The book of Revelation was written at a time when the first century church faced intense persecution from the Roman Empire. The Church's worship of Jesus Christ stood in stark contrast, and in opposition to, the State worship of Caesar. I such a setting what hope did the church have. The same question can be asked of the church today. As persecution of the church increases, whether social or political in nature, what comfort is given to the church?
In Revelation 4, the Apostle John, from his exile to the Isle of Patmos, receives a vision of the throne room of God. In this vision, and throughout the book of Revelation, the throne of God becomes a central focus of the book. We see that God is on His throne. God is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. All of history is under God's sovereign rule.
In today's lesson, we see three purposes of the vision John receives in Revelation 4 and 5:
- To Ground the readers' worship in the worship of heaven
- To contrast the magnificence of God with the earthly "glory" of Caesar and all earthly rulers
- To show that the judgment of God (coming in chapters 6 thru 20) is grounded in His holiness.
And as the vision unfolds, we see God's greatness displayed in three ways:
- In God's centrality (Rev. 4:2-4)
- In God's holiness (Rev. 4:5-6a)
- In the worship of His creatures (Rev. 4:6b-11)