REVELATION chapter 4: The Glorified Church In Heaven

REVELATION chapter 4: The Glorified Church In Heaven

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Sermon 5: The Glorified Church In Heaven  Revelation 4:1-11

[Author’s Note: A study of any subject only truly begins when one understands  what the subject is about. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is about who He fully is.  Fortunately, this is made clear at the beginning of the book. Revelation 1:1 tells us  it is a bio that God gave Jesus for Him to share with His followers. The material  draws heavily on the public domain lectures of Joseph Seiss.

The book is structured as a series of sermons I prepared for the congregation of  Christ followers at Crossroads Community Cathedral in East Hartford, CT. with the  intent of bringing a practical literal approach to the presentation. The book has  450 +/- pages with 32 chapters. This is a sample of Chapter Five.

The book will be available in printed 6×9 paperback on February 15. It is useful for  study or teaching/preaching. A study guide for each chapter is being prepared and  will be available in PDF form on the following web site when completed. For book  preorders go to .]

Chapter 5 – The Glorified Church in Heaven 

We generally think of Jesus and remember His birth. And we remember the Cross. We look back  and see Him as the suffering Savior. Jesus is that, but He is so much more. So God gave His Son a  gift. We read about it in the text. Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave  unto Him, to shew unto His servants.”

      For many it is a difficult book. It is difficult because we do not understand what it is about.  The gift God gives to His Son is the revealing of who The Son fully is in all His glory. Chapter 4  reveals Jesus and His glorified Church in Heaven. John is caught up into Heaven and sees saints  after they are caught up from the earth.

      What is it like in heaven with those faithful who have been “taken or caught up” and  miraculously removed from the world in the towering cloud? Later it will be revealed other  visitations upon those not “accounted worthy to escape all these things”1[1]. That group have  been left behind. This is prophetically foretold in some of the Old Testament writings.

Isaiah 26:20-21 ESV Come my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind  you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the  earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain. 

The Church in heaven has escaped the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world.2  What is  Jesus Christ to them? It is the next great scene which may now be expected any day.  What is it  like in heaven with the faithful who have been “taken or caught up” through death?  We say at  the gravesite, “This person is not here, he (or she) is with the Lord.  A mass gathering of instantly  transformed bodies will occur with a summons from the skies.  This is the information that John  is passing on to us.

Revelation 4:1 After these things, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.  And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up  here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 

Notice, there is a door standing open in heaven.  John was going to go through that door. He  wouldn’t be the first to do so. And he wouldn’t be the last.  My dad and mom have passed through  that door.  My wife’s dad and mom has gone through it also.  Many in your local Church have  loved ones who have already passed through that open door.

      The open door has received untold multitudes that have left this world and entered into the  next.  It is through that open door that Christ will keep His promise to take His followers “out of  the hour of trial.” It is through that open door that those who watch and pray will “escape” the  sorrows that the present world will face in its coming years.  Bodies that rest in their graves, shall  be recalled from the grave.  Those who are living will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the  trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain  shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus,  we shall always be with the Lord. 

John heard a voice like a trumpet saying, “Come up here.”  We will one day hear that same voice.  And we will see Him as He is.

Revelation 4:2 “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in Heaven, and  One sat on the throne.” 

      The scene of this vision is in Heaven.  It is not in a “temple.”  The door was opened “in  Heaven.”  A voice commanded John to “come up,” and the power behind the voice made it  happen.  “Immediately,” John was “in the Spirit.”  It was an instantaneous rapture.  In the blink of an eye John moved from the earthly region to the supernal region.3  It was “otherworldly” not  earthly.  The whole scene is heavenly.

      Where it is exactly, we do not know.  Is it another dimension? Perhaps. But one thing is  certain.  The location where John went was not earth.  It was beyond earth.  It was unconnected  from the earth.

      Was he literally, physically transported there?  We do not know.  Perhaps John felt like Paul  who could not tell whether he was “in the body, or out of the body”.4  But his presence there was  the same to him as a physical transportation.  He was not dead.  He had all his senses about Him.  He was not floating on a cloud somewhere.

      I remember when I was a boy hearing my sister crying.  I asked my mother why she was crying.  My sister had heard about Heaven and was afraid to go there because she was fearful that she  would fall through a cloud.  But Heaven is not like that.  John’s ears heard.  His eyes saw.  His  heart felt.  He had the capacity to weep and to speak.  Those are some things that indicate what  heaven will be like.  John was not taken there to see what Heaven is like.  He was taken there to  see “the things which must take place after” the church age has run its course.

      Soon, there will be an end of the church age as we know it.  Scripture here indicates that the  “end” is very near.  But it is not here yet.  So, what John sees now is still future.  When the present  church age comes to its end the first action will be a miraculous seizing away of all saints.  A  “rapture” will take all the faithful on earth in the clouds into Heaven.

      But first, a Revelation of Jesus Christ unfolds in chapters 4 and 5.  Before a seal can be broken.  Before trumpets of judgment can be blown.  Before vials of affliction can be poured out.  Jesus  must be revealed to be the ultimate glory and power.  The Revelation of The Christ is shown to  John in these chapters.  At the center of John’s vision is a throne.

Revelation 4:2 “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in Heaven, and  One sat on the throne.” 

The throne itself is not described.  The focus is on the throne “being set.”  John beheld a “throne  set in Heaven.”  A similar phrase is found in Daniel, chapter 7.  “I watched till thrones were put in  place…” (Daniel 7:9)  Something is being prepared.  Something awesome is about to take place.  Scholars believe that the word “set” indicates something being completed at the moment of his  looking.

3 Merriam-Webster definition: Heavenly, being or coming from on high, located in or belonging to the sky. Others say celestial or  high above.

4 2 Corinthians 12:3


      There is no name mentioned.  But it is not difficult to understand Who is meant.  The throne  contained the un-nameable, indescribable Godhead.  There was a visible manifestation of the  Trinity.

Revelation 4:3 He who sat there had the appearance of jasper and sardius, and around  the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 

The color emanating from Him who sat there was flashing brilliancy.  It is the color of Royalty.   The purple hue of jasper mixed with the bright, red carnation color of sardius.  They combined to  produce flashes of light and the appearance of flames without smokiness.  A rainbow encircled  the throne.  It is a token of God’s covenant.  Genesis tells of God’s promise to never again destroy  the earth or its inhabitants as in the flood.5  The rainbow around the throne intimates that it is a  throne of judgment but not destruction.  Its prevailing color is light green.  Some writers see that  as an indication that the earth will be changed in some positive way in the new “makeover.”

Revelation 4:4 “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones, I saw  twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their  heads.” 

There was more than one throne.  The throne of Deity was in the center.  But other regal “seats”  of majesty and dominion where there also.  They are not occupied by angelic beings. They are  occupied by human beings.  They are not disembodied spirits of the saints.  They are the glorified  subjects of grace.  They are enthroned.  They are crowned.  They are robed in white.  They are  there before the throne as eye witnesses to what is being prepared.

      They are elders.  They are the seniors of the celestial assembly.  Not with respect to the  number of their years on earth.  It is with respect to the time of their admission into Heaven.  They have had their resurrection, or their translation.  They are crowned and officiating as kings  and priests in glory.  John saw only twenty-four of them.  But these were the representatives of  many others.

      There were many Priests and Levites from the old covenant there.  The number of those who  “were to look after the work of the house of the Lord” was twenty-four thousand.6  They were  arranged in 24 divisions.7  Twenty-four were on the job at one time.  There were also many who  were appointed to praise God with instruments of song.8  They too were arranged in 24 courses  with individual representatives.

5 Genesis 9:11 & 17

6 1 Chronicles 23:4

7 1 Chronicles 24:3-5  8 1 Chronicles 25

      These, of Old Testament period, were God directed divisions and schedules, not human  administration.  They were meant to be types and patterns of things to come.9  The New  Testament indicates that these things were copies of things in Heaven and copies of the true.

      We see twenty-four thrones which represent thousands upon thousands of the same high  and privileged class. You and I will be there. We will be gathered around the throne.  We will be  partakers of Heavenly dominion.  We will be kings of glory with golden crowns.  We will be  settled, at home in our exalted dignities.  We won’t be standing and waiting as servants.  We will  be seated, “with Christ” around the throne. (Ephesians 2:6)

Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also  overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” 

We will be the assessors with the great Judge of the quick and dead.10  We will be spectators of  everything that happens in Heaven and earth. We will be participants in the judgment of the  world for its sins, the judgment of the Church for its apostasies, the judgment of Babylon for her  impurities, the judgement of the antichrist for his blasphemies, and the judgment of the Devil for  all his wickedness during all the time on earth.

These Elders represent the house of the Redeemed.  As such, the whole earth will obey us and  all ages will acknowledge us.  Revelation 2:26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until  the end, to him I will give power over the nations.”  John’s draws our attention back to the throne.

Revelation 4:5 “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices…” 

The Old Testament helps us understand this imagery. They indicate that the throne is one of  judgment and later wrath that is about to proceed from it. Previously, God’s judgment was  poured out on Egypt. Before it happened, God sent thunder and voices and hail, and fire that ran  along and upon the ground. Pharaoh asked Moses to talk to God and do something so there  would be “no more voices of God.”11

      At the mountain of God Israel saw God’s anger expressed with thunders and lightings and a  thick cloud and the voice of an exceeding loud trumpet.12  The Lord thundered upon the  Philistines and they were “smitten” or overcome.13

9 Hebrews 9:9,23-24

10 Means the “living” and the dead. The Quick and the Dead is an English phrase originating in William Tyndale’s English  translation of the New Testament (1526), “I testifie therfore before god and before the lorde Iesu Christ which shall iudge quicke  and deed at his aperynge in his kyngdom” [2 Tim 4:1], [1] and used by Thomas Cranmer his translation of the Nicene Creed and  Apostles’ Creed for the first Book of Common Prayer (1540). [2] In the following century the idiom was referenced both by  Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1603) and the King James Bible (1611).

11 Exodus 9:23, 28

12 Exodus 19:16

13 1 Samuel 7:10

      When Israel demanded a king, Samuel said, “I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder  and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in  the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord  sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the  people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we  have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.” (1 Sa 12:17-19)  As John stands  in heaven, he watches a future time when the day of grace will turn to the Day of His Great Wrath.

Revelation 4:5 Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven  Spirits of God. 

These are not candlesticks for light.  They are torches indicating readiness for battle.  Gideon  went into battle with his three hundred men.  Each had a burning torch in his left hand. They  cried, “Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”14  Nahum’s prophetic announcement of God’s wrath  upon Nineveh is described as displaying “flaming torches in the day of His preparation”15.

      These burning lamps of fire reveal the Holy Spirit in a different way than we have seen Him.  The Spirit that descended on Jesus was a dove.  But here, the Spirit is in all His plenitude. We see  His fullness manifested in “seven Spirits of God.”  Isaiah the prophet helps us see this aspect of  the Holy Spirit.  Isaiah 4:3-4 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in  Jerusalem will be called holy — everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When  the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem  from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.

      It is not a peaceful light.  It is flaming indignation.  “The Light” is ready to produce the day  described by the prophet Malachi.  Malachi 4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an  oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall  burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, …

      This throne speaks vengeance upon the guilty. The spirit of the throne is the Spirit of God.

2 Samuel 22:9 “Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals  were kindled by it.” 

Isaiah 30:30 “The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of  His arm, With the indignation of His anger And the flame of a devouring fire,…” 

Look at Revelation 4:6 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal…” 

14 Judges 7:16, 20  15 Nahum 2:3

When Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel went up to the Lord at Sinai  they saw “the God of Israel” and under His feet was a clear pavement of sapphire stone.16 Ezekiel  1:22 pictures it as the color of crystal.  John noticed this base, this pavement.  Heaven is not a  world of mists and shadows.  It is not a world of sterile whiteness.  It is a world of substance and  beauty.  There are the four living creatures there.

Revelation 4:6-8 “And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living  creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the  second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the  fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8The four living creatures, each having six  wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or” night, saying:  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 

What are we to understand by these?  Scripture gives us some clues.  They must be human  beings.  They sing the same song which the elders sing.17  They give praise to the Lamb for having  died for them and for redeeming them by His blood out of every tribe and tongue and people  and nation.  The early fathers and some of the later fathers took them to be the four Evangelists.  But the “Evangelists” were all Jews.  These are from all tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations.

      There are many other “ideas” as to who they are.  But perhaps in the Old Testament we find  an explanation.  The Old Testament tells us that on the high priest’s breastplate was a specific- colored stone that represented the standard of each tribe of Israel.  On each was worked a  particular figure.  A lion for Judah.  A young ox for Ephraim.  A man for Reuben.  And eagle for  Dan. These four were the representative tribes.  All the rest were organized under these four  standards.  You can read about this in Numbers chapter 2.

      Judah was on the east with Issachar and Zebulon. Reuben was on the south with Simeon and  Gad. Ephraim was on the west with Manasseh and Benjamin. Dan was on the north with Asher  and Naphtali. In the center was the tabernacle of God with four divisions of Levites encamped  around it. This is how Israel marched through the wilderness. They went with the four banners  of the lion, the young ox, the man, and the flying eagle.  These were their ensigns, their guards,  their coverings, the symbols of power.  God set this up.  It was under this administration that He  led them from bondage, preserved them in the wilderness, and finally brought them into the  promised land.  The Old Testament gives us the earthly, outward manifestation. John, and Ezekiel  in chapter 1, see the Heavenly aspect.18

      The cherub covers and guards.  Cherubim were placed at the east of the garden “to keep the  way of the tree of life”.19  Ezekiel sees these protectors and keepers and above the firmament,  there was the likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone and the likeness as the  appearance of a man above upon it.

16 Exodus 24:10-11

17 Revelation 5:8-10

18 And Ezekiel in his chapter 1  19 Genesis 3:24

      Under the throne and connected with the throne was “the likeness of four living creatures”  who “ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning”20. There was movement of  complicated wheels, dreadful rings, full of eyes. It was through them that the Spirit of the throne  moved wherever it wanted.  These creatures had the same banners.

      When there were no human beings but Adam and Eve, there were cherubim, doing service  in the Garden of Eden.  When there were no human beings glorified, as when Ezekiel saw them,  they were angelic beings.  But that was the ancient order.  In the scene that John shows us, these  “living ones” are redeemed people.  They are glorified.  They are related to the judgment-throne  in Heaven and to the interests and affairs of the future kingdom on earth.

      They have been found worthy to attain the resurrection from the dead.  They will never die  anymore.  They are equal to (or like) angels and they are sons of God.21

      Ezekiel saw only four. But there are many more.  Psalm 68:17 refers to the chariots of God as  representing “twenty thousand, even many thousands of angels.”  These four are representative  of thousands of glorified saints, a mighty army of the Lord.  All together they make up the  redeemed.

Revelation 4:9-11 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him  who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before  Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their  crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and  power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” 

This is a war council of all war councils. It is centered around the throne. The redeemed of all  time are looking on.  This mighty army of the Lord is alive and it is about to serve as God’s  ministers and executors of His will.  They are full of eyes which indicates intense intelligence.  They look backward into the past and forward into the future.  They never rest. They have no  need of rest.  They have been transformed.  They have been glorified.  They will eternally express  the holiness and glory of their Lord God Almighty.  The time has come for the fulfillment of justice.  As it says in Ezekiel 7:2-11 (selected portions)

Ezekiel 7:2-11 (selected portions) 2“’An end! The end has come upon the four corners of  the land.” 3Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will  judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 7Doom  has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, A day of trouble is near…  9… then you shall know that I am the Lord who strikes. 10 ‘Behold, the day! Behold, it has 

come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, Pride has budded. 11Violence has risen  up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, none of their multitude, none of  them; Nor shall there be wailing for them. 

20 Ezekiel 1:5, 14, 26  21 Luke 20:35-36

The court has been set.  The day of God’s wrath is about to dawn. But first, there is one detail  that must not be overlooked. And that is to find someone worthy to open the seals. Someone  worthy must be found who is qualified to declare guilt and dispense justice. Justice is about to  proceed from the throne.  But first, conclusive evidence of guilt must be established by a Faithful  Witness.22

      I bring this to a close. Let me focus practically upon these scenes with elders and living  creatures and thrones and lights and rainbows and worship and streets of clear crystal.

Primary Truth: These are dignities and glories to which you and I, and all who hear the  Gospel are called and invited. 

As we focus our eye on this heavenly splendor, and as we contemplate celestial royalty and  priesthoods, and as we ponder the glory of God and His Son; I ask you if you are ready to meet  Him?  If not, are you willing to cast away your opportunity to obtain them?

      I cannot put conscience to rest on this. If you turn away from Him, you have no hope for  clemency.  If you turn a deaf ear, you will not be among the redeemed.  You will be among the  rejected.  Are you willing to allow this world’s fleeting vanities and damning sins to possess you?   Are they a comparison to these immortal and eternal regencies?  Are you willing to be missing  from this group who is selected to govern and reign with Christ?

      I am earnest in my appeal when I say each should examine himself.  I stand as a messenger  of God, ordained to deal with holy things pertaining to your salvation.  If I do not warn you I am  held accountable.  If I do not tell you the truth of the Gospel, then you will never believe and be  saved.  Let me invite you to settle the issue with God.  Let Him anchor your soul.  In the light of  His greatness and grace, it is worthy to consider letting go of friends, and pleasures, and comforts,  and home, and country, and freedom, and everything… rather than let the promise of the prize  of eternal life slip through your hands.

      Let me open the altars for people to come.  Let me invite you to come and bow before Him  and ask forgiveness. Come and honor Him as your Savior and soon coming King.  May God bless  you and comfort you is my prayer.

22 More about that in Revelation, chapter 5.


  • Reply February 6, 2023


    this is GREAT Brett Dobbs Neil Steven Lawrence THANK YOU Terry Wiles

  • Reply February 6, 2023


    I was in the process of copying and pasting sections of the piece along with some opposing thoughts and questions. And there was even some good references about the 24 elders and tying that in with some Old Testament passages. But then I get to the part where Terry Wiles says that the 4 living creatures are in fact, glorified human beings. Then I thought, “you know what, I’m not even going to bother on this one”.

    • Reply February 6, 2023


      Brett Dobbs Troy Day

      Asking questions is good and proper and will receive a respectful response.

      However none was ask.

      It would be interesting to have a discussion verses guns loaded criticism.

      (Psalms 1:1,2)

    • Reply February 6, 2023


      Terry Wiles okay then I must ask.

      Revelation 4:6-11 (KJV) 6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

      When the 4 living creatures gave their thanks, then the 24 elders fall down and worship. And even if they’re all singing the same song. How exactly do you come to the conclusion that the 4 living creatures are human beings?

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      Brett Dobbs

      Thanks Brother. I will respond. You ask a very good question. I am traveling and only have my phone. I will do my best to give you a response sometime tomorrow. Blessings.

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      interesting Brett Dobbs 🙂 Will you be interested if we repost your 7-points of defense or however they were on the website so they can reach more ppl and we can all discuss them 1 by 1? THANKS

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      Troy Day absolutely.

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      Troy Day let me read over them one more time and make sure I don’t have any typos.

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      Brett Dobbs ОК make your corrections and PM me the word file MEANWHILE this book by Terry Wiles is JUST great Neil Steven Lawrence Michael Chauncey NO surprise 99% of our postribbers are scared to comment on it Like John Mushenhouse told me today – lots of Pentecostal nubs in the group not knowing elementary Pentecostal things 🙂

    • Reply February 7, 2023


      Troy Day okay I’m done proof texting. I typed it out in my phone notes and then copied and pasted. I’ll see if I can put it in a file.

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