The Book of Revelation

Program # 8 

by: Ronald L. Dart

"After this I looked," Revelation 4 and verse1, "and behold, a door was opened in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter." {2} And immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. {3} And He that sat there was to look upon like a jasper and a sardius stone and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in appearance like unto an emerald. {4} Around about the throne were four and 20 seats, and upon the seats I saw four and 20 elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and they had crowns of gold on their heads. {5} 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."

Now if you ever wondered, what it looks like, where God is, you just heard an eyewitness account. A man named John, was caught up in vision, to where the very throne of God is, and was shown what things are like therein. To the best of his efforts, he sat down and wrote it all down for us and you'll find it in your Bible, in the fourth chapter of the book of Revelation. I began reading right there in verse one and read through verse five.

Heaven = Sky

Now right off, you should be aware that a lot of what you have heard about God and the Bible will get in your way, when you try to understand a passage like this. Yes, that's what I said, what you have heard about the Bible may get in the way when you try to understand the Bible.

For example, John said in verse 1, "I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven." Well, heaven means one thing to you and I, but in fact, to a Greek reader who is reading this in Greek, what he would read was, "After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in the sky." Because that's all the Greek word that's here translated ‘heaven’ means. It comes by association because it's where God is, to mean that place that you and I think of as heaven.

We may talk that heaven is where angels sit on clouds and strum harps of gold or where you and I sit at the Master’s feet and dine on milk and honey and gaze adoringly up into His face.

We have an image of heaven that has been built from sermons and books and articles and things that people write about God all these years, but the word, ‘heaven’, when you come across it in the New Testament, you would be just as well-off to translate it or use the word ‘sky.’ Okay, so we have it!


"A door was open in the sky," and John said, "A voice talked to me and said, "Come up here, I want to show you things that are going to come hereafter."

Now if you're a science fiction type, you're going to recognize right away, that what John saw was a break in the time space continuum! What John saw was a Stargate, a Stargate, into another dimension. Now John didn't know anything about Stargates, he never heard of Captain Kirk, so he called it a door.

Now you will have to be patient with John, he is doing his best for us.

But there was an opening in the sky, up there. It was a tear as it were, between this dimension, if you want to call it that, in which we live, and another, which we tend to want to refer to as a spirit dimension, a spirit world, which sort of sits there on the other side of this wall, this tear in the sky as it were, and it is there, and John was caught up into the sky and went through that Stargate. He suddenly found himself in a very different place.

Rainbow At God’s Throne

"Immediately," John says, {2} "I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne was set in the sky, and one sat upon the throne and {3} He that sat there was to look upon like a jasper or a sardine stone, and there was a rainbow around about the throne, in sight, like unto an emerald."

What Color Does God Appear To Be?

Now those of us who think of God as white, really need to think again. Jasper is an opaque quartz that is kind of reddish or brown in color. Adam, the first man, who was made by God, and who was made in the image of God. Did you know his name means ‘red’? So the idea of God as sort of looking like a white man, doesn't quite work with the description of the man who actually saw him sitting on his throne. John said, "He looked like sort of the color like Jasper." Jasper is reddish or brown in color.

But don't get carried away, God is Spirit and not of any race, the color jasper is the best that John could do. You need to bear in mind, God is not a Jew. God is not a European, God is not an African, God is not an Asian. God made all these races in his own image.

Now another thing to know about this passage is that the word ‘rainbow’ in Greek, is the word ‘Iris’. You have one of those in your eye. The Iris of the eye, is that little circle of color that goes around the center of the eye where the light goes through and registers on the retina and so forth.

So around about the throne of God was a kind of an Iris of light and the color of it was sort of like emerald green.

So what a vision we have here. Here is a throne that is set up there and there's One sitting on that throne and I expect He looked a lot like a man to John because that's the way God seems to present himself to us almost constantly. In this case not only looking like a man, but sitting as a man might sit. The general color of His appearance is sort of reddish or reddish-brown and there is this large Iris, and this is probably created because of the fact that there is such a brilliance of power or of light coming out of this thing, that it begins to radiate. You might find sometimes if you look up into the sky at the sun or the light, or you use a lens and it creates a halo around the light that you're looking at. This halo that existed around God from the light that was there, managed to come out emerald green in color.

24 Elders Around God’s Throne

Now all around this throne that John saw there, were 24 seats and upon these 24 seats there were, what John said were 24 elders sitting, clothed in white raiment and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

Now here is something new to think about, if we are looking for symbolism, well, crowns suggest governance. Elders in the Israelite culture formed the governing Council and John said, and nobody told him they were elders, he just looked at them and said, "These have to be 24 elders," and so the elders in the Israelite culture again, were the governing Council. The number 12, and multiples of 12, this is 24, tend to suggest governmental divisions. For example, there were 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, and so forth. And these suggest the political divisions of ancient Israel. And Jesus said to the 12 apostles, "You will sit upon 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28). So these 24 are, what shall we say, like the president has his cabinet, a king has his counselors, they would appear then that God has a counsel of 24 elders.

Now one can wonder why God needs any advice, but for now, we probably had just best take what we see and go on, but it is always fascinating to think that the great God, whose mind is all and all, who knows everything, sees everything, is aware of everything, who is powerful enough to do anything, still has a counsel around Him, with whom He talks, consults, explores ideas and exchanges thoughts. Well I will have to put a question mark against all of these things, but the presence of them there is suggestive.

So to picture the place of God throne, picture a circle of chairs, set back from the throne that's in the middle of them, and on each chair sits a spirit being which John called an ‘elder.’ Then John goes on to say, {5} "Now 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."

Angels and Messengers

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we know that God calls his angels: spirits, and His messengers: a flame of fire. So consequently these seven lamps are symbolic of seven particular messengers that God uses when he does His work to and from the world.

Lightning, Thunder and Voices

Now the lightnings, the thunderings, the voices. I have been out on a summer night when the lightning was walking about the landscape and it was awesome. It was frightening, but I love it, it's an incredible experience. I recall one night I was camped out on the riverbank, when a thunderstorm, a big time thunderstorm came right across where we were. We had no idea at the time that we were in a tornado warning and I am really glad we didn't know, it would've made the night, much more painful and more scary for all of us. It was bad enough as it was.

We were camped opposite a bluff and lightning was stabbing the ground all around the place hitting the trees on top of the bluff, hitting trees in the field behind us. I have vividly etched in my memory, to this day, the stitching in the top of my tent because I was cowering in my tent holding on the tent stakes trying to keep the thing from blowing away, while great peels of lightning and thunder were rolling around us. Each of them being repeated off the bluff opposite which made it about twice as loud and twice as strong as they otherwise would have been. Oh it was wonderful! I wouldn't have missed it for the world. But I would not go back there again on a bet, because just as easily it could have been blown off somewhere else, in a thunderstorm and what I went through, it was nothing to what John saw there.

What's this all about? Well what John saw, was the effect of an enormous amount of sheer raw power, concentrated in such a place, of such a magnitude, that John really could not describe it well at all, but it exploded out or crackled out like lightning and like thunder and there was voices at all times, because in fact he had walked into the control center of the entirety of the universe, where everything, every bit of business that has to do with God gets transacted.

How does it work? I haven't got a clue. I haven't got a clue! But if you imagine great computers that whirl and spin and lights that flash and go on and off, you have not even come close to what happens at the throne of God. And the power there was beyond John's capacity, except as lightning and thunder and voices.

Four Living Creatures Around God’s Throne

And before the throne, verse six of Revelation 4, "There was a sea of glass like crystal, and in the midst of the throne, and all around about the throne," he said, "There were four beasts."

What an unfortunate word ‘beast’ is! The King James translators in their day, ‘beast’ probably was more useful than it is today. The word in Greek simply means ‘animals’. Perhaps a better word for our purpose here would be ‘creatures.’

"So around about the throne were four creatures, full of eyes in front and in the back."

It kind of boggles the mind to try to visualize that, doesn't it?

"And the first creature," {7} "was like a lion."

Now mind you, it was not a lion. It was like a lion.

"The second creature was like a calf, the third creature had a face like a man. The fourth creature was like a flying eagle. {8} Now each four creatures had six wings."

Now that's a little bit of a clue, because when we go back to the book of Isaiah, about the sixth chapter, you will find this description of a vision that Isaiah saw, when he was on duty one night in the temple, where there were ‘seraphim’ as he calls them, who flew in that area and they each had six wings. They covered their face with two wings, they flew with two wings and covered their feet with two wings."

Kind of a strange thing, but that's what he tells us. So these are like the seraphim that Isaiah saw, although they may have been something rather different.

John said, "They were full of eyes around and within" (Revelation 4:8).

Really about all that suggests to me is that their purpose is to see, something that's full of eyes.

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We are looking here for symbolism, right? We are looking for what this nightmare, that John is going through, how we might interpret this nightmare into something real that we can understand what it's about.

So round about the throne there are four creatures there, which are obviously very powerful, very impressive, and their purpose is to see, perhaps to see for God. Have you ever wondered how it is that God sees everything? He's got these seven angels that are full of eyes that go to and fro, in the earth. They are the eyes of God.

Each of these living creatures is full of eyes. It's as though God has his eyes in every place. Now we can argue to our hearts content about that, and God may be somewhat different from that, but we have a few things to learn.

Holy, Holy, Holy

So round about God's throne, there are four creatures. They are six winged creatures and they are full of eyes, so they go to and fro in the earth and see things and report them to God and they don't rest, night or day, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).

What a thing to hear rolling out of these great creatures. Now something you should know in the languages of the time in the way in which they are used, to say that something is "holy" is one thing, to say, "holy, holy", and use it twice is to say it's more holy, and the greatest and the highest and the most exalted holiness of all, as suggested by ""holy, holy, holy," Lord God Almighty’, who was and is and is to come."

Angels, Cherubim and Seraphim

Now these creatures are what we rather inadequately call angels. The word ‘angel’ in English is nearly useless in the Bible. I'm sorry, I hope I'm not hurting anyone's feelings on this because, really ‘angel’ has come in the English language today, well and at Christmas time they will show you pictures of angels and you'll see these little, what they call cherubs which are little babies with wings on them flying about. A cherub in the Bible is something awesome, in fact, you probably would faint if you saw one, they are so awesome, but nevertheless in our language, it's got something else attached to it.

Now the original word ‘angel’ in both Hebrew and in Greek means ‘messenger’ and frankly you will understand your Bible better if you will just substitute the word ‘messenger’ anyplace you see ‘angel,’ and you will come a whole lot closer to understanding what's going on.

And so these beings around God's throne, these creatures are not angelic beings in the sense that we would normally use it in English, they are messengers of God's. They are a class of created spirit beings that carry out tasks that have been assigned by God. We know the names of two classes of these messengers, they are called cherubim, cherub is singular, and cherubim is plural in Hebrew and ‘seraphim’ or a seraph or two ‘seraphim.’ So these are just classes of these messenger beings. There's probably a third class which is, what shall we say, the old garden-variety form of ordinary messenger of God, instead of the important ones of the cherubim or the seraphim.

We know the names, by the way, of three of these individuals. We think that they are archangels, and are important angels. One of them is Michael. The other is Gabriel and the third is Lucifer. Lucifer of course is another story, but has everybody heard about Gabriel's horn, that is a reference to the judgment day, and the time that the great trumpet is blown and everybody gathered together to be judged by God.

The Four Living Creatures Cast Their Crowns

Verse 9 of Revelation 4, "And when these animals, these creatures give glory and honor and thanks to God that sat upon the throne, who lives for ever and ever. {10} Then the four and 20 elders fall down before Him that sat upon the throne and they worship Him that lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne saying:....... !"

But before I tell you what they say. Consider first of all, what's happening here, when John comes on the scene, they are all seated. They have their crowns on and there are 24 living creatures round about the throne of God. Suddenly, the four living creatures burst into sound. It may just be words. I suspect it is more like a song, most of the commentaries will suggest these are hymns or songs of praise.

First of all, they break into "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come," and about that moment, each of these individuals takes his crown, throws it down before him that sits upon the throne and does obeisance before Him that lives forever and ever. They fall upon their faces, and then they sing a song, a hymn of praise, which falls in counterpoint to the creatures, "Holy, holy, holy," and they sing, {11} "You are worthy, Oh Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for you have created all things and for your pleasure, they were created."

Now if you can recall, the counterpoint of some of the courses of Handel's Messiah, where the bases have a line that is falling along below in a slightly different pace from the sopranos who are higher up and the tenors coming in from of the side with the same words but in a different tune, a different melody to them. You can begin to visualize or have an auditory visualization, if that's not a contradiction in terms, of something like, what John was hearing. You will, in fact, get as close as you can to what John heard.

Now don't imagine that this is going on all the time like a great cacophony of sound, you can get the impression somebody over here is yelling, "Holy, holy, holy," and somebody on the other side is saying, "You are worthy, Oh God." And all you have got is these loud voices, but if you make it music, and if you put it in counterpoint, it works beautifully.

If you don't really have a feeling for this in religious works, just get two of your friends together and sing the all-around song "Row, row, row your boat," and you get a little idea of how it works at least.

Now that ‘these creatures don't rest’ means, only that the periodic worship of God is a permanent fixture in its place, in other words, they don't stop somewhere along the line and there's not a season in which nobody worships God.

So we have an idea of the place of God's throne and we are introduced to the idea that God is at a place.

Is God Really In Every Tree and Blade of Grass?

Now I know that some tell us that God is in every tree, God is in every blade of grass. God is in every cloud in the sky and so forth. But what does that mean? An architect is in every building he builds, but that doesn't mean it's where he lives! Is God in every blade of grass, in the sense that that's where He is, all the time? Well now, if we are going to take John at face value, at least the vision that we have of John is, that there is a place.

Now part of our problem is that, we like to construct theologies about God that postulate the nature of His existence. I guess it's useful because it gives us something to fight about, but we put together that God is like this, and God is here, and I think God's throne is the center of the galaxy. They don't realize that a galaxy is not in the center of the universe. Or I think that God's throne is outside of the universe as we now see it, or God's throne is parallel to our universe. It's across some kind of a membrane of time and space that we can't go to, because its spirit and we are physical, and while I think God is this, I think God is eternal. I think God can die.

The Nature of God

People have more ideas about God, and like I said, maybe it's useful, it gives us something to talk about, but can we agree with one point, that God is, what He is, regardless of what we think He is!

Because I think God is one thing and you think He's another, does it a change what God is? Well, NO!

Now if you think that God is three distinct beings, while your neighbor believes that God is one being composed of three persons, it can make a great argument and you can go on for ages about it. I looked in on it on the Internet and see some of the discussion groups on theology and they can have more fun arguing for day after day, year after year, however long it takes, because there is no end to the argument, about the nature of God.

Now God will be what He is, regardless of what I think He is. Does God exist in a place? Or is He everywhere? Or is He both? Because in fact, isn't it simple for God to be in a place and yet to be everywhere in spirit, or to be everywhere through his angels, or his messengers who go out and see things for him and report back, and of course, all of this goes on at such speed that you and I, it's instantaneous for anything you and I might think about.

John Saw God’s Throne Room

But really, why not just accept the revelation, the vision of God, which He gave to John. He showed it to him. There was a hole opened up in the sky and John was caught up into the sky and John actually saw where everything that goes on, in the universe. He saw the throne room. He saw the control center, he saw the power center of it all and he described it for us.

Why not just take it that way? Now let me ask you this, if you think of God in this way, do you think that God will mind? Do you think God would say, "Oh how could you be so simpleminded as to think that that's the way things really are! That was just a vision and the reality of it is so much greater than that!"

Oh, I don't think so. I think if God goes to the trouble to present himself to us in this way, I think He will be quite comfortable to learn that we think about Him in that way, don't you?

So this is the way God chose to reveal himself. I would have to think, that while the reality of God may differ from what God showed to John, that is irrelevant to me.

What he showed to John, is what John could grasp, and if that was all John could grasp, I think it'll have to serve for me because I really doubt that I can go beyond that, and the truth is, that to whatever degree I enjoy my speculations of God, to whatever extent I love to think about God and ponder what he might really be like in reality, the more specific I am in my speculations, the more certain I am to be wrong.

A Scroll Sealed with Seven Seals

Revelation 5 and verse one, "And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne, a book, written on the front and on the backside and sealed with seven seals."

Now this book was probably a scroll and scrolls were usually written on only one side, you would write on the inside of the paper and you would roll up the writing on the inside. This one was written on the inside and on the outside and it was sealed with seven seals.

Verse 2, "And I saw a strong angel," by that He means of boisterous angel, "proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof," {3} And no man in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the book and no one was able to even look on the writing that was on the inside of the book, {4} And I just wept like my heart would break because no man was found worthy to open and read the book or to look in the book."

You know, we can be so carried away with emotion and dreams that we can just weep and weep and just weep our hearts out in dreams. This is the way it was for John here in vision. He was weeping uncontrollably, he wanted to know what's in the book?

{5} "But one of the elders, speaks up for the first time, and says, "Don't cry. Behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Now who might that be? And what are we going to find on the inside of this great scroll? What are these writings? Why are they so important?

Well, we will have to wait for the next broadcast program on that!

Until next time, this is Ronald Dart reminding you, You were Born to Win!

This article was transcribed with

minor editing from a Born to Win Radio Program by: Ronald L. Dart

Titled: The Book of Revelation -Program #8

Transcribed by: bb 11-4-23

Ronald L. Dart was an evangelist and is heard daily and weekly on his Born to Win radio program. 
The program can be heard on over one hundred radio stations across the nation.

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