Revelation 4:5
From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and peals of thunder. Before the throne burned seven torches of fire. These are the seven Spirits of God.
The Divine Government SymbolizedR. Green Revelation 4:1-6
A Door in HeavenD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 4:1-11
A Door Opened in HeavenC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 4:1-11
An Invitation to GloryS. Fisher.Revelation 4:1-11
Element of the IdealC. E. Eberman.Revelation 4:1-11
Heaven NearDean Vaughan.Revelation 4:1-11
Heaven Near, Though HiddenT. M. Herbert, M. A.Revelation 4:1-11
Heaven Our HomeRevelation 4:1-11
HeavenwardWm. Guild, D. D.Revelation 4:1-11
Soul ElevationHomilistRevelation 4:1-11
The Heavenly Vision of the SoulJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 4:1-11
The High Court of HeavenS. Conway Revelation 4:1-11
The Open DoorD. C. Hughes, M. A.Revelation 4:1-11
The Upward CallH. W. Beecher.Revelation 4:1-11
The Vision of the ThroneG. Rogers.Revelation 4:1-11
The Vision of the ThroneJames Young.Revelation 4:1-11
Trumpet Voices Talking with UsH. J. Bevis.Revelation 4:1-11
An Emerald RainbowA. G. Brown.Revelation 4:2-5
Rainbow and ThroneF. W. Brown.Revelation 4:2-5
The Circle RainbowA London MinisterRevelation 4:2-5
The Majestic Government of the Great GodJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 4:2-5
The RainbowT. Spencer.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow a Pledge of MercyR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow of the CovenantEssex RemembrancerRevelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow Round About the ThroneR. Simpson, M. A.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow Round About the ThroneE. A. Thomson.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow Round the ThroneC. H. Parkhurst, D. D.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow Round the ThroneF. Tucker, B. A.Revelation 4:2-5
The Rainbow Round the ThroneC. F. Childe, M. A.Revelation 4:2-5
The Throne and the RainbowC. S. Robinson, D. D.Revelation 4:2-5
The Throne in Heaven and its SurroundingsLuke Tyerman.Revelation 4:2-5
The Throne of GodPulpit StudiesRevelation 4:2-5
The Triune GodR. H. McKim, D. D.Revelation 4:2-5
Man's Higher Sphere of Being: (2) Spiritually EnteredD. Thomas Revelation 4:2-11

And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne, etc. We need not suppose that the supermundane world appeared to John's bodily eye in the forms in which it is here presented. It was a mental vision and nothing more, and a mental vision is often more real, more significant, more impressive, than a material. Commentators of this book have treated these objects as those which were addressed to the senses of the apostle, and have thus turned it into a wilderness of confusion; and preachers have used it to excite the imagination, stir the sensibilities, and stimulate the wildest and idlest speculations concerning a man's higher sphere of being. The whole is a mental vision. We shall take the vision not as a symbolic puzzle, or even a metaphorical representation, but merely as an illustration of two things.

I. THE EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTER of man's higher sphere of being. All things here seem to be of a unique nature and order. An air of the wonderful spreads over all.

1. The general appearances are extraordinary. Observe the social appearances are extraordinary. Royalties abound. "A throne was set in heaven," with one Occupant supreme, as brilliant in aspect as a precious stone. "He that sat was to look upon like a jasper [stone] and a sardine stone [sardius]: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald [to look upon]." Then there were other royalties and dignities seated round the central throne. "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats [thrones]: and upon the seats [thrones] I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed [arrayed] in white raiment [garments]; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Now, the social appearances of this world are nothing like this. Everywhere there is degradation, not dignity; heads encircled with poverty, sorrow, and care, not "crowns of gold." Indeed, the great bulk of our social world do not even see the throne of the Supreme One in the heavens. They see the motion of the mere material machinery, or a scheme of what they call laws and forces, but not the One central and universal Ruler of all. Man's higher sphere of being, socially, is widely different to this. In the higher one free moral agents are the ruling power, not blind forces. And then over all there is One, and but One over all, on the central throne. Again, the physical phenomena are extraordinary. "And out of the throne proceeded [proceed] lightnings and thunderings [thunders] and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." True, we have lightnings and thunders here occasionally, but articulate voices in the heavens we hear not, nor do we see torches of fire blazing before the throne. The firmament that spreads over the higher sphere of being will no doubt, in many respects, be very different to the heavens that encircle us. So, also, with the waters. "Before the throne there was [as it were] a sea of glass [a glassy sea] like unto crystal." We have a sea here rolling in majesty round three parts of the globe, but it is not like glass or crystal, ever calm, sparkling, and clear; it is never at rest, often lashed into fury, and black with rage. How calm and clear will be our higher sphere, "a sea of glass," mirroring the peacefulness and the glory of the Infinite! The living creatures also are extraordinary. "Round about the throne were four beasts [living creatures] full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast [creature] was like a lion, and the second beast [creature] like a calf, and the third beast [creature] had a face as [as of] a man, and the fourth beast [creature] was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts [living creatures] had each of them [having each one of them] six wings about him; and they were full [are full] of eyes within [and round about]." Although we have in this earth such beasts and birds and faces of man as here represented, a striking difference is indicated. They had "six wings" and were "full of eyes." Whilst some have the courage of the lion, the patience of the ox, the towering tendency of the eagle, and the sympathy of the man, they are all endowed with transcendent organs of vision and powers of speed - they teem with eyes and wings. It is here suggested, then - I do not say that it is intended to be taught, for I am not gifted with the power to interpret such passages - that man's life in the higher sphere of being differs widely from the present. "Eye hath not seen," etc.

2. The supreme service is extraordinary. What is the supreme service in that higher sphere? Worship. "And they rest not [have no rest] day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God [the] Almighty, which was, and [which] is, and [which] is to come. And when those beasts [the living creatures] give [shall give] glory and honour and thanks to him that sat [sitteth] on the throne, [to him] who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall [shall fall] down before him that sat [sitteth] on the throne, and worship [shall worship] him that liveth forever and ever, and cast [shall cast] their crowns before the throne," etc. The worship there is the one ruling, intense, unremitting service. It is anything but that here; business, pleasure, aggrandizement, - these are the great and constant services of life. Real worship is indeed rare.

II. THE REAL ENTRANCE into man's higher sphere of being. "Immediately [straightway] I was in the Spirit." It is suggested that this higher life, this supermundane world, is entered by the Spirit. "Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." There are two ways by which man can enter the invisible.

1. By the efforts of the imagination. The whole scene before us is evidently the product of the imagination. Extraordinary visions men often have in the stilly watches of the night, in the season of dreams. But imagination can act more accurately, if not more vividly, in the hour of consciousness and intellectual activity. Thus Milton beheld his heavens and his hells, his angels and his devils. We can all, by the force of imagination, penetrate the visible, the material, the tangible, withdraw the sublunary curtain and step into the world of spiritual wonders.

2. By the influx of a new spirit. It is not uncommon for men to come into possession of a new ruling spirit, and with a new spirit comes a new world. When the philosophic spirit enters a man (and it does so in the case of a few in every age and land), the man is ushered into a new world a world of high thoughts, invisible forms, and remedial forces. When the commercial spirit enters the rustic lout, he soon finds himself in a new world - a world of speculations and struggles, of losses and gains. When the parental spirit enters the soul, it is borne into a world before unseen - a world of solicitude, absorbing interests, pains and pleasures, sorrows and joys. When the genuinely religious spirit enters the soul, it enters this higher sphere of human life - the world of brightness and beauty, the world of an "innumerable company of angels, the spirits of just men made Perfect," etc: "And immediately [straightway] I was in the Spirit." "Heaven lies about us in our infancy, and we have only to be in this spirit to realize it. The great Teacher taught that no man can see the kingdom of God, unless he comes into the possession of this spirit. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

CONCLUSION. Search not for an outward heaven, but rather search for that new spirit, that spirit of Christliness, that will let you into the heaven that lies about you and within you. Were the twelve hundred million men that tenant this earth today to come into possession of this spirit, they would arise on the morrow and exclaim, "Behold, a new heaven and a new earth!" Evermore the state of a man's soul determines his universe. The ruling life within him measures out, builds up, and moulds the external. - D.T.

Upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting.

1. Mark, first, that the saints in heaven are represented as "elders," which we take to refer not merely to the office of the eldership as it is exercised among us, but rather to the fulness of growth of believers before the throne. The elders in the Church are those who by reason of years have had their senses exercised; they are not the saplings of the forest, but the well-rooted trees; they are not the blades of corn up-springing, but the full corn in the ear awaiting the reaper's sickle. As to the number — twenty-four. I think, as there were twenty-four courses of Levites, who were porters at the gate of the temple, and twenty-four courses of priests who offered sacrifice, so the number twenty-four is made use of to show that the service of God in His temple is complete, that every part of the Divine service will be taken up, and around that altar which smokes before God eternally there shall be a full complement of those who shall bow before Him, and do Him homage.

2. These elders are said to be around the throne. We suppose, as near as we can catch the thought of John, sitting in a semi-circle, as the Jewish Sanhedrin did around the Prince of Israel. "There is an equality among the saints." There shall not be some near the centre, and others far away on the verge of the wide circumference; but they shall all be near to Christ, all equally His favourites and His friends.

3. The elders are "clothed in white raiment." In this they are an example to us. Perfection we must not hope to see here; but oh, we must aim after it.

4. These elders exercised a priesthood. Indeed, their being clothed in white garments, while it is an emblem of their purity, also represents them as being priests unto God. "Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests." They exercise the office of priesthood, as you perceive, by the double offering of prayer and praise. Let us look up to them as the priests of God, and then ask ourselves, are we celebrating His worship too?

5. They had on their heads crowns of gold. Now let us imitate them in this. "Oh!" say you, "but I cannot wear a crown as they do." Nevertheless, you are a king; for they who are Christ's are kings. Reign over thy sins. Reign over thy passions. Be as a king in the midst of all that would lead thee astray. In the world at large act a king's part. Let your Liberality of spirit be right royal. Let your actions never be mean, sneaking, cowardly, dastardly


1. First of all it is one of humility. "They fall down before Him" (ver. 10). The more holy, the more humble.

2. But as they fall before the throne in humility, you will note that they express their gratitude. It is said they cast their crowns before the throne. They know where they got them from, and they know to whom to ascribe the praise.

3. These elders spent their time in joyous song. "Thou art worthy to take the book."

4. These saints not only offered praise, but prayer.

5. I must not forget, however, here, that these elders before the throne were ready not only for prayer and praise, but for all kinds of service. You remember there was one of them, when John wept, who said, "Weep not." Then there was another of the elders who said to John, for his instruction, "Who are these?" etc. Now those before the throne are willing to comfort the weeper or to instruct the ignorant. Let us do the same I and may it be ours to wipe the tear from many an eye, to chase the darkness of ignorance from many a young heart.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Blazing, Burning, Fire, Flashes, Lamps, Lightning, Lightnings, Peals, Proceed, Rumblings, Seven, Sounds, Spirits, Throne, Thunder, Thunders
1. John sees the throne of God in heaven.
4. The twenty-four elders.
6. The four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
10. The elders lay down their crowns, and worship him who sat on the throne.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 4:5

     1653   numbers, 6-10
     1670   symbols
     4195   spirits
     4838   lightning
     4852   thunder

Revelation 4:1-6

     9411   heaven

Revelation 4:1-11

     1090   God, majesty of

Revelation 4:2-5

     5581   throne

Revelation 4:2-6

     4330   glass

Thou Art Worthy
Eversley, 1869. Chester Cathedral, 1870. Trinity Sunday. Revelation iv. 11. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." I am going to speak to you on a deep matter, the deepest and most important of all matters, and yet I hope to speak simply. I shall say nothing which you cannot understand, if you will attend. I shall say nothing, indeed, which you could not find out for yourselves,
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

The Sea of Glass
(Trinity Sunday.) REVELATION iv. 9, 10, 11. And when those beasts give glory, and honour, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. The Church bids us read
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

The Open Door.
(Trinity Sunday.) REV. iv. 1. "A door was opened in Heaven." When Dante had written his immortal poems on Hell and Purgatory, the people of Italy used to shrink back from him with awe, and whisper, "see the man who has looked upon Hell." To-day we can in fancy look on the face of the beloved Apostle, who saw Heaven opened, and the things which shall be hereafter. We have summed up the great story of the Gospel, and have trodden the path of salvation from Bethlehem to Calvary. We have seen Jesus,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

The Preface.
Courteous Reader,--It floweth more from that observance--not to say honour--which is due to the laws of custom, than from any other motive, that the stationers hold it expedient to salute thee at thy entry into this book, by any commendatory epistle, having sufficient experience, that books are oft inquired after, and rated according to the respect men generally have of the author, rather than from the matter contained therein, especially if the book be divine or serious; upon which ground this treatise
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

More than Heaven
"A throne was set in Heaven, and One sat on the throne."--Rev. iv. 2. C. P. C. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Jesus, Lord, in Whom the Father Tells His heart to me-- Jesus, God Who made the Heavens, Made the earth to be-- Jesus, Lamb of God once offered For the guilt of men, In the Heavens interceding Till Thou come again-- Jesus, once by God abandoned, Smitten, cursed for me, Sentenced at the throne of judgment, Dying on the tree-- Jesus, risen and ascended, On the Father's throne, All the Heaven
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Twelfth Day. The Thrice Holy One.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. Above Him stood the seraphim. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.'--Isa. vi. 1-3. 'And the four living creatures, they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come.'--Rev. iv. 8. It is not only on earth, but in heaven too, that the Holiness of God is His chief and most glorious
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

Imagination in Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. i. "Full of eyes."--Rev. iv. 8. I NEVER see, or hear, or speak, or write the word "imagination" without being arrested and recalled to what Pascal and Butler and Edwards have all said, with such power and with such passion, on the subject of imagination. Pascal--himself all compact of imagination as he is--Pascal sets forth again and again a tremendous indictment against the "deceits" and "deceptions" of the imagination. Butler also, in few but always weighty words,
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

His Holy Covenant
"To remember His Holy Covenant; to grant unto us that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, should serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all our days."-LUKE i. 68-75. WHEN Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, he spoke of God's visiting and redeeming His people, as a remembering of His Holy Covenant. He speaks of what the blessings of that Covenant would be, not in words that had been used before, but in what is manifestly a Divine revelation
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants

The Trisagion Wrongly Explained by Arians. Its True Significance.
And how do the impious men venture to speak folly, as they ought not, being men and unable to find out how to describe even what is on the earth? But why do I say what is on the earth?' Let them tell us their own nature, if they can discover how to investigate their own nature? Rash they are indeed, and self-willed, not trembling to form opinions of things which angels desire to look into (1 Pet. i. 12), who are so far above them, both in nature and in rank. For what is nearer [God] than the Cherubim
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Relation v. Observations on Certain Points of Spirituality.
1. "What is it that distresses thee, little sinner? Am I not thy God? Dost thou not see how ill I am treated here? If thou lovest Me, why art thou not sorry for Me? Daughter, light is very different from darkness. I am faithful; no one will be lost without knowing it. He must be deceiving himself who relies on spiritual sweetnesses; the true safety lies in the witness of a good conscience. [1] But let no one think that of himself he can abide in the light, any more than he can hinder the natural
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus

Some General Uses.
Before we come to speak of some particular cases of deadness, wherein believers are to make use of Christ as the Life, we shall first propose some useful consequences and deductions from what hath been spoken of this life; and, I. The faith of those things, which have been mentioned, would be of great use and advantage to believers; and therefore they should study to have the faith of this truth fixed on their hearts, and a deep impression thereof on their spirits, to the end, that, 1. Be their case
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

The First
refers to Genesis ii., the promise being, "I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. ii. 7). God begins from Himself. The Apocalypse related not only to Israel, but to the earth; and the first promise goes back to Eden and to the "tree of life." The way to that tree was lost: but was "kept" (or preserved) by the cherubim (Gen. iii. 24). These cherubim next appear in connection with the way to the Living One, in the Tabernacle, and are thus linked
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

How Subjects and Prelates are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 5.) Differently to be admonished are subjects and prelates: the former that subjection crush them not, the latter that superior place elate them not: the former that they fail not to fulfil what is commanded them, the latter that they command not more to be fulfilled than is just: the former that they submit humbly, the latter that they preside temperately. For this, which may be understood also figuratively, is said to the former, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: but to
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Life of Mr. Hugh Binning.
There being a great demand for the several books that are printed under Mr. Binning's name, it was judged proper to undertake a new and correct impression of them in one volume. This being done, the publishers were much concerned to have the life of such an useful and eminent minister of Christ written, in justice to his memory, and his great services in the work of the gospel, that it might go along with this impression. We living now at so great distance from the time wherein he made a figure in
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of Deeper Matters, and God's Hidden Judgments which are not to be Inquired Into
"My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly afflicted, and that so highly exalted. These things pass all man's power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation have power to search out the divine judgments. When therefore the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet,
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Mercy of God
The next attribute is God's goodness or mercy. Mercy is the result and effect of God's goodness. Psa 33:5. So then this is the next attribute, God's goodness or mercy. The most learned of the heathens thought they gave their god Jupiter two golden characters when they styled him good and great. Both these meet in God, goodness and greatness, majesty and mercy. God is essentially good in himself and relatively good to us. They are both put together in Psa 119:98. Thou art good, and doest good.' This
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

A Book for Boys and Girls Or, Temporal Things Spritualized.
by John Bunyan, Licensed and entered according to order. London: Printed for, and sold by, R. Tookey, at his Printing House in St. Christopher's Court, in Threadneedle Street, behind the Royal Exchange, 1701. Advertisement by the Editor. Some degree of mystery hangs over these Divine Emblems for children, and many years' diligent researches have not enabled me completely to solve it. That they were written by Bunyan, there cannot be the slightest doubt. 'Manner and matter, too, are all his own.'[1]
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Christian's God
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1; 17:1; Exodus 34:6,7; 20:3-7; Deuteronomy 32:4; 33:27; Isaiah 40:28; 45:21; Psalm 90:2; 145:17; 139:1-12; John 1:1-5; 1:18; 4:23,24; 14:6-11; Matthew 28:19,20; Revelation 4:11; 22:13. WHO IS GOD? How Shall We Think of God?--"Upon the conception that is entertained of God will depend the nature and quality of the religion of any soul or race; and in accordance with the view that is held of God, His nature, His character and His relation to other beings, the spirit
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

Of the Incapacity of an Unregenerate Person for Relishing the Enjoyments of the Heavenly World.
John iii. 3. John iii. 3. --Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. IN order to demonstrate the necessity of regeneration, of which I would fain convince not only your understandings, but your consciences, I am now proving to you, that without it, it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of God; and how weighty a consideration that is I am afterwards to represent. That it is thus impossible, the words in the text do indeed sufficiently prove: but for the further illustration
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

Paul a Pattern of Prayer
TEXT: "If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it."--John 14:14. Jesus testified in no uncertain way concerning prayer, for not alone in this chapter does he speak but in all his messages to his disciples he is seeking to lead them into the place where they may know how to pray. In this fourteenth chapter of John, where he is coming into the shadow of the cross and is speaking to his disciples concerning those things which ought to have the greatest weight with them, the heart of his message
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

Covenanting Enforced by the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals.
To declare emphatically that the people of God are a covenant people, various signs were in sovereignty vouchsafed. The lights in the firmament of heaven were appointed to be for signs, affording direction to the mariner, the husbandman, and others. Miracles wrought on memorable occasions, were constituted signs or tokens of God's universal government. The gracious grant of covenant signs was made in order to proclaim the truth of the existence of God's covenant with his people, to urge the performance
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Death of the Righteous
'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' Phil 1:1I. Paul was a great admirer of Christ. He desired to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified. I Cor 2:2. No medicine like the blood of Christ; and in the text, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' I. For to me to live is Christ. We must understand Paul of a spiritual life. For to me to live is Christ, i.e.' Christ is my life; so Gregory of Nyssa; or thus, my life is made up of Christ. As a wicked man's life is made up of sin,
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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