One of the keys to properly interpreting Revelation is to realize it tells the same story of Christ's second coming and victory from seven different perspectives. Each perspective begins with John seeing something new and ends with Jesus victorious, often pictured as Him sitting down on the throne.
Chapter four begins the second of these seven perspectives. It's a glimpse into the throne room of God, where we see that all of reality is theocentric; that is, all that is radiates out from God.
You'll also start to notice in chapter four some of the strange descriptions that John gives to things, such as the four living creatures surrounding the throne of God:
In the center, around the throne,
were four living creatures,
and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
The first living creature was like a lion,
the second was like an ox,
the third had a face like a man,
the fourth was like a flying eagle.
Each of the four living creatures
had six wings
and was covered with eyes
even under its wings.
Remember that as you read of John's spiritual vision, he's trying to describe what he's seeing in this far different reality using the limited words and concepts that we understand. Often times the result is going to seem really bizarre to us, as it does here.
As you read Revelation, don't get hung up on these weird descriptions and end up missing out on the forest because you're confused with a particular tree. The main message of chapter four is NOT that there are really strange creatures encircling the throne of God, but rather what these creatures are doing and saying:
Day and night they never stop saying:
“ ‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
“You are worthy,
our Lord and God,
for you created all things,
and by your will
they were created
and have their being.”
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Isaiah 66:1 (NIV)
This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— There is a rainbow like an emerald in this chapter; what does it encircle? (See verse 3.)
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come (v8 / Isa. 6:3)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the Spirit will remind you that God sovereignly and omnipotently rules all things from the center of the universe.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: