TABLE OF CONTENTS
Who Are the Seven Spirits?
Seven Spirits and Seven Stars
The Golden Candlestick
The Twenty-Four Elders
Seven Torches of Fire
"Glory and Honor to Him"
"Twenty-Four Elders Fall Down"
"Who Is Worthy?"
A Lamb as Though Slain
The Lamb Takes the Scroll
Four Living Creatures:
Each of Them Six Wings
"For My Name's Sake"
The Seven Spirits of God
What Are the Seven Spirits?
Seven Promises of the Spirit
"Glory and Honor"
to Him Seated on the "Throne"
"And when those beasts
[living creatures] give glory and honor and
thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
"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."
Revelation 4:9, 10
The "four living creatures," which are the four attributes
of God, give glory and honor and thanks to Him on the throne. Gods own heart
qualities glorify and honor Him. Virtue is its own reward. These attributes are thankful
God does not violate His justice, love, wisdom or power. If He did, there would be
conflict and immediate disharmony.
We see what evils are created in the world when justice is laid aside,
when love is locked out, when wisdom is turned to deceit and exploitation, and when power
is used selfishly. How terrible it would be if God acted like sinful man in even the
How beautifully these attributes
glorify and honor
the One seated on the throne.
How Can the "Twenty-four
Fall Down Before Gods Throne?
The "twenty-four elders" appear here even before the Lamb
was slain. How can this be? This may seem a problem. We might think the church could not
be mentioned before the Lamb is slain and glorified.
However, just as David created the twenty-four courses of the
priesthood before the temple was built, so God had foreordained this priesthood when
foreordained the Lamb to be slain from the foundation of the world. In other words, the
"twenty-four elders" here are the elders elect and foreordained in Gods
plan. They do not exist in person in this vision.
In the outworking of Gods plan the day will come when that which
God has foreordained and those who are called to this foreordained office will become one.
That which was foreordained and those who are elect and ordained will merge into reality.
They exist in Gods purpose in Revelation 4, not in reality.
How can they fall down before Him seated on the throne, casting
their crowns before Him? What is the calling of the church that comprises these
Ephesians 1:14 tells us the answer. We are called for
of His glory." That is the primary reason why we are called and chosen and required
to be faithful. Anyone interested in glorifying himself or herself will not be a part of
this company. No! No! No!
When these "twenty-four elders" "cast their crowns
before the throne," we understand this to be an act of deference on their part. It is
an acknowledgment that their power and authority comes from the One on the throne. That is
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is not false modesty. It is an
acknowledgment of reality.
In Revelation 4:11 the
"twenty-four elders" sing, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and
honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were
The Alexandrine MSS omits the phrase, "and were created."
The basis for Gods praise is well founded. No
blind evolutionary process has brought about all creation. It exists and was created by
the One on the throne. It is proper that this truth be acknowledged always by all.
The expression "for thy pleasure they are and were created"
is rather peculiar. How could they exist before being created? If we have the correct
reading here, we might say that some things exist in blueprint stage before they are
created. Even the purpose for being is determined. That purpose again is that they
should be for "the praise of His glory."
A Scroll Written Within and on the
""Who is worthy
to open the book,
and to loose the seals thereof?"
Here the scene changes and we begin to see activity and
movement. First we see a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals in
the hand of Him seated on the throne. Then a "strong angel" proclaims with a
loud voice, "Who is worthy?" It seems no one can step forward to meet the
As John looks on he becomes very sorrowful and weeps because no
one was worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals. The vision was so real to John that
he becomes emotionally involved to the point of uncontrolled weeping.
Levitical High Priest
he knew the scroll contained valuable information for the churches, and he was upset that
the scroll could not be opened.
Why didn't a Levitical priest step forward?
Then one of the "twenty-four elders" said
to John, "Weep not; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath
prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof," Revelation 5:5.
Who was this kindly elder? If it represents a course of the
priesthood, who might it be?
We believe the Apostle Paul, who was the spokesman for his course of
the priesthood, was the elder speaking. Paul showed in Hebrews 7:14-16,
"For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses
spake nothing concerning priesthood.
"And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of
Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
"Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the
power of an endless life."
In Romans 15:12, Paul quotes from Isaiah 11:10:
"There shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the
people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
In these two quotations Paul identifies Jesus as the worthy priest
replacing the priesthood of the Law arrangement. Yes, he is worthy. He is glorious. He is
"a priest for ever." Paul tells us additionally that he is a priest who is able
Mercy Seat in Most Holy
"Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein
we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Hence, Paul, the elder representing a course of the
priesthood, identifies Jesus as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." None from the
Levitical priesthood were worthy or could bring justification. In the appointed time one
stepped forward from Judah and prevailed to open the seals.
A Lamb Standing,
as Though It Had Been Slain
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and
in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and
seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the EARTH." Revelation
Again, the focus is on the Lamb. The Lamb still has not been
engaged, but is standing there as though he had been slain. Now usually a slain Lamb would
not be found standing, would it? It would be lying there as though it had been slain.
Hence, this pictures the resurrected Lamb, who lives, but who was dead.
A Lamb Slain before the
Foundation of the World
The Lamb is then pictured with "seven horns and seven eyes."
Usually a lamb would not have horns. Only a grown ram would have horns, but then it would
only be two horns. This Lamb has "seven horns."
If that isnt enough to command our attention, we are confronted
with the fact that each "horn" has an "eye." This is unlike anything
we have ever seen. We believe the "seven horns" signify the power of the
Lamb throughout the seven stages of the church and the "seven eyes" represent
the far-seeing wisdom of Christ to the churches. Christ is our wisdom. He is our
power. Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing."
After identifying the "seven horns" and "seven
eyes," we are told these "are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the
Why arent they sent forth into seven churches? Why are
they sent out into all the EARTH?
This whole vision is very much like a play with various stages as the
story develops. While the offices of the "twenty-four elders" are foreordained,
and the qualifications of the "elders" who fill these offices are also
foreordained, the persons to fill those positions have not yet been selected out of the
world at the time of this vision.
When they are called and chosen, they will be a part of the "seven
churches" spanning the Gospel age. We must always remember that the foreordained
"twenty-four elders" and their offices existed in the plan of God before the
persons to fill them existed.
Here we see the power and wisdom of the Lamb. They go forth into
the world to select the "elders" for the foreordained offices. Hence, in
each stage of the Gospel age the "seven Spirits" go forth to call and elect the
church. Hence, the need for power and wisdom.
The Lamb Takes the Scroll
"And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the
"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 odors,
which are the prayers of saints."
We notice it is the "Lamb," and not the "Lion,"
that takes the scroll from the hand of the One seated on the throne. The Lamb dominates
the scenes in Revelation.
The four living creatures, the four attributes of Gods justice,
power, love and wisdom, fall down to acknowledge the Lamb, because
he meets the same
standards as his Father. The "twenty-four elders," who at this point are only
the foreordained priesthood, also acknowledge the worthiness of the Lamb because he meets
the Divine standards. They also have "golden vials [bowls]" full of incense to
be offered with the prayers of the saints.
From this point, the vision moves forward combining the called and
chosen saints with the office of elders they have been called to.
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
[omit us] to God by thy blood
out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
"And hast made us [them] unto our God kings and
priests [a kingdom and priesthood]: and we [they] shall reign on the
5:9, 10, Sinaitic in brackets.
We believe it is the elders who claim that they were
"redeemed" "to God" by the "blood" of the Lamb. It is
certainly they who are made a kingdom and a priesthood who will reign upon the earth. It
is easy to see how they are given over to praising the Lamb.
Now our study is not about the "twenty-four elders" and the
"twenty-four thrones." We have only locked in on them temporarily to give a
basis for understanding this whole vision.