In The Heavenly Throne Room
You are Invited to Attend
God has invited us right into the Heavenly Throne Room to witness an actual event—the Coronation of Jesus Christ! This is an amazing honor for us. Before He arrives in the Throne Room, we see a glimpse of the worship that goes on in Heaven. What we find there is this:
- There is a throne, surrounded by 24 Elders on thrones.
- Someone glorious is seated on the throne.
- There are 4 Living Beings that defy description, each having the face of a lion, an ox, a man and a flying eagle. (Ezekiel also saw these same Beings and he described them as having all 4 faces and being responsible for the movement of the Throne. Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10)
- Worship is recurring, as shown by the phrase,“Whenever the Beings give glory to Him who sits on the Throne…”
- All the Beings and Elders worship the Father for His work of Creation. Does this sound like Sabbath worship?
We have been invited to look in on these wonders, so let’s accept this gracious invitation to witness the worship in Heaven. By reading Revelation 4 we step right into the Throne Room:
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
“Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
“And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.
“And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’
“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.’” (Revelation 4:1-11)
This worship has been ongoing in Heaven, probably since the creation of the earth:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”
We see that God is worshiped because of His act of Creation. We can’t be sure which form of God is seated on the throne until the next chapter where we will learn that this is the Father. But we do learn something profound from this scene: Worship is generated by actions and accomplishments. Worship is earned.
Only by His accomplishment is God found worthy of worship. And here we learn something about the character of God. God never demands worship. He does not force His people into worship. He strives to deserve it. Remember the verse that says?
“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
This shows us that God’s actions are motivated by His love for us. And when He has done great and marvelous things, His people see this and love Him. This explains to us why so much of the Bible is filled with descriptions of God’s acts and why God’s true worship is based on memorials of His past actions. Remembering these things helps us know God better and love Him more.
“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:21)
Love, Faith, Works
Love motivates God’s actions and causes us to respond with a greater love for Him in a perfect circle of unselfish admiration, love and action. This love is the foundation of true Faith. This substantial faith increases our love and leads to obedience, which in turn helps us see greater works from God.
God’s LOVE leads to → His WORKS → increasing our FAITH → fostering a greater LOVE for Him → encouraging us to obedience (WORKS) → which helps us see more of God’s works → leading to greater FAITH and LOVE.
This is how we grow in Faith: we add to it Love and Works. These all work together to lead us to Righteousness. If we try to separate these three—faith, love, works—by removing “works” or “obedience” from the list, we separate ourselves from the love of God and show our faith to be hollow. (Further reading in James 2 and Psalm 107.)
Likewise, we may believe in God and know all about His Law, but unless that fosters love in our hearts for God and the people He is trying to save, we cannot hope to be witnesses of His character to others. We can become critical, angry, dogmatic and legalistic. The missing ingredient? Love. Love softens our view of others, while at the same time increasing our faith in God and giving us the proper motivation for obeying His Law. All three—faith, love, works—must come together to form a righteous character.
Heavenly Worship follows an Investigative Judgment
Throughout the Book of Revelation, we will continue to see greater and still greater acts by Jesus and each time we will see the level of worship grow. There are recurring elements in each of these Heavenly worship scenes:
- We see the name of the One who is worshiped, “Lord God Almighty, which was and is and is to come.”
- The Beings sing a song, testifying of His acts and the reason why He is worthy of worship, “For you have created all things . . .”
- They humble themselves, showing that they hold Him higher than themselves.
- They cast their crowns before Him, acknowledging that everything they have came from Him—not possessions only, but any glory they have is merely a reflection of His Glory.
- A reward is given to the one who is being honored. “You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.”
This scene follows the pattern of judgment that we see throughout the Bible:
“Because you did . . . , Therefore . . .”
Let no one ever say there is no “Investigative Judgment.” Even God’s worship follows this pattern. Here is the Investigative Judgment in its power and its simplicity. God is looking very closely at what we do. He is especially interested in whether or not we have taken His corrections to heart. We have seen Him do this throughout the Bible:
“… Because they have not heeded My words, says the Lord, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the Lord. Therefore hear the word of the Lord, …” Jeremiah 29:19-20
And in the end, each one of us will see this same pattern repeated in the final judgment as we individually stand before the Throne.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. …The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
“‘And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:12-14
How can we continue to resist the correction that God sends us in His love and mercy, rising early and speaking to us saying, “Turn ye everyone from his evil ways and live?” “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11) How can we choose death when God has offered us life, admittance through the gates of Zion and an eternal presence before His throne!
Soon the Worship Changes
The Heavenly worship scene in Revelation 4 is shown to us so that we can see the throne room in contrast to what comes next. Something important is about to happen in Chapter 5 that will change the worship in Heaven forever.
Read Revelation 5:1-4
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’
“And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.” (Revelation 5:1-4)
- We are still in the Throne Room, but time has passed.
- We will soon learn that it is the Ancient of Days who is seated on the throne.
- He holds a Scroll, sealed with 7 Seals which no one is able to open—not even the Father Himself.
- John cries tears. Opening the Scroll must be important—maybe even essential.
- One of the Elders comforts John.
Now we see a Lion and a Lamb revealed:
“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’
“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” (Revelation 5:5-7)
- One is found worthy to open the Scroll.
- He has prevailed.
- He is described as: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Root of David.
- But when John turns his head to look, He appears like a slain Lamb.
- The Lamb has 7 horns and 7 eyes. We are told the 7 eyes are the 7 Spirits of God which go into the whole earth. (You can study a little more about this in Zechariah 3:9 and Zechariah 4:10; and find a similar description in the story of the horses in Zechariah 1:7-11 and Zechariah 6:1-8.)
What we see in this scene is the arrival of Jesus into the Heavenly Throne Room after His death and resurrection. But we do not have the whole picture. He has prevailed in some way that makes Him now worthy to take the Scroll and open its seals. This is an accomplishment that no other Being on earth or in Heaven has done—even the Ancient of Days seated on the throne was unable to open this Scroll.
John cried out loud abundantly because no one in the universe could open this Scroll. There was no one in heaven, on earth or even under the earth (if anyone had lived there) who could open it. Even the Father seated on the throne was unable to release the seals. John did not know what was written on the Scroll or why it was so important. What he did know was that the entire fate of the human race was at stake in the opening of these seals on this Scroll. We are witnesses of John’s extreme distress in order to show us the importance this Scroll holds for the future of mankind.
What is this Scroll? Like everything else in Revelation we need to look back somewhere else in the Bible to find the explanation. And here is where we get our first serious tie-in to the book of Daniel. When we look back in Scripture we find that there was a book (or Scroll) that was sealed. This Scroll held the prophecies of Daniel relating to the succession of kingdoms from Daniel’s time until the Second Coming of Messiah. And Daniel is told that the truth about these kingdoms would not be released to the public until the end of time when these words would be needed. Daniel is told,
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.”
“The words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4 and Daniel 12:9)
Within the rolls of the Scroll of Daniel is a succession of kingdoms that ends with this good news.
“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27
If no champion were found to open this Scroll and loose its seals, there would be no method in place for the Saints to take over the kingdom. This meant that Satan would be allowed to continue his reign here on the earth forever—or until the inhabitants destroyed the planet. It also meant that there would be no way to eradicate the infection of sin from the universe. But to John’s great relief, and to mankind’s profound good fortune, One is found who is worthy to take the Scroll and begin opening its Seven Seals—The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David.
So knowing that this sealed Scroll contains the prophecies of Daniel, and that Jesus has prevailed to open this Scroll, does this mean Jesus is going to begin moving these kingdoms along as He opens each individual seal on this Scroll? Each of the Seven Seals will reveal a new chapter within the kingdoms of Daniel. What else does Revelation tell us about this Scroll?
- The Lion of Judah had to prevail in order to open the Scroll. (Rev. 5:5) The power to open the Scroll must be earned in some way.
- Opening the scroll is important to the human race or John would not have cried.
- The One Who sits on the throne has been holding this scroll for some time. After all, it had been 534 years since Daniel was told to seal up the Scroll.
- When He took the Scroll, the 24 Elders and the other Beings fell down and worshiped Him. (Rev. 5:8)
- The 4 Beings and the 24 Elders sang a New Song (Rev. 5:9-10).
- The Lamb took the Scroll out of the hand of Him who sits on the throne. (Rev 5:7)
- The Lamb began to open the seals, one at a time. (Rev. 6:1)
- But it is the Lion who finishes opening the seals. (Rev. 10:22-23: “He had in His hand a little book opened.” And when He had the book opened, He spanned the whole earth “and cried with a loud voice as when a lion roars.” Rev. 10:2-3)
They Sing a New Song
“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
The Lamb is worthy of worship and worthy to open the Scroll. This new song reveals why He is worthy:
- Because He was slain.
- Because He redeemed us by His blood.
- Because He has made us kings and priests to God.
“You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9)
- This verse does not refer to the blood shed by His sacrifice, nor does it refer to His death.
- It refers to the fact that He came in human form so that He could be our Brother.
- Under the laws of redemption, only a blood-relative could buy back our land and our freedom. (Lev. 25)
- Christ has become a blood-relative for every person on earth, no matter your family, language or nationality.
The Worship will now change to show these acts and His reward. (Revelation 5:12)
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive Power and Riches and Wisdom and Strength and Honor and Glory and Blessing.”
Worship has changed for both the Father and the Son. (Rev. 5:13)
“Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.”
Jesus Has Prevailed to Open the Seals.
- He became the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the World.”
- He took on our humanity in His flesh, becoming the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
- He prevailed against both sin in His life and death at His resurrection.
- He bought back our freedom and our rights to rule the earth.
- He ratified God’s covenant with man.
- He made us kings and priests to our God as promised in Exodus 19:6, “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” He did this by adopting us into the royal family.
- And we will see that He also overcame the Devil when we continue to learn more about the way He prevailed in Part 4 of our study.
Completing the Throne Room Scene, Revelation 6:2
In Revelation 5 we saw that the Lion of Judah has already prevailed once. The scene ends in Rev. 6:2. When the Lamb opens the first seal He is given a crown and sent on a quest.
“Behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to Him, and He went out conquering and to conquer.”
“Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
“Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
“A crown was given to Him, and He went out conquering and to conquer.”