By Luke Johnson | September 15, 2015
Remember your church
Read your group's church letter together to remember what Jesus said to your church.
Your church is like a pair of glasses that will help you to ‘see things’ as we read.
- Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
- Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)
- Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17)
- Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29)
- Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13)
- Sardis (Rev 2:1-6)
- Laodicea (Rev 3:14-21)
READ Revelation 4
Does anything in Rev 4-5 remind you of your church’s letter?
- an open door (4:1)
- a throne (4:2)
- crowns (4:4)
Look back at Revelation 3:20-21. Just before this throne-room scene, what promises does Jesus make? (reference to opening a door, 3:20; and sitting on a throne, 3:21)
What/who is at the center in this scene? (God on his throne, 4:2)
What kinds of things do the elders and creatures say about the one who sits on the throne? (4:8; 4:11)
According to the 24 elders, what makes God worthy of their praise? (4:11)
What do the 24 elders do every time the weird creatures say the “Holy, holy, holy” line?
(They throw their crowns off their heads and say, “You are worthy…”)
What do you think of how the throne scene is described?
There’s a throne with a rainbow around it, a person sitting on it who looks like precious stones, 24 enthroned elders with crowns, blasts of thunder and lightning, blazing lamps for the ‘spirits of God’, weird creatures covered in eyes… What do you think John is trying to communicate about God in this crazy scene?
What is everyone doing all the time in chapter 4? (Worshiping God)
Have you ever put your hand on something extremely hot? You can’t help but yank your hand away. That’s your response to the heat. You can’t help it. In John’s vision, the creatures and elders are in the same room as God’s throne! When you’re confronted by God himself, the response is worship. You can’t help it.
READ Revelation 5
What’s the big problem in chapter 5? Why does John start weeping? (Look at 5:1-4)
What do you think is in the scroll? (Do you think it is significant that God is holding it in his right hand?)
Dig Deeper: In the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament, God tells a prophet named Ezekiel what is going to happen to his rebellious people. Ezekiel writes, “I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.” (Ezek 2:9-10) The same thing is happening in John’s vision in Revelation 5. The fate of the world literally lies in God’s hand. The elders worship God because he is the Creator. Because he’s the Creator, he decides what happens to his creation. John starts crying because it looks like no one will be able to find out what is going to happen to the world.
What’s the solution? Who shows up to solve the problem? (Look at 5:5-7)
There are a lot of names used for this worthy person: Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, a Lamb-looking-as-if-it-had-been-slain. What do you think each of these names say about Jesus?
Where do these names come from? (Look up if you have time.)
- Lion of Judah - Genesis 49:9-12
- Root of David - Isaiah 11:1-10
- Lamb - John 1:29; in the Old Testament, lambs were sin sacrifices - Jesus became the ‘ultimate’ Lamb, not just dying for one person’s sins, but for everyone’s forever.
What happens when the Lamb shows up and takes the scroll?
Elders and creatures bows down and sing a new song (5:9-10)
Millions of angels break into worship (5:11-12)
Everything that exists in the entire universe worships the Lamb (5:13)
The scene ends with everyone bowing before him. (5:14)
Look at John 18:4-8. What happens when Jesus identifies himself to the mob?
What do you think John wants us to understand about Jesus?
Jesus isn’t just some nice guy who showed up 2000 years ago and said some memorable things. He is the central figure of the entire universe. He is more important than everything that exists, and greater than everyone who exists. He is the Lamb-looking-as-
if-it-had-been-slain who holds the fate of the universe in his hands. We get short glimpses of this elsewhere in the New Testament, but here we get it full on.
With this in mind, how crazy is it that Jesus offers: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne”? (Rev 3:21)