Today’s reading: Rev 4
There is a lot of great symbolism in today’s reading. First, we see a reappearance of the rainbow, a reference back to the story of Noah
And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Rev 4:3
The reappearance of the rainbow shows that God keeps his original promise to Noah that he shall not again destroy the earth. As we continue to see in Revelation the earth will suffer great devastation during the final days but it will not be totally destroyed. Ultimately, a new heaven and a new earth will be created.
Next, we see that there are twenty-four elders seated around the throne of God:
Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Rev 4:4
It is generally accepted that twenty-four represents the joining of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles. This shows that both covenants will be represented in heaven. Notice, they wear white robes. Elsewhere, white robes are identified as the good works one did in their life. They also wear crowns. This shows that they have a higher level of honor and have authority and confirms that authority was transferred from the Old Covenant to the New.
Then we see four unique creatures:
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. Rev 4:6-7
Traditionally, these are considered to be the four evangelists, Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John – respectively.
I particularly like the next verse:
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:9-11
If you have ever seen a Catholic Bishop say Mass you will see that he takes his mitre on and off during the Mass. That is because of this passage. Whenever the Bishop performs acts of worship at Mass he removes the mitre because of this passage. Notice, also the verse says, “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne…”. This implies that the worship is perpetual and the action is repeated over and over. So these elders have crowns but they throw them down but God returns the crowns to the elders who again worship God and thrown down the crowns. There is a lot of meaning in these actions. The elders have authority but they worship God and submit that authority to him. God in turn perpetually grants that authority back to the elders. In addition, this action resembles the eternal love and knowledge shared between the persons of the Holy Trinity.
Tomorrow: Rev 5