Revelation 4-7
(Glimpses of Glory)
December 26th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

- Revelation 5:5 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

This set of chapters reveals glimpses of the Glory of Heaven as reported by the Apostle John who had been enabled by the Holy Spirit to see the throne room of heaven. While there, he watches Jesus begin to remove the seven seals on the scroll.

Chapter 4 describes the throne room of heaven, which included a majestic throne for God plus 24 thrones for 24 elders, seven lamps, a sea of glass, and four unusual creatures prowling around the thrones of God and the elders. One creature looked like a lion, the second like an ox, the third like a man, and the last like an eagle. They praised God endlessly with a chant of "Holy, Holy, Holy," Chapter 5 identifies the Lamb as the one who could open the scroll and the four creatures began to sing a new song:

    “You are worthy to take the scroll
       and to open its seals,
    because you were slain,
       and with your blood you purchased for God
       persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
    You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
       and they will reign on the earth.”

    - Revelation 5:9-10 (NIV)

Then a choir of thousands and thousands of angels began singing a song of praise and the four creatures said amen.

Chapter 6 records the opening of the first six of the seven seals. The first four release four horses, each of different color, and each with a different assignment on earth. One to conquer, one to create war, one to disrupt commerce, and one named Death. The four horses were given power over one fourth of the earth. The fifth seal revealed the souls of the martyrs who had suffered because of their faith. They were told to “wait a little longer (Rev. 6:11 - NIV).” When the sixth scroll was opened there was an earthquake and the moon turned blood red.

In chapter 7 God announces that he is going to seal (mark) the faithful so that they would not be harmed by the forthcoming disaster, and lists the twelve tribes, beginning with Judah, the tribe from which David and Jesus had descended. Then John observed another great multitude singing and praising God.

Reflection and Application

The visions described here are similar to ones seen by other prophets of the Old Testament, such as the glowing rainbow around the throne described in Ezekiel 1:22-28 (which is also a reminder of God's covenant of mercy following the Great Flood). Other observations that recall the prophets words include an image of Christ as a lamb similar to the description in Isaiah 53:7 and the moon turning blood red as prophesied in Joel 2:28-32. But the entire scene is a snapshot of heaven that we have not see in any other book of the Bible.

Biblical expert Leon Morris provides us with a perspective to understand the importance of chapters 4 and 5 relative to the rest of the Book of Revelation. He explains that chapter 4 depicts a vision of the Creator and ends with praise for him. The four animals represent all of Creation. Chapter 5 provides a vision of the Redeemer, and ends with praise for him. Morris explains that the inability of any human to break the seal emphasizes the limitations of man. We are not the Creator, and are not worthy to break the seals. He notes that “…we all, at times feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness in the grip of forces stronger than we. The world’s agony is real. And the world’s inability to break free from the consequences of guilt is real (1).”

The 24 thrones represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 Disciples, which in turn represent all of the people of God. The animals depicted in the throne room are cherubs that are symbolic in a number of ways. The lion represents nobility, the ox symbolizes strength, the man is a symbol for wisdom, and the eagle is a sign of speed. The animals also represent the four Gospels: Mark (Lion), Luke (Ox), Matthew (Man), and John (Eagle). They have many eyes allowing them to watch over the world.

Jesus is described as both a lamb who had been sacrificed and a lion who ruled over all. The many horns on the lamb represent power and the eyes represent knowledge - he is all powerful and all seeing. He had achieved something that had never been done before by coming to earth as a divine being and returning to heaven. He was also the only one who could open the mysterious scroll, so all the elders and all the animals, and the hosts of heaven worshiped him. The people of the Roman Empire were being forced to worship earthly rulers. The beings of heaven worshiped God and the Son. One challenge for us is to ask ourselves who we will worship and how we will worship. We can dedicate every act as worship of God or dedicate it to something else.

The sealing of the faithful in chapter 7 allows God to bring these people away from earth in an event known as the Rapture. This is the event that someone claimed was going to happen in May 2011. Many people believed him, many more scoffed at him, but he and his followers received worldwide media attention. And when he didn’t, he revised his so-called prophecy and said it would happen in October 2011. He didn’t get quite as much attention, and was wrong again. Note that John does not try to proclaim the exact date. No man knows when this will happen, so we should always be prepared to be on God’s side.

The number of saved quoted in chapter 7 was 144,000, which is 12 x 12 x 1,000, a symbol of completeness, indicating that all of God’s followers would be saved – not just 12,000 from each tribe, but all followers, including Jews and Gentiles (2).

As of the events of chapter 7, the seventh seal had not yet been opened. This act will be described in chapter 8, which we study tomorrow.

"Mary Did You Know," Performed by Pentatonix

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had with horses?
    2. What was God’s purpose for the four horses released by the first four seals?
    3. What would it take to be recognized as one of God’s followers to ensure we are sealed?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you chose us and mark us. Help us to see you and hear you in this dark, dark world.

    Prayer Concern
    Equestrian Workers and Riders


    (1) Morris, Leon, Revelation, an Introduction and Commentary, Intervarsity Press, Leicester England, 1987, p. 89-91
    (2) Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, M; 1991, p.2312

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Revelation 8-11 (Seven Trumpets)

    Comments and Questions
    Please add your thoughts to our Comments page or send your comments and questions to the author at or share your comments or question via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)