Revelation 4-5 “Worship at the Throne” #SE7EN 3/5/17
INTRO> I am really excited about today. We are finishing our study through the seven churches of revelation. We have actually finished the churches but i REALLY wanted to preach on these chapters. They give us a peak behind the cosmic curtain if you will.
*ILL> Have you ever seen a cool sci-fi movie? They always talk about a “alternate Universe” or a “Alternate Reality” They always ask the question, “Is there a greater reality than this one?” And the answer is yes! That’s what we see in Revelation 4-5… we get to see into Heaven..
TRANS> I am going to do something a little different in this message. Often times we walk through the text and stop and make points and application as we walk through it. Today I am going to spend a majority of the time taking you on a journey walking through the text… then making application at the end.
CONTEXT> One of the first things you will notice when you look at these chapters… is the word throne. The word throne is used 19 times in 25 verses, that means something! And what we see taking place is the worship in heaven, centered around the throne.
Big Idea> The throne sets the tone for worship.
CONTEXT> But here is what you have to understand, what John is using to compare and contrast. Remember all through this series we have understand that John is writing in a particular time in history… under Roman government. The date of the letter is set in 94-96 A.D.. John is an old man at this time (PIC) on the island of Patmos (Pic) We need to understand the context of it all, so here we go…
- Remember in our series that we have talked about how to back drop of Rome heavily influenced John’s writing. Especially what scholars call “The Emperial cult Worship”
- “…in no part of the world was there such fervent and sincere loyalty to the emperors as in Asia. Augustus had been a saviour to the Asian peoples, and they deified him as the Saviour of mankind, and worshiped him with the most whole-hearted devotion as the ‘present deity’.” – William Ramsey
- EMPEROR: Christians at the time where living under the rule and reign of the emperor Domination (Pic) He ruled from 81-96 AD one of the longest reigns of any emperor.He was hated by all, his family, his senate and especially by the Christians because of his authoritarian rule.
- COINS: He declared himself “Lord and God” He also, as history tells us, considered himself divine. One the coins he is pictured holding lighting bolts. Look at verse 5 “from the throne came flashes of lighting… Interesting…
- WORSHIP GAMES: Dominititan also loved the Roman games, also known as the “Dominitian Games” which took place in the Colosseum (PIC) 100 days of games. At these games was the height of the emperor worship…
- CHANTING: He would be the last one to come into the stadium… making his way to his throne… When he would march in… the crowd would chant… “Domonus et deus” “Our Master and God” look at verse 11 “Worthy are you Lord and God” If you didn’t do this or say this you were called an “Atheist” 2,400 Christians were slaughtered in one day because they wouldn’t bow to him.
- SINGING: Also walking with him Domination would have 24 singers around him singing.. look at verse 4 “around the throne were twenty four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty four elders..” Interesting.
- SCROLL: These games wouldn’t start when the emperor sat down. The games would start when he read the scroll… the opening announcements to the regions competing… only the emperor could read the scroll. look at verse 2-4 “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.”
- CROWN: At the end of the games the winners would receive a golden crown. (PIC) If you wanted to go down in history, on the last night of the games you would give Domination your crown back and lay it at his feet. Look at verse 10 “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
- HORSEMEN At the end of these games, with the colosseum floor riddled with bodies, the games would end with the parading of 4 beautiful, majestic, different color horsemen. The last horse was ridden by a man wearing this mask, the mask of “Hades” (PIC) the greek God of death. Sound familiar. 4 horsemen of the apocalypse? “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him.” Revelation 6:8
Big Idea> The throne sets the tone for worship.
APP> Do you see what John is doing for us… he is showing us… he is showing us ultimate reality… John is saying, “You think the greatest rulers in the world are in charge? They are not, never bow, never serve them… there is one greater.”
What does this mean for us?
- We don’t start a worship service, we join a worship service.
- Strive didn’t start at 9am or 11am, THE worship service has been going on forever! APP> That’s why we worship the way we worship, The word of God governs our worship to God.
2) Never bow to a “Dominitian”.
- What I mean by that, is a false God in your life. All of us all the time have pressure to bow, to give into something. APP> The question is not IF we worship the question is WHAT do we worship. *IL> watching the Oscars last Sunday evening.
3) There is a throne about all thrones.
- This is ultimate reality! Everything is heading toward the throne, everything! The throne sets the tone for worship… the throne represents majesty, sovereignty, authority!
4) There is a King above all Kings.
- This is what John is telling these Christians… there is a greater king… a king above all! Think about it… Dominicans kingdom is a pile of stones… we are in Poplar Bluff 2,000 years later singing and worshipping Jesus!
Big Idea> The throne sets the tone for worship
APP> Who is on your throne?
- “Destroyer of the Gods :Early Christian distinctiveness in the Roman World” by Larry W. Hurtado
- “Caesar and Christ (The Story of Civilization Volume 3)” by Will Durant