Part XI: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (God’s Throne Room)
After receiving the prophetic messages to the seven congregations, the scene moves from Earth to Heaven, where John sees a door open. Speaking in apocalyptic language, this is not a literal door but a prophetic door of revelation.
Revelation Chapters 4 and 5
THE THRONE ROOM OF GOD
THE OPEN DOOR TO HEAVEN
After these things I looked, and there was a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said: “Come up here so that I can show you what must happen after these things.” (Revelation 4:1 NET)
John now begins to record the heart of the book of Revelation. In the outline given of the Apocalypse, he is now relating “the things which will take place after this.” This is evident because the apostle starts chapter four with the phrase, “After these things.” After what things? The things that pertain to Christ’s words concerning the churches of Asia Minor. (26)
John wants us to understand that he will receive a vision of Heaven that can only come by spiritual revelation from God Himself. He will be privileged to see what is happening in Heaven and then record that for the believers confronted with the throne of the imperial cult of Rome. (10)
But the revelation is not only for believers in the seven congregations; it is for believers of all time who struggle with the challenge and heartache of seeing men and governments exalt themselves in place of God. What we see on Earth is not reality. The reality is what we see in Heaven. We just need the spiritual revelation to see it, and John gives it to us.
John hears a voice speaking to him and says it is like a trumpet-shofar (1). He uses the same phrase in Revelation 1:10.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10 NET)
John was used to the voice of the Lord sounding like a trumpet-shofar. When the Lord brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, the Lord spoke to them (1) through the sound of the trumpet-shofar (Exodus 19:13-19). The people were so frightened by the experience that they asked Moses for the Lord not to speak to them directly again (Exodus 20:18-19).
So one way the Lord continued to speak to them was through trumpets-shofars (Numbers 10:1-10). When John heard the voice of the Lord, he heard it as the sound of a trumpet-shofar. This was part of the history and heritage of his people in hearing the Word of the Lord. He knew what it meant, and it certainly got his attention. (10)
The voice told John to come to Heaven to receive the spiritual revelation of the next things the Lord wanted to show him. There are two statements here to consider:
1. The statement commanding John to come to Heaven.
Those who believe and proclaim a pre-tribulation rapture interpret this verse and command to “Come up here” to mean that John represents believers who are raptured or caught up to Heaven at this time before the beginning of the tribulation. Scholars and serious students of the Book of Revelation certainly have the right to their studied interpretation. We should bless, love, and respect those with different views than ours and not be dogmatic when there is a difference of opinion. (10)
Furthermore, believers who have only been taught the pre-tribulation rapture may be surprised to learn that not everyone shares this interpretation of this specific Scripture. We need to be humble and teachable and not make something that is not essential for salvation through Jesus Christ (1) a test of fellowship. That is, we need to keep the main thing the main thing. Salvation through Jesus Christ is the main thing! (1)
When we read or hear teaching contrary to what we have always believed, we should be like the Bereans who search the Scriptures daily to discover the truth.
These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 NET)
It is important to remember that the Book of Revelation is written in an apocalyptic writing style. This means we should not interpret this book too literally. This may shock some, but John was not literally raptured to Heaven. This may sound upsetting if this is the only interpretation you have been taught and accepted. God bless all well-meaning godly ministers who teach this view. (10)
John uses apocalyptic language to say that he will receive a supernatural prophetic word from God. He is using symbolic language to describe it. There was no literal door or rapture of John’s body to Heaven. (10)
John had a spiritual vision of Heaven but was still on the earth at Patmos. Physically, he did not go anywhere. Since he was not literally raptured, this verse cannot suggest a literal rapture of believers to Heaven in God’s great end-time chronology of events. Those who do so are certainly making a good-faith effort to understand and interpret this verse. I applaud them, but this interpretation turns an apocalyptic statement into a literal event that this verse cannot support. I pray that you will have “ears to hear.” (10)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was asked if he defended the Bible, said,
“Yes, the way I would defend a lion. I open the cage and let it out!”
2. The statement when the Lord says He will show John “things which must take place after this.”
Scholars who interpret the Book of Revelation literally see chapters 4-22 as the chronological order of the Book of Revelation. There is certainly a chronological order to some events John describes. But when John says, “things which must take place after this,” he uses apocalyptic language to refer to the next part of his prophetic vision. He does not necessarily mean the next events but the next part of his vision. The point is not to read in too literal an interpretation of spiritual language. There are successive chronological events in the Book of Revelation. We must be cautious and not dogmatic in interpreting “otherworldly” language and symbols too literally. (10)
There is absolutely no inconsistency in having a strong personal opinion and yet being tolerant of the views of others.
THE THRONE IN HEAVEN
Immediately I was in the Spirit, and a throne was standing in heaven with someone seated on it! And the one seated on it was like jasper and carnelian in appearance, and a rainbow looking like it was made of emerald encircled the throne. (Revelation 4:2–3 NET)
To emphasize that he has a prophetic vision, John once again says he is “in the Spirit.” John uses this phrase four times (Revelation 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). The reader would understand John to be saying that the Holy Spirit was giving him an additional spiritual revelation that he could not possibly know by his own human intellect or imagination. These “in the Spirit” statements are the order for understanding the Book of Revelation. (10)
In his spiritual state, John sees the throne room of God in Heaven in all of its glory and beauty. Someone was seated on the throne. This “One” is the Creator of all things. He is not the generic “god of the world,” nor is He the god of any religion outside of the Bible. He is Yahveh, the Judeo-Christian God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He is the God of Israel. (10)
The Lord Himself makes this claim as we learn in Isaiah:
This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says, their protector, the Lord who commands armies: “I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me. (Isaiah 44:6 NET).
Because God is so glorious in His appearance, no one can see Him in the fullness of His blazing glory and dazzling beauty. Surely we can understand that the creature cannot see the Creator in His fullness. If we did, we would all die. (10)
A natural example we can all understand is that no one can look directly into the sun without seeing spots or going blind. We must turn our eyes away from the sun or look at it with special glasses or through dark clouds. This is what the Bible means when it says that God is invisible or cannot be seen (1 Timothy 1:17; John 1:18).
The Hebrew Bible tells us that God “spoke to Moses face to face” (Exodus 33:11). This is a Hebraic figure of speech. The writer wants us to understand that when Moses approached God, he was not in a spiritual trance or having a vision like John but was fully conscious and aware that he was in God’s presence. It does not mean that Moses literally saw God’s face.
Later in the same chapter, Moses pleaded with God to show him His glory. The Lord then told Moses that no one could see His face, meaning the fullness of His glory, and live. (Exodus 33:18-23.)
So when the Bible talks about someone seeing the Lord, it does not mean that the person sees Him in bodily form. It means that the person sees a manifestation of God which the person describes in heavenly terms of majestic divine glory and beauty.
For example, Exodus reads:
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up,and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself.(Exodus 24:9-10 NET).
The prophet Micaiah described his vision of the Lord in this way:
Micaiah said, “That being the case, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the heavenly assembly standing on his right and on his left. (1 Kings 22:19 NET).
Isaiah described a vision of the Lord similar to John’s. Isaiah said:
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe [glory] filled the temple. Seraphs stood over him; each one had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and they used the remaining two to fly. They called out to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord who commands armies! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth!” The sound of their voices shook the door frames, and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1–4 NET).
The prophet Ezekiel said that the heavens were opened to him and that he “saw visions of God” (Ezekiel 1:1). In the rest of the chapter, Ezekiel describes all he saw using language similar to Moses, Micaiah, Isaiah, and John (see Ezekiel 1). (10)
As with others who have had a true vision of Heaven, John does not describe God in a definable form but rather in terms humans can understand. John speaks of God’s blazing glory and dazzling beauty as brilliant gemstones of jasper and (carnelian or sardius). (10)
Jasper was one of the stones in the high priest’s breastplate (1) (Exodus 28:20). Jasper is also mentioned later in Revelation to describe the brilliant, pure light of the glory of God; it is called a “precious stone” that is as “clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:11). From a spiritual standpoint, we can say that jasper symbolizes the pure holiness of God. (10)
While we don’t know the exact color of the jasper that John sees because it is crystal clear, we can think of it today as resembling a brilliant, sparkling diamond. The wall and the New Jerusalem’s first foundation are made of jasper (Revelation 21:18-19). Because jasper is said to be crystal clear, the glory of God can be seen emanating everywhere throughout New Jerusalem, the city God has prepared as the eternal home of His people. Praise God! (10)
Carnelian (or Sardius) is a beautiful red like a ruby. Sardius was also one of the stones in the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:17). It is listed as the sixth foundation of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:20). This description indicates the holiness and justness of God. These brilliant colors present a picture of the righteous and holy anger that God is about to pour out on the sinfulness of mankind. (26)
In addition to these gorgeous stones, John sees an emerald or green-colored rainbow around God’s throne. The way John describes it, the rainbow is a full circle around the throne. The full circle symbolizes eternity, much like the wedding ring symbolizes the sacredness of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. Exodus 28:17 lists emerald as one of the stones in the high priest’s breastplate. It is also the fourth foundation of the wall of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:19). (10)
Typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible from the ground because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360-degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible.
The rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant of life, as we learn in Genesis 9:12-17. Through his vision of God’s throne, John is given an apocalyptic message that a holy God has entered into an everlasting blood covenant with His people through the innocent substitutionary sacrifice of His Son, who gave His life for the sins of mankind. (10)
The rainbow symbolized God’s promise to Noah that there would never be another flood that would destroy the world (Genesis 9:7-17). The rainbow around God’s throne, thus, is a reminder to the Lord to remember His great mercy even in the midst of His divine wrath. (26)
Furthermore, John’s vision contrasts God’s heavenly throne with the emperor’s earthly throne and imperial cult worship. To the people living under Roman rule, the majesty and splendor of the emperor’s throne represented the most powerful ruler in the world. The emperor was a “god” to be feared and obeyed without question. You proved your loyalty to the emperor by sacrificing to him at his temple or statue and altar. The believers were faced with this challenge and crisis. (10)
The Roman emperor controlled most of the world. His power was absolute, and his riches immeasurable. He could do whatever he wanted. He could kill your body but not your soul. (Matthew 10:28) Yet his power and majesty could not even compare to the sovereign rule of God over all of His creation. Caesar’s power, wealth, and glory, as represented by his throne, were nothing compared to the blazing glory and dazzling beauty of the throne of God.
Furthermore, the emperor would have no power unless the Almighty allowed it. We learn this in the Gospel records in the Bible. When Pilate threatened Jesus with crucifixion (10)
Jesus said to him,
Jesus answered, You would not have any power or authority whatsoever against (over) Me if it were not given you from above. For this reason the sin and guilt of the one who delivered Me over to you is greater. (John 19:11 NET)
The vision of the throne room of God would certainly comfort the believers and assure them that God alone was the sovereign Lord and Master of the universe. He alone was to be feared and obeyed. He alone was to be worshiped. In time, He would judge the arrogance of the imperial cult and set His people in the place of honor. Therefore, the believers to whom John wrote learned not to fear those who ruled over them in this world. John’s message applies to believers today; we should pray for those in authority over us, but ultimately, our lives are in God’s hands, not those of evil rulers. (10)
First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people,even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human,who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time. (1 Timothy 2:1–6 NET)
Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29:7 NET)
God alone is the supreme sovereign over His creation. And He has promised eternal rewards to His people who overcome the temptations of this world. While evil rulers can kill our bodies, God will raise us with new bodies to live with Him forever. (10)
As Paul writes:
Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11 NET)
All the Caesars are dead, but Jesus, the Son of Man, lives! Earthly leaders only rule for a short time, but God rules forever. He alone is to be feared, praised, and worshiped. (10)
While God will pour out His wrath on the ungodly, He has an everlasting covenant of life for His people purchased for us through the substitutionary blood sacrifice of Jesus. As Paul wrote to the believers at Thessalonica:
For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9–11 NET). (10)
THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS
In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on those thrones were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white clothing and had golden crowns on their heads. (Revelation 4:4 NET)
Around the throne of God, John sees twenty-four elders clothed in white. They are also sitting on thrones and have gold crowns on their heads. Who are these twenty-four elders, and what are they doing around the throne of God? (10)
The word elder (Gk, presbuteros), as used in the book of Revelation, is only used of the twenty-four elders and is used twelve times (Revelation 4:4,10;5:5,6,8,11,14;7:11,13,14;11:16,17,18;14:3;19:4). (18)
The word elder is used in different ways throughout the Bible. It is used for older men who were tribal leaders. Egypt, Moses, and Aaron called the elders to inform them that Yahweh had sent them (Exodus 4:29,30). Later, seventy elders were set up as a special group to assist Moses (Numbers 11:16,17). In the New Covenant, the word elder was used for the rulers of the synagogues (Matthew 21:23;26:57) and for the leaders in the early church (Acts 14:23). It was also used in describing the great Old Covenant men of faith (Hebrews 11:2).
And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:5–6 NET)
The view that the elders are resurrected saints who have received their rewards from the judgment seat of Christ is also not likely. This is because the Judgment seat of Christ is not said to take place until after the seventh trumpet judgment.
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Then the twenty-four elders who are seated on their thrones before God threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and worshiped God with these words: “We give you thanks, Lord God, the All-Powerful, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations were enraged, but your wrath has come, and the time has come for the dead to be judged, and the time has come to give to your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints and to those who revere your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.” Then the temple of God in heaven was opened and the ark of his covenant was visible within his temple. And there were flashes of lightning, roaring, crashes of thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm. (Revelation 11:16–19 NET)
If, as proposed, Revelation is chronological, then the seventh trumpet judgment has not yet taken place; therefore, neither has the Judgment seat of Christ. The believers these elders are often said to symbolize are usually the twelve Patriarchs of Israel and the twelve Apostles. It is argued that after the rapture, these two groups will be fused into one people. While it is true that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in the Church of Jesus, it does not necessarily follow that a fused group of Old and New Testament believers will represent the redeemed of the ages. If this group does, one may ask why there are not twenty-four gates and twenty-four foundations instead of 12 in the New Jerusalem? (26)
It has a massive, high wall with twelve gates, with twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel are written on the gates. There are three gates on the east side, three gates on the north side, three gates on the south side and three gates on the west side. The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:12–14 NET)
John specifically told us that the gates and foundations represent the twelve Old Testament Patriarchs and the twelve New Testament Apostles. To have twelve gates for the Patriarchs and twelve foundations for the Apostles does not represent a true fusion of Jewish and Christian believers. (26)
The significance of the fact that there were twenty-four elders is clarified in the Old Covenant. The priesthood of ancient Israel, made up of the house of Aaron, was divided into twenty-four courses or groups of priests. (1 Chronicles 24). Each group served for two weeks each year on a rotation basis. As the prophet was God’s spokesman to the people, the priest was the people’s representative before God. The number twenty-four in connection with the priesthood would speak of complete representation. Each group of priests had one priest who represented it. When these twenty-four priests met, they represented the entire priesthood and, simultaneously, the whole nation of Israel.
John specifically said these elders to be “sitting” (Revelation 4:4;11:16). To any Jewish contemporary of John, that would have been an amazing statement. They knew the Levitical priests never sat down because their work was never done. (1) Their work was never done because the sacrifices of animals they offered could never take away sin – they could only cover sin for a year. But Jesus offered Himself as an infinite and eternal sacrifice and, therefore, never had to be repeated. The writer of Hebrews reveals that:
The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3 NET)
These twenty-four elders were seated on thrones around the Heavenly Father because Jesus, our Great High Priest (1), had once and for all opened the way into the Most Holy Place (1) in Heaven! These are the same thrones promised to overcomers at Laodicea (1).
I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21 NET)
This background information should give us a good idea of who the twenty-four elders represent. In the Bible, numbers often have symbolic meanings. Scholars understand that the number 12 can symbolize government or leadership and can be a representative number. Furthermore, the Bible refers to Jews and non-Jewish believers as the priests of God (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6;5:10). (10)
When considering everything, the twenty-four elders are seen with Jesus the High Priest (Revelation 5) and represent the following:
The redeemed ones of the twelve tribes of Israel (including proselytes and all that received righteousness through faith since the fall of Adam) who have died and were liberated when Jesus moved Paradise (aka, the Garden of Eden (1)) from Hades back to Heaven (1).
The redeemed ones, Jews and Gentiles, who directly or indirectly were born again through the ministry of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (the original eleven plus a replacement) and have died.
Together, they represent the company of all believers (i.e., Jews and Gentile believers) that have died and are with the Lord sometime before the Seals on the Scroll were opened. They do not yet have a glorified body, which will be given to them, and us Christians later when Jesus returns.
Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord—for we live by faith, not by sight. Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6–8 NET)
Again, they are seen in Heaven offering constant praise and worship to our God.
Similarly, the twelve gates in the New Jerusalem have the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, while the city’s foundations have the names of the twelve apostles. (10)
The city possesses the glory of God; its brilliance is like a precious jewel, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper.It has a massive, high wall with twelve gates, with twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel are written on the gates. There are three gates on the east side, three gates on the north side, three gates on the south side and three gates on the west side. The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:11–14 NET)
These elders are clothed in white clothing (Revelation 4:4). Again, a Jewish contemporary of John would have immediately understood the significance of the white robes. When the ancient high priest of Israel on Yom Kippur (i.e., the Day of Atonements) prepared to enter the Holy of Holies and the presence of God, he would change from his magnificent priestly robes;
and put on the holy (white) linen garments (1) (Leviticus 16:4).
When he withdrew from the Tabernacle, he again put on the “Golden Garments” (Leviticus 16:23,24). In the presence of the people, the magnificent priestly garments were to be worn. However, a linen robe was worn in the presence of our Holy God, who is a consuming fire. The “white raiment” in which the elders were clothed speaks elegantly of their entrance “within the veil” in the presence of God. The same significance is seen in the statement that these are the same white garments reserved for overcomers at Sardis (1):
But you have a few individuals in Sardis who have not stained their clothes, and they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:4,5 NET)
That is, overcomers will enjoy the divine presence forever!
Note these elders had “golden crowns” on their heads (Revelation 4:4). The Greek word for “crown” used here is stephanos, which means a victory crown more than the crown of a sovereign Lord, which is the Greek word transliterated as diadem. This is the same crown promised to overcomers at Smyrna (1):
‘I know the distress you are suffering and your poverty (but you are rich). I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown [stephanos] that is life itself. (Revelation 2:9–10 NET)
The crowns upon the heads of the twenty-four elders suggest that those they represent are overcomers and victorious. They are seen in their representative priestly ministry – not in sacrifice, but intercession:
and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). (Revelation 5:8 NET)
They are also seen in their priestly ministry of praise:
the twenty-four elders throw themselves to the ground before the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever, and they offer their crowns before his throne, saying: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, since you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!” (Revelation 4:10–11 NET)
In summary, they are clothed in white, which symbolizes their purity; they are sitting with the Lord on their own thrones, which symbolizes their royal position as Kingdom people; and they are wearing gold crowns on their heads, which symbolize they are victors. They are constantly offering praise and worship to God and singing the new song of the redeemed. (10)
In his apocalyptic vision, John sees the believers in the seven congregations (1) receiving the promises the Son of Man gave to those who overcame (Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7). He writes this to them to encourage them, not to “fix their sandals” (1) at the altar and statue to the emperor. If they overcome, they will receive the promised blessings. Hallelujah! (10)
The Caesars organized formal emperor worship festivals with choirs, singing, dancing, and sacrifices. It was quite a spectacle as the community expressed their loyalty and allegiance to the empire. It was a joyous festival of celebration for sure. Yet, it paled compared to the praise and worship of God’s people in Heaven. The believers in the seven congregations to whom John wrote should not feel “left out” of the worldly excitement accompanying emperor worship in their towns. If they overcame, they would have a celebration in Heaven to look forward to; it would be pure, holy, and much more exciting. Plus, it would last forever. (10)
This prophetic vision was specifically for the people facing the challenge and crisis of the imperial cult of emperor worship. But his vision is certainly relevant to all of God’s people throughout history who have stood firm and resisted compromising their faith even when it meant persecution and martyrdom. As with God’s people in times past, we too were overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). This is certainly an encouraging word for believers today who live in an increasingly anti-God world. (10)
SEVEN FLAMING TORCHES
From the throne came out flashes of lightning and roaring and crashes of thunder. Seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God, were burning in front of the throne (Revelation 4:5 NET)
John sees God’s awesome and frightening power around His throne, which we would certainly expect from the Creator of the universe. He mentions lightning, thundering, voices (loud rumblings), and seven lamps of fire). Anyone who has ever been in a violent thunderstorm can appreciate the power and force of what John sees. It can be terrifying. In the Bible, these phenomena accompany the presence of God and symbolize His awesome power and majesty. I can guarantee the emperor did not have such an entourage surrounding him. (10)
When God revealed Himself at Mount Sinai (1), His presence was announced with thundering, lightning, a thick cloud, smoke and fire, and a long, loud, frightening blast of the shofar that got louder and louder. The whole mountain shook violently, and the people were terrified. (Exodus 19:16-19.) (10)
These phenomena manifest throughout the Book of Revelation when God concludes His series of judgments. For example, when the seventh seal is opened, God announces the coming judgments with thundering, lightning, noises (rumblings), and an earthquake (Revelation 8:5). This is repeated when the seventh trumpet is sounded (Revelation 11:19). In addition to the thunderings, lightning, rumblings, and the earthquake, there is great hail. John records the same phenomena with the seventh bowl judgment and adds that the earthquake is the largest the earth has ever experienced (Revelation 16:18). (10)
We serve an awesome God! No earthly ruler, no matter how much power and control he has, can compare to the greatness of our God. He alone is worthy of our awe and our praise and worship. In their arrogance, ancient emperors, Caesars, and modern would-be dictators think they are in control. They laugh at God and His people. Yet they are nothing compared to our God. (10)
He will have the last laugh, as we learn in the Book of Psalms:
Why do the nations rebel? Why are the countries devising plots that will fail? The kings of the earth form a united front; the rulers collaborate against the Lord and his anointed king. They say, “Let’s tear off the shackles they’ve put on us! Let’s free ourselves from their ropes!” The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; the Lord taunts them. Then he angrily speaks to them and terrifies them in his rage, saying, “I myself have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill.” The king says, “I will announce the Lord’s decree. He said to me: ‘You are my son! This very day I have become your father! Ask me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the ends of the earth as your personal property. You will break them with an iron scepter; you will smash them like a potter’s jar!’ ” So now, you kings, do what is wise; you rulers of the earth, submit to correction! Serve the Lord in fear! Repent in terror! Give sincere homage! Otherwise he will be angry, and you will die because of your behavior, when his anger quickly ignites. How blessed are all who take shelter in him! (Psalm 2:1–12 NET)
For those who may be tempted to “fix their sandals” (1) before the altars of the anti-God government and world system, do not do it. The arrogant leaders of the nations of our world who seek to rule without God are neither to be feared nor admired. They are to be pitied. They come and go and only last a short time. But our God is the Ancient of Days. His days are without number, and His Kingdom is everlasting. Our God in Heaven will soon break the power of every puny dictator and foolish council of nations. They will soon bow to Him and acknowledge that our God is God and He alone is sovereign. (10)
As we also learn in Psalms:
Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him! Let all the nations worship you! For the Lord is king and rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:27–28 NET)
In addition to the natural phenomena surrounding the throne of God, John also sees seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God. In this instance, we don’t have to interpret what John means by this symbol because he tells us. He says that the seven lamps of fire are the seven Spirits of God. (10)
We cannot see the Holy Spirit unless the Spirit is embodied in some way, such as in the form of a dove (1) when Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:16) and in the tongues of fire in Acts 2:3. In John’s vision, the Holy Spirit is manifested through the seven lamps of fire. (10)
In Revelation 1:4, the seven Spirits of God send greetings to the seven congregations. In Revelation 3:1, Jesus told the believers at Sardis that He had the seven Spirits of God. In discussing these verses, I mentioned that seven means completeness when connected to God. The phrase refers to the Holy Spirit or, as John would say in Hebrew, Ruach HaKodesh. (10)
THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD
From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from “he who is,” and who was, and who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, (Revelation 1:4 NET)(cf. Revelation 5:6)
He refers to the Holy Spirit as the “seven Spirits who are before His [God’s] throne.” Once again, seven is the number of completion or fullness. This instance refers to the perfect Holy Spirit who receives God’s Words and gives them to God’s people.
You might be saying – I thought the Holy Spirit (1) was one Spirit? This verse in the apocalyptic book of Revelation points out that while there is one Holy Spirit, He has seven facets, characteristic manifestations, or ministries. These characteristic ministries are stated in the Old Testament prophesy about the then-future time during Jesus’ Earthly ministry when the Holy Spirit would come upon Him in His fullness (Luke 3:21-23. Luke 4:1. John 3:34).
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD (Isaiah 11:2 KJV)
In the Bible, a person’s characteristics are revealed through their name. Therefore, studying these seven names of the Holy Spirit will help us to understand Him and what He desires to accomplish in our lives.
1. Spirit of the Lord
The word Lord here is Yahweh which is often translated as Jehovah. This name reveals that the Holy Spirit is not just God but the covenant-keeping God. He will see to it that all the promises in the Bible are fulfilled (Exodus 34:6,7). He watches over the covenant to enforce it, explaining why the warning not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is given (Luke 12:10). That is, to reject the Holy Spirit’s offer of being born again or saved (1) leaves nothing after death but God’s wrath in Hell (1) (John 16:7-15). Furthermore, He is the One that communicates the will of God from the Lord Jesus, the head of the church in Heaven, to the church on Earth (Acts 1:2. Acts 13:4. Acts 20:28. Romans 8:9. Colossians 1:18-20).
2. Spirit of Wisdom
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom to those that receive Him. This is evident in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8. Mark 13:11. Luke 12:11,12). A great definition of wisdom is the ability to use knowledge.
3. Spirit of Understanding
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart understanding to those that receive Him (1 John 5:20. Acts 1:16. Acts 4:25. Acts 28:25. 2 Peter 1:21 ).
4. Spirit of Counsel
The Holy Spirit is the One that gives us God’s counsel in all our plans (Proverbs 3:5,6. John 14:26. Acts 13:2. Acts 15:28. Acts 16:6. Acts 20:23. Acts 21:11. 2 Corinthians 13:13).
5. Spirit of Might, Strength, or Power
The Holy Spirit is the One that gives strength or power to do the work of Jesus (Isaiah 40:31. Acts 1:8. Acts 4:8. Acts 4:31. Acts 10:38. 1 Thessalonians 1:5,6. Hebrews 2:4).
Therefore he told me, “These signify the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” (Zechariah 4:6 NET)
6. Spirit of Knowledge
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart knowledge to those that receive Him. This is evident in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8. Luke 2:25-30).
7. Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
The Holy Spirit teaches us to fear the Lord (Acts 9:31). To fear the Lord is not to be afraid of God but rather have infinite respect and reverence for His holiness (Exodus 20:20). This holiness is so powerful that its proclamation shook the temple in Heaven (Isaiah 6:3,4). The love of God draws us to salvation (Romans 2:4); however, the fear of God must be added to this love for holiness to be perfected in our lives (2 Corinthians 7:1).
THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES
and in front of the throne was something like a sea of glass, like crystal. In the middle of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like an ox, the third creature had a face like a man’s, and the fourth creature looked like an eagle flying. Each one of the four living creatures had six wings and was full of eyes all around and inside. They never rest day or night, saying: “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God, the All-Powerful, Who was and who is, and who is still to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders throw themselves to the ground before the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever, and they offer their crowns before his throne, saying: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, since you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!” (Revelation 4:6–11 NET)
John continues to describe his prophetic vision in apocalyptic language and mentions a sea of glass before the throne of God. He says it is like crystal. He did not mean that he saw a literal sea. He used figurative language to describe the floor before God’s throne. He is trying to explain God’s limitless splendor and riches in contrast to the emperors. (10)
When Moses, Aaron, his sons, and the 70 elders of Israel approached God on Mount Sinai, they saw something similar under the feet of God. (10)
and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. (Exodus 24:10).
In Ezekiel’s vision of Heaven, he also mentions an expanse that he describes as:
Over the heads of the living beings was something like a platform, glittering awesomely like ice, stretched out over their heads. (Ezekiel 1:22 NET)
The shape of an expanse, with a gleam like awe-inspiring crystal, was spread out over the heads of the living creatures. (Ezekiel 1:22 HCSB)
Crystal-clear glass was rare in ancient times, including the New Testament era. As a result, crystal was very expensive. The Romans considered crystal a luxury item that only the super-wealthy could afford. Of course, the emperors had crystal, but even to them, it symbolized wealth and extravagance. By saying that God’s throne sits on a sea of crystal-clear glass, John makes a big point for the believers he is writing to. He is saying that the throne of God far surpasses that of any earthly ruler, including the emperor. Therefore, do not “fix your sandals” before the altar to Caesar. (10)
This is certainly a word for us today. The glory of God that believers will enjoy in Heaven makes the riches of this world pale in comparison. Whatever the world can offer us in material riches is not worth having if it means we must compromise or bow to the anti-God system to get it or keep it. God’s riches far surpass anything this world can offer us. He has an infinite supply of spectacular splendor waiting for us to enjoy on the other side.
John also sees four “otherworldly” beings around the throne of God. The English language translation refers to them as four living creatures or beings. Who are these strange beings, and what are they doing around the throne of God? (10)
Because John is a Jewish visionary, we find the answer in the Hebrew Bible, where we learn that God created special beings called the “host of heaven” (Nehemiah 9:6). We know them by their more common name, angels (1). Angels are mentioned throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and all ancient cultures. (10)
God created angels before He created human beings and endowed them with supernatural abilities far beyond those He gave to humans. Angels are personal beings God created to serve Him and his people. We cannot see angels with our natural eyes unless they reveal themselves. Many people claim that they have seen angels. They are very active in our world; we are unaware of their presence and activities. (10)
Because God so transcends humans, it is not feasible for Him to directly reveal Himself to us unless He appears in a veiled way, as He did at Mount Sinai. In our fallen human condition, we simply cannot stand in the direct presence of our Creator. The gap between the infinite Creator and the finite creature is too great. Angels, therefore, assist God in ministering to people. When necessary, they connect Heaven to Earth as God’s messengers communicating His plans and will to mankind, executing His plans and will on the Earth, announcing and carrying out His judgments, praising and worshiping God, etc. (10)
Two of the highest orders of angles mentioned in the Bible are cherubim and seraphim. The etymology of the word cherubim is not clear. Because of their ministry in the presence of God, scholars have understood the word to mean “holiness.” We first learn about cherubim in the Garden of Eden (1), where God placed them at the entrance to prevent Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Life after they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3:24). (10)
God instructed Moses to make a sculpture of two cherubim and affix them to the Ark of the Covenant, where God would meet with Moses in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. God’s glory appeared between the cherubim above the mercy seat. Cherubim were also embroidered on the tabernacle curtains and later in the Temple. In his apocalyptic vision, Ezekiel described four living creatures similar to what John saw in his revelation (Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10). (10)
Considering all the references to cherubim, they are the living “Chariots of God” carrying Him when He appears to humans. They serve as guardians of God’s throne and His presence. Of course, God does not need any special beings to guard His throne or presence, but He has created cherubim for this purpose so He can connect with human beings.
The word seraphim is derived from a Hebrew word, saraph, which means “to burn or burning ones.”
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe [glory] filled the temple. Seraphs [seraphim] stood over him; each one had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and they used the remaining two to fly. They called out to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord who commands armies! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth!” The sound of their voices shook the door frames, and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1–4 NET).
Isaiah’s description of the seraphim is similar to the four living creatures John describes. John says that each living creature has six wings and is full of eyes. One has the face of a lion, one the face of a calf, one the face of a man, and one the face of a flying eagle. (10)
It would be easy to speculate at length on the meaning of the symbolism of their appearance (their faces and wings), but the important consideration is the function of the seraphim. In Hebraic thinking, function is more important than form. So what is their function? (10)
When Isaiah sees the throne of God, although a servant of God, he realizes his absolute sinfulness. Then the Seraphim does the following: (26)
But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:6–7 NET)
It seems evident from Isaiah that the role of the Seraphim is to purify those who are about to enter before the throne of Almighty God. As the “burning ones,” they will test by fire live coals and cleanse believers before they enter God’s presence. We will later see that they will purify the true disciples from the false disciples as the seals of Revelation are opened. This is done to bring the true body of Christ before the throne of God. (26)
In addition, their purpose is to glorify God through continuous praise and worship. They are God’s praise and worship leaders in Heaven. Along with the cherubim, they are God’s highest order of angels who lead all of Heaven in glorifying God for His greatness as expressed in the beauty of His holiness. (10)
While the English translation of words is slightly different, their worship is basically the same as what Isaiah saw and heard in his vision. We are blessed that John records this heavenly worship for us:
Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming. (Revelation 4:8 NET)
In a deeply moving song she copyrighted in 1986, Elisheva Shomron put these powerful words to music. Below are the Hebrew lyrics with the English translation in brackets: (10)
Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh [Holy, holy, holy],
Adonai Elohim Tz’va’ot [Lord God of Hosts]…
Asher hayah [who was]
V’hoveh [and who is]
V’ yavo [and who is to come]
This awesome worship of God continues with the seraphim giving glory, honor, and thanks to the Lord. The twenty-four elders watching all of this cannot simply be idle observers. They fall on their faces before God, cast their crowns before His throne, and declare: (10)
Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. (Revelation 4:11 NET)
May we do the same as we contemplate the greatness of our Father in Heaven. (10)
Whenever the Roman emperor would begin his procession in a parade of triumph, the crowds would line the streets and greet him, saying, “You are worthy.” The Roman Emperor Domitian added the phrase “our Lord and God” to the greeting.
In our current passage, John encourages the believers faced with emperor worship to recognize that God alone is worthy. He alone is the Lord God. He alone has created everything and sustains everything by the Word of His power. No Roman emperor ever created anything out of nothing. They are born, they live, and they die. But the Lord God Almighty created everything through His spoken Word. He alone transcends time and space. He was, He is, and He is to come (Revelation 4:8). Hallelujah! (10)
The Caesars of Rome and the arrogant leaders of our world today are nothing compared to the Creator of the universe. In light of this glorious heavenly vision, believers should not bow to our world’s anti-God governments and leaders. The One True God will soon pour out His judgments on them until they bow to Him. (10)
When John says that the twenty-four elders cast their crowns before the throne, he uses symbolic language to say they acknowledge that God alone is worthy of their praise and worship. Because of God’s greatness and goodness, His power, His grace, and His mercy, they were able to overcome. May we do the same! (10)
The Chronological Revelation of the End Times Commences
Period V: The 70th Week of Daniel (1)
Events during the “Future” 70th Week of Daniel Expanded
Then I saw in the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the front and back and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a powerful angel proclaiming in a loud voice: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it. So I began weeping bitterly because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. (Revelation 5:1–4 NET)
As John looks closer, he sees the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, holding a scroll in His right hand. The scroll is written inside and on the back and is sealed with seven seals. What is this seven-sealed scroll, and why does God have it in His right hand? (10)
In ancient times, people wrote on parchment and scrolls. In our study of God’s prophetic message to the believers at Pergamos (1), we learned that parchment was first developed at Pergamos, from which the word parchment is derived. Parchment was made from animal skins, particularly the skins of sheep and goats. We learn in the apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy that he used parchment (Timothy 4:13). (10)
Scrolls were primarily written on papyrus which was a paper-like material made from reeds from the Nile Delta in Egypt. The books Paul mentioned to Timothy were probably papyrus scrolls. We learn in the Hebrew Bible that the prophets often wrote their messages and visions on a scroll (Jeremiah 36; Ezekiel 2; Isaiah 29; Daniel 12). (10)
Because of the way that papyrus material was made, it was easier for people to write only on one side of the scroll. They went to the extra trouble to write on both sides when necessary. For example, when God gave His words to Ezekiel, He had written on both sides of the scroll. (10)
Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe. Ezekiel 2:9-10).
From this verse in Ezekiel, we learn that the scroll in Revelation was not the first time God had written an important message on a scroll. (10)
If the contents of a scroll were to be read only by an authorized person, the writer would seal the scroll to keep its contents private. Only the authorized person could open the seals and the scroll. We see an example of this in Isaiah, which reads:
To you this entire prophetic revelation is like words in a sealed scroll. When they hand it to one who can read and say, “Read this,” he responds, “I can’t, because it is sealed.” (Isaiah 29:11).
When Daniel struggled to understand his prophetic vision, the Lord sent an angel to explain its meaning. (10)
The angel said to Daniel:
Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to future days.” (Daniel 10:14 NET).
Then the angel said:
But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase (Daniel 12:4 NET).
The angel repeated himself to Daniel:
He said, “Go, Daniel. For these matters are closed and sealed until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9 NET).
Whenever a scroll was sealed, people knew that the document had not been opened and that the contents written in the document had been kept confidential. Again, only the authorized person could open the seals and the scroll. (10)
In ancient cultures, breaking the seal of the scroll of an official or a king would often result in death. That is why the Romans sealed Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 27:66). Anyone who broke the Roman seal, who did not have the authority to do so, would be killed. (26)
In the Bible, the right hand symbolizes power and authority. For example, Psalm 98 is a song of victory and praise to God for His salvation and judgment. It begins with this exuberant praise: (10)
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he performs amazing deeds! His right hand and his mighty arm accomplish deliverance. (Psalm 98:1 NET).
The Lord gives the following word of assurance to His people:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you— yes, I help you— yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! (Isaiah 41:10 NET).
The fact that God the Father has this scroll in His right hand is John’s way of symbolically saying that God Himself wrote the scroll’s contents. As the Creator of the universe, He can give the scroll to whomever He pleases. (10)
WHAT IS WRITTEN ON THIS SCROLL?
The scroll is the “Scroll of Authority,” which is the original title deed to rule planet Earth given to the first Adam by God. This scroll stated that man was to be the ruler over Earth but only for a finite time. God sealed it with seven seals so the scroll contents could not be altered.
The first Adam, the original ruler of Earth, made a legal covenant with Satan (1) by eating from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – the original sin. Consequently, God being JUST, must honor this covenant, thus giving Satan man’s authority to rule (i.e., the right to use his archangel power) in the WORLD system he has built on Earth.
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 NET)
I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light and from the power55 [authority in the domain] of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:17–18 NET)
And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest … (Ephesians 2:1–3 NET)
I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, (John 14:30 NET)
He has this right for the time specified originally to the first Adam in the Scroll of Authority (1).
When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29 NET)
Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!” (Revelation 12:12 NET)
Realize covenants contain blessings for those keeping the covenant (Deuteronomy 28:1-14 )and curses for those breaking the covenant (cf. Deuteronomy 15-68). However, Satan’s blessings for those that keep this covenant are various levels of cruelty (Proverbs 12:10).
A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10 NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)
Furthermore, Satan placed curses on the original seals of the Scroll of Authority so that any attempt to open the scroll to break the covenant with Satan would release the curses. Satan then hid it where he thought no man could retrieve it – in the Abyss of Hades. He did this in an attempt to maintain his rule on planet Earth beyond the terms of the Scroll of Authority (i.e., indefinitely).
However, it seems Satan did not consider that God would become Man (1). (John 1:1,14) Jesus not only took our sin to the Abyss (1) for eternal storage but, upon leaving (1), retrieved the Scroll of Authority and gave it to God His (and our!) Father upon His ascension. By taking the Scroll of Authority, He restored the right to rule planet Earth to a man – the Son of Man, Jesus the Messiah, who is God (Matthew 28:18, Revelation 1:18).
When the Scroll of Authority is revealed to those in Heaven (i.e., to those that had accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior (1) from both the Old and New Covenants (2) and have died), no one in Heaven on Earth or in Hades was found worthy to open its seals (Revelation 5:2-4). Then the Lamb of God who took away the world’s sin appears – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! (Revelation 5:5-7. John 1:29. 1 John 2:2). Jesus the Messiah alone is the sinless God-Man that has the authority to open the seals – an authority He purchased with His own blood (Revelation 5:9-14. Isaiah 28:15-18). Jesus, who came in the flesh, is Lord! (1 John 4:2,3. 1 Corinthians 8:6. 1 Corinthians 12:3) Now when the lease terms are revealed by opening the scroll – and then satisfied – Satan could be evicted from His position as God of this World (2 Corinthians 4:4). Why not evict Satan sooner? I am glad you asked!
Again, the problem is Satan’s curses on the scroll’s seals. Satan designed the curses such that the opening of each seal would release a destructive curse upon the creature that God loved and wanted to rescue – mankind! This was Satan’s backup plan to keep the lease terms from being revealed and fulfilled, thus an attempt to ensure his rule over his world system indefinitely.
Consequently, God made a way for those that by faith have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior to escape God’s WRATH even as those in Noah’s ark escaped the flood’s destruction (1 Peter 3:20). That is, the Body of Christ (aka, the Bride of Christ or the Church) is figuratively God’s Ark to preserve mankind living on planet Earth before the time comes to open the last Scroll’s Seal which results in initiating the trumpet and bowl judgments of Gods Wrath. All who accept God’s MERCY by entering the Ark (i.e., accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior) will be saved from the release of God’s WRATH during this time known as the “Day of the Lord.” That is, believers will be translated (1) immediately to Heaven to join the rest of those that have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior (1) before they fell asleep (i.e., died) in both the Old and New Covenant periods (2) (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Matthew 24:21. 2 Corinthians 5:8).
Again, believers are taken (raptured) to Heaven during the interval or pause before the Seventh, and the last Seal of the Scroll of Authority is opened (Revelation 7:9-17).
In addition, God will have angels seal and reserve 144,000 “elect of Israel” who will go through the Day of the Lord and not bow their knees to the Antichrist. Antichrist means “against Christ” and “in place of Christ.”
This means that what Satan meant for a curse on all mankind becomes an instrument or tool for divine judgment of WRATH on those that have refused the greater MERCY freely made available to all.
Nevertheless, those who call upon the Lord can still be saved during this period of God’s Wrath (Revelation 7:13,14). Why? Because MERCY triumphs over JUDGMENT, and God’s MERCY is FOREVER! (James 2:13. Psalms 136) Nevertheless, not many will turn to the Lord during this time and be eternally destroyed (Revelation 9:20,21. Revelation 16:9-11. Revelation 20:11-15).
So, how can a good God that is GRACE, MERCY, and COMPASSION pass JUDGMENT for destruction and suffering?
The answer is that God does not cause this suffering. Mankind causes this due to the hardness of his heart. It is the result of the evil in people’s hearts to live their lives without God. His Great MERCY is extended to all equally, and He waits patiently for all to accept it.
so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45 NET)
Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NET)
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NET)
Nevertheless, when the point is reached that a person or persons by an act of their will decide to never change from serving evil (Satan) to serving good (God), then the only thing left is a JUDGMENT of WRATH that will keep them that have chosen to serve Satan from affecting the MERCY to be received by those that have chosen to serve God. That is, the MERCY for the future of those that have chosen to serve God trumps the present MERCY extended to all resulting in the removal and incarceration of those that have chosen to serve evil.
It is terrible to show partiality to the wicked, by depriving a righteous man of justice. (Proverbs 18:5 NET)
If the wicked are shown mercy, they do not learn about justice. Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly; they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed. (Isaiah 26:10 NET)
The wicked have no chance for deliverance, for they do not seek your statutes. (Psalm 119:155 NET)
The Lord protects those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. (Psalm 145:20 NET)
Remember, refusal of the greater MERCY leaves only the WRATH. (1)
The wicked have decided to never change from evil to good. There is no Mercy for the wicked.
THE LAMB IS WORTHY
Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then he came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne, and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). (Revelation 5:5–8 NET)
When Jesus took the scroll, Heaven and Earth began a spontaneous chorus of praise and worship to God and the Lamb. The sounds of creation singing a new redemption song filled Heaven and Earth. Nothing Rome or the Caesars could orchestrate could compare to the exaltation John saw and heard. Caesar is dead; Jesus lives! (10)
It began with those nearest the throne. The four powerful angels and the twenty-four elders started this heavenly worship by bowing before the Lamb. Each had a harp in one hand and a golden bowl of incense in the other hand. The harp symbolized their praise and worship, while the bowl of incense symbolized the prayers of God’s people (Psalms. 141:2; 150:3). (10)
They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10 NET).
Jesus is worthy because He has redeemed us. In biblical times, God established that a slave could be redeemed or set free by one worthy to purchase his freedom. But one had to qualify to be a redeemer.
In biblical times there were five requirements to be a redeemer. Only when these five requirements were met was one considered a worthy redeemer. (10)
- The person had to be a near kinsman. In other words, he had to be the nearest kin family member.
- The person had to be willing to redeem the slave. He could not be made to redeem the one in bondage.
- The person had to be able to redeem the slave. This means there could be no technicalities that would disqualify the person as a redeemer.
- The person had to be a freeman. A slave could not redeem a slave.
- The potential redeemer had to have the money or price required to redeem the slave. (10)
This is the story of Ruth and Boaz, as recorded in the Book of Ruth, particularly in chapter 4.
Jesus is worthy to take the scroll, open the seals, and redeem us because He is the only one who has met all the requirements to be a redeemer. Even though we do not like to acknowledge it, we are all subject to sin, Satanic temptations, and the fear of death. Christians call this a sin nature. In Hebrew, Jews call it the yester hara (evil inclination). Whatever you choose to call it, this is the universal human condition. God’s judgment for this condition is separation from Him, what the Bible calls death. We need to be redeemed or set free. But since we are all sinners, none among us can save us. Even God cannot save us from Heaven. According to His requirements, God would have to become one of us to redeem us. (10)
And this is exactly what God did for us. As God in human flesh, Jesus was one of us, the nearest kin member of the human race. He willingly gave His life for us. He could have called for thousands of angels to come and rescue Him (Matthew 26:53), but He did not. He was born to die in our place. Jesus was able to redeem us because He was without sin. Therefore, He could take our place as the innocent substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Because Jesus was perfectly righteous, neither sin, Satan, nor death had claims on Him. Therefore, He was free to redeem us. And finally, Jesus was able to pay the price for our redemption. That price was His own pure blood which He shed for us. (10)
Peter says it this way:
…You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed—not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18–21).
Whereas most religions have an ethnic-centered focus on one particular group of people, Jesus has made redemption available for “whosoever will.” His offer of redemption is not just for a certain people group but for everyone who will call upon His name. (10)
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13 NET).
He has redeemed us out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Hallelujah! This was predicted in the Book of Psalms, which tells us: (10)
Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord! Praise his name! Announce every day how he delivers! Tell the nations about his splendor! Tell all the nations about his amazing deeds! (Psalm 96:1-3 NET).
The glorious Son of Man has not only redeemed His people, but He has also made us His royal priests on the earth. This was God’s promise to the Hebrews when He brought them out of Egypt. (10)
And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:5-6).
While the Jewish people often failed to keep God’s covenant, as do believers today, Jesus was the one Jewish man who perfectly kept the covenant with His Father in Heaven. Jesus is the perfect Jew and the perfect human. Through our identification with Him, believers from all ethnic backgrounds and nations have the promise of ruling with Him both now and at His coming as His priests and a light to all nations. (10)
While Christian believers have not replaced the Jewish people in God’s eternal covenant, Jesus has brought us into that covenant by redeeming us and making us His own people. (10)
As Peter writes:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Rome is no more, and the Caesars are dead. God will judge the nations of our world and all the would-be Caesars of our day. But the people of God will live forever in God’s glorious Kingdom on earth. Therefore, do not “fix your sandals” before the Emperor or the anti-God governments of our world. They are nothing compared to the exalted Son of Man and the glorious destiny He has for His people. (10)
When the angels of Heaven saw and heard the first chorus of worship, they joined their voices with those nearest the throne. (10)
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand—thousands times thousands—all of whom were singing in a loud voice: “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11,12 NET).
John says the number of the angels shouting their worship to God was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. These phrases could be translated as “myriad upon myriad,” which means a number too great to count. It is John saying that all the angels of Heaven, too many to count, all simultaneously shouted their praise and worship to the Lamb. We can not imagine such a noise. All of Heaven was filled with angelic shouts to the Lord. It should take our breath away just to contemplate this. (10)
Daniel saw this scene in a vision and said:
“While I was watching, thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His attire was white like snow; the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and its wheels were all aflame. A river of fire was streaming forth and proceeding from his presence. Many thousands were ministering to him; Many tens of thousands stood ready to serve him. The court convened and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9,10 NET).
In John’s vision, the angels shout a sevenfold honor to the Lamb, similar to the praise and worship David offered to the God of Israel: (10)
…David praised the Lord before the entire assembly: “O Lord God of our father Israel, you deserve praise forevermore! O Lord, you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereign over all the sky and earth! You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler of all. You are the source of wealth and honor; you rule over all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all. (1 Chronicles 29:10-12).
Because Jesus was faithful to His destiny, God the Father has chosen to share His glory with His Son. We can understand this at the human level. Fathers love to honor their children who uphold the family name, or as we would say, “make him proud.” Jesus made His Father in Heaven proud. As a result, God has honored His Son, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. (10)
Finally, John hears all of the creation join in the glorious praise and worship of God and the Lamb:
…Then I heard every creature—in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them—singing: “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13 NET).
As Paul declares in the book of Romans, the very creation is groaning in expectation for the revealing of the redeemed sons of God.
For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. (Romans 8:19–22 NET)
This song is sung in expectation of the imminence of the revealing of the redeemed and the sons of God. Soon, the scroll will be opened, and its contents revealed. Since Adam’s fall, The whole of creation has waited for this moment. Now the Savior of the universe, Jesus Christ, will begin establishing His kingdom. Before all this can happen, all seven seals on the outside of the scroll must be broken. Nothing concerning the Day of the Lord, or the Day of the Wrath of the Lamb, can start until this is accomplished. (26)
This is the fulfillment of Paul’s words:
As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow —in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NET).
With all of Heaven and Earth giving glory to God, the four special angels and the twenty-four elders join in the worship:
And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped. (Revelation 5:14 NET).
May we who are called by His name do the same. May we join the heavenly hosts in unfettered praise and worship of our God. May we, the holy, royal priests of God on the earth, continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Amen!
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. (Hebrews 13:15 NET)
Revelation Chapter 6:1 thru 6:6
Please see the following link for a detailed description of Revelation Chapters 6:1 thru 6:6:
Part XII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Beginning of Birth Pains (BBP))
His-Story (History) Series:
- Part I: The Lord of the Scroll – Fellowship Lost!
- Part II: The Lord of the Scroll – The Two Kingdoms
- Part III: The Lord of the Scroll – The Revelation of the King!
- Part IV: The Lord of the Scroll – The Death of the King
- Part V: The Lord of the Scroll – The Re-Birth of the King!
- Part VI: The Lord of the Scroll – Salvation
- Part VII: The Lord of the Scroll – Revelation of the King’s Bride!
- Part VIII: The Lord of the Scroll – Revelation of the King of Kings!
- Part IX: The Lord of the Scroll – The Lord of Hosts
- Part X: The Lord of the Scroll – When will the King of Kings Return?
- Part XI: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (God’s Throne Room)
- Part XII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Beginning of Birth Pains (BBP))
- Part XIII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Great Tribulation (GTrib))
- Part XIV: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Day of the Lord (DOL))
- Part XV: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (GTrib and DOL Revisited)
- Part XVI: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (Mourning Revisited)
- Part XVII: The Lord of the Scroll – The Return of the King of Kings to Earth!
- Part XVIII The Lord of the Scroll – God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) Note: Those not able to choose for themselves (1) (e.g., aborted babies, mentally challenged, etc.) are also in Heaven.
(3) The Greek word used here for air is “aer,” which refers to the lower denser atmosphere. This contrasts with the Greek word “aither,” speaking of the upper thinner atmosphere. For example, a Greek would stand on Mount Olympus (6,403 feet high) and point up to “aither” and down to “aer.”
(4) Realize God does, at times, approximate by rounding off numbers. For example, Exodus 12:40,42 states that Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years, but Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6 approximate this by rounding it down to 400 years. Based on this, the Church Age could last until 2300 AD or whatever the highest number is that rounds down in God’s math (e.g., 2400 A.D.).
(5) Maranatha is the transliteration of the Koine Greek word that means “Our Lord Come!” (KJV 1 Corinthians 16:22). This word captures what our attitude should be concerning our Lord’s return. That is, while we are not to be complacent or anxious about His return, we should live such that if Jesus were to return at any moment, we would not be ashamed but rather prepared, excited, and filled with joy to see Him! (1 John 2:28. Ephesians 5:15,16).
(6) Rogers, A. (2017). Mustard Seeds and Mountains. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Mt 16:27–17:21). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(8) Larkin, C. (1919). The Book of Revelation: A Study of the Last Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture (p. 124). Philadelphia, PA: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate.
(9) Got Questions Ministries. (2002–2013). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Logos Bible Software.
(10) Booker, R. (2012). The lamb and the seven-sealed scroll. Destiny Image.
(11) The addition of “and see” (καὶ ἴδε or καὶ βλέπε [kai ide or kai blepe]) to “come” (ἔρχου, erchou) in 6:1, 3–5, 7 is a gloss directed to John, i.e., “come and look at the seals and the horsemen!” But the command ἔρχου is better interpreted as directed to each of the horsemen. The shorter reading also has the support of the better witnesses
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Re 6:1). Biblical Studies Press.
(12) (www.hearthstonelegacy.com/ when the skies turned to black the locust plague of 1875.)
(13) Traditionally, we have called this event “The Rapture,” although this word does not appear in most Bible translations. The word rapture comes from the Latin, Rapare, which means to “take away” or “snatch out.” The word with the meaning of rapture in the Bible is the Greek word harpozo. This Greek word harpozo is literally translated as “caught up” and has the following meanings: to carry off by force or rescue from the danger of destruction.
The catching away or rapture of the Church will occur during the Great Tribulation before God’s wrath is poured out during the Day of the Lord.
Jesus will carry us off by force when He removes us through the territory of the Prince of the Power of the Air (lower denser atmosphere (3)) who will apparently attempt to interfere with our leaving Earth (Ephesians 2:2). Jesus will rescue us from the danger of destruction by taking us to Heaven before the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Day of the Lord.
(14) Matthew, a Jew, wrote primarily to the Jews, presenting Jesus Christ as King of the Jews. Mark, a Jew, presented Jesus as a Servant and wrote to the Romans. John, a Jew, presents Jesus as the Son of God and writes to all men. Luke, a Greek, writes primarily to the Greeks. And because the Greeks were fascinated with Aristotle’s ideal republic and Plato’s ideal man, Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man, the perfect Man.
Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 295). Thomas Nelson.
(15) Luke’s Ethnic Background. Scholarly opinion has been divided on the question of Luke’s ethnic background. In general, two views are proposed:
(1) Luke was a Gentile Christian: This view is based mainly on the internal evidence of the Gospel and Acts: the superior quality of the Greek language, the avoidance of Semitic words (except Amen), the omission of gospel traditions about Jesus’ controversies with the Pharisaic understanding of the Law and about what is clean or unclean, the transformation of Palestinian local color and details into Hellenistic counterparts. These and similar factors have been cited to identify the author as a Gentile Christian, i.e. one converted to Christianity from paganism.
The argument is sometimes pushed still further to maintain that the author was actually a Gentile Christian of Greek origin or an Antiochene Greek. This is based on Paul’s statement in Col 4:11–14, where three persons are listed as his Jewish-Christian co-workers, but Luke seems to be listed among other, presumably, Gentile-Christian collaborators. For instance, K. Lake years ago claimed that the early tradition identified Luke as “an Antiochene Greek” (“Luke,” in Dictionary of the Apostolic Church [New York: Scribner, 1922] 1. 719); and more recently, K. H. Rengstorf (Evangelium nach Lukas, 11) has called him a Gentile Christian, indeed of Greek origin. Many others have followed this view (e.g., W. K. Hobart, A. von Harnack, P. Vielhauer, G. B. Caird, W. G. Kümmel, A. Plummer, W. Manson, J. Schmid).
(2) Luke was a Jewish Christian. The view that the author was a Jewish Christian, i.e. a convert from Judaism, is based mainly on the interest displayed in Luke-Acts in the OT and its phraseology, the author’s alleged Palestinian language, and the Epiphanian tradition (Panarion 51.11) that he was one of the seventy-two disciples; sometimes the mention of Lucius as among Paul’s “kinsmen” (Rom 16:21) is also invoked. Among supporters of this view, one may cite A. Schlatter, B. S. Easton, E. E. Ellis, W. F. Albright, N. Q. King, B. Reicke.
For reasons that I shall try to set forth below, I regard Luke as a Gentile Christian, not, however, as a Greek, but as a non-Jewish Semite, a native of Antioch, where he was well educated in a Hellenistic atmosphere and culture.
Fitzmyer, J. A. (2008). The Gospel according to Luke I–IX: introduction, translation, and notes (Vol. 28, pp. 41–42). Yale University Press.
(16) …The emphasis here would be that the Pharisees confront the kingdom in Jesus. They do not need to look all around for it because its central figure is in front of their eyes…
Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke: 9:51–24:53 (Vol. 2, p. 1416). Baker Academic.
(17) A Full Circle Rainbow over Australia, Image Credit & Copyright: Colin Leonhardt (Birdseye View Photography)
(18) Rosenthal, Marvin (1990). The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. World Publishing
(19) “Warren’s findings, together with the discovery of Reich and Shukron described in the recent news reports, fully support Josephus’s statements relating to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem and the use to which they were put during the Roman siege of 70 A.D. These underground passages enabled many inhabitants of Jerusalem to exit the city and flee both south to Masada and, via Nahal Qidron and other wadis heading from Jerusalem eastward toward the Dead Sea, to the Machaerus fort lying just east of that sea, which was actually closer to Jerusalem than was Masada. (Josephus describes the large number of refugees who gathered at Machaerus.). The circumstances as now known leave little doubt that quite likely beginning even before the siege had begun, groups engaged in hiding the Temple treasures, the books, and other items listed in the Copper Scroll — as well as those ancient writings of the Palestinian Jews known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found centuries later in caves near the wadis leading out of Jerusalem. Norman Golb is the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor of Jewish History and Civilization at the University of Chicago and the author of “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?” (Simon & Schuster, 1995).” Read more here: https://forward.com/opinion/11873/newly-discovered-tunnel-may-once-have-carried-dead-00675/
(21) Booker, R. (2013). the Victorious Kingdom. Destiny Image.
(22) interruption of chronological sequence (as in a film or literary work) by the interjection of events of earlier occurrence…
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Merriam-Webster, Inc.
(23) 1984: a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot (as of a film)
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Merriam-Webster, Inc.
(24) Booker, R. (2011). The overcomers: series- understanding the book of Revelation. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.
55 tn BDAG 352–53 s.v. ἐξουσία 2 [potential or resource to command, control, or govern, capability, might, power] states, “Also of Satan’s power Ac 26:18.” It is also possible to translate this “the domain of Satan” (cf. BDAG 353 s.v. 6 [the sphere in which power is exercised, domain]) Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ac 26:18). Biblical Studies Press.
(25) Reid, A. (2004). Daniel: Kingdoms in Conflict (P. Barnett, Ed.; p. 146). Aquila Press.
(26) Salerno, Jr., Donald A., (2010). Revelation Unsealed. Virtualbookworm.com Publish-ing, Inc.
(##) For higher number references, see: The Feasts of Israel – Passover (1) references