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Bible 2016: 13 December Daily Bible Reading

Context and Comment:

The throne of God is mentioned 12 times in Revelation – the repetition is designed to give emphasis. The throne of God is an important focus for the Christian engaged in spiritual warfare.

God is described as having the appearance of jasper and carnelian. In Revelation 21:11 the jasper stone is described as being clear as crystal. We should picture a gleaming diamond for jasper, while carnelian is fiery red. Around the throne is a rainbow, symbolic of God’s faithfulness to his covenant, just as it meant to Noah after the flood.

There are 24 thrones around the throne. Seated on those thrones are 24 elders clothed in white garments with gold crowns on their heads. The text is not clear on who the 24 elders are and what they represent. The 24 elders are distinguished from the saints: in Revelation 7:13-17 one of the elders tells John that the great multitude represent those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. One of the elders is telling John that this other group represents the saved. The 24 elders hold the prayers of the saints in Revelation 5:8. The 24 elders act as intermediaries and interpreters in Revelation 5:5 and 7:13-17. They seem to form part of the heavenly court before God’s throne and there is nothing in Scripture to tell us they are symbolic of something else.

From the throne comes flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, symbolic of powerful activity. In Revelation 8:5 we will see the lightnings, rumblings, and peals of thunder representing judgment as God sends forth his judgments from his throne.  This language also reminds us of the thunder and lightning when God came to Mount Sinai.

There are seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God. In Revelation 1 we noted that the seven spirits of God are a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

There are four living creatures around the throne. Each has six wings and are full of eyes all around and within. Day and night they say: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” In Isaiah 6, these four living creatures are identified as seraphim. Ezekiel 1 provides a more detailed description of the four living creatures. We see a similar sea of glass like crystal in Ezekiel 1:22. Ezekiel also records a colorful throne room in verse 26 and the rainbow in verse 28. Fire is all around, similar to the picture of the lightnings coming from the throne in John’s vision (Ezekiel 1:27).

Daniel 7 records similar details about God’s throne in Heaven:

  • Fire before the throne (Daniel 7:9-10; Revelation 4:5)
  • Heavenly servants before the throne (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 4:4,6)
  • Book/scroll before the throne (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 5:1-5)
  • The book/scroll is opened (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 5:2-5,9)
  • The divine messianic figure approaches the throne to receive authority (Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 5:5-7, 12-13)
  • Authority over every tribe, language, and people (Daniel 7:14; Revelation 5:9)
  • Emotional distress at seeing the vision (Daniel 7:15; Revelation 5:4)
  • An explanation from the heavenly council (Daniel 7:16; Revelation 5:5)
  • Concludes with the mention of God’s eternal reign (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 5:13-14)

1 The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom. We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let’s rise up against her in battle. 2 Behold, I have made you small among the nations. You are greatly despised. 3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ 4 Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there,” says Yahweh. 5 “If thieves came to you, if robbers by night—oh, what disaster awaits you—wouldn’t they only steal until they had enough? If grape pickers came to you, wouldn’t they leave some gleaning grapes? 6 How Esau will be ransacked! How his hidden treasures are sought out! 7 All the men of your alliance have brought you on your way, even to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you. Friends who eat your bread lay a snare under you. There is no understanding in him.”
8 “Won’t I in that day”, says Yahweh, “destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mountain of Esau? 9 Your mighty men, Teman, will be dismayed, to the end that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter. 10 For the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever. 11 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them. 12 But don’t look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, and don’t rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Don’t speak proudly in the day of distress. 13 Don’t enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Don’t look down on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither seize their wealth on the day of their calamity. 14 Don’t stand in the crossroads to cut off those of his who escape. Don’t deliver up those of his who remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day of Yahweh is near all the nations! As you have done, it will be done to you. Your deeds will return upon your own head. 16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so will all the nations drink continually. Yes, they will drink, swallow down, and will be as though they had not been. 17 But in Mount Zion, there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. The house of Jacob will possess their possessions. 18 The house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble. They will burn among them, and devour them. There will not be any remaining to the house of Esau.” Indeed, Yahweh has spoken.
19 Those of the South will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead. 20 The captives of this army of the children of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, will possess even to Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev. 21 Saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be Yahweh’s.

Revelation 4
4 After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, “Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne 3 that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads. 5 Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the middle of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. 7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!”
9 When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!”

Psalm 132
132 Yahweh, remember David and all his affliction,
2 how he swore to Yahweh,
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “Surely I will not come into the structure of my house,
nor go up into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes,
or slumber to my eyelids;
5 until I find out a place for Yahweh,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah.
We found it in the field of Jaar:
7 “We will go into his dwelling place.
We will worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, Yahweh, into your resting place;
you, and the ark of your strength.
9 Let your priest be clothed with righteousness.
Let your saints shout for joy!”
10 For your servant David’s sake,
don’t turn away the face of your anointed one.
11 Yahweh has sworn to David in truth.
He will not turn from it:
“I will set the fruit of your body on your throne.
12 If your children will keep my covenant,
my testimony that I will teach them,
their children also will sit on your throne forever more.”
13 For Yahweh has chosen Zion.
He has desired it for his habitation.
14 “This is my resting place forever.
Here I will live, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision.
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will also clothe with salvation.
Her saints will shout aloud for joy.
17 There I will make the horn of David to bud.
I have ordained a lamp for my anointed.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but on himself, his crown will be resplendent.”

Proverbs 29:24-25
24 Whoever is an accomplice of a thief is an enemy of his own soul.
He takes an oath, but dares not testify.
25 The fear of man proves to be a snare,
but whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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