Archive for 4.1-11

Ten verses in Revelation 4 that allude to the OT

In Revelation 4.1 a voice from heaven tells John, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

  • In Exodus 19.20 and 19.24 God calls Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai to receive a revelation.
  • In Daniel 2.28-29 and 2.45 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that God has revealed to the king what will take place after this / in later days.

In Revelation 4.2 John sees a throne in heaven, and sees the one seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

In Revelation 4.3, the one John sees seated on the throne looks like jasper and carnelian, and there is a rainbow around his throne.

  • In Ezekiel 1.26-28 Ezekiel sees a throne of sapphire, and the one seated on the throne  looks like gleaming metal, and there is a brightness around the throne that resembles a rainbow.

In Revelation 4.4 John sees 24 elders around the throne.

  • Isaiah 24.23 says that God reigns in Jerusalem and that his glory will be in the presence of his elders.

In Revelation 4.5 John sees lightning and thunder coming from the throne, and seven burning torches.

  • In Exodus 19.16 there is lightning and thunder ion the mountain when God appears at Mount Sinai.
  • In the Septuagint (Greek) text of Esther 1.1 there is apparently a parallel with Revelation 4.5, but I could not find it when I consulted the NRSV of Greek Esther 1.
  • In Ezekiel 1.13 Ezekiel sees a vision of the throne of God, and lightning pours forth from the living creatures there.
  • In Zechariah 4.2 Zechariah sees a golden lampstand with seven burning lamps on it.

In Revelation 4.6-7 John sees a sea of crystal around the throne, and four living creatures. One creature is like a lion, one is like an ox, one is like a human, and the last is like an eagle.

  • In Ezekiel 1.5-10 Ezekiel sees four living creatures. Each has four faces: a face like a human, a face like a lion, a face like an ox, and a face like an eagle.
  • In Ezekiel 1.22 Ezekiel sees an sheet of crystal over the heads of the living creatures.
  • In Ezekiel 10.14 the creatures have four faces as before, but now the faces are like a cherub, a human, a lion and an eagle.

In Revelation 4.8 the four living creatures have six wings and are covered with eyes. They sing “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

  • In Exodus 3.14 God reveals that his name is “I am who I am”.
  • In Isaiah 6.2-3 Isaiah sees seraphim with six wings who sing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”
  • In Isaiah 41.4 God says “I the Lord, the first; with the last, I am he.”
  • In Ezekiel 1.18 and 10.12 the living creatures Ezekiel sees are covered with eyes.
  • In Amos 3.13 and 4.13, God is described as the Lord, God, the God of hosts.

In Revelation 4.9 is a second reference to the one seated on the throne. He is described as one who ‘lives forever and ever’.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.
  • In Daniel 4.34, 6.26 and 12.7 God is described as the one who lives forever, the one whose kingdom will never be destroyed, and whose dominion will never end.

In Revelation 4.10 is the third reference to the one seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

Source: The Greek New Testament (UBS, 4th edition), compared with the Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament feature in Logos Bible Software version 4.

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An “inventory” of Revelation 4

Imagery and symbols (‘this is that’ or ‘this is like that’)

  • Voice like a trumpet (Rev. 4.1)
  • appearance of jasper and carnelian (Rev. 4.3)
  • A rainbow, resembling an emerald (Rev. 4.3)
  • seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4.5)
  • sea of glass, clear as crystal (Rev. 4.6)
  • 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. (Rev. 4.7)

Names for God

  • the Spirit (Rev. 4.2)
  • One sitting on the throne (Rev. 4.2, 4.3)
  • the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4.5) / God
  • the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come (Rev. 4.8)
  • him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever (Rev. 4.9, 4.10)
  • our Lord and God (Rev. 4.11)

Cast of characters

  • the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet (Rev. 4.1)
  • twenty-four elders (Rev. 4.4, 4.10)
  • four living creatures (Rev. 4.6-9)
  • All things (Rev. 4.11)

Literary elements

  • Hymns (Rev. 4.8, 4.11)
  • Action and dialogue (Rev. 4.1-2, 4.8-11)
  • Description of people and things (Rev. 4.3-8)
  • Reasons (Rev. 4.11)
  • After this I looked, and there before me (Rev. 4.1)
  • I was in the Spirit (Rev. 4.2)
  • there before me (Rev. 4.2)
  • What John hears (Rev. 4.1b)
  • What John sees (Rev. 4.1a, 4.2-11)

Visual elements

  • a door standing open in heaven (Rev. 4.1)
  • what must take place after this (Rev. 4.1)
  • The throne (Rev. 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.9, 4.10)
  • Jewels (Rev. 4.3)
  • Rainbows (Rev. 4.3)
  • White clothing (Rev. 4.4)
  • Crowns (Rev. 4.4, 4.10)
  • Lamps (Rev. 4.5)
  • Lightning, rumbling, thunder (Rev. 4.5)
  • Sea of glass (Rev. 4.6)
  • Eyes (Rev. 4.6, 4.8)
  • Lion (Rev. 4.7)
  • Ox (Rev. 4.7)
  • Eagle (Rev. 4.7)
  • Wings (Rev. 4.8)
  • Day and night (Rev. 4.8)

Themes and theology

  • God (Rev. 4.2, 4.3)
  • God as king (Rev. 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.9, 4.10)
  • The Holy Spirit (Rev. 4.2, 4.5)
  • God’s beauty and glory (Rev. 4.3)
  • Worship (Rev. 4.8-11)
  • God’s holiness (Rev. 4.8)
  • God’s power (Rev. 4.8)
  • God as past, present, future (Rev. 4.8, 4.9, 4.10)
  • Glory, honor (Rev. 4.9, 4.11)
  • Thanks (Rev. 4.9)
  • Worthiness (Rev. 4.11)
  • Creation (Rev. 4.6-9, 4.11)
  • Possibly omniscience and omnipresence (Rev. 4.6, 4.8)

Source: author’s personal study

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The structure of Revelation 4

John is taken up to heaven (Rev. 4.1-2a)

John sees an open door (1a)

The trumpet-like voice invites John to heaven (1b)

John is suddenly in the Spirit (2a)

John describes what he sees in heaven (Rev. 4.2b-11)

Description of the One seated on the throne (2b-3)

Description of the 24 elders (4)

Description of the area around the throne (5-6a)

Cosmic phenomena (5a)

Torches (5b)

A sea of glass (6a)

Description of the four living creatures (6b-8a)

Location and initial description (6b)

Description of the first living creature (like a lion) (7a)

Description of the second living creature (like an ox) (7b)

Description of the third living creature (like a human being) (7c)

Description of the fourth living craeture (like an eagle) (7d)

General description (8a)

Description of the heavenly worship (8b-11)

The praise of the living creatures (8b)

The praise response of the 24 elders (9-11)

Prostrating themselves (9-10a)

Laying down their crowns (10b)

Singing a hymn (11)

Source: author’s personal study

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