What does Revelation 4: 1-5 mean to us now?

One day, this door will be open to us and we will be there.

The question is, are you ready and have you lived the life He has called you to? God calls us to be earnest in pursuing a serious, deep—rooted, and determined faith. It is a call to persist in our faith and determination, regardless of obstacles—physical limitations, spiritual depression, spiritual warfare, or our circumstances. If everything came to us instantly, there would be no growth, no appreciation, no maturity, and no faith. Faith requires resistance and struggle to make it flourish and grow. God is not the One Who always holds us back; it is usually our refusal to reach out and seize the opportunity. It is we who refuse to exercise our faith and grow. It is we who speak just a simple prayer with no earnest thought behind it, with no zeal or realization of God’s mercy and grace. We get so caught up in our own struggles that we do not look past the crowd to call His Name. We do not realize that He will stop, look, and listen—just for us!

God has given you an open door. What does it take for you to answer and to open it?

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like? Or, is it so far above your ability to imagine that it is a mere hope?
  2. John, Ezekiel, and Daniel all used images and metaphors to describe this wonder. What do you suppose are the reasons for this?
  3. Why do many Christians today get so caught up in these images that they miss the point of the message? Have you ever done that?
  4. Many misguided interpreters read into a Bible text, stringing together other passages out of context to create a grand theology out of injudicious reading and insert ideas that are not in the passages. What could be causes and motivations for this? Why are we called to read His Word with “exegesis,” or a right explanation and analysis of the text from what is actually in it?
  5. One day, this door will be open to us and we will there. The questions are, are you ready, and have you lived the life He has called you to? What do you still need to do?
  6. What would it mean to your faith and relationships to be better at seizing the moment and taking advantage of the opportunities He gives? Remember, the application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives, both individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of all Christians who are the Church. How can you make this so in your life and church?
  7. In the meantime, as we wait to see all this for ourselves, how can we fuel our perseverance and productivity by His marvel? What can you do to further persevere with your call and faith?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

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Exegetical look into Revelation 4: 4-5

What would a glimpse of heaven do to and for you?

The point of this portion of Revelation is to motivate us as a Church to get right, and get busy in Him. How many churches do we know who are indifferent, who just get by and do nothing to exercise their faith or show who Christ is in their lives? Such a church is exercising faithlessness to the point that they actually scheme to not grow in Him, revealing their breach of faith and disloyalty. Such a church will not reach out. Their programs are superficial and inclusive to themselves and not available to others who need them; thus, they are not worthy to be called Christians.

  • Encircled the throne…surrounded by is a parody of a kings court, showing his importance. These images can help us see God’s centrality and eminence. These are visions of angelic courtiers as attendants serving in a royal monarch’s court (1 Kings 22:19; Job 1:6; 2:1; Psalm 89:6-7; Ezek. 1; Dan. 7:9-10)
  • Twenty-four other thrones. In the art of that period, the image of a few (such as priests) means there are many more than depicted. Thus, the number does not mean an actual number. This applies through most of Revelation. Numbers are symbols, not accounting or actual numbers.
  • Twenty-four. The number 24 can mean many things such as the 24 books of the Jewish cannon, or the 24 orders a Jewish priest at the time took, or the completeness of the 12 tribes and 12 Apostles, indicating all who bow to Christ. These numbers are symbolic and not actual accounting as there were 14 apostles and 13-14 tribes depending on context of the listing. (Joseph was two.) (Deut. 21:6; 1 Chron. 24-25; Isa. 24:23; Dan. 7:9; Acts 1:26; Rev. 5:5-14; 7:4-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4).
  • Twenty-four elders. Elders refers to those with authority. In the context of a church, they are God’s representatives called to declare and serve Him wholeheartedly and righteously. Referring to God’s “cabinet officials” denoting those “with wisdom” as His attendants who worship and serve Him, there are two theories¾Angels or people, or perhaps an exalted category of Angels. Perhaps, it refers to the Church as triumphant; others say it indicates the ancestors of Christ. However, the passage and context suggest celestial representatives, which can mean the Church¾as those who are redeemed or God’s servants¾or, more precisely, both. This is also suggestive of how a healthy church functions with elders who seek wisdom, serving and worshiping God. The application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives—individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of Christians as the Church.
  • Dressed in white. White, in ancient times, was associated with good and purity. In contrast, black was associated with bad. The dead were buried in white and priests were dressed in white (Rev. 3:4).
  • Crown refers to victory.
  • Flashes of lightning. Special effects in ancient times indicated an important event. Here, it is pointing to God’s self-revelation. It is the symbolic representation of the awesome majesty and power of God. It refers to God’s Supremacy and Authority and our duty to heed His voice and reverence Him. It is also a symbol of the fake god, Zeus’ authority and vengeance (Ex. 19:16-19; Job 37:5-6; Psalm 18:11-15; Ezek. 1:4, 24; 43:2; Dan. 10:6; Heb. 12:18-29; Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
  • Rumblings and peals. An illustration of God’s mighty power coming to deliver His people (Psalm 18:12-15; 77:18).
  • Seven lamps/torches refers to the seven churches that are representative of God’s Temple here on earth, as all churches are. The image that God is Light refers to the Church as the body of believers whose duty it is to be a light and a witness for Christ. This is why some commentators take this as meaning the Holy Spirit; however, the theme is that His character is the Light we follow and proclaim, and refers to the O.T. account of how God’s Glory descended into the Tabernacle. Now, our purpose is to point to His glory, as the Church is the light of the world. Proclaiming the Church as a lamp stand is saying the Church is significant as the true place of reverence to God (Gen. 1:3; Ex. 25:31-40; 1 Kings 7:49; Zech. 4:2; Matt. 5:14-16; 18:20; 28:20; John 1:4-5; 8:12; 14:18; Acts 26:13; Eph. 1:10; 5:8-13; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 1:4-5; Rev. 1:12-13; 2:9; 3:9).
  • Seven spirits of God means an angelic court pointing to God’s Fullness. The word, seven, means completeness, perfection, and its importance is compounded. Some believe this is referring to the seven celestial beings (Rev. 8:2). However, context and word meaning attest to the Holy Spirit and His various roles as Counselor, Bearer of Wisdom, Fruit, etc. (Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:2-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:14).

Exegetical look into Revelation 4:1-3

This passage is cycle one (Rev. 4:1-8:1) in a series of seven heavenly visions given to John by Christ (Rev. 4:1-22:5). In this first cycle, God is presented on His Throne as the King of Kings, as The Supreme Majesty in sovereign control of all things. He is the One who rules and governs us; we are the ones who are to bow to His supremacy and surrender to His Lordship. The centrality of His Supremacy in this passage gives hope to those who are suffering, and purpose to those who have lost theirs.

  • After this. This is a literary reference to the transition from the epistles to the seven churches over to John’s heavenly visions.
  • I looked. This possibly refers to a vision, or a vibrant dream (Ezek. 10:1; 44:4; Dan. 10:5).
  • A trumpet said. This means God is preparing to give a command or the pronouncement of His Word (Ex. 19:16). Here, many misguided interpreters read into the text a “rapture,” and string together other passages out of context to create a grand theology out of injudicious reading and inserting ideas that are not in these passages, such as 1 Cor. 15:51-54 and 1 Thess. 4:16-18. This is called “isagesis” which is a personal interpretation of a text from our own ideas. However, we are called to read His Word with “exegesis,” or a right explanation and analysis of the text from what it actually says. Also, because the word “church” does not appear until chapter 22, many think this means the church is not on earth during the last days. Again, this is reading into a text our ideas and not God’s. We are never to stretch or construe Scripture according to our whims and/or opinions. Rather, we are to plainly seek what He has for us from what He has clearly revealed to us.
  • Come up here. This phrase is expressed in the same way Moses was called up to Mount Sinai and how Paul was “caught up” in to heaven (Ex. 19:3, 20-24; 24:12; 34:2; Ezek. 1:1; John 1:29, 51; 2 Cor. 12:2; Rev. 11:12-19; 17:1; 19:11; 21:9).
  • What must take place after this. This indicates past, present, and future, and refers to what is referenced in Revelation. It is for the present and future as well as rooted in the past, but not completed as of this writing. Some misguided interpreters find the “rapture” in this phrase, which is again, totally reading into the text what “we want” that just is not there, not only violating the rules of biblical interpretation, but also (and ironically) the plain meaning and point of this passage, which is bowing to Christ and His ways rather than our ways and ideas (Dan. 2:28-29, 45; John 19:35; Rev. 1:1, 19).
  • In the Spirit. This means spiritual exaltation and prophetically inspired¾the wonders of the Lord, giving him this vision and insight for God’s glory and not John’s. This is a state of being sensitive to spiritual understanding, not necessarily “charismatic” worship. The Holy Spirit provided John the visions and took him to places he could actually see. Thus, he is recording authentic images he saw in reality; this was no mere dream. This can also mean that John was caught up or transported to God’s Throne. However, these particulars are irrelevant to the meaning (1 Chron. 25:1-6; Ezek. 2:2; 3:12-14, 24; 8:3; 11:1, 24; Acts 10:10; Rev. 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10).
  • There before me. The representation of God ruling from his throne in heaven is a standard image from the Old Testament. This is a figurative depiction, not a literal description of our Lord (Psalm 47:8).
  • Throne in heaven. Denotes a throne and refers to the earthly kings pompous dignity and prestige in contrast to God’s Preeminence and actuality of having a throne. This is an image of the Old Testament Tabernacle where the “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence, was made known. Now, John sees the real heavenly version in a corporal state to condescend to his and our understanding (Ex. 24:9-11; 25 (25:40)-40; 1 Kings 5-7; 22:19; 2 Chron. 2-4; Isa. 6; Ezek. 1; 10:1; Dan. 7:9-10; Heb. 8:5-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).
  • Someone sitting on it. His greatness and splendor surpasses all understanding, as He is supreme and Head over the Church. Either the details are not given to us, or we are not able to comprehend with our human minds in our present state (2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:13-15; 5:23; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9).
  • Appearance of jasper and carnelian… emerald… around the throne. This is an image of God’s purity and overwhelming elaborations, magnitude, majesty, and brilliance that is “reflected.” “Precious stones” means precious and nothing else is like it, and that He dwells in unapproachable light “whom no one has seen or can see” (Ezek. 1:26-28; Dan. 7; 1 Tim. 6:16).
  • Rainbow refers to God’s mercy and grace, which we are called to reflect (Gen. 9:12-15).

Revelation 4:1-5

Introduction

“The Throne”

God stands above and opens His door to His Home for us to see. One day, we will see Him there, but for now, we can only imagine how it will be! John gets the great, anticipated glimpse that all people of all times have wondered about¾what will it be like, the wonder of wonders, the layout and look of our eternal home. Imagine what you would see: His awesome sight! Imagine what would you hear: His voice! God tells John to come on in and take a look at what must take place. And John is there, in Heaven. Whether this is a physical transportation or a fantastic vision matters not. He gets to see what only a handful of men have seen while they still roamed this earth. John saw God’s throne and the entire splendor that was there. There are no earthly words, none that even Greek or Hebrew could contain that would adequately describe what God has revealed to him. John is overwhelmed, but manages to grasp what few early images and metaphors existed that could describe this wonder. This passage starts off with a series of heavenly visions (chaps 4-8) as an attempt to convey this marvelous spectacle that is perhaps beyond our ability to even imagine.

God is portrayed as pure and as brilliant as precious, glowing gemstones, and a sea of glass is surrounded by further reverence and majesty. Elders and representatives serve as a house of worship, praising Him, clothed in His grace and presence. Yet, in this serenity are His supremacy, intensity, and power that are overwhelming and glorious. This was more than a foretaste of things to come; it was a show of strength and a demonstration of hope to those in distress and despair. One day we will be called there; but, in the meantime, we are fueled with His perseverance and productivity by the marvel of Him. He is to be our Hope so we can persevere with our call and faith. It is a call to seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunities He gives (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Revelation is a book that describes events that are indescribable to a people in persecution who need hope and a purpose to cling to. It is not a book of mysticism, because the symbols do mean things that we can understand with a little research and O.T. understanding. Because of the subject, John can only use metaphors and word pictures to put it into writing because no mere words of earthly origin can adequately convey it. If we just see this as mysticism, we miss the point of what God is saying!

What would it mean to your faith and relationships to be better at seizing the moment and taking advantage of the opportunities He gives? Remember, the application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives, both individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of all Christians who are the Church. How can you make this so in your life and church? In the meantime, as we wait to see all this for ourselves, how can we fuel our perseverance and productivity by His marvel? What can you do to further persevere with your call and faith?

What does Revelation 3: 7-13 mean to us now?

When we feel weak, we still have His strength, and our faith and resolve to continue to grow our faith will become a mighty pillar that others can look to for encouragement and as an example. We are His example to others; even at our lowest, we can excel for His highest. Let us understand what He has done for us so we can do our best to be faithful even in times of pressures, waiting, and uncertainty.

As with the Church of Philadelphia, each of us personally, and collectively as a local church, has a special provision in His heart. He deeply cares for us and wants us to take the opportunities He gives and make the most of them. Jesus has the authority to open up opportunities in ministry and service as well as exhibit His Fruit and character. In addition, Christ gives us the ability and gifting to accomplish that to which He calls us. Our Lord is genuine and true; there is no other god, deity, or object in all of creation or time that can match or copy Him. He is our authentic God, worthy to be adored and trusted. Our true God cannot be conjured up or manufactured. He is the “real deal.” All others are fabrications that are false, worthless, and meaningless. They only satisfy the lusts of sinful people who do not care what was truly revealed and done for us.

When God opens a door for you, the only one who can shut it is you! Do not allow your trepidations and past experiences rule how you will proceed in your life and call. We are not responsible for how others treat us. We are only responsible for being our best for His glory, to produce Fruit, and to be contagious for the faith. We cannot do that if we wallow in self-pity. Yes, we need times to rest and lick our wounds, but we are not to make a prison out of it, cutting ourselves off from His call and His best!

Questions to Ponder:

1. What would a church of “brotherly love” look like to you? How does it make you feel to know that Jesus has a special provision in His heart for your church?

2. Are you, or have you been worn out and in need of encouragement and hope? What can your Christian community do to help you? How do you find hope in the fact that even though your strength is depleted and no options may be visible to you, you are still in the hands of God?

3. What has Jesus given to your church in the way of opportunities and the empowerment to pursue them? What have you done to take advantage of them? How does taking the open door He gives you bring you joy and pleasure?

4. Many churches have given up and have closed; they have failed to persevere in Christ. What are some of the hardships that your church could face that might cause them to fail? What can be done to make sure your church continues to persevere and seek to please Him?

5. How do you deal with anxiety and disappointments? What can you do to look to Christ for perseverance? How can you prevent sufferings and past experiences from ruling you? How can deepening your walk with Christ help you understand that you can do it, He will help you to persevere?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

Exegetical look into Revelation 3:10-13

When others come against us, they are coming in opposition to Him. He knows about this, and will respond in His time. We may not feel it is the right timing, but we do not see all the interwoven circumstances, His grace, or His persistence. He wants us to trust Him and have the determination to press on with our faith and obedience. The Jews were giving this church a hard time, and they were worn out from it. However, Jesus was saying Do not fret or worry; I will take care of it. He will take care of you, too!

· Keep you from. The meaning here is that Christ will deliver and protect those who are faithful and righteous, who claim Him as Lord. Many commentators have taken sides with this verse saying Christians will be spared from the Tribulation. This is reading into the text what is not there. Keep does not mean to remove or prevent; it means to preserve (John 17:15; 1 Pet. 1:7; Rev. 7:3).

· The hour of trial. This is a way to say the “Apocalypse,” or times of extreme hardship, trials, suffering, and/or being tested. This phrase denotes a widespread, universal (as throughout the Roman Empire) suffering as opposed to a local persecution. This can also refer to the “Great Tribulation” and/or the “Great Judgment” (Rev. 2:9-10).

· To test those means we are purified and refined when we go through the consequences and essence of life. These have a purpose; nothing happens to us without a reason that is meant to teach and grow us (Job 23:10; Psalm 12:6; Prov. 17:3; Isa. 43:2; Jer. 11:4; Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:4-28; Mark 13:19; 1 Cor. 4:3-5; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 1 Pet. 1:5; 4:13; 5:1; Rev. 13:5-10).

· I am coming soon was a phrase used by the early church as a yearning for the Second Coming of Christ, that He could come sooner. Here, Jesus is saying hold on to your patience. This infers that Christ’s return is imminent, not necessarily in timing, but in His actual presence amongst us. Whatever we face, it is only for a season and then it will be over! Our hope is our relationship with Him and in His imminent return, not in what is going on around us (James 5:9: Rev. 1:1; 22:7, 12, 20).

· Crown means victory; we have triumph in Christ no matter what happens around us.

· Him who overcomes/one who conquers means ‘be faithful, ‘ referring to the winning of an athletic event or military campaign. The application for us is to persevere in the face of adversity, and so be better for it. (Rev. 2:7).

· Pillar refers to the faithful people of God who are stable and can support others. Pillars hold up large buildings. We, as the faithful, hold up Christ (as in glorifying Him), and we hold up others (as equipping and encouraging them). There is a “play on words” here because of the earthquakes (Ex. 24:4; Isa. 56:5; 1 Cor. 3:16; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5).

· Temple refers to the inner sanctum where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, rather than the whole of the temple building. This is where the presence of God dwelt (Lev 26:11-13; Rev. 4:6-8).

· Name of my God. This refers to the seal of God’s ownership, as names meant not only possessions, but also who possessed you and that person’s character (Rev. 14:1; 21:2, 10; 22:4).
· New Jerusalem refers to the city and its eminence in Jewish culture and faith. Being faithful is the key that opens to us the door to life in the New Jerusalem (Psalm 87:5-6; John 13:34; 16:33; Gal. 4:26; Phil. 1; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:1-22:5).
· Coming down is used figuratively to contrast where God rules from above and we, as humanity, live below. Also, it could be a possible reference to the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).

Exegetical look into Revelation 3:7-9

· Church in Philadelphia. The name Philadelphia means “loyalty and devotion,” which we translate from the Greek word as “brotherly love.” This was the city’s way to reverence its gods, Artemis, Helios, Zeus, Dionysus, and Aphrodite, and the Roman emperors Attalus II and Eumenes II (220-130 B.C.) who were brothers. The city was devastated by frequent earthquakes and was destroyed in 17A.D., then rebuilt. However, it then had a smaller population than the other cities. This city is now called Alashehir. It was a city of some importance from John’s time through the Middle Ages because of its commercial centers and trade roads leading in and out, and was considered the gateway to Asia Minor.

· Holy and true refers to the deity of Christ, meaning that God is the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25; Hab 3:2-3; Mark 1:24; Rev. 6:10; 15:4; 19:11).

· Key of David is one title of Jesus Christ as the Messiah from the line of David. Key means the person who holds the authority of the house, connecting it with David, and denotes His authority to open and shut all things and that He is in command of His Kingdom. It also means that only Christ is authorized and able to lead and save us. Jesus uses this image to encourage them, that even though they have been excluded from the synagogue and from their friends and family, they are not excluded from Him! They are special and the real heirs to David (Isaiah 22:22; Hab. 3:2-3; Matt. 16:19).

· What he opens has two meanings. Our opportunities would be one; the other is His opening the door to the Kingdom in contrast to the Jews who shut it (Matt. 23:13; 1 Thess. 2:15).

· Little strength. This church has remained faithful throughout all of the devastating persecutions, but they are worn out, and need encouragement and hope.

· Synagogue of Satan means being apostate, opposing Christ, and refusing to heed the precepts of God’s Word and call; it means doing the opposite, which is one’s own will and agenda. A Synagogue was a place of worship, a place for learning and studying, and a place for community activities. Jesus refers to the local Synagogue, which, as with the Church of Smyrna, was very antagonistic to the Christians (John 8:39-44; 2 Cor. 11:14-15; Rev. 2:9-10).

· Claim to be Jews. These Jews were claiming that all the nations would eventually bow down to them because they were the real children of God by lineage and history versus the Christians, who were His real people by faith. To be His people means we accept His election by faith; thus by faith, as demonstrated by obedience, we are His children. This is compared to someone who just goes to a church, or says he or she is a Jew or Christian but never takes his or her faith seriously or for real. We either belong to Christ or to Satan; there is no middle ground (Psalm 72:10-11; Prov. 14:19; Isa. 49:23; 60:11-14; Mal. 1:2; Rom. 2:28-29)!

· Fall down at your feet refers to reverence and a posture of worship and of great respect and awe. Here, it means that Christians will be at Christ’s feet (Isa. 45:14; 60:14; Acts 10:25; Phil. 2:10; Rev 1:17).

· Acknowledge that I have loved you means that since Jesus loves you, you should not care who else does or does not. Also, the opponents of Christianity will be judged, so we are not to concern ourselves with those who oppress us; they will get what they deserve! We, who are His faithful, have received our place in His kingdom; the pretenders will not have a place (John 17:23).

Our bad experiences can be like a prison, keeping us within the bars we have made from fear, anxiety, and stress. Such a prison prevents our being stretched or experiencing any growth from learning, therefore preventing us from taking what we have been through and making it sweet and productive. Having persevered in the past helps us persevere in the future. The church at Philadelphia was able to do so, so we can, too. The key is to hold on even when we do not see any handles to grasp. When we hold on to Him, and Him alone, Christ will reward and keep us, and we will be victorious!