In this blog we have looked at the 7 Churches of Revelation, now let’s begin to look at the 7 Seals of Revelation. In the book of Revelation there are 7 Churches, 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, and 7 Bowls. The number 7 represents God’s perfect order, completeness or Divine perfection. We see the number 7 in the Creation story, where God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th, a cycle of 7 days creating perfection and completion. God uses all things to enhance our understanding of His Word, including numbers.
After John completed writing the letters to the 7 Churches, in Revelation 4 he sees a door standing open in Heaven and hears a voice that sounds like a Trumpet telling him “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things”.
The Bible says “Immediately John was in the Spirit”, so the Lord somehow spiritually transported John (or John’s spirit) through that open door, so that he could WITNESS the things that were soon to take place. John is being shown end time events, always remembering that Heaven is outside of time and space. The first thing John sees is “One sitting on the Throne” who was like a Jasper stone, and Sardius in appearance. The sardius stone is a red carnelian and the reference is equating the two stones as looking very similar. Jasper symbolizes the glory of God; His splendor, brightness, magnificence and beauty. It symbolizes the blood atonement we have through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the PASSING OVER of God’s judgment. It also represents royalty, prosperity, prestige, and valiance. John is seeing YHWH, or a representation of YHWH sitting on the Throne. He is so beautiful, John can only describe Him using known items such as precious stones.
Around the Throne there were 24 Elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. Although we are not told the identity of the 24 elders, most scholars assume that they include the 12 Patriarchs and the 12 Apostles (Matthew 19:28). The number 12 is a number that represents God’s power and authority as well as God’s Divine Government. Even more important than the identify of the 12 elders, is what is their purpose? In Israel, as among all other ancient peoples, the elders were the consulting body of the city, the nation, or the king respectively, and as such were considered “the wise”.
The functions of the elders of the people were
- to represent the people in the sacred covenant and in the proclamation of the law,
- to appoint a leader or a king, to proclaim war,
- to conduct political negotiations and make agreements,
- to perform sacred ceremonies, to act in times of national crisis.
- The elders held their meetings near the city gate, and more precisely in the square located next to the gate.
It seems that the 24 Elders are present in some sort of “legal capacity”, as representatives of humanity. At this point, we see the 24 Elders that surround the Throne fall down before Him who lives forever and ever (YHWH) and worship Him while casting their crowns before Him saying..
Note: a crown represents the completed good works that were prepared for each of God’s children to accomplish before the foundation of the earth (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Why did the 24 Elders cast their crowns before God the Father on the Throne? They did so because they KNOW that the only reason they were sitting there at all, dressed in white, wearing crowns (the good works prepared for us BEFORE the foundation of the world) is BECAUSE of HIS WILL, because of HIS SON, because of HIS LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE.
Now here is where we are first introduced to the 7 Seals of Revelation that you’ve probably heard about.
What is this “book” that YHWH (God the Father) is holding in His Right Hand? Well, it’s not really a book, but a Scroll. This Scroll has writing on both sides, and is sealed with 7 Seals. Many believe that this scroll is the TITLE DEED to planet Earth. It’s a legal document. Scrolls normally had writing on one side only, however, some important documents had writing on both sides. In the Bible, scrolls with writing on both sides indicate that there’s a judgment coming. In Revelation 5, John wept bitterly when he sees the scroll because he knew what was at stake. Since the time of the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, the earth has been under the “management” of the “prince of the power of the air” (satan), who deceives the whole world. Only someone who could redeem Planet Earth and return it to its rightful owner would be able to open the scroll, and no one could be found. Not in Heaven, not on Earth, not under the Earth. Without a qualified redeemer Earth would be lost for all eternity.
John could not fathom a more horrible fate for planet earth, then to remain under the current “management” of satan. The destroyer has harmed this earth and it’s inhabitants for thousands of years. John wept BITTERLY over even contemplating that the earth would remain under satan. But, then the 24 elders comforted John and told him to stop weeping because there is ONE who has overcome and is able to break the seals of the scroll! The lion from the Tribe of Judah, the descendant of King David, Yeshua, has overcome and is able to unseal the scroll. Just imagining this scene unfolding in Heaven gives me chills. What John has HEARD is the announcement of the LION. What he then SEES is the LAMB. He is to hold what he has heard in his head while gazing at what he now sees; and he is to hold what he is seeing in his head as he reflects on what he has heard”. Revelation 5:5-6 provides “one of the most beautiful mixed metaphors in all the Bible—the LION IS a LAMB! The direction of the transformation is very important; the final stage is the lamb, not the lion. The Lion has overcome, NOT through military power (although HE IS POWERFUL), but through HIS SACRIFICE as the LAMB OF GOD.
Jesus takes the Scroll from the Father, and the 4 living Creatures who surround the Throne (face of a man, face of an ox, face of an Eagle, face of a lion representing the 4 Gospels of Jesus Christ), all fall down before the Lamb, worshiping Him. The golden bowls of incense that the 24 elders are holding represent the prayers of the Saints, the people of God. The 24 Elders then sing a new song, a joyous song, recognizing that JESUS, the Lamb of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who is God Almighty Himself wrapped in human flesh, is WORTHY to break the seals because He bought back, redeemed, purchased with His Blood men from every tribe, people, tongue and nation. Those whom God has purchased with HIS BLOOD, the people of God, will be a Kingdom of priests to God and they will reign WITH JESUS… ON THE EARTH. Yes, the people of God are COMING BACK with Jesus Christ to reign on the earth WITH HIM for 1000 years!
After this scene, we see a BEAUTIFUL WORSHIP SCENE with the 24 elders, the 4 living Creatures that surround the Throne, and THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of angels WORSHIPING the LAMB OF GOD, JESUS the CHRIST!