Reading through Revelation – Chapter 4, From earth to Heaven!


Tyndale Bible

A Tyndale Bible, Bodleian Library, Steve Bennett (stevage)


Revelation 4 

GNV

4 1 Another vision containing the glory of God’s Majesty:  3 which is magnified of the four beasts, 10 and the four and twenty Elders.

After this I looked, and behold, a door was open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be done hereafter.

And immediately I was ravished in the spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.

And he that sat, was to look upon, like unto a Jasper stone, and a sardine, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald.

And round about the throne were  four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and had on their heads crowns of gold.

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

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.

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.

And the four beasts had each one of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they ceased not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and which is, and which is to come.

And when those beasts gave glory, and honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, which liveth forever and ever,

10 The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy will’s sake they are, and have been created.


Thoughts

Worthy are You, O Lord!


Commentary

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

4:1-8 After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches the things that are, there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God’s awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.

4:9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.


Greek

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Verse 3 

To look upon (ορασειhorasei). Locative case of ορασιςhorasis old word (from οραωhoraō to see) for appearance (in appearance) as in Ezekiel 1:5, Ezekiel 1:26.

Like a jasper stone (ομοιος ιασπιδιhomoios iaspidi). Associative-instrumental case of ιασπιςiaspis old word (Persian), used for stones of different colors, one opaque like opal, one translucent (Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:18, possibly here, only N.T. examples), one a red or yellow stone (Isaiah 54:12). Some even take it for the diamond. Certainly not our cheap modern jasper. A sardius (σαρδιωιsardiōi). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 21:20. The carnelian or other red stone, derived from Sardis (Pliny). Rainbow (ιριςiris). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 10:1. From Ezekiel 1:28. An emerald (σμαραγδινωιsmaragdinōi). Adjective (from σμαραγδοςsmaragdos Revelation 21:19), of emerald (supply λιτωιlithōi), in associative instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios John sees no form for God (Exodus 24:10), but only the brilliant flashing gems. “In the vision the flashing lustre of the ιασπιςiaspis and the fiery red of the σαρδsard are relieved by the halo (ιριςiris) of emerald which encircled the Throne” (Swete). A complete circle.


Historic NWS Collection - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Image ID wea00133 - Photo credit: Ralph F. Kresge

Historic NWS Collection – Fort Lauderdale – Image ID wea00133 – Ralph F. Kresge

File:Emerald.png

Uncut emerald showing hexagonal structu

Jasper pebble – notice the tiny  rainbow in the spot of reflected light!

File:Picture Jasper.jpg

Picture jasper from Bruneau, ID, held in the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, photo by Chris857

 

Sardine

“The Hebrew odem (also translated sardius), the first stone in the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red stone, probably sard but perhaps red jasper.” (Wikipedia, Carnelian)

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Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Heck cattle – photo: Eva Hejda

See the source image

Face of a man
Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador, 1927-1956

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Captive Golden Eagle in flight in the UK – Tony Hisgett


 

 

 

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Reading through Revelation, Chapter 2:1-7 – Ephesus



Revelation 2:1-7

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

1 John is commanded to write those things which the Lord knew necessary to the Churches of Ephesus.

Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write, These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, and walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear with them which are evil, and hast examined them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.

And thou wast burdened, and hast patience, and for my Name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works: or else I will come against thee shortly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou amend.

But this thou hast that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Let him that hath an ear hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches: To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.


my two cents 

What does it mean to “have left thy first love”? This has puzzled and convicted me. To ‘have left’ is an action that was taken. Is it to abandon our initial all-consuming love for the Lord, His Word, and fellowship with other Christians? These go together, brethren. Please correct me, if correction is needed! 


Most Christians probably wonder who the Nicolaitans were, so to better understand them, I’ve included two helps: one from Matthew Henry’s Commentary at Biblegateway.com, and the other from Bible Study Tools: 

The Nicolaitans were a loose sect who sheltered themselves under the name of Christianity. They held hateful doctrines, and they were guilty of hateful deeds, hateful to Christ and to all true Christians; and it is mentioned to the praise of the church of Ephesus that they had a just zeal and abhorrence of those wicked doctrines and practices. An indifference of spirit between truth and error, good and evil, may be called charity and meekness, but it is not pleasing to Christ. Our Saviour subjoins [appends] this kind commendation to his severe threatening, to make the advice more effectual.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary at Bible Study Tools:

Nicolaitans (followers of Nicolas), a sect mentioned in (Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:15) whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in (Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29). The teachers of the Church branded them with a name which expressed their true character. The men who did and taught such things were followers of Balaam. (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11) They, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. In a time of persecution, when the eating or not eating of things sacrificed to idols was more than ever a crucial test of faithfulness, they persuaded men more than ever that was a thing indifferent. (Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:14) This was bad enough, but there was a yet worse evil. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church. And all this was done, it must be remembered not simply as an indulgence of appetite: but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, (2 Peter 2:1) It confirms the view which has been taken of their character to find that stress is laid in the first instance on the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans. To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church that otherwise is weak and faithless. (Revelation 2:6) To tolerate them is well nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. (Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:15)

EPHESUS (Ephesos, “desirable”) was one of the two most important cities of Asia Minor, Smyrna being the other.

Street scene at the archeological exacavations at Ephesus. Ephesus (Ancient Greek Ἔφεσος, Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city on the west coast of Anatolia, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.Street scene at the archeological excavations at Ephesus.


Reading through Revelation, Chapter 1:9-20

 



Revelation 1

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

1 12 Then the mystery of the seven Candlesticks and stars, 20 is expounded.

I John even your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the witnessing of Jesus Christ.

10 And I was ravished in spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as it had been of a trumpet,

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, that first and that last: and that which thou seest write in a book, and send it unto the seven Churches which are in Asia, unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12 Then I turned back to see the voice that spake with me: and when I was turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks,

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and hairs were white as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,

15 And his feet like unto fine brass burning as in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and his face shone as the sun shineth in his strength.

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead: then he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not: I am that first and that last,

18 And am alive, but I was dead: and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen: and I have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write these things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall come hereafter.

20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks, is this, The seven stars are the Angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the seven Churches.

Chiliomodi island in Patmos, Greece, photo by Waldviertler


 

Reading through Revelation, Chapter 1:1-8


Revelation 1

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

2 He declareth what kind of doctrine is here handled, 8 even his that is the beginning and ending.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly be done: which he sent, and showed by his Angel unto his servant John,

Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

John to the seven Churches which are in Asia, Grace be with you, and peace from him, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his Throne,

And from Jesus Christ which is that  faithful witness, and that first begotten of the dead, and that Prince of the Kings of the earth, unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood,

And made us Kings and Priests unto God even his Father, to him, I say, be glory, and dominion for evermore, Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him: yea, even they which pierced him through: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail before him, Even so, Amen.

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, even the Almighty.


Geneva BIBLE

Photo: Hi540, Wikipedia


 

For Catholic readers and subscribers: the finished work of the Lord

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The Gospel of John, chapter 19

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Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar.

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.

And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathæa, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

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