending over all the earth. The first time John heard the voice of this trumpet, it was "loud." It awoke him from the dust of death.
But the second time, [4.1] he does not say it was loud; this may be inferred, because it was the same voice. He was "looking," before the words of the voice addressed him. He had risen, and was contemplating the opening of a door in the heaven; and while so looking, there was a speaking from the opening inviting him into the heaven. Hence, the beginning of the first voice [1.10) awoke him to life and action; and afterwards the same voice invited him to ascend to the heaven and to inherit the kingdom established there.
The trumpet to which this "loud," "first voice" belongs, is that represented in "the memorial of the blowing of trumpets," on the first day of the seventh month (Lev. xxiii. 24). It is that sounding by which the princes, heads of the thousands of Israel, are summoned to gather themselves together unto Christ, the King of Israel (Num. x. 4). It precedes the sounding on the tenth of the seventh month, which proclaims liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof (Lev. xxv. 9). The saints are first raised and exalted to the heaven; in other words, "meet the Lord in the air," as symbolized in this fourth chapter; and then afterward "the Great Trumpet" of the Jubilee is blown by YAHWEH Elohim, who in the "lightnings and thunders which proceed out of the throne" (ver. 5), goes forth with the whirlwind of the south (Zech. ix. 14).
The silver trumpet that sounds upon the first day of the seventh month, gathers together that "great multitude which no man can number of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues"; of which John says he beheld that "they stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (vii. 9). "These had been dead, but when the trumpet sounded at the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that Yahweh Elohim should give reward to his servants the prophets and to the saints, and to them that venerate his name, small and great" (xi. 18), when the loud trumpet-voice was heard at this time in the lower parts of the earth, all these, with John among the number, "turned" and "looked" -- awake from their dusty bed, come forth from their graves, and gather together unto him (2 Thess. ii. 1) who, by the energy of the Eternal Spirit, will have raised them from among the dead.
This "first voice" which brings them together to stand before the throne in the heaven, plants them as the symbolical 144,000, upon MOUNT ZION, the area of the throne and Most Holy Place of the heaven; it plants them there with the Lamb, in preparation to "follow him whithersoever he goeth" (xiv. 1,4). In preparation to go forth, not in actual progress. Another "loud voice" must be heard before they go forth in the lightnings and thunders of the war of "the great day of God the Almighty" (xiv. 15; xvi. 14).
'Ascend hither, and I will exhibit to thee things which must come to pass after these'."
Coming to pass...the subjugation of the nations...the stone power filling the earth.
After resurrection is ascension; but not necessarily instantaneously after. This is evident from the example given in the case of the Lord Jesus. He first came out of the sepulchre; and then, after a certain interval, "ascended to the Father;" an ascent which is not to be confounded with his assumption from the Mount of Olives, forty-three days after his crucifixion (John xx. 17; Acts i. 11).
He ascended to the Father before he was "taken up." The ascent was a necessary preparation for the taking up of the resurrected body; for a body such as he had, when he forbid Mary to touch him, was unfit for translation through the higher regions of our atmosphere, and the airless ethereal beyond. It was necessary that he should be "in spirit" and so become spirit, that he might be with the Father.
So John "looked" and "heard," which are vital actions; but though living and looking he saw nothing until after the invitation to ascend, with the promise, that subsequently to the ascent he should see an exhibition of things which should come to pass when "the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom" (Dan. vii. 22); which implies their resurrection and ascent after the similitude of the dramatic resurrection and ascension of John.
...for John to ascend into the heaven dramatically was indicative of those he represents, who have been prevailed against by the Sin-Powers of the Habitable, trodden under foot for the previous forty two months of years, and sleeping in the dust, ascending from these depths of humiliation and degradation, to the high and exalted position of kings and priests for the Deity, through whom the world shall be ruled for a thousand years.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
The vision ... is of the "GREAT WHITE THRONE" of David's Son, encircled by the Judicial thrones of the House of David, to be occupied jointly with him by the apostles and saints in general, as his ancients, according to his promise.
"I was in spirit: and behold A THRONE was established in the heaven" (iv. 2).
The word throne is from the Greek thronos, an elevated seat with a footstool; and derived from thrao, to sit, metonymically, it signifies imperial and regal power. In the text before us it stands for "the dominion, glory, and kingdom," which Daniel says "was given to the Son of Man, that all peoples, and nations, and languages might serve him" (vii. 14).
As soon as the invitation was given to ascend to the heaven, John was "in spirit." Immediately upon this he saw a throne in the heaven, which had not been there before in such glorious manifestation.
...But it may be asked, in what terrestrial locality will this throne in the heaven be established? What is the topography of the substance, or reality, of the vision John beheld "in spirit?"
The answer is MOUNT ZION IN JERUSALEM. This is where the Davidian covenant locates it, in saying to David, "THY kingdom shall be established during the Olahm before thy face; THY throne shall be set up for the Olahm," or hidden period of a thousand years duration.
...When these words were spoken to David he was reigning in Mount Zion in Jerusalem in the presence of ancients, the princes of Israel. Deeply impressed with this truth, as the poet of the House of Jacob, he celebrated the glory of Zion when he should behold her full of palaces tenanted by the saints, the Elohim of Israel. Hence, the psalms, are not only styled "Yahweh's Songs," and "Israel's Songs," but "the Songs of Zion."
It had many ages anterior to his time, occupied a place in the heaven contemporarily with the thrones of Tyre, and Egypt, and Sheba, and Babylon; but, while he was in Patmos, and for many ages before and since, even to this day, there is no such throne in the heaven. When it existed there of old, it was occupied by David and Solomon as the kings of Yahweh over Israel. It was then styled "the throne of Yahweh," and the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh over Israel" (1 Chron. xxviii. 5; xxix. 23).
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.
Two precious stones are selected by the Spirit to represent the appearance of the Man enthroned. These are a Jasper and Sardius. The reason why two are indicated rather than one, is because THE KING is Spirit and Flesh in combination. Had he been mere flesh, or spirit uncombined with flesh, one stone would have answered every purpose; but being deity manifested in flesh, two precious stones were necessary: one to symbolize the Spirit, and the other to represent the Flesh.
The jasper is the spirit symbol.
It is a hard stone of various hues, as purple, cerulean, green. The glory and light of the New Jerusalem community are likened to "a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal" (xxi. 11); and in verse 23, this glory and light are styled the glory of the Deity and the Lamb.
The wall of the city is also a jasper, which wall is the symbol of the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb; in other words, of the Spirit, who by Zechariah has said, "I will be unto Jerusalem a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Yahweh" (ii. 5,10).
A beautiful cerulean gem clear as crystal, is the symbol of the Deity's spirit condensed into substance; and as it is the primary principle of the city whose builder and maker the Deity is, "the first foundation is a jasper."
The Sardian - The Adamic element
The other gem is named in Hebrew odem. These are the same letters that compose the word applied to the creature Yahweh Elohim formed from the ground to be the father of our race. By the invention of the Masorites, instead of being pronounced adam, it is pronounced odem, and on being translated into the Greek, the Seventy rendered it by sardion, because found about Sardis.
It is a carnelian, and so called from its colour having a resemblance to that of flesh -- a gem, therefore, fitly symbolical of the Adam-element of the one sitting upon the throne.
The Rainbow Covenant
For Elohim said: "I have set my bow in the cloud; and it shall be for THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud. And I will look upon it, that I may remember the covenant of the hidden period between the Elohim and every living soul of all flesh that is upon the earth."
...I remark that the order of the bow's development is,
The opening of the heaven by the Stone-Power smiting Nebuchadnezzar's Image upon the feet; The establishment of the throne in the heaven by mowing the earth at harvest time (xiv. 15); in the storm-period of "the lightnings, thunders, and voices proceeding from the throne" (iv. 5); by which the kingdoms of the world are taken possession of by the saints; The grass of the earth being thus mown, its harvest reaped, and its vintage trodden out, the rain of the heaven descends in the blessing of Abraham upon the nations; which, being subdued, are blessed in Abraham and his Seed, or in Jesus and the saints;
"As brightness of morning, THE RULER rises, the Sun of an unclouded dawn, shining forth after rain upon the tender grass of the earth." The effect of this shining is that the Rainbow-Throne covenanted to David is beheld through the descending rain, which diffuses the knowledge of its glory to the utmost bounds of the habitable world.
The Rainbow manifests to us all colours. Colour is prominent in the symbols of Scripture; red, purple, blue, green, and the yellow- gold of faith. Where does colour come from? What is colour? Why do we see red, purple, green, etc.?
THE COLOUR IS IN THE LIGHT. Light contains all colour. Objects of themselves have no colour. They just have the capacity to reflect colour that shines upon them. In the dark they are all the same. They are all NOTHING.
There is a great lesson here. In our natural darkness we are all the same-all nothing. There is no royal purple, no spiritual heavenly healing blue, no fruitful, verdant, living green, no yellow - gold of faith. In any active, meaningful accountable sense, there is even no red of sin for (Rom. 4:15)-
"Where there is no law, there is no transgression."
"The times of this ignorance God winked at."
"Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish" (Psa. 49:12).
There is just the solid black darkness of death. Black is the absence of all colour, as white is all colours combined. Let us always remember that-
THE COLOUR IS IN THE LIGHT.
We must come to the light to be anything. We must keep the light shining on us to continue to be anything. As soon as we step, even for a moment, out of the light into the darkness, we immediately become nothing again. We have nothing in ourselves, no matter how long we have been in the Truth. Cut off from the Vine, we are useless and dead.
"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
-John declares (1 Jn. 1:5). All is of God. The light of God for us is manifested through the Sun. The sun represents Christ - the "Sun of Righteousness"-"God with us."
In the Rainbow the glory of the light of God is manifested in a multitude. The Rainbow is the Covenant, the symbol of the Eternal Purpose. In it we see revealed all the colours that together make up the Divine Light for man.
How does the Rainbow separate the light and manifest the different features of the Divine Plan? The rainbow is the Sun's light reflected from multitudes of tiny drops of water in the air. These drops are a very fitting symbol of the Redeemed. They are from the great ocean of nations-the "waters of the Great Sea." But they have been called out, separated, drawn up into the heavenlies by the mighty attracting power of the sun. In this process they have been purified.
We hear much today about polluted waters. Man has suddenly been jolted by discovering that in the stupidity of his cleverness he is destroying the earth and himself. Even under the curse that man brought upon himself by disobedience, God has given man a beautiful earth, a beautiful habitation, and has in infinite wisdom and love established thereon a beautiful, balanced self-purifying natural cycle of life. But man in his godless ignorance and greed and violence is rapidly destroying all the beauty and balance, and bringing death and desolation to whatever he touches.
But these tiny drops of water have been purified from all this as they have been drawn up by the power of the sun.
As they are being drawn up, they are invisible to the world. But suddenly, at the proper time, they will be manifested in clouds which will cover the earth, streaming down in floods and torrents: God's long pent-up wrath and judgments against the universal wickedness of man. Then the sky clears, the Sun is revealed, the Rainbow appears, and the glory of God is manifested to the world in all the marvelous details of the Divine plan for mankind.
Each of these drawn-up drops of water is a sphere-a circle or wheel in three dimensions. The different colors are the different wave lengths of which light is composed. Each separate color is reflected in the raindrop at a slightly different angle-so each ray of white light is thus spread out in all its range of colors, and the glorious beauty of the rainbow appears.
To us, a Rainbow is an arc. How can an arc, a part of a circle, represent the fullness and completeness and endlessness of the Divine Glory? Here, by deeper examination, we find a beautiful hidden fitness. If we ascend high enough, we discover that the Rainbow is a complete and perfect circle. It is only the earth and our low viewpoint that obscures this fact for us. The higher we ascend, the more of the circle we see.
Viewed from a mountain top under the right circumstances, the whole circle of the Rainbow would be revealed. The lesson for us is that we must constantly be ascending the mountain of the Lord, never satisfied with the present limits of our understanding or our spiritual accomplishments.
"As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.
"And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake" (v. 28).
This is the culmination of the vision of the manifestation of Yahweh-Christ and the Saints ruling a peaceful and purified earth. The Cherubim of Glory have let down their wings. Their work of destroying the wicked and subduing the earth is ended.
"The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power.
"And no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled" (Rev. 15:8).
But now the plagues are over, and all the smoke of judgment and destruction has cleared away. The horsemen among the myrtle trees have accomplished their work, and-
"All the earth sitteth still, and is at rest" (Zech. 1:11).
This final verse of Ezekiel 1 is the glory of God now revealed in full and unrestrained effulgence. The Tabernacle of God is with men, and God is all in all-
"As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain."
The Living Creatures and the Bow
4 And round about the throne were 24 seats: and upon the seats I saw 24 elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
THE KINGS AND PRIESTS OF THE MOST HOLY
The Twenty-Four Elders
12 from the good plus 12 from the wild olive tree
The symbolization presented in this verse is representative of the fulfilment of the promise contained in ch. iii. 21, saying, "The victor, I will give to him to sit with me on my throne, as I also vanquished, and sat with my Father on his throne." To represent this, twenty-four thrones are circled about one throne; so that in occupying representatively, that is, by a representative in the vision, one of the thrones, the individual victor sits with Jesus on his throne; in other words, shares with him in his kingly and priestly administration of human affairs in the Millennial Aion.
The twenty-four elders, then, are the victors or conquerors who have overcome, in the sense indicated in the writing to the seven ecclesias. Hence, being victors, enthroned and wreathed, and invested with white, or priestly garments, we behold them in the vision as kings and priests for the Deity.
We see them as those who have eaten of the wood of the life, and who are, consequently, in the Paradise of the Deity; who are, in fact, collectively that living arboretum. We see them also in a position not to be injured by the second death; in possession of the Morning Star; clothed in white garments; pillars in the temple of the Spirit's Deity to go out no more; with the name of Deity written upon them, the name of the New Jerusalem, even the New Name; for they are the manifestation of Deity, the New Jerusalem, and the New Name.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
"O Yahweh, bow thine heavens, and come down, touch the mountains, and they will smoke; flash forth lightning, and scatter them; send thine arrows, and discomfit them;"
Lightning is what philosophy terms electricity in luminous excitation. Scripturally, it is the "free Spirit of the Deity." Thunder is the sound produced by the electrical condensation of the constituents of the aerial. The free oxygen and hydrogen floating in the air are electrically combined, and thereby caused to occupy less space than before, and so giving out lightning, and forming a vacuum, into which the surrounding air rushes, causing a loud report, or thunder.
Hence, it is an appropriate symbol for that operation by which the temporary constituents of the political aerial (and the things which are seen there are temporary) are condensed into one dominion under the glorious luminary of the New Heavens.
Jesus named the sons of Zebedee "the Sons of Thunder." These were James, and his brother John, to whom this vision of thunder was revealed. The agents in this throne-scene are all sons of thunder. They are the Spirit-incarnations condensing all things into one kingdom with the thundering tumult of war in ch. x. 3, symbolized by "the Seven Thunders," whose utterances are "sealed up" till the storm-period which precedes "the day of rain" when the bow appears.
The Seven Lamps of Fire.
The whole scene is a manifestation of Spirit in preparation for the reduction of the great mountain before Zerubbabel to the level of a plain. This is to be effected, not by ordinary military prowess or force, "but by my Spirit saith Yahweh of Hosts" (Zech. iv. 6).
He that sits upon the throne is spirit, those represented by the twenty-four elders will be spirit like him, and those symbolized by the four living ones will be spirit also; so that all that is manifested is an embodiment of spirit, and all effected by the manifested ones is done by the energy of Divine Power...
...The lightnings, and thunders, and voices, then, are those of the one spirit in seven-fold perfection sent forth into all the earth for the subjugation of the world. The spirit, however, does not go forth as free, uncombined, or naked spirit, as seen in the lightning and heard in the thunder of the material expanse. But it goes forth incarnated in the saints -- in the Lord Jesus and his brethren...
8 And the four beasts [living ones] 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.
Seraphim Identical with Cherubim
In Isa. vi. 2, these cherubic symbols are styled seraphim. "I saw the Adonai," saith he, "sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. SERAPHS stood near to it. ... And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, YAHWEH TZ'VAOTH (He who shall be hosts): the whole earth (shall be) full of his glory."
There is no obscurity about the etymology of seraph. It signifies burning, fiery, deadly. The fiery serpents sent among the people (Num. xxi. 6) are styled by Moses seraphim. By the saints, the seraphim and cherubim of Messiah's throne, the whole earth is to be filled with his glory.
Being incarnations of Spirit, they will be more than a match for all the powers of the world. They will cast down their thrones, overthrow Babylon, waste the land of Assyria, reap the harvest of the earth, tread the winepress of wrath, and as a stream of devouring fire destroy the body of Daniel's fourth polity with their burning flame.
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.