Series Code: ICJ
Program Code: ICJ190006A
00:01 Crisis may come and go, but a crisis in the throne room of
00:05 heaven, now that's something else.
00:07 And how they solved it means everything to you and me.
00:37 The book of Revelation reveals a tremendous crisis
00:41 in the throne room of heaven.
00:43 As we go to chapter 4, which is the set-up for that,
00:46 we want to, first of all, look at who is there.
00:49 So we're going to look, first of all, at where Jesus is at.
00:55 And I'm going to go to the book of Revelation
00:56 chapter 4 and we're going to read verse 5.
01:01 "And from the throne..."
01:02 So we're in the throne room.
01:03 I'll talk about that throne in just a moment.
01:06 "And from the throne proceeded lightnings,
01:08 thunderings, and voices."
01:10 That means that's executive power.
01:12 Decisions are being made, orders are being given,
01:16 things are being carried out.
01:18 And then it says, it helps us with the location,
01:21 "Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne,
01:27 which are the seven Spirits of God."
01:29 So the seven lamps of fire here before the throne
01:33 tell us that we're actually in the Holy Place
01:36 of the heavenly sanctuary.
01:38 Not the Most Holy Place.
01:40 But we're in the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.
01:43 That's the context.
01:45 Now this throne, however, can move.
01:49 Now the Bible doesn't say anything, or the book of
01:52 Revelation doesn't say anything about the table of showbread.
01:54 If you remember, just to recap, in the Holy Place
01:58 of the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus is ministering for us
02:01 there are three articles of furniture.
02:04 There's the candlesticks,
02:06 and then there's the table of showbread,
02:09 and then there's the altar of incense.
02:11 The altar of incense and the seven candlesticks
02:14 are mentioned by name.
02:16 But the table of showbread is not mentioned by name.
02:20 But I believe that's the throne of God.
02:23 Now some people say, "Well, how can the throne of God
02:25 be in the Holy Place when it's also above the mercy seat
02:29 in the Most Holy Place?"
02:30 You have to remember that Jesus is moving through time.
02:34 And the book of Daniel tells us that the
02:36 throne of God has wheels.
02:38 It moves.
02:39 So it will move depending on the time and the circumstance.
02:43 But right now I believe it's the table of showbread,
02:47 and I want to show you some of the reasons for that
02:50 from the book of Ezekiel.
02:53 But before we go there, let me talk about
02:55 the picture in the book of Revelation.
02:58 The throne is surrounded by 24 elders.
03:00 Now that word, "elder," you don't hear that word
03:03 except when it's applied to somebody that's been on earth.
03:06 And of course, the elders are also messengers.
03:08 Some people may call them angels.
03:10 But they are God's messengers.
03:12 Who are these elders?
03:14 We will not see them when we go to the book of Ezekiel chapter 1
03:18 that gives us a parallel picture of the throne room of heaven.
03:22 But these 24 elders are now seated around the throne of God.
03:27 I think that they are those who were resurrected
03:30 when Jesus was resurrected, because the Bible says
03:33 that people were resurrected when He was resurrected
03:36 from the dead, and they actually witnessed to people
03:39 in Jerusalem about the resurrection of Jesus.
03:43 But we don't know their names,
03:44 we don't know who they are, per se.
03:46 But there they are.
03:47 And I think and believe, this is just my comment, if you please,
03:53 that those 24 elders, if indeed they are those that were
03:56 resurrected from the dead, they are the constant reminder
04:01 to God the Father who sits on the throne
04:05 that He has unfinished business on planet earth.
04:10 Because there's going to be a huge multitude
04:13 of the righteous that will be resurrected
04:15 when Jesus comes again.
04:18 Now back to the throne room of heaven,
04:20 and listen to this description of who's there.
04:23 We've talked about the 24 elders, but there's also
04:25 four other beings there.
04:27 And John says that they have faces like a calf,
04:31 a lion, a man, and an eagle.
04:34 On top of that, there is a crystal sea there.
04:37 The book of Revelation pictures the redeemed
04:39 gathered on that crystal sea some day.
04:41 But here, that crystal sea has on it the throne of God
04:45 with a beautiful rainbow around it.
04:48 And on that throne sits somebody who looks like a man
04:53 glorious to behold.
04:55 And I believe the picture here is a picture of God the Father.
04:59 It makes me flash back to the book of Genesis
05:01 where He says, "Let Us make man in our image."
05:05 And so the one sitting on that throne has the form of a man.
05:10 Before that crystal sea is spread all the angels
05:15 of God around that throne.
05:17 So you have the throne, you have the 24 elders,
05:20 you have these four marvelous beings with these four faces.
05:25 In fact, the book of Ezekiel says each one had four faces
05:28 of these four faces.
05:30 But John sees only these four faces.
05:32 And it's surrounded by this emerald rainbow.
05:35 However, when you go to the book of Ezekiel,
05:38 I want to share with you what Ezekiel sees.
05:41 It's very similar, but there's some interesting differences.
05:44 First of all, he says these four beings actually have
05:50 above their heads the crystal sea.
05:53 So they're holding up the crystal sea
05:56 like four legs on a table.
05:59 Isn't that interesting?
06:00 Because the table of showbread has four legs on it.
06:04 And then he says that their legs were straight.
06:09 That's an interesting description.
06:11 So table legs are normally straight.
06:15 And on top of that crystal sea is also the throne of God.
06:19 And it has also a beautiful rainbow.
06:22 But in Ezekiel's picture there's no 24 elders.
06:27 That only comes into view in the book of Revelation.
06:30 You can go to Ezekiel 1 and compare it to Revelation 4,
06:34 and I think you'll enjoy doing that.
06:36 So I think it's a perfect representation
06:38 of the table of showbread.
06:40 And the table of showbread also had two stacks of bread on it.
06:45 And on this throne is God the Father,
06:47 but later in the book of Revelation
06:49 He's going to be joined by the slain Lamb,
06:52 or the Son of God.
06:54 So it's a picture of the Father and the Son together.
06:57 And of course, through the book of the New Testament,
07:01 through the books of the New Testament
07:02 the apostles are constantly saying that Jesus sits
07:06 at the right hand of God.
07:08 He's at the right hand of God also as our High Priest.
07:11 But in symbolic language He's going to be pictured
07:13 as the slain Lamb.
07:15 Now the scene changes as we get into chapter 5.
07:21 But before we go to chapter 5, I want to talk about
07:24 this song that they sing, they sing to the Father.
07:27 Revelation 4:8 says...
07:31 And this is a song, we don't have the music to it,
07:33 but these are the words to it.
07:35 "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty..."
07:41 And then it says, "Who was, who is, and who is to come."
07:47 In other words, the One who sits on this throne,
07:50 God the Father, is eternal.
07:52 There never was a time when He was not.
07:55 There never will be a time when He will not be.
07:58 He was, He is, and He is to come.
08:02 And then in verse 11 they say in the song,
08:06 "You are worthy..."
08:08 Now that word, "worthy," is going to come up again.
08:10 "You are worthy..."
08:11 And then they give the reason why He is worthy of worship.
08:15 And they say, "For You have created all things,
08:22 and by Your will they exist..."
08:26 Not only did God create all things,
08:30 but He actually upholds them now by the might of His power.
08:34 The whole existence of the universe is held in place
08:39 by this mighty God that we may not see,
08:42 but we've seen His Son.
08:45 Now we want to go to chapter 5, because in chapter 5
08:48 the scene changes.
08:50 And it's a fascinating scene.
08:52 It's a scene that brings a crisis to the throne room.
08:58 So in Revelation 5:1 we have these words
09:02 from the apostle John, "And I saw in the right hand
09:05 of Him," the Father, "who sat on the throne
09:09 a scroll written on the inside and on the back,
09:14 but sealed, and sealed with seven seals."
09:19 Now what is a seal?
09:22 Well in those times seals were often made
09:25 by people in authority, and they usually said some kind of
09:29 agreement or some kind of declaration.
09:33 And it made it authentic or authoritative.
09:36 Seals were often made out of clay.
09:39 And then they had the person's name,
09:42 or maybe some image, but his name of authority.
09:46 And he would push that into wax.
09:48 And when the wax would dry there would be his seal.
09:51 It could also be a stone that had been carved.
09:54 By the way, they have found in Jerusalem
09:57 through some of the excavations and archaeologies
10:00 some of the seals of the people mentioned in Scripture.
10:03 Now if my memory serves me right,
10:05 I think they found Hezekiah's seal and Isaiah's seal.
10:08 It's very, very fascinating.
10:10 So seals were around in those days.
10:13 And that showed authority.
10:16 Now we use a notary republic.
10:18 At least when I was growing up the notary republic had a seal.
10:20 So if you bought a house or you bought a car,
10:23 the title would be stamped and pressed into the paper.
10:26 And that would be the seal that this was authentic
10:29 and it had authority.
10:31 Or if you had two parties and you want to witness
10:34 that this is the truth, then you would have a notary seal that.
10:39 It was used primarily, of course, for deeds
10:42 and those kinds of things.
10:44 So we have this scroll that's sealed with seven seals.
10:50 Now listen as John continues the scene.
10:55 "Then," he says, "I saw a strong angel
10:59 proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy
11:04 to open the scroll and loose the seals?'
11:08 And no one," John says, "in heaven or on earth
11:12 or under the earth was able to open the scroll
11:15 and look into it."
11:17 And then he says, "So I wept much..."
11:21 In other words, John weeps.
11:23 This is not just a tear.
11:25 He is weeping bitterly because no one
11:28 is found to be able to open that scroll.
11:33 So what must this scroll be?
11:35 Why would the inability to open it make John weep bitterly?
11:44 Well that scroll must contain something very important.
11:49 I want to go back and listen to another picture in the Bible
11:54 from the book of Jeremiah that might give us an insight
11:58 as to what actually is happening here.
12:01 Jeremiah 32, and let me set the setting here.
12:06 Jerusalem is being surrounded, or pretty soon at least,
12:09 by Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian armies.
12:13 The prophet Jeremiah is telling the king of Israel,
12:15 "You better cooperate with that Babylonian king,
12:17 because if you don't, it's going to go even worse for Israel.
12:20 They're going to take Jerusalem,
12:22 they're going to breach those walls,
12:24 and you need to surrender to make things easier
12:26 for yourself and all the rest of us."
12:28 That was his main message.
12:30 But he was resistant, resistant.
12:32 And this was coming as punishment
12:34 on ancient Israel for their apostasy.
12:38 Then God does something very strange to Jeremiah.
12:42 Here you've got the Babylonian armies have taken most
12:44 all of Judea, and now they're getting ready to
12:47 surround Jerusalem itself.
12:50 And then God says this to Jeremiah.
12:54 He says to get a deed and go buy some property.
13:00 Why would you buy property?
13:01 I mean, using a picture out of the American history,
13:06 why would you buy property if the confederacy
13:10 was about to go down, and they were the ones
13:12 that had the authority?
13:14 So John weeps bitterly.
13:17 And he's puzzled, "Why does God give him these
13:21 seemingly foolish instructions?"
13:24 So he said he took the purchase deed,
13:28 both which was sealed according to the law and to the custom..."
13:33 In other words, the seal made it possible for anyone
13:38 to know that this property belonged to Jeremiah
13:42 and they could only have it with Jeremiah's permission.
13:46 They would have to beat the seal, break the seal.
13:51 We'll find out what all of that is about in just a moment.