“Unit 31, Day 2: Revelation 4–5,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 31, Day 2,” New Testament Study Guide
In a vision, the Apostle John saw glorified beings worshipping Heavenly Father as He sat on His throne. He also saw a book that was sealed with seven seals and the Lamb, or Jesus Christ, who is worthy to open the book.
Imagine being in the celestial kingdom. How do you picture the celestial kingdom? What do you think it will be like?
As recorded in Revelation 4–5, the Apostle John saw a vision of a part of the celestial kingdom.
- Read Revelation 4:1–8. In your scripture study journal, draw a simple diagram of what John saw. Note that to be “in the spirit” (verse 2) means to be in a revelatory state or to see a vision through the Spirit.
In Revelation 4:3 John wrote that to look upon Heavenly Father was “like a jasper and a sardine stone.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
“In striving to record for mortal comprehension the grandeur, glory, and beauty of the Almighty of Almighties, John likens his appearance to precious and semi-precious stones. The jasper mentioned is believed by commentators to be a diamond. …
“… How can mortal prophets find language to unveil to the view of their fellow mortals the splendor and transcendent beauty of that eternal world of celestial might and glory? They speak of rainbows and jewels, of circling flames of fires, of burning coals of fire with lightning flashing forth therefrom; they tell of thunders and voices, of the sound of the rushing of many waters, and of majestic displays of might and beauty—all in an attempt to record in mortal words that which can be seen and known only by the power of the Spirit. (Ezek. 1 and 10; Isa. 6.) But the Lord be praised that they have made such attempts so that those who have not seen and heard may gain some meager knowledge of those things hidden behind the windows of heaven” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:464–66).
Modern revelation helps us understand more about what John saw. For example, the Lord gave the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77 after the Prophet Joseph Smith asked Him to interpret some of the symbols and events recorded in Revelation 1–11.
- Copy the accompanying chart in your scripture study journal. Read each cross-reference and write on the chart additional information you find about what John saw. (After you are done, check your answers with those given at the end of the lesson.)
What John Saw
Throne (Revelation 4:2–3)
Twenty-four elders with crowns (Revelation 4:4)
Seven Spirits of God (Revelation 4:5)
Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 4:5 (in Revelation 4:5, footnote a).
Sea of glass (Revelation 4:6)
Four beasts (Revelation 4:6–7)
The beasts’ eyes and wings (Revelation 4:8)
Read Revelation 4:8–11, looking for what those assembled around Heavenly Father said and did.
What could the elders casting their crowns before Heavenly Father’s throne represent?
One principle we can learn from these verses is that as we recognize Heavenly Father’s greatness, we desire to worship and praise Him.
Think about what can help us recognize Heavenly Father’s greatness.
Tonight, before you pray, consider the great plan of happiness and how Heavenly Father has blessed you. As you pray, remember to thank Him specifically for all that He has blessed you with.
Read Revelation 5:1–4, looking for what John saw in Heavenly Father’s hand.
Note that the book, or scroll, that John saw was sealed with seven seals. In ancient times, important documents were sealed with clay or wax seals. Only the owner of the document and those whom the owner authorized were allowed to break the seals and read the text.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 77:6–7, looking for the meaning of the book and the seals.
The 7,000-year period of the earth’s “temporal existence” (D&C 77:6) refers to the time since the Fall of Adam and Eve. It does not refer to the actual age of the earth, including the periods of creation. Each seal represents a 1,000-year period.
According to Revelation 5:2, what qualification did a person need in order to open the book?
Notice that John wept when he saw that no one could open the book. He may have thought that God’s “will, mysteries, and … works” (Doctrine and Covenants 77:6) pertaining to the salvation of His children would not be revealed or carried out. What would happen to Heavenly Father’s children if His plan for their salvation could not be carried out?
Read Revelation 5:5–7, looking for why John was told not to weep. Also read Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 5:6 (in Revelation 5:6, footnote b). In the scriptures, horns are often a symbol of power or authority; eyes often symbolize light and knowledge; and the number twelve can symbolize divine government and organization, or the priesthood.
The title “Lamb” (Revelation 5:6) points to Jesus Christ’s role as the sacrificial offering that was given to atone for God’s children (see also Isaiah 53:7; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18–19). The phrase “a Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6) refers to the Lamb displaying the marks of having been slain. John the Baptist referred to the Savior as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36).
Read Revelation 5:8–10, looking for how the beings surrounding Heavenly Father’s throne praised the Lamb.
Based on what John saw and heard regarding the Lamb, we learn that Jesus Christ is the only one who is worthy and able to redeem us.
Why do you think Jesus Christ is the only one who is worthy and able to redeem us?
According to Revelation 5:10, those whom Jesus Christ redeems become kings and priests, which includes women as queens and priestesses.
Read Revelation 5:11–14, looking for how others joined in worshipping and praising Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.
The glorified beings and all creation recognized the goodness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and felt gratitude for the Lamb’s role in Heavenly Father’s plan. Therefore, they worshipped and praised the Father and the Son. Similarly, as we recognize and feel gratitude for what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done for us, we desire to worship and praise Them.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught the following about worship: “True and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar” (“How to Worship,” Ensign, Dec. 1971, 130).
- Respond to the following in your scripture study journal:
List some reasons you feel gratitude and love toward Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
How do the things you listed affect your desire to worship and praise Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
Think about the following question: What more could you do to worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Make a plan, and act on the promptings you receive.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Revelation 4–5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: