Revelation 4-5: The Throne Room of God

Posted on February 27, 2021


By David Ettinger

What This Is
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore, this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

* We, the readers, are transported to Heaven, to the throne room of God. It is here we see God in His glory, and the Lamb – the only One who can redeem the human race and reclaim the lost Earth.

* We also see the opening of the seals, the beginning of the judgments that will mark the beginning of the final 7 years of this age of human history.

* This time period has been wrongly referred to as the Tribulation Period, but this is not biblical. More accurately, it should be called “The 70th Week of the Book of Daniel” (as per Daniel 9:24-27).


Verse 1
* After delivering the message to the 7 churches, “what is now” (v. 19), John will be writing about things that “will take place later” (1:19).

* The door standing open to Heaven indicates that John is invited in.

* The voice like a trumpet indicates there is some kind of pronouncement to be made.

* NOTE: John hears a voice which says, “Come up here.” This is NOT the Rapture of the Church. This is simply God telling John to come up to Heaven in a vision.

Verse 2
* John being “in the spirit” indicates he was not physically taken out of Patmos, but is being given a special vision as the Holy Spirit delivers it to him.

* He is immediately ushered into the presence of God on His throne.

Verse 3
* Jasper is an opaque red, brown, or yellow variety of quartz used for vases or other articles. However, as we learn from Chapter 21, the jasper in Heaven will apparently be clear as crystal.

* Carnelian is also identified as Sardius stone, which is usually honey-colored.

* The rainbow speaks of God’s faithfulness.

* That the rainbow encircles the throne indicates God’s completeness.

Verse 4
* 24 smaller thrones surround the throne of God.

* Seated upon the smaller thrones are 24 elders, or ancients. The 24 elders could represent:

1) The 12 tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles – the redeemed of the Lord.

2) The 24 “courses” of the priests of Israel.

3) Angelic beings with a very special place next to God.

* That they are dressed in white indicates purity.

* Their crowns of gold indicate authority.

Verse 5
* The lightning and thunder indicate judgment. Indeed, God is about to enter into a time of judgment upon the earth.

* The 7 lamps indicate the light of God as Jesus is the Light of the World.

* “Seven spirits” is another way of saying “the Holy Spirit.”

Verse 6
* The sea of glass which is clear as crystal also speaks of purity. Everything connected with God is pure.

* The 4 living creatures covered with eyes front and back speak of God’s omniscience – His all-knowing nature.

* The 4 living creatures are a high order of angelic being.

* John is doing his best to describe in human terms what is beyond human comprehension.

Verse 7
* The 4 creatures could relate to the 4 Gospels:

Lion: Matthew. Jesus came as the King of the Jewish people, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Ox: Mark. Mark is the Gospel of the Servant.

Man: Luke. Luke shows Jesus in His humanity.

Eagle: John. We see Jesus as deity, as God.

* What we are witnessing through John’s eyes is a manifestation of the glory of God seated on His throne in Heaven.

Verse 8
* The 6 wings show constant motion, constant worship.

* That they are covered with eyes shows that God is always in their sight.

* Their praise of “Holy, holy, holy …” speaks of God as eternal.

Verses 9-10
* We see total worship of God here. Even the highest order of angelic being is to worship God.

* That the 24 elders removed their crowns and lay them before the throne indicates total submission to God.

* How much more should the rulers of Earth be in submission to God?

Verse 11
* God the Father is exalted because He is the creator of all things.

* Because He is the creator, He is to be worshiped and adored.


Verse 1
* NOTE: There is no natural break between the 2 chapters. It is 1 scene.

* The “right hand” in the ancient world was the place of power. The “right hand” was the place of intimacy. In was the place of honor, privilege, and access to God. The scepter and authority were in the king’s right hand.

* In Matthew 25, the sheep are at the right hand of God.

* See Isaiah 41:10.

* It is in God’s right hand that we see the scroll.

* The seals speak of security and protection. The seal was usually made of wax and had the king’s insignia embedded into it.

* Only the one who had the authority to open the scroll could do so.

* In the Roman world, it was a capital offense to open the scroll if one did not have the right.

Verse 2
* That the angel is proclaiming in a “loud voice” indicates that something major is about to be said.

* The angel is asking: “Who has the right – the authority – to open the scroll?”

Verse 3
* A comprehensive search is made in Heaven, on Earth, and under Earth to find someone who has the authority to open the scroll.

* The search is fruitless as no one has the authority to even “look inside it.”

Verse 4
* The scroll is believed by many scholars to be “the title deed” to Planet Earth.

* The issue is: Who is going to control this planet? Are the promises of God going to be fulfilled, or not? Who is going to have the final word?

* Because no one can be found to open the scroll, John weeps. If there is no one to open the scroll, then all is lost. If the scroll cannot be opened, then all has been for nought. All of John’s fellow Apostles – who according to Church history were martyred by the time John wrote this book – would have died in vain.

Verse 5
* One of the 24 elders, who has special access to God, tells John not to weep.

* “Do not weep.” In the Greek, it is a command: “Stop weeping!”

* Jesus is called, “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” a reference to Genesis 49:10.

* He is also the “Root of David.” God promised King David that his descendants would rule forever (2 Samuel 7:12-14). Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise.

* The message is that Jesus has triumphed! He is able to open the scroll!

Verse 6
* In verse 5, Jesus is described as a lion. However, John looks and now finds a Lamb, not a Lion.

* The Lion and the Lamb represent the 2 main aspects of Jesus.

* It is also interesting to note that the Lamb appears to have been slain – which is Jesus dying on the cross for our sins – yet is standing, a testimony that He has conquered death.

* Also, the Lamb is standing in the center of the throne, the place when God the Father is seated. This testifies that Jesus IS God.

* The Lamb is described as:

1) Slain

2) Having 7 horns

3) Having 7 eyes, a sign of omniscience (knowing all things)

4) Standing

* It was a slain Lamb; a strong Lamb; a searching Lamb (7 eyes); and a standing Lamb.

* One of the reasons He is standing is to prepare for judgment.

Verse 7
* This same scene is found in Daniel 7:13-14.

* This scene shows the coming of the Son to take the scroll from the right hand of the Father.

Verse 8
* The 4 living creatures and the 24 elders give glory to the Lamb just as they give glory to the Ancient of Days.

* This is a heavenly recognition of Jesus’ deity.

* “The prayers of the saints.” One Bible teacher has suggested that the major prayer is: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Verse 9
* The song talks about the right of redemption as exhibited in the Kinsman-Redeemer (see the Book of Ruth). Jesus is the one who has purchased back humanity’s lost inheritance.

* Jesus is the only Redeemer who can restore a lost inheritance.

* The human race was destined to rule and subdue Earth, but Satan enticed us to sin and we lost that birthright.

Verse 10
* Those whom Jesus has redeemed are set apart as priests, even in this world (2 Peter 1:9). This is our purpose.

* The redeemed with reign on Earth during the Millennial (1,000-year) Kingdom.

Verse 11
* John then looked and beheld an incredible sight: Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of angels singing as one.

* Words cannot express what John must have been witnessing and feeling.

Verse 12
* They proclaim Jesus’ worthiness for sacrificing Himself for the sake of the human race.

* He is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise. This is exclusive to Jesus.

Verse 13
* The praise cannot be contained in Heaven, and spills out onto Earth.

* “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).

Verse 14
* The 4 living creatures and the 24 elders – those closest to the Lord – also bow down and worship.


* A scroll is a piece of rolled-up parchment.

* Sometimes a seal would be on the outside of the scroll with a rope around it.

* There are records of scrolls before the time of Christ with 1 seal and with 3 seals.

* For years, commentaries said that there are no records of scrolls with 7 seals. However, an ancient Samaritan scroll, dated about 300 B.C., was found. It has 7 seals!

* All 7 seals are on the outside of the scroll. One cannot open the scroll until ALL 7 seals are first opened.

* Sometimes, each seal had a different name on it, therefore several people had to open it before it could be read. However, with the scroll of Chapter 5, Jesus had the authority to open ALL of the seals.