What else did the Apostle John see while he was caught up into Heaven, after seeing Jesus Christ in His glorified state? Our main text for this study is found in Revelation 4:2-4
The Most High God; The Father of Jesus Christ Revealed
Verse 2-3 “behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”
This is none other than God, The Most High; The Father of Jesus Christ sitting on the throne of Heaven. Because in chapter one, we covered the details of what Jesus Christ looks like and He was not described, in any way, as the One who sits on the throne.
When the Apostle John was taken up into Heaven in the spirit, He saw Jesus Christ standing in the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks, not sitting on a throne: Revelation 1:12-16 (Jesus Christ Is The Worlds Real Messiah),
But here, God is shrouded in His own glory concealing Himself, where John cannot see the face of God. Because as you read on in this chapter, John never mentions he saw the face of the One who sits on the throne.
This is an important detail to prove John’s authenticity of His experience. Because Moses longed to see the glory of God Most High. But God told Moses in,
Exodus 33:20 Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.
Of course, God Himself would conceal His true identity from John, lest he would see His face and die. And would never come back to earth again.
And that would defeat the whole purpose of showing him things to come beyond his days, not to mention what Jesus Christ instructed John to do afterwards,
Revelation 1:11 I Am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What 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.
Also, when you read on in Revelation 5, The One that sat on the throne had a book with seven seals. The Lamb (Jesus Christ) took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne.
So, this cannot be Jesus Christ on the throne, because He cannot stand beside Himself. He cannot be two separate beings in the same place, at the same time.
One, standing among the seven golden candlesticks; talking to John (Revelation 1:10-20), and being also the One sitting on the throne at the same time, in the same room.
This among multitudes of Scriptures throughout the Holy Bible disproves “the oneness apostolic; Jesus only movement doctrine” that claims, Jesus Christ is God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost.
And while we are on this subject, you may be asking yourself what other Scriptures prove this movement to be false?
Another perfect example is, Jesus Christ’s water baptism, disproves “the oneness apostolic; Jesus only movement.” While proving the “Holy Trinity Doctrine” to be Biblically correct; what some call, “The Trinitarian Doctrine.”
Matthew 3:13-17 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him:
And lo a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I Am well pleased.
So first off, we see Jesus Christ physically present on earth to be baptized by John the Baptist, to fulfil all God His Fathers righteousness.
Then, when Jesus Christ came up out of the water, the heavens opened, and then we saw the physical appearance of the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Jesus Christ.
And after all that, a physical voice “from Heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I Am well pleased.”
If Jesus Christ is the Father and the Son, then how is it possible a voice was heard from Heaven, while Jesus Christ was physically standing in the water on earth?
If Jesus Christ is the Son (Son of God) and the Holy Ghost, Then how is He again on earth and descending from Heaven at the same time?
Or, how about when Jesus Christ was dying on the cross as a living sacrifice for the remission for sins. If Jesus Christ is God the Father, and the Son and Holy Ghost, then why did He say at the ninth hour,
Matthew 27:46 My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
Was He talking to Himself, asking Himself why He has forsaken Himself? It sounds silly doesn’t it? Yet people have bought into this kind of unbiblical nonsense that Jesus Christ is God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost without thought.
“He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.”
According to Matthew Henry’s “Commentary On The Whole Bible”, gives us great spiritual insight about Gods’ glorious form, as John saw and wrote about.
“The Jasper is a transparent stone, which yet offers to the eye a variety of the most vivid colours, signifying the glorious perfections of God; the sardine-stone is red, signifying the justice of God, that essential attribute of which He never divests Himself in favour of any, but gloriously exerts it in the government of the world, and especially of the church, through our Lord Jesus Christ. This attribute is displayed in pardoning as well as in punishing, in saving as well as in destroying sinners.”Matthew Henry’s Commentary On The Whole Bible, Vol. VI; pg. 1138
Now notice in this commentary, “The Jasper is a transparent stone.” If you remember back in a past study in: Revelation 1:12-16 (Jesus Christ Is The World’s Real Messiah) in the section subtitled: ‘His Body,’ it reads,
“Daniel specifically describes the body of Jesus Christ to be the color of Beryl, “His body also was like the beryl”
Beryl can be found in a few places all over the world in various colors, such as: Yellow, Aquamarine, Emerald, red and also colorless https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/beryl depending on the type of impurities found in the mineral of beryl.
Pure beryl on the other hand is colorless, which really stood out to me. Colorless Beryl is transparent as like crystal and pure just as Jesus Christ is pure; holy; undefiled; without sin and worldly impurities of all types and shadows. Perfect in every way:
Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Pure beryl is transparent, Just as Jesus Christ is. He has nothing to hide as it is also written about Him in,
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
So as also God His Father is, holy, pure, perfect in every way, without any variableness, neither shadow of turning. Once again, as the true saying goes, “Like Father, Like Son!
Verse 3 “and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald”
We see a rainbow surrounding the throne in a complete circle. The rainbow consists of 7 colors that the human eye can see.
The number 7 in the Hebrew culture represents absolute perfection; without flaw and completion meaning completely finished.
Why perfection? It is God’s number and He is perfect in every way. Why completion? This belief goes all the way back to the creation period of Genesis 1.
Where God Most High and Jesus Christ completed all work in 6 days. So, by the seventh day, all work was completed as is written in
Genesis 2:1-2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God (Elohim) ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
The rainbow also represents covenant. How so? Going back to the time when, after God flooded the earth, the waters receded and land appeared again.
God promised in a covenant with all His creation, that He will never destroy the earth by a flood of water again, and signified it by a rainbow in,
Genesis 9:8-17 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
And I will establish My covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Also notice, it’s not just a rainbow as we naturally know it as a half circle. Here in the Scriptures, John describes it as a full circle rainbow, “a rainbow round about the throne”
A complete circle symbolizes eternal, since there is no beginning point or an ending point. Which points out 2 things here:
1). God’s promises are eternal. This is why Jesus Christ proclaims as fact that Heaven and earth will pass away, but His word will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35). All of God’s promises, which is the Holy Bible, will stand forever as an eternal testament of God’s love, mercy, work, and promises of both blessings and judgments He kept.
2). It also represents, God Himself as being eternal, without a beginning nor does He have an end. For He lives forever and ever!
Psalm 9:7-12 But the LORD shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment. And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.
Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings. When He maketh inquisition for blood, He remembereth them: He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
The 24 Elders
Verse 4 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 they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Today’s interpretation of what the Holy Bible tells us about the 24 elders is that they are the redeemed of the church age.
And why do we believe this to be the only correct interpretation? The Holy Bible tells us very little about them, and what is mentioned, is what they are wearing and what they are doing.
But this interpretation comes strictly from what they are wearing; white robes and golden crowns on their heads.
All 24 elders are “clothed in white raiment.” This could be, what the Holy Bible calls “the garment of salvation.” This is why many believe these elders are the redeemed of Jesus Christ, from the church age.
All because white raiment is mentioned of the churches of Sardis and of Laodicea in Revelation 3:5 & 3:18.
It is also mentioned that the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ from the great tribulation period is wearing “white robes” (Revelation 7:9-14).
But here’s another interesting detail; It can also be representing holiness and righteousness as well, and not necessarily New Testament salvation only.
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in My God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
They also are all seen wearing, “golden crowns on their heads.” And notice the word, “crowns.” Most readers skim right over this word, assuming that John is describing all the 24 elders who are wearing one crown.
But when you study the word “crown” in the Holy Bible. It teaches there are more than one crown as an eternal reward, which are all mentioned in the New Testament. Each crown has a different condition in order to receive that certain crown.
Crown of Life
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Crown of Righteousness
2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.
Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
So, these descriptions cause people to believe that these 24 elders are the representatives from the church age only, because they are the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ. But this interpretation seems to be incomplete.
Incomplete: because this interpretation says the New Testament alone is the complete Holy Bible. But it’s not. Without the Old Testament, the New Testament wouldn’t make any sense and vice versa.
The Old Testament completes the New Covenant. And the two Testaments together completes the Holy Bible and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ we preach.
Because the message they heard in the Old Covenant is the same as what Jesus Christ preached and taught in the New Covenant,
Hebrews 4:1-6 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest.
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
So why can’t the 24 elders consist of 12 representatives of the Old Covenant and 12 representatives of the New Covenant of God Most Highs’ choosing?
I say, “of God Most Highs’ choosing” because Jesus Christ gives us a clue that God His Father appointed certain individuals to fill these seats of the elders,
Matthew 20:21-23 And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom.
But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I Am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able.
And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup , and be baptized with the baptism that I Am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.
So, who are we to judge, that these twenty four elders are only the redeemed of the church age and not of the Old Covenant as well?
Both parties of the Old and New Covenants would be righteous before God, according to His standards. Old Testament saints was righteous according to faith as it is written,
Romans 3:28-4:5 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Seeing it is One God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Not just to Abraham only, but all those that understood this spiritual revelation from way back into the Old Testament times. Those who believe and obey God, which is faith in action, God justified and counted them for righteousness.
Its that same standard of faith that is also at work in the New Covenant of the church age today as well,
Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets
EVEN the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
You see there is no difference in the standard of faith between the two ages.
Both ages would be wearing the Crown of Life, Because saint in both the Old and New Testaments endured temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil;
and Loved God with all their hearts as commanded by God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and taught by Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:37).
Saints in both ages would be wearing the Crown of Righteousness, for we have already established both ages were righteous by God’s standards of faith.
Both ages also believed in the Son of God as the Messiah and both ages loved His appearing as Jesus Christ pointed out,
John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am.
Remember in our past study, dealing with the issue that Jesus Christ is eternal with God His Father. And that He appeared to saints all throughout the Old Testament. Refer back to Revelation 1:4-6 (Jesus Christ Who Is, Was, And Is To Come)
And both Old and New Testament saints would also be wearing the Crown of Glory. For all has fed God’s flocks as spiritual leaders with a ready mind. All are our examples that humanity throughout the ages can look up to.
So, who’s to say people of the Old Covenant did not live by faith? Haven’t you not read and understand Hebrews 11?
Our greatest testament of faith are the people of the Old Covenant. They teach Jews and Gentiles today what faith is in action. They are our great examples of faith.
What is an elder? Elders are wise, experienced and aged spiritual pillars of faith. Our example of holy and righteous living. And of godly integrity, character in authority and leadership. And people of the Old and New Covenants fit all these criteria.
On another side of the discussion, some would even present, that the 24 elders could not be 12 representatives of the Old Testament, using a resurrection defense:
“Nor does it fit into God’s program for Israel to say that 24 elders are representative of redeemed Israelites. At this point in the Book of Revelation, the Old Testament saints have not yet resurrected… The Scriptures indicate that the Old Testament saints will be resurrected at the end of The Tribulation.”In the Book: “Practical Studies In Revelation;” by Theodore H. Epp on Pg 20-21, subtitled: ‘Not Resurrection Israelites’
But the problem with this resurrection defense, is that neither saints of both Old and New Covenants resurrected yet either. This is a specific event that is yet to happen.
To the Christian, the word of God says, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
If New Covenant saints haven’t resurrected yet, then indefinitely Old Covenant saints haven’t either.
And yet we see clearly the Apostle John was seeing in the spirit these 24 elders are already picked by God and seated in John’s time in 96 AD.
So you cannot use this defense as your definitive answer, of why you believe these 24 elders surrounding Gods’ throne are the redeemed in Christ of the church age only and not saints of the Old Covenant.
Now all this is just food for thought, these are just things to consider before ministering a definitive interpretation.
Because we must consider all angles before proclaiming something the Holy Bible did not expound on, such as these 24 elders.
The Holy Bible did not name these elders either, nor did God give us a complete address where they are from.
Bare in mind, the elders are not really the focal point after all. But what they are doing, that’s the point of why they were even mentioned at all. They appear a few times in the Book of Revelation only,
Revelation 4:10-11 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,
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.
Revelation 5:8-14 And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:
for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:16-18 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned.
And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Revelation 19:1-8 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Notice, the 24 elders are always literally close to God physically. “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting”
They proclaim who God Most High is and they sing unto God and worship Him with all their heart, might and soul. And we would be wise to learn from them and do what they do… daily.