by Pastor Bud Talbert
Revelation 4 is a chapter permeated with divine sovereignty. John, “in the Spirit”, is invited heavenward (“Come up here” “a door standing open in heaven”) to see a vision of God who brings to pass future events (“I will show you what must take place after this”).
(1) What he first sees (“and behold”) is a throne. The throne signifies government, of the One sitting upon it. God the Father governs.
(2) The fact that the throne was set in heaven suggests that the domain of the Father’s government is he entire universe. Government over everything IS sovereignty. Just as Britain’s throne is in London, and Japan’s throne is in Tokyo (formerly in Kyoto), so the throne of the universe is “in heaven,” the “capital” of the universe. You will notice that John’s visions of future events involve the universe, and not just earth.
(3) This throne “stood” in heaven as fixed and established. Its permanence teaches eternal sovereignty. Though He created His universe with sustaining natural laws, He personally upholds the function and activity of those laws in perpetuity through His Son (Col 1:17) and intervenes more directly to accomplish His purposes in the redemption of mankind. His sovereignty determines the minutia of creation (Matt 10:29-30) as well as the most humanly significant of events (Dan 4:35). His sovereignty extends throughout His earth and the rest of His universe (Psalm 108:5).
(4) This throne is mentioned ten times in the 11 verses of this chapter, and three more in the 14 verses of the next chapter. This divinely-inspired repetition taches sovereignty.
(5) The “one seated on the throne” is the center of attention for all the activity in Rev 4 & 5. He is described (verse 3), and those around Him are described (verses 4-11). In verses 8-11 He is the object of the worship of heaven’s creatures. His Person teaches sovereignty.
(6) Finally, the praise of the living creatures and the enthroned elders not only suggests His sovereignty, but specifically express it. The living creatures acknowledge Him to be Almighty (pantokrator) and eternal (“who was and is and is to come”). The elders acknowledge His creation of all things “by your will.” Therefore, His praise teaches His sovereignty.
Divine sovereignty banishes anxiety, replaces it with the peace that passes all understanding, and moves readers to join the elders and living creatures in whole-hearted worship of Him who is seated on heaven’s throne.