WHAT CHRISTIANS WILL SEE, DO AND HEAR IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RAPTURE
Revelation -- Chapter 4
To lead pupils to know what they will experience after the Rapture and to look forward to that time.
POINT OF CONTACT
What do you think God's throne will look like in Heaven? What do you think those around it will be like? Who will be God's attendants around the throne? In our lesson today we will find some of the answers to these questions.
Beginning with chapter four, the division of the book concerning the "things which shall be hereafter" are revealed. In this section, the Christians of the Church Age nor the Church is seen in the world. In the first three chapters there were nineteen references to the Church. But, from chapter four on, it is never mentioned and that obviously is because the period of the Great parenthesis is past. After the world's little day is past the Church is mentioned again (Revelation 22:16; John 17:16, John 14:3). After seeing the Church Age, chapter two and three, the scene suddenly shifts to Heaven and there we see the Church. We want to study about the Church in Heaven shortly after the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) and see what Christians see, hear, and do at that time.
I. The Rapture (verses 1 and 2) --The open door speaks of Christ who is the door to Heaven (John 10:9). John (who here pictures Christians living at the end of the Laodicean Age) sees Jesus opening Heaven and inviting him to come up and out of the world before the storms of chapters six through nineteen occur. When this occurs Christians will be drawn like a magnet into Heaven (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-58). Note: A door shuts in and shuts out (II Thessalonians 2:1-11). The trumpet will sound and Christians will hear it.
"Immediately" --The Rapture will be instantaneous. John was in the Spirit. When we are saved that Spirit indwells us (Revelation 3:20; John 14:16-18). When the Holy Spirit completely fills and possesses us we are then in the Spirit. Note: When this occurs we will learn things from God's Word we never saw before. The one on the throne was Jesus (Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16).
II. What Christians will see (verse 3)
A. A Throne (verses 2-6) --Described as The Throne --This will be a magnificent throne, the like of which cannot be adequately described. I am glad God is on His throne and He always will be. Although, Satan seems to be winning today, God is still omnipotent.
B. Jesus upon the Throne (verses 2 and 3) --He was described as like a Jasper and a Sardine stone. The Jasper spoken of in Scripture was a clear, brilliant, transparent stone. The Sardis was a blood-red precious stone much like a ruby. Though the clear Jasper might refer to the purity of God and the Sardine stone to his redemptive purpose, according to the Old Testament these stones had a relationship to the tribes of Israel. Each tribe of Israel had a representative stone and the High Priest had stones representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel on his breast when he functioned in his priestly office before the altar. This symbolized the fact that he as the high priest was representing all twelve tribes before the throne of God.
Significantly, the Jasper and Sardine stones are the first and last of these twelve stones (Exodus 28:17-21). The Jasper represented Reuben, the first of the tribes, since Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob. The Sardine stone represented Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. In other words, the two stones represented the first and last and therefore, may be regarded as including all the other stones in between, that is, the whole of the covenanted people." --Walvoord.
The children of Israel were sinful, defiled and unworthy, but the High Priest ministered daily and continually for their cleansing while he carried their names, each individually, upon his heart. The high Priest in his priestly office was a type of Jesus in His Priestly intercession for us after His Ascension into Heaven.
Note: When we see Jesus we will be reminded of His intercession for us when we were on earth (I John 2:1,2).
Furthermore, the names Reuben and Benjamin have significance. Reuben means "Behold a Son" and speaks of Jesus' first coming when John said, "Behold the Lamb of God." Benjamin means "the son of my right hand" or "the son of my power." It speaks of power and refers to Christ's second coming. The two stones: The Sardine stone referred to Christ's first coming as a sacrifice and the Jasper was a clear stone and spoke of the victory which will be Christ's at His second coming.
(3) A Rainbow like an Emerald --Someone has said the Rainbow will be the most beautiful sight in Heaven for it will remind us that "for us" God's grace will be unending. The Emerald was green denoting eternal freshness and endurance. It was the wedding stone of ancient oriental times and will remind us that we are eternally wedded to Christ.
(4) Twenty-four seats or thrones and twenty-four elders (verse 4) --These represent the saved of all ages. In the Old Testament, the priesthood was represented by twenty-four priests (I Chronicles 24 and 25). This twenty-four represent, it seems, the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles and also the Old Testament and New Testament saints. Only saints could be clothed in white raiment, which speaks of the righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:21,22). The crown of gold refers to the Victor's Crown. The word is Stephanos and was the crown awarded the winning contestant in a game or race. It is not the crown of a ruler or sovereign (Diadem). It was made of gold indicating that the elders had been rewarded for victory accomplished.
We will receive a crown of victory if we are faithful, live cleanly, suffer and sacrifice for the Lord, win souls, and look for His coming.
(5) Seven Lamps of Fire --The lightnings and thunderings are what precede great storms. The Storm is about to break on the earth (chapter 6-19). These lamps are like searchlights which indicate God is fixing by His Holy Spirit to search out all rebellion, uncleanness, and idolatry; however, at this point the Holy Spirit is not hindering sin in the earth. He left the earth with the saints at the Rapture (II Thessalonians 2:1-11).
(6) A Sea of Glass (verse 6) --This placid sea indicates the position of rest to which the church people have come. No longer are they the victims of the storms of life (Matthew 8:26).
(7) The Four Beasts of Living Ones (verses 6 and 7) --These creatures of the highest intelligence are in God's presence (Ezekiel 1:5-20).
a. First living creature was like a lion (Revelation 5:5). He communicates the office of Christ as King --as seen in the Gospel of Matthew. He also depicts God as majestic and omnipotent.
b. Second living creature was like a calf or ox (Deuteronomy 25:4). The ox, the beast of burden and sacrifice, communicates here the office of Christ as Servant --set forth in Mark. It also depicts God as patient and continuously serving us.
c. Third living creature had a face as a man. He communicates the humanity of Christ -- as set forth in Luke. He also depicts God as an intelligent being.
d. Fourth living creature was like a flying eagle (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11,12). He communicates the Deity of Christ as seen in the Gospel of John. The eagle depicts God as Sovereign and Supreme.
III. What Christians will Hear (verses 5-8)
A. Thunderings (verse 5) --The Storm of Judgments is about to break upon the earth.
B. The living creatures praising God (verse 8) --They praise God as being Holy , Sinless, all powerful, eternal, always existing. Note: Those creatures who know God better than any other existing creatures never rest and are continually praising God and showing homage to Him. Oh, how we who have been redeemed ought to be continually doing all we can to show Him our adoration and gratefulness. How can we do this?
IV. What Christians will Do (verses 9-11)
A. The twenty-four elders are a picture it seems of all the saved. Thus, all the saved are seen here worshiping and praising Jesus. Some people here on earth say they are Christians and that they want to go to Heaven but they do not like to go to church worship services. But Heaven is a place of worship. Worship is the activity of Heaven. If they do not like it here, does it seem likely they will like it there?
B. They cast their crowns before the throne indicating that they realize that all they are and have is due to Christ as Creator and Redeemer. Oh, that we would realize this and show our gratitude in this life and not wait until the next world to do it.
Are you saved? If Jesus were to open the door of Heaven today, would you go with God's saints into Heaven? If not, today you should accept Christ and begin living for Him so that you will get a crown of gold in Heaven.
1. How many times is the church mentioned in the first three chapters?
2. Who is the door to Heaven?
3. What significance does the Laodicean Church have to the Rapture? (It will immediately precede the Rapture.)
4. What condition is necessary for one to be "in" the Spirit?
5. Who is sitting on the Throne in Heaven in chapter four?
6. What does a Jasper stone look like?
7. What does a Sardine stone look like?
8. What do these stones teach us about Jesus?
a. He is our intercessor.
b. He came once as a sacrifice and He is coming again in omnipotent power.
9. What will the Rainbow around the Throne remind us of?
10. What does the Emerald denote?
11. The twenty-four elders are representative of whom?
12. The Crown of Gold on the elder's heads refers to the victor's crown or a sovereign's crown?
13. How can we be assured of a victor's crown?
14. What will the Sea of Glass remind us of?
15. The four living creatures were like a __________, __________, ___________, __________.
16. What does the Lion teach us about Christ?
17. What does the ox teach about Christ?
18. What does the man teach us about Christ?
19. What does the eagle teach us about Christ?
10. What will Christians do when they see all of these sights?