The Throne of God
The throne of God was shown to John in Revelation 4 and 5. John saw events in heaven, in the very throne room of the universe. Did God just dream up something for John to see in heaven so that he would want to be there or was there perhaps a bigger purpose? Could it be that John witnessed an actual event that happened in heaven near the throne of God (even if it was a replay of a past event)? What point in salvation history would that scene correspond to? Let's take a look.
Chapter 4 is basically a description of the setting. In chapter 5, a book is immediately introduced and no one is found worthy to open the book.
"And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." (Rev 5:3)
Considering that just two verses later someone was found (verse 5) why bother to mention it? Why not just start the scene after Jesus appears and save John the suspense and sorrow? And one could ask: How is it that there was any concern - didn't heaven know that Jesus was worthy and that He was soon to arrive? It could be that this description is included to bring emphasis on the fact that only He could open the book. It is much like the passage in Psalm 24 which sounds like it is speaking of the return of Jesus to heaven:
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory." (Psa 24:7-10)
The question "Who is this King of glory?" is not asked out of ignorance but as part of a ceremonial welcoming.
Logically, including the "no man was found worthy" scene was to emphasize the unique role that Jesus carried out and what He had done in fulfillment of that role. John was reacting to the situation with great sorrow when, in the midst of his weeping, Jesus arrived to approach the throne of God. Particularly, notice the emphasis on how Jesus is described:
John was seeing Jesus, not an actual lamb. References to the sacrificial animal were to emphasize the sacrifice so recently completed. It seems most probable that this was the point at which Jesus first returned to heaven after His resurrection, after successfully completing His mission to planet Earth. We know that there were people raised with Him who were subsequently taken to heaven:
"And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matt 27:53)
"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." (Eph 4:8)
Take note that the 24 elders were already present around the throne of God (Rev 4:4) before Jesus arrived. So how could they be those raised at His resurrection? We have already seen in part one that the 24 elders are different group than those raised from the graves.
There is good reason for the new song sung in verses 9-10 as Jesus has just - very recently - been slain and has arrived in heaven with those raised with Him at His resurrection - representatives of people who will be saved throughout the earth. This would be the antitype or fulfillment of the wave sheaf or first fruits offering. For more on the timing of the wave sheaf offering in relation to the resurrection see Jesus resurrection.
The song of praise now includes reference to Jesus having redeemed men from the earth because He has just returned to heaven with them to present them before the throne of God. Jesus has now become the representative of planet Earth or what has been called the second or last Adam.
"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." (1 Cor 15:45)
At this point, Jesus is the new representative of planet Earth - Satan was cast down from that position at the cross. He can no longer represent the Earth in heavenly councils which is also why he is not depicted as being present in this scene at the throne of God in heaven. Jesus connected Satan's fall from heaven with the cross:
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:31-32)
We started this study, this series of four pages, asking about the identity of the 24 elders that were first introduced in Revelation 4. It seems that they are sons of God and not angels, that they are representatives of other worlds that have been invited for the reception (depicted in Revelation 5) of Jesus after His mission to planet Earth. The throne of God scene in Revelation 5 appears to be depicting the return of Jesus to heaven after His resurrection. It includes His reception by all in heaven including the representatives of other worlds who are waiting for planet Earth - this one lost sheep of a planet - to be brought back into the fold.
The lyrics of the popular hymn Rock of Ages include the words: "I'll soar to worlds unknown."
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