Revelation 4: The Throne of God

Revelation 4

Jesus has just given the letters to the messengers of the seven churches, and now John is summoned.

“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this,” John heard.

Accepting the angel’s invitation, John stepped through the open door. Instantly he found himself in the Spirit, before the throne of God.

The scene is described in my book ‘The End, the Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse’;

God sat on a massive throne in the midst of some kind of electrical storm, His presence generating so much power that the air cracked with flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. A rainbow shining like an emerald encircled the throne, while seven lamps blazed in front of it.  The throne overlooked a crystal clear sea of glass.

Kingly men dressed in white, wearing crowns of gold sat on thrones surrounding God. They were the twenty-four elders and they totally worshipped him.

In the centre, around the throne were four living creatures. They were covered with eyes, front and back, even under their wings. The first living creature was like a lion, the second an ox, the third had a face like a man and the fourth was like an eagle.  Each had six wings.

They worship God as much as the elders.

The seven lamps blazing in front of the throne are the seven spirits of God, the angels that sent their greetings in the first chapter (Rev 1:4). Jesus explains who they are in Rev 1:20. We know they’re before the throne of God but we only get to see them in their symbolic form. They’re messengers.

The twenty-four elders are men, the first to be made kings and priests to God, and they shall reign on the earth. They’ll play a part in the events that unfold.

The Cherubim

The four beings with different faces and six wings are Cherubim, a rank of angels. After the fall of man, Cherubim were posted to guard the Tree of Life.

As well as being guards, the Cherubim are used by God for travel; Psalm 18:9-10.

The prophet Ezekiel described them as having human hands under their wings. Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 10:14

John saw them with a face and Ezekiel saw then with four faces.

They struggled to explain what they saw as their vision was off world and in a different dimension.

Cherubim

If our pets could describe us getting into our cars, what would they say? I can just imagine it! “The humans got into a beast with round legs that moved without walking. It made strange noises and had smoke coming from its tail. It had four eyes, the top two were bigger than the bottom two. And it blinked orange while the eyes flashed white.”

Now imagine if the pets were two dimensional beings trying to describe it, they’d have no concept of width! How would they explain that? It’s the same with John and Ezekiel trying to describe the throne of God.

Signs and Symbols

It’s possible the four living creatures were represented by the lead tribes in Israel’s desert wandering.

Each of the twelve tribes bore a sign on its standard when they were travelling through the wilderness; Numbers 2:2

Four tribes were camped around the tabernacle at the cardinal points with two tribes behind them, forming a square. East was Judah-The Lion (Leo), West was Ephraim-The Bull (Taurus), South was Reuben-The Man (Aquarius) and North was Dan-The Serpent replaced by an Eagle (Scorpio).

The four great signs which thus marked the four sides of the camp, and the four quarters of the Zodiac, are the same four which form the Cherubim (the Eagle, the Scorpion’s enemy, being substituted for the Scorpion / Serpent).

The Witness of the Stars, EW Bullinger

Bullinger believes that if you match the blessings of Jacob and Moses with the signs the connection will be clearly seen. I don’t know, it’s only a two out of four from me as I’m not too sure about Reuben or Dan. Here are the relevant verses. You decide.

Perhaps the four living creatures represent God’s creation.

The number four is an earth number – there are four seasons, four points of the compass, four phases of the moon, four winds, four sides of a square, four elements (earth, wind, fire and water) and four corners of the earth.

If only we could ask the earth, ask the beasts.

Once you start noticing the four, you’ll notice it everywhere. The twenty-four elders are a multiple of four (four times six, the number of man), and this is the fourth chapter of Revelation.

Getting back to John, here’s a clip and an anointed song by the band Kutless.


Notes

Isaiah saw Seraphim, another rank of angels. You can read more about the Cherubim and Seraphim in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 and Isaiah chapter 6.

Related post

Through the Word: the Twelve tribes and Jacob’s blessing

Heavenly creatures

Revelation 1:1, What does 8,88,888, and 8888 Signify?

Revelation 1

Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 1:2) and the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev 19:10)

There’s a blessing for those who read, hear and keep the words of the prophecy. You can’t just read the book, you have to hear and keep the words. Who better to explain it than the author? He has the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2

The first verse of Revelation begins with Jesus and God. God wants to show His servants things that must happen at the time of the end and he gave the Revelation to Jesus, to give to John through an angel.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, Revelation 1:1

Did you notice that Jesus not only sent it, he signified it? How does one signify something? In years past, a letter would be sealed with hot wax and the seal imprinted with the person’s signet ring.

There’s an example of this in the Book of Esther, chapter 8 verse 8. Note the eights.

You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” Esther 8:8

8

The Bible does have some significant numbers. Six is the number of man and seven is the number of God. We always hear about 666 when it comes to the Book of Revelation, but never 888. The number eight is Jesus’ number.

In Greek, the name of Jesus is spelled I H S O U S. Each Greek letter has a numerical value and so if we then take each letter in Jesus’ name and add them up, the total comes to 888.

I H S O U S (Jesus) = 10 + 8 + 200 + 70 + 400 + 200 = 888.

NameGreek letterValue
Iiota10
Heta8
Ssigma200
Oomicron70
Uupsilon400
Ssigma200
TOTAL888
Above: The name of Jesus in Greek, I H S O U S

8 is the same, up or down.

Sideways it’s the symbol of infinity, represented by an 8 laid down.

Eight is the number of resurrection and the resurrection is the eighth ‘great sign’ recorded in John’s Gospel.

God has left us with some signs to see. Here is a cosmic wonder from heaven; the Infinity Symbol discovered at the heart of the Milky Way in 2011, and a thing of beauty from the earth – a butterfly called “Anna’s 88.” Butterflies are used as a symbol of new life and the resurrection.

Jesus is referred to as the ‘Son of Man’ 88 times in the New Testament.

The Book of Revelation has Jesus’ number stamped on it. There are 22 chapters of 404 verses, and 22 multiplied by 404 equals 8888.

Signed, sealed, signified and delivered – that’s his book.

We’re not used to seeing Jesus as a king, but we will be soon.

Judah’s signet and cord

Judah and Tamar were ancestors of Jesus Christ. The royal line began with Judah;

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Genesis 49:10

In Genesis 38 Judah gave Tamar his signet and cord, and staff as a pledge before he lay with her. When confronted she produced them asking, “Please determine whose these are—the signet and cord, and staff,” Genesis 38:25. It was an awkward question for Judah but not for God. Whose signet was it? The message is there in a hidden equidistant letter sequence which spells out “God encoded, God is truth.”

Related post: Through the Word: Tamar

Jesus as King

Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua. The meaning of the name Jesus is ‘Yah Will Save, Yah Saves.’ Salvation is to be found under no other name.

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

God said through the prophet Isaiah;

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
Isaiah 45:22-23

Every knee will bow before Jesus.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11

Related post:The Great Sign in Heaven.’

Links

The name Jesus: Summary

Anna’s 88

Is the butterfly with 88 on it’s wings a sign, or a coincidence?

Jesus brought to the temple after his eighth day and greeted by a prophetess named Anna, a widow in her 80’s.

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:21-24 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Luke 2:36-38 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;  and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.  And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The LORD’s signet ring

Ancient kings used signet rings to designate authority, honor, or ownership. A signet contained an emblem unique to the king. Official documents were sealed with a dollop of soft wax impressed with the king’s signet, usually kept on a ring on his finger. Such a seal certified the document as genuine, much like a notary public’s stamp today. In 1 Kings 21:8, the evil Queen Jezebel took King Ahab’s signet ring and “wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal.” The ring’s stamp gave her letters the king’s authority. In Daniel 6:17, a signet ring was used to seal a stone covering a lions’ den: “A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” A royal signet ring is also featured in Genesis 41:41-43 and Esther 8:8.

Got Questions: What does it mean that Zerubbabel was the LORD’s signet ring (Haggai 2:23)?

Birds sing hymns and crickets form choirs

Did you know birds, insects and fish form choirs?  Ask the animals, how great is God?

Birds

Songbirds ‘sing from hymn sheet’

Crickets

God’s Cricket Chorus 

When the song of the crickets is recorded and slowed down, they sing in perfect harmony like an angelic choir. The song pattern of each cricket species is stored in its genes. The sound has a four-part harmony.

They even have an area on the wings known as the harp. A cricket song is distinct for each species and when you get to know them, you can tell how many different species of crickets there are in an area simply by listening.

Fish

Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” 
Job 12:7-10

“Every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. Psalm 50:11

Humans, Home Free – How Great Thou Art


Links

The song pattern of each cricket species is stored In its genes.  The songs are thus clues to the links among genetic information, development, the organization of the nervous system and behavior.

Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/author/david-bentley/

House cricket: https://crawford.tardigrade.net/bugs/BugofMonth31.html


Heavenly creatures

Do you believe there are animals in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Let’s imagine we can have a peek in the Kingdom from the Bible. 

Here’s the throne of God, with a floor of sapphire, and encircled by an emerald rainbow.
In front of the throne on what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.” Revelation 4:6

Covered with eyes?  I can’t really picture it.  The creatures described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 aren’t like anything we have on earth.

Perhaps God has tried to show us with the peacock!

peacock-new-zealand_10933_990x742

These creatures are in the midst of the throne so we can see that God has his companion creatures, just as we do.

The living creatures are of four types, and of four in number.  Four is the “earth number,” for they have something to do with the earth.

The creatures on earth wait in hope for the children of God to be revealed.  “They wait in eager expectation for children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19.

Animals have a soul.  God had given his creatures breath, “ruach”, a soul – just as man has been given breath, a soul.  “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

Does God care about our animals?  I’d say yes, for he writes that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). He cares about us all.

He knows if even a sparrow falls.  He watches over them.  Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  Matthew 10:29

job-12-10-cat-550x320

The animals belong to God, and he knows each one.  “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  Psalms 50:10-11

It says in Revelation 4:11 that God created all things, and they were created for his pleasure.

Although the creatures are God’s, God placed them under Adam’s dominion.  After the fall of man, all creation suffered when the Earth came under a curse.

Job, the oldest book in the Bible deals with suffering.  Job spoke of the life of the creatures and the breath of all mankind being in God’s hand.  He said, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”  Job 12:7-10

Cat in arms of JesusThe creatures can’t tell us, but they have this hope of being released from suffering. They’re looking forward to the day when they can join us in the new Kingdom, where there will be no more death or suffering.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:19-22

Adam named the creatures.  When Adam, or mankind is restored, all creation will be restored along with man.  They will be brought into a world where they can live as God intended.

The wolf will live with the lamb, 
the leopard will lie down with the goat, 
the calf and the lion and the yearling 
together; 
and a little child will lead them.  
Isaiah 11:6

If you’ve lost a pet, I hope this comforts you.  It is okay to grieve for your animal, God understands.  There is a rest for the creature, for from God are all things, and to God are all things.  Worthy Of It All – David Brymer (David Elango acoustic cover)

Cat & Psalm 23


Good Godwit

Bar-tailedGodwitIt’s spring here in the southern hemisphere.  September heralds the arrival of the Godwit.  These small birds have flown all the way from Siberia to New Zealand – non-stop.  That’s 11,700 kilometres (around 7000 miles).  They’re the bird world’s long distance champions.  

The name Godwit originates in Old English with god meaning good, and wit coming from wihte, meaning creature.  God is good, and so is his creation.  Here the Godwits are at the beach where I live, having a well deserved rest behind the Heron.

Godwits Terns Gulls and Heron resting Snells Beach 2013

Godwits Terns Gulls and Heron resting at Snells Beach, NZ

I walk, run and pray along this beach in the early mornings before work, doing about 5kms per day.  When I first started in January, I got tired very quickly, and I started losing weight.  I’ve lost 8kgs so far.  When I see these guys just in from Siberia, I realise I don’t know what tired is!  They teach me a lesson about endurance.

Do you get tired, do you get weary?  I want to give you a word of encouragement;
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-3

The race of faith

Patient-EnduranceHold fast to what you have, and run.  Run your race of faith, holding on to that which has been given to you.  All I know is we need to run our race, shake off the sin that so easily entangles, and keep the faith.

tiredBut we need to know what we’re running for.  I hate that scene in Forres Gump where Forres is running, and people have been inspired to join him – but he’s running for no reason and then stops, with no explanation!  That’s no good.

Enjoy this quick video.  It’s an ad but it says it all. Can God speak through a wordly ad?  I think so.  Instead of a starters gun, there’s a shofar.  Rosh Hashanah is when the shofar (ram’s horn) or trumpet is sounded.  For Israel, the Days of awe which have just ended are a call for repentance.  Just as the shofar called the Jewish nation to turn their attention to the Lord and ready themselves for the Day of Atonement, so will the “trump of God” call us to heaven and warn the world of coming judgement.

It’s interesting that strange sounds like trumpet blasts have been emanating from the skies since 2011.  Is God trying to get our attention?

We are in the “times of the signs”, as Chuck Misler calls it.

“When I return, will I find faith?” Jesus asked, after telling the parable about the persistent widow who never gave up on her petitions.  (Luke 18)  Let’s just fix our eyes on him, the author and finisher of our salvation, and let’s run the race of faith.  And remember the Godwits.

The Need for Self-Discipline

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

Hearts and Flamingos

A lot of people have trouble with dating and courtship.  Even Solomon, the wisest King in the Bible, said it’s a thing he did not understand.

There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maiden.”  Proverbs 30:19

Its interesting that Solomon should include an eagle, serpent, and ship in his observation about courtship.  What do they all have in common , besides being familiar sights to him?  Let’s see.  Flying. Sliding. Sailing. Courting.  I guess its all about the moves.

flamingo-heart_2277679k

A flock of Caribbean flamingos in Yucatan, Mexico, form the shape of a heart while feeding on a lake.

Pink Flamingos have the moves when it comes to courting.   God sends us signs, and I found this picture of a heart on The Telegraph website.  What might He want to tell us about the Flamingo?

They do a really cute dance.  I like the way they’ve been designed to bust out the moves.  How is it they know what to do, and we don’t?

Here is a link for a short movie clip about the Flamingos in Celestun, Mexico.  The people there know to protect the Flamingos – because it’s part of their heritage.  I wish we had the wisdom to teach our children about courtship and protect the marriage covenant in our own societies.

What kind of moves do men and women make when it comes to courting these days?  Courting is out of fashion isn’t it?  I knew it as ‘dating’ and my daughter calls it ‘hooking up’.  What is courting?  What are the rules, etiquette, and social mores?  I know its not what we see portrayed on TV and the films.  It’s not even close.  If children don’t see it from Mum and Dad, how are flamingosthey supposed to learn?  The media is the wrong place to learn about courtship.  When it comes to the world, eveything goes.  Now my children are trying to find their way through the same maze, and it’s grown even worse now that there’s all sorts of immoral stuff being passed into law.

What’s God’s pattern for courtship and marriage?  Right from the start, He designed marriage to be between one man and one woman.  The Old Testament kings and patriachs had plural wives, but this would have been a result of sin – not His perfect design.

God inspired Solomon to write that a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12.  He, being the third strand.  It makes all the difference.  God designed marriage so a man and woman could become one, and from that union, produce a family.  He also uses marriage to strengthen families where the father or mother is missing.  Listen, God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.  Psalm 68:6.

Chapter 69 The Courtship tells the story about the courtship that began with the man God found for me.  I’d been a rebellious one living in a sun scorched land, before I came to trust the Lord and accept His pattern for marriage.  My husband had been a lonely guy, waiting for the wife the Lord had promised.  I am so glad that God chose him for me.  It’s better to dance to God’s tune.

I found a couple of good links about courtship here:

 

The Butterfly Effect

The Lord I follow wants us to die to self, while the world wants us to live for self.  Why is that?  I believe its because we are created for a reason, to be saved and then transformed into the son or daughter of God. 

But our fallen, natural self wants to be the one in charge and will fight His will.  Why should we allow ourselves to be saved and transformed?

Does the Lord have a story to tell us about this?  His word states that “through Him all things were created”, so it would be entirely possible for Him to leave some parables in nature for us to find.

His word calls it ‘being understood through what has been made’ (For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made … Romans 1:20).

Learn the lesson of the caterpillar.

What the caterpillar calls end of world, the master calls a butterfly

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

If you can think of some other parables from nature I’d like to hear them.