So we come to the question that I raised at the beginning: How should worship be done? In both of these chapters the song of the seraphim is echoed by the praise of the elders who represent the church. They add to the praise given to God the Father at the end of chapter 4, and they join with the four living creatures in chapter 5 and in the final praise chorus (verse 13). They're the last persons mentioned in these two chapters. "And the elders fell down and worshiped" ( chapter 5, verse 14). So there are patterns, particularly. And the question is, how do they worship and do we worship as they do?

The second thing John talks about here in Revelation 4 are twenty-four thrones and the twenty-four elders. There are countless theories about who these elders are. It seems to me that they represent the entire people of God. In the Old Testament there were the twelve patriarchs of Israel, the fathers of the Jewish nation; in the New Testament there were the twelve apostles representing the people of the new dispensation. It probably is something like that. Furthermore, they have white robes, which signify their holiness, because they’re now in glory.

When John is caught up into heaven and passes through the door, he sees the throne of the Almighty. That word "throne" occurs seventeen times in these two chapters, and about forty times overall in the Book of Revelation. It introduces a magnificent scene. I invite you to try to begin to visualize it in some way.

In this lesson we’ll be studying Revelation 4 which is the first introduction in this book to what heaven is like. I want to begin by describing a rather extraordinary worship service. It took place on a day that had been set apart as a festival to worship God. People rose early and offered sacrifices, and then they enjoyed a fellowship meal. Everyone took part, and they were so involved in their worship that they then began to dance before God in celebration.

I want to look at verse 19, particularly, because that’s difficult. Many people regard verse 19 as the key to understanding the whole of the prophecy and there’s a sense in which it may be. At any rate, however you look at the prophecy, it’s going to affect how you look at this verse. There are four main views of verse 19. Verse 19 talks about "he who is": "Write therefore what you have seen, what is now, and what will take place later."