Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. And the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” -Revelation chapter 4.
Now we find ourselves in extensive imagery in the book of Revelation. We have jewelry, creatures, a bunch of wings and even more eyes. But what does it all mean and when does this take place? How can we know? I’m glad I asked. Without help from our Old Testament tutor, it remains CAGED. Revelation can be revealed to us using the CAGED method. For those who have not read my previous post, do so. They only take about 6-7 minutes per post and, except the last being first, are written chronologically. The CAGED method is an acronym for Context, Author, audience and aspirations, Genre, Expository exegis of examples, and Dividing the word of truth. We must read Revelation as it was written, as an apocalypse. Don’t be afraid of the word apocalypse, it’s meaning has been perverted over the years. It simply means an unveiling. Jesus is pealing back the layer that separates the realm of flesh to the realm of spirit–our world to his. It’s a behind the scenes look into that which we cannot see. In so doing, Jesus uses such literary devices as, simile, metaphor, imagery, hyperbole and other analogies. In this epoch in which we live, literature is dying a slow but very steady death due to television, movies and under-educated, or over-educated, ignoramuses on the internet. While we use figures of speech, euphemisms and cliches daily, we cannot read for the life of us. We take terms too literally and not literary.
In Revelation Christ Jesus paints pictures with his words. They are not meant to be taken literally, nor are they to be taken as allegory. Rather, they are imagery, words used to highlight and to express the deepest of truths. For instance, at the beginning of our text, the “voice like a trumpet.” The word, like, is a clear indication that this is a simile. And without the use of the CAGED method, wherein one doesn’t consider our Old Testament tutor, this imagrey could sound to one that the voice was loud and musical. However, when compared to the Old Testament, we should realize that the trumpet symbolism is that of Judgement and Authority. We need to think about how the trumpet is used throughout the Bible.
After we read about the voice like a trumpet, we read about thrones and jewels and rainbows. Yes, it’s coming to you now. You’re beginning to see it. Precious stones, thrones of the Almighty and promises made, sealed with a bow. Our tutor is the Old Testament.
The book of Revelation covers, “the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things.” And those of which are, took place nearly 2000 years ago. And many of these things were prophecies from eons hence.
Ask yourself, ensuring that yourself is honest, are we to take literally, “And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God?”
We have determined that the seven Spirits are indeed the Holy Spirit, using the CAGED method. Why then would one take this imagrey other than that of the Holy Spirit? Are the seven lamps of fire seven literal lamps? No, we’ve already established that they represent the Holy Spirit. Yet not just the Holy Spirit but it zooms in on one of the Spirit’s attributes, his omnipresence.
In the same way we see thrones, and upon the thrones 24 elders. We have the right inclination to think that these thrones represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. But wait, when we do that, when we leave the simple for the complex, and over-think things, we start to question: Ok, Judas was an apostle, but… And, weren’t there 12 tribes but also two half tribes? And what about Levi, they had no land? And I remember in Revelation the tribe of Dan is not listed? Try to keep it simple, the Bible was written for the simple, not scholars–look at the mess they have made of it.
Keep it simple and understand the genre. It is a bit foreign to us because of all the time we spend in front of the idiot box. Revelation is real, it has, is and will, really happen. But much of it is out of our sight. God is beginning to reveal to us the things of which we cannot see or fathom. So he uses imagrey for us to better understand.
We again, will use our Old Testament tutor and the CAGED method. We notice white robes, fire, sounds of thunder and lightning coming from the throne. Yes a storm. God reveals himself through the storm. He is powerful and pure, high and mighty and he is worthy because as it is said, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.”