Note: Some commentators with logical justification see this Chapter and others as parenthesis, giving an over-view to John in his state "in the Spirit in the Lord's Day", see Rev. 1:10.
These 'overviews' should not be seen as sequential in the view of the writers, but as giving a broad picture of coming events.
V.1 (a)After (b)these things I looked and perceived and behold, a door already opened in Heaven: and the (c)former voice which I heard was as of a trumpet talking with me, which said, (d)Come up hither, and I will show thee what things must come to pass hereafter.
(a) The word in Greek (Meta), in this context means AFTER, always in connection with time.
(b) "This", should be translated "these things". (Most translations after the KJV are so, including the Pshitta translation). Dr. Bullinger refers to Rev. 1:19, which is the directive from Christ to, "Write things which thou hast seen, what things are (i.e. at the time of the visitation), and things which shall be hereafter", which is somewhat similar to Paul’s instruction from Christ, on the Damascus road! It follows therefore, that the corrected 1:19 (are and hereafter) covers the 7 Ecclesia/Churches in time, and also an overlapping of those events and what is about to be shown. There are many teachers (if not most)! that emphatically state that the ones referred to here are all Christians of all Ages (i.e. different times). One of the justifications for that view is the reference in Rev. 4:1, "After these things", i.e. taught as after the seven Churches of Rev. 2 and 3, and implying or stating that at that juncture (i.e. between Chps. 3 and 4) the translation of the Church (the Body of Christ), shall have taken place. This seems to be a majority view. However, the writers at this stage in time (2017) are unsure. To pivot so emphatically on Rev. 4:1 seems extreme and ignores the meanings of Rev. 1:10 (see notes), where "the Day of the Lord" (as opposed to the day of Man's rule) i.e. Jehovah, to the writers seems the most profound pivot point in time, and is repeatedly referred to through-out the Old Testament, as one of the most profound changes on Earth brought about by the Almighty. Also the whole scene is set by Christ before He addresses the 7 Churches, where, predominantly "Overcoming" is a repeated exhortation, and specific time is given to "endure", to Smyrna of 10 days! Whereas, specific times are carefully avoided in general in the New Testament, but time given in "days", generally in Scripture refer to troubled times in the context of Israel!
It is of course not impossible that the Body of Christ is still on Earth at that time, although highly unlikely, for the reasons given; and that "Overcoming", is a later specific to be added to "faith". (See notes on Chp. 7:14(a)). However, as mentioned above and elsewhere, the writers at this stage hold to the view that "the 7 Churches", are specific to the 7 year period yet to be enacted, and particularly the latter half, i.e. 3½ years, of the information given to Daniel by the messenger angel (Dan. Chp. 7 to Chp. 12).
(c) FIRST = FORMER, which was identified as "ALPHA - OMEGA". (See Ezk. 10:5).
Note: The emphasis of this verse is of information about to be given to John, by the Almighty. The door is "already open", which can only mean that the timing is perfect in the plan and administration of Jehovah. The voice is the "former", so the same as Chp. 1 (Christ) etc., and the emphasis also on yet future events to Chps. 1, 2 & 3, although with possible overlap.
(d) John privileged to be in the presence of “The Throne” in Heaven (V.2); showing the importance of his work and writing of Revelation!
V.2 Immediately I came to be in (a)the power of the Spirit: and behold, (b)a throne was set in Heaven, and (c)One sitting (d)on the throne.
(a) Rev. 1:10, 17:3 & 21:10.
(b) Denoting that rule from Heaven about to begin, Psm. 110: 103:19, 11:4-6 & Dan. 7:9-10; etc.
(c) Alpha - Omega, The Almighty. John here in the highly honoured position, of being propelled into the presence of the Speaker, Jehovah.
(d) (Comp. App. 104 IX 3), shows an emphasis from Heaven to Earth, denoting the Jehovah Zebaoth state, (God of all the Earth, dealing with the Earth and inhabitants).
The Title Jehovah Zebaoth means Jehovah of Hosts, and is translated in the KJV "Lord of Hosts". This standardised mistranslation does not give the reader the knowledge and sense of whom Almighty God is addressing!
Clarity is given in App. 98 and 4, Comp. Bible. This undoubtedly can be misleading and confusing for the reader of Scripture, as it does not help to differentiate or clarify near term prophecy to long term prophecy, related to Israel. Because of Dr. Christian David Ginsgburg's notes entrusted to Dr. Bullinger for the OT work of the Companion Bible, the differentiation is made easy due to the margin notes.
Dr. Bullinger makes the important and valid point that it is important to see the difference between "A Day of the Lord" and "The Day of the Lord", as the first is near term (even if counted in years), and the second is referring to the culmination for Israel, the Nations, and the world as per Revelation 1:10, and is usually translated in KJV as The Lord of Hosts. This means that when reading O.T. and N.T. that does not give the precise Jehovah Title, as is now common in translations due to following the practice of translators from "Textus Receptus" onwards; the difference between near fulfilment and long term fulfilment as stated above cannot be defined.
The Companion Bible eases this problem in the margin notes, and in the Appendix's.
V.3 And He that sat was to look upon (perceived) like a (a)jasper and sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
(a) Jasper; a varied quartz stone, it was one of the 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel, on the breast plate of the Jewish high priest regalia Ex. 28:18-21, first worn by Aaron. Jasper represents the tribe of Judah in Revelation. Similarly, Sardine as one of the breastplate stones, representing Manassah in Revelation, but originally Reuben in Exodus. Whether or not the reference here to Jasper and Sardine has significance to the two tribes mentioned, it is remarkable that Jasper = Judah and the "Lion of the tribe of Judah", (Rev. 5:5) is yet to save His people Israel, and Sardine = Manasseh, whose father Joseph saved his people from famine, prior to their becoming a Nation on Earth. If this approach to the stones mentioned has veracity, the types of Joseph and Jesus, as first victims, and latterly powerful rulers, may be represented here; and in essence forecasting the power of Christ Jesus, in the Millennial.
V.4 And round about the throne were (a)four and twenty thrones: and on the thrones four and twenty (b)elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and on their heads (c)crowns of gold.
(a) "Four and twenty"; in Scripture 12 or its multiple always denotes Governmental perfection in Heaven and Earth. As on Earth perfect Government has never existed, the message is clear here, that as in Heaven (see the Lord's prayer, "as it is in Heaven") so next on Earth also (2 x 12), which is to be by CHRIST and the FATHER in JERUSALEM, and their Name One, Zech. 14:9!
From there the world's Nations will be ruled strictly by Christ. The Jews and their land will expand to the borders promised and declared by Jehovah to Abraham and the patriarchs, in Gen. 15:18 & 17:8.
(b) These are clearly elevated Heavenly beings forming a council, and entrusted by the Almighty with Governance. A clue may be King David's council (1Chron. 23 & 24), where the 24 Levites are chosen for the Governance of the Sanctuary and the Temple in the Earthly residence of Jehovah for Israel's physical closeness to Him.
These were selected by David, but to serve under Solomon, as David was close to death. Solomon's reign and Temple was the high point of ISRAEL'S Earthly Kingdom, and has never again been so magnificent. It was also the high point of Jewish human Kingship, and from then on came only ruin and failure, due to their infidelity and rebellion.
The current resurgence of ISRAEL since 1948, is only the human prelude to re-adoption by Jehovah (AMMI) (Hosea 1 & 2), and the council session starting in V.4, is to show the beginning of that process, and the eventual enthroning of Christ in Jerusalem; at His Glorious Return, and saving and re-instatement of Israel (Jeshuron).
(c) Clearly indicates their status and suitability, as only Christ is the other wearer (Rev. 14:14). "They are the rulers and governors of Heaven's worship". (Quote by Dr. E.W. Bullinger).
V.5 And out of the throne proceed lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were (a)seven lamps of (b)fire burning before the throne, which are the (c)seven Spirits of (d)God.
(a) The number 7 occurs 54 times in Revelation. There are 21 (7 x 3) different numbers in the book (Comp. App. 197). "Seven lamps", see Zech. 4:2.
(b) Clearly "Divine fire"; denoting Divine preparation and enabling for service, action, absolute effect, awaiting the direction from the Almighty to proceed. (See: Zech 4:3-14). Probably the source also of all “fire” used in Judgement, and process for worship etc. (See the two sons of Aaron, Lev. 10).
(c) "Seven Spirits", = Angels or Spirit beings (Comp. App. 101 II 11). These are called "The", i.e. with the definite article, which gives special status to these seven angels. (7 denotes "Spiritual perfection", App. 10).
(d) "God"; = The Almighty.
V.6 And before the throne (a)as it were a glassy sea liked to crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, (b)four living ones / Creatures (c)full of eyes before and behind.
(a) Rev. 15:2 refers probably to the same "sea"; and Rev. 15:3 underlines the Jewish context by reference to Moses, and The Lamb, in the context of Rev. 7:14. See also Ezk. 1:22.
(b) Four Living Creatures"; (Zoa), (Greek Zoon, Str. 2226, "a live thing", "an animal", "beast, these are clearly God serving creatures"). The word "beast" in Chp. 13 & 17, is Str. 2342 mean "dangerous, wild, venomous beast". (The beasts of Rev. 13 & 17, and the powers of Zech. 1:17-21, and in Daniel and elsewhere in O.T., probably have correlation as powers of the Gentiles used by Jehovah to punish and scatter Israel and Judah, for their sin and unfaithfulness).
These in verse 6 are the cherubim’s of Gen. 3:24, Ezk. 1:5-14 & 10:20. They are distinguished from Angels, 5:8-11. They (the Zoa) are mentioned after the Fall, also as above in Ezekiel, and here in Revelation. They speak of Creation, and of Redemption (Comp. page 1889). Being four in number, they pertain to the Earth and material Creation. They are clearly special servants of the Almighty, and in each description in Scripture are functioning for the Almighty in relationship to His firm actions with the Earth / Israel.
The remarkable fact is that the previous mention in Scripture of these creatures (Ezk. 1:10) (Cherubim), is when Jehovah God is about to depart from the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezk. 9:3, 10:14, 10:18 & 11:23), because of the unremitting sin of Israel, (Ezk. 3:7, and many other references). Here, the Zoa are mentioned at a critical point prior to, the saving of the remnant of Israel, and probably/possibly, just prior to, or overlapping with Jehovah Zebaoth’s dealing in wrath with the nations of the Earth, (Matt. 24, and many other references). The setting up of the Millennial Kingdom is subsequent to those events.
(c) Always seeing, watching, for record and divine timing! (See also Ezk. 10:12).
V.7 (a)And the first beast (Zoa) was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf/ox, and the third beast having a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
(a) It may be significant that of the four representations, "man", "calf", "lion", and "eagle", two may represent Israel / man's failure, (Old Testament) and two the remedy (New Testament), i.e., "man" = fallen Israel / mankind, "calf" = idolatry and unfaithfulness. "Lion" = "Lion of the tribe of Judah" = Christ. "Eagle" = strength given by faith to mankind (Isa. 40:31), and (Matt. 24:28). “Lion” in Scripture often speaks of strength (Samson), (Lion of the tribe of Judah, i.e. Christ), calf/ox, speaks of idolatry against Jehovah God, “eagle”, the symbol of Roman Empire and also of modern day Iraq (Babylonia)! Only time will reveal the actual meanings.
It is notable that among Ancient Assyrian sculptures are men with eagle's heads, and lions and winged bulls with human heads, (Commentary on Revelation, pg. 225, Dr. Bullinger). Also the great Sphinx of Egypt is apparently a lion with a human head. This latter is considered by some scholars to be much older than the Pyramids, and to be a pointer (the face between the paws looks towards the rising sun, and certain stars), to the precession of the Equinox's. It is considered that all of these last mentioned, were for pagan worship. It is well known that the priests of Helliopolis (just east of the Pyramids), used the datum gaze of the Sphinx to calculate auspicious times for their ceremonial related to Isis and Horus (sun mother and child) which later became the mother and child of the Roman Church; by adoption by Constantine!
However, as we are about to enter in later Chapters the undoing of the damage inflicted on Israel and the Earth, by Nations under the control of Satan, the record in Zech. 1:18-21 is probably significant, as these four Zoa are clearly in anti-thesis to Satan and in support of Israel / Earth! As all the Nations and Empires that have affected Israel negatively are embodied in the Nebuchadnezzar's dream, interpreted by Daniel in Dan. 2, and also the visions of Dan. 7 & 8, the references there to various animals and “a man” (Dan. 7:4) are very possibly related to the descriptions, "man, calf, lion, eagle", given to the Zoon.
Note added 6/2/07: It is almost certainly of special significance that the four beasts (Zoa), with "Lion", "Ox", "Man" and "Eagle" descriptions; are related to four of the Tribes of Israel, in the Book of Numbers! In Numbers Chp. 3 the Tribes are given their positions of encampment around the Tabernacle, north, south, east and west of the Tabernacle, when they came to rest. In the direct centre of the north encampment was the tribe of Dan (Eagle). In the centre of the west was the tribe of Ephraim (Ox). In the centre of the east the tribe of Judah (Lion). In the centre of the south Reuben (Man). At that stage, Israel was poised to take the "Promised Land", and had not disobeyed Moses and Jehovah in that effort; so here augers Israel’s re-adoption to “Ammi”.
In Rev. Chp. 5, the Lamb of God (Christ) is in the centre of the four Zoa, and is the only Only Worthy to open the Seals of the "Scrolls"!
Because of the history of these four tribes, they probably have special place in the following events which relate to the rescue of Israel, and God's Judgement of the Nations of the world.
V.8 And the four Zoa had each of them (a)six wings about him; and are full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night saying, (b)"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and is, and is to come".
(a) Denotes the "human number", (Comp. App. 10). However 6 x 4 = 24 therefore = 2 x 12, and 12 denotes "Governmental Perfection", (Comp. App. 10). If the comments in V.7 have any veracity, the two beasts representing the fallen state, and the two the Salvation of the Almighty, cancel out in the 12s, into "Governmental perfection", yet future.
However, the later comment in verse 7 in 2007 probably has significance for the imminent saving of the remnant Israel, and their entering into the Millennium Kingdom.
(b) God's holiness and therefore absolute justifiable correctness, proclaimed, prior to judgement, (Comp.).
V.9 And (a)when the Zoa shall give glory and honour and thanks to Him the one sitting on the throne, Who liveth for ever and ever.
(a) Stating the yet future event.
V.10 (a)The four and twenty elders shall fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and shall worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their (b)crowns before the throne saying.
(a) These elders probably are the Heavenly equivalent of the Priestly divisions set up by King David by the command (1Chron. 24:3-5) of Jehovah. They are almost certainly not, as often supposed representing the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, plus the 12 Apostles of the Gospels. The context is Jewish and here is the Heavenly equivalent of 1 Chron. 24. (Commentary on Revelation, Dr. Bullinger, pages 217 – 220).
(b) Because of the teaching over many hundreds of years of Rev. 1:6 as applying to Christians and not to the Jewish Nation, (see comment there) and the correct translation being "Kingdom of Priests unto God and His Father", the comment regarding the "crowns" applies to Jews and not to Christians.
V.11 (a)"Thou art worthy, our Lord and our God, (b)to receive the glory and the honour and the power for thou didst create all things, and by Thy Will they were created".
(a) This stupendous statement underlines absolutely the ultimate and absolute power of God the Father, also reiterating that "only His Will enables Creation", despite all the machinations to the contrary by Satan and humankind. This act and fact of Creation can only be for eventual perfect state, as shown in Revelation.
(b) Psalms 92 to 101.
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