Revelation 4:1-11 – THE ONE WHO SITS ON THE THRONE
The book of Revelation presents an exciting message of overcoming and ultimate victory for God’s people. Jesus Himself overcame (Revelation 3:21), and He promises eternal blessings to those who via His blood overcome their adversary, the devil (Revelation 12:11). As we read the message of the Bible’s last book, before we come to John’s visions of challengers to the Lamb and those who serve Him, the contents of chapter four help us focus our minds on the One Who sits on the throne.
In Revelation 4:1,2 it is written:
(1) After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ (2) Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
So, John was allowed in the Spirit to see heavenly things. The apostle saw a throne, someone sitting on the throne, and heard several descriptions of the throne-sitter. What did John observe?
- Location of the throne – The throne which John saw was “set in heaven” (4:2). When we think about a throne, we think about royalty, authority, and ruling. In the eleven verses of chapter four, we read the word “throne” at least ten times (4:2,3,4,5,6,9,10). As you and I read this book and as we go through our life on earth, we need to keep our eyes on the heavenly throne and the One Who sits on it!
- Identity of the One on the throne – In verse two we learn that One Being sat on the throne in heaven. Who is that? He is identified as “Lord God Almighty” (4:8). The revelation of Jesus through John to the seven churches of Asia was given at a time when the Roman Empire ruled over the territory of the Middle East. The emperor who sat on the throne in Rome was a powerful person in world affairs. While God’s children submit to earthly monarchs and other civil authorities (1 Peter 2:13,14), our first allegiance is to the One Who sits on the throne in heaven!
Roman Emperors may have expanded the territories over which they ruled and crushed nations into submission, but our God “is Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24). Jehovah rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17; 2:21). When immorality abounds, when God’s word is ridiculed and abandoned, and when His people face challenges from the forces of Satan, let us not fret: our God rules on His throne! Each day we need to keep our eyes on “the big picture,” which means that our eyes must not lose sight of the throne and the One Who sits thereon.
- Description of the One on the throne – Heavenly beings praise God by proclaiming, “Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (4:8). He is perfect in every attribute, and in Him there is no unrighteousness (Psalm 92:15). He calls on His children to imitate His holiness: “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
The holy God on the heavenly throne is also Almighty (4:8). He is “the Lord God Omnipotent” (19:6). Mere men who sat on the throne in ancient Rome flexed their political muscles, but they were not all-powerful like our great God is. There are mighty political regimes in modern times as well, but we tremble not at their puny efforts to exalt themselves and oppose God’s way of righteousness. Take comfort, my brothers and sister. Our God lives! He rules! What happens when we are on the same side as the Almighty? “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). That is correct: the Lord’s Cause always wins. The first-century saints needed to remember that encouraging truth. So do we.
The One on the throne is eternal – God “was and is and is to come” (4:8). He “lives forever and ever” (4:9). No one will remove or replace Him as Ruler. He cannot be voted out of office or run out of town or out of the country. He is God “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2).
- What the One on the throne deserves – “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (4:11). John witnessed other heavenly beings “give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne” (4:9). What should be our response to the Bible’s clear message about the Almighty Creator? Each one of us should bow before Him in humility, giving Him thanks, glory, and honor. He is worthy to be praised above everyone and everything. After all, He alone is the eternal God!
Revelation 4 is a passage that points our hearts to the throne in heaven, the One who sits on the throne, and His eternal, exalted nature. In view of this awe- inspiring message, may it be our constant desire to be people whose thoughts and lives are throne-centered, heaven-centered, and eternity-centered.
— Roger D. Campbell