Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
All Christians know that Christ has ascended into heaven and that He is in heaven today. However, not many are familiar with the scene in heaven after Christ’s ascension. This scene is quite particular, and we need to see it very clearly.
Revelation 4:1 says, “After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened 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 what must take place after these things.” God’s plan is hidden in heaven. When God finds a man on earth after His heart, heaven is opened to him. It was opened to Jacob (Gen. 28:12-17), to Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:1), to Jesus (Matt. 3:16), to Stephen (Acts 7:56), and to Peter (Acts 10:11). Here, and in 19:11, it is opened to John, the writer of this book, and it will be opened to all believers in the Lord in eternity (John 1:51).
Verse 2 says, “Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven.” In heaven, there is firstly a throne, and the book of Revelation is focused upon it. Beginning with chapter four, this book unveils God’s universal administration. The throne of God in Revelation is the center of God’s administration. While the throne in the Epistles is the throne of grace from which we receive mercy and find grace (Heb. 4:16), the throne here is the throne of judgment from which the world receives judgment. This is God’s throne in heaven. The whole universe, especially the earth, is under this throne. Whatever Satan does in the air and whatever man does on earth is under God’s throne in heaven. Today, man may do anything he likes, but the throne of God in heaven is still the authority over all men and all things. No one can do anything and nothing can happen outside of the rule of God’s throne. Apparently, this throne is invisible and is not realized by man, but actually it is behind the scene ruling over everyone and everything. In God’s time and for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, the appropriate judgment always comes out of this throne to mankind and upon the things transpiring on earth. In the book of Revelation, the consummate issue comes from the completion of the execution of God’s judgment. This judgment proceeds from the throne and clears up the confusion both in heaven and on earth caused by Satan’s rebellion and man’s fall.
In verse 3 we see that there is “a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance.” The rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with man and living creatures that He will not destroy them again with the flood (Gen. 9:8-17). In this book, God will judge the earth with all its inhabitants. The rainbow around His throne signifies that God is the covenanting God, the faithful God, who will keep His covenant while executing His judgment upon the earth in that He will not judge mankind again with a flood nor destroy all mankind, but will keep some to be the nations of the earth for His glory (21:24, 26). This rainbow indicates that God is faithful in His administration toward mankind. In this chapter, God is about to judge mankind, but in exercising His judgment, He will remember His covenant with Noah. He is the judging God and He is also the covenant-keeping God.
This rainbow is “like an emerald in appearance.” An emerald is a precious stone having a grass green color, which signifies the lives on earth. This indicates that while God executes His judgment upon the earth, He will still remember His covenant and spare some of the lives on earth as indicated in Genesis 9:11. An emerald, being a precious stone, is solid. God’s reminder to keep His covenant is solid. There is this solid reminder around the throne.
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