in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. "There are no guarantees in life!" This cynical remark
is often made by one who has lost something of value. The phrase states
that we just cannot believe in anyone or anything.
1. It is not uncommon to see people struggling to locate
something that gives them a firm hold in life. They have searched and failed;
they have trusted and were often betrayed. To such people life indeed hold
2. In Revelation 4-5 we are told that guarantees do exist.
We discover some very important guarantees for believers.
II. Note the connection chapters 4-5 have with 1-3.
1. The letters to the churches gave the sense of impending
persecution which might have startled the brethren. God begins to comfort
believers by pointing out that He and Christ sit upon the great Throne
and are in control of everything. Knowing this believers should be able
to overcome the trials and ordeals they face.
2. John is invited to "come up" to heaven and look at things from the heavenly viewpoint.
EVERYTHING DEPENDS UPON OUR POINT OF VIEW!
An admirer of a painting once stood gazing at its portrayal
of a Highland scene of great strength and glory. The owner of the picture
walked over to the admirer and said, "I am afraid you won't get the light
on the hill." He was right. From where the man stood he saw a dark, stormy
landscape and failed to see any light on the hill. After moving to where
the owner suggested the entire scene changed to on lit with the wonderful
lights from above.
Such is what John urged his readers to do. Change their
viewpoint from the earth to heaven. If they could see matters from heaven's
perspective then the entire scenes of life would change!
From Patmos John saw a dark picture, but when he looked
from God's view everything changed. From heaven's viewpoint there was no
question about the outcome of believers' struggles - they are guaranteed
3. Notice the importance of the word "throne." 18 times
it is used in these 2 chapters. John's readers were familiar with earthly
thrones, and presently were troubled by Caesar's throne. But John is impressed
with the great Throne which is above every other throne! He is taken into
this great Throne Room and there finds guarantees which are secure!
I. Notice the beauty of the Great Heavenly Throne Room
which John was invited to enter (Rv 4-5).
A. General remarks on chapter 4
1. Heaven is described as a great room and John was able
to look through an open door. He saw a throne upon which a glorious Being
sat (2). This Great Being is God.
2. The scene is described by John in terms which describe
the beauty and majesty of God (3, 5).
3. There 24 Elders who rule in a position lower than God.
It is commonly thought these represent the 12 tribes of Israel (OT) and
the 12 apostles (NT), thus signifying the completeness of God's powerful
plan for redeeming man.
4. The 4 Living Creatures appear to be the same as in
Ezek 1, 10 which are described as the cherubim, a very high order of angels.
These are responsible for guarding the holy things of God. The animal likeness
which describes each is thought to be characteristics of their service
to God - strength like a lion, hard service like an ox, intelligence like
man, and swiftness like an eagle. These traits are elsewhere ascribed to
angels (cf. Psalm 103:20, 21; Hebrews 1:14; Daniel 9:21; Luke 12:18; 15:10;
5. The picture is one of worship to God. So great is God
that all orders of creation pay reverence, humility, and awe to Him. All
stand ready to carry out His will. All heavenly intelligence renders obedience
to God, so should man. God is seen as One who is powerful and majestic
- Caesar cannot match Him!
B. General remarks on chapter 5.
1. John's sight is focused upon the Throne and he sees God holding a Scroll sealed with 7 seals. This Scroll symbolizes the eternal plan of God, as long as it remains sealed God's plan is unknown and unable to be executed. To open the Scroll means God's will would triumph and His children will be protected in the hours of bitter trials.
2. A challenge was made for anyone to open the scroll;
to complete God's great plan; to offer struggling man some hope -- but
no one was able to do this. John wept because of the hopelessness of the
3. One of the Elders comforted John by pointing to a Lamb
of God - Jesus Christ. Christ was able to open the Scroll because He has
4. Christ is described as having 7 horns and 7 eyes. This
revealed His power to do whatever was necessary and to possess inspiration
to see and know what should be revealed to man.
5. The ability of Christ to meet our needs is stated in
simple terms (7). After He had taken the Scroll the heavenly throng worshipped
Him. Their song in v. 9-10 reveals His part in redeeming man.
6. The greatness of God and Christ is universally recognized
(v. 13; cf. Psalm 148:7-10; 99:1).
II. From these chapters we are able to see that God and
Christ reign - What guarantees result from their reign? What can God guarantee
to His children who are desperately searching for some assurance as they
are troubled and persecuted?
A. They guarantee that prayers will be heard (5:8).
1. Our brethren were being persecuted on earth, but in
heaven their prayers were so precious that they were held in golden bowls
and presented to God!
2. It is easy to forget this point when we are persecuted
and troubled. We must realize this fact--our prayers are heard and will
be answered! (John 15:7; Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1).
3. Whenever you are tempted to quit praying because it
seems that praying is not working; when your prayers seem to go unheard
and unanswered; remember this guarantee! (Note: Daniel 10:1ff).
B. They guarantee that true blessings are found only in
the lives of those who follow the Lamb (5:10). In this verse we discover
3 blessings offered to the faithful.
1. They are a Kingdom - not earthly like Rome but one that will outlive Rome, it was eternal.
2. They are priests - They render service to God.
3. They are rulers - They "reign." Believers reign because they are in the Kingdom; by leading, directing, and restraining evil.
4. Note: These blessings can only be found by faithful obedience to Christ. If we follow Christ we are guaranteed these 3 things!
C. They guarantee that NO ONE (either in the physical or spiritual realms) can seriously challenge the Throne of God and Christ (4:2, 8, 10-11).
1. The Throne of God stands unchallenged - it is invincible
(cf Hebrews 12:28; Daniel 2:44; Rv 12:7, 8).
2. The Throne of God is occupied by One who has real power. God's power will assure triumph over evil. 4:8 -- "Almighty".
3. Since our God is truly powerful, we need to know that
His power will remain forever! (Rv 5:11)
D. They guarantee believers an avenue of triumph that
is found only through Christ (5:2-5).
1. Jesus Christ is the only One who was worthy to satisfy
and reveal God's great scheme for saving man (v.3).
2. The access to God, opened by Christ for man, is offered
to all who are willing to follow (9b). He offers hope and comfort to the
world. Come to Christ, enter in His way and you are guaranteed joy, peace,
and hope (John 14:27; Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 4:4-7).
III. Since God and Jesus Christ guarantee us these things,
what should result in our lives?
A. We should know that suffering will come but it will
only be temporary if God is our defender! We are guaranteed that God
is the invincible Sovereign thus His way and His people will triumph (5:10).
B. We should know that genuine victory will be given
to God's faithful. Victory is assured because Jehovah sits on the Throne.
He is "holy," "almighty," filled with "power," and is the "Creator." He
has the right to do whatever His wisdom and justice demand (5:13b).
I. This section closes with a thrilling scene of triumph
for saints. Such will bring courage and hope to John's readers whether
they are in the 1st century or 20th century. Believing in the power of
God (4) and the redeeming love of Christ (5), there is no enemy or force
of evil which we need to fear.
II. Gain courage from the promises of God. Looking at
the message of these 2 chapters we can be bold as lions, laugh at troubles,
allow no affliction to trouble us, but if we forget this message will become
very fearful of even the least anxiety (Colossians 3:2).
III. When you are perplexed by the world, you need to
do as John did in 4:1, "go up" to the heavenly Throne Room of God and there
find consolation in the guarantees which God extends to His children! Note
1. Prayers will be heard.
2. Obedience yields true blessings.
3. God is in control.
4. Believers will triumph.
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.