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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Revelation 4 and 5 and the Sanctuary

Revelation 4-5

The Sanctuary in Revelation

Brief Idea:       The reality of a heavenly sanctuary is obvious in the book of Revelation. Understanding the sanctuary services is helpful to understanding the book of Revelation. The timing of various sections of Revelation becomes apparent via sanctuary items when the books of Daniel and Hebrews are well understood.

Correlations between the Earthly Sanctuary and Views of the Heavenly in Revelation


On Earth:         A Laver

In Heaven:       “before the throne there was a sea of glass” Re 4:6


On Earth:         A Candlestick

In Heaven:       “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne. . . the seven Spirits of God” Re 4:5


On Earth:         A Lamb Slain

In Heaven:       “a Lamb as it had been slain” Re 5:6


On Earth:         An Ark of the Covenant

In Heaven:       “in heaven . . . in the temple, the Ark of His Testament” Re 11:19; 15:5


On Earth:         A Curtain entrance into the Holy and Most Holy Places (oftentimes the curtain into the Holy Place is called a “door” Ex 33:9-10; 35:15-17; etc.)

In Heaven:       “a door” Re 3:8-9, 4:1 (See Ja 5:8-9)


On Earth:         An Altar of Incense and a Censer and Incense

In Heaven:       An “ altar, having a golden censer; and . . .much incense” Re 8:3


On Earth:         Angels in the art-work everywhere

In Heaven:       Angels in the temple, everywhere. Re 15:6, 7:11, etc.


On Earth:         Priests in the Holy Place; High Priest in both apartments

In Heaven:       Priests (Re 5:10) and persons in the temple (Re 11:1) and a High Priest. Re 1:13.


On Earth:         Table of Shewbread; Mercy Seat (seating the bread and the Shekina)

In Heaven:       The Throne of God; moving from the Holy to the Most Holy


On Earth:         Two golden angels looked down at the mercy seat and ark.

In Heaven:       Angels are observers of the MHP Judgment and of Christ’s intercession. Re 3:5


Holy Place Elements




Most Holy Place


            Angels Watching Mercy and Judgment


Timing Via the Sanctuary


4 BC to AD 31                          Courtyard

AD 31 to AD 1844                   Holy Place

AD 1844 to Close of Probation             Most Holy Place

COP to Second Coming    Holy Place



When is the book unsealed?


Thus the Jewish leaders made their choice. Their decision was registered in the book which John saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, the book which no man could open. In all its vindictiveness this decision will appear before them in the day when this book is unsealed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  {COL 294.1}

What is in the book?

“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:1-3).  {9MR 7.1}

There in His open hand lay the book, the roll of the history of God’s providences, the prophetic history of nations and the church. Herein was contained the divine utterances, His authority, His commandments, His laws, the whole symbolic counsel of the Eternal, and the history of all ruling powers in the nations. In symbolic language was contained in that roll the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth’s history to its close.  {9MR 7.2}

Who are the Twenty-four Elders?

EC – Find out why Stephen Bohr believes what he does about this and explain his reasons in a short paper. Then react to it. Is he right?


Re 4:1  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Key observations:

These are things which happened after the time of John, “hereafter.” Rev 4:1. Therefore this is not a picture of the beginning of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

A throne is “set” and a Sovereign is seated.

Jesus was seated as Priest at his ascension. That was in the temple. This is the “throne of grace.” Heb 4:16.

Heb 8:1  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


By the time of Laodicea, the judgment age, Jesus has been seated on his “Father’s throne.” He offers a seat on this same throne to overcomers. As they will not sit there until after He returns, this must be the “throne of his glory,” the “Judgment seat.” Matt 19:28; Matt 25:31-32; Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10.

Re 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Re 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. . . . 18  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 19  And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Ps 122:3  Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: 4  Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. 5  For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.


A “door” is “opened” in “heaven” – showing that the sanctuary in heaven has “doors.”

We have read about a door opening and another door closing in heaven already. (Re 3:7-8) The timing, the Philadelphia church age, corresponds well to the opening of the Investigative Judgment.

Christ is Worthy, Be Reverent

EC        Listen to the Sermon “Christ is Worthy, Be Reverent”

In Class Project:  On what basis does Revelation say that Jesus is worthy? (two answers).  What does He deserve? These things that He deserves are important to us and can be mentioned intelligently in our prayers:

How can students who are greatly in need of help be encouraged to press on in the right way? Only by treating them with the love that Christ revealed. You may say we should treat them as they deserve. What if Christ treated us thus? He, the Sinless One, was treated as we deserve, that we, fallen and sinful, might be treated as He deserved. Teachers, treat your unpromising students as you think they richly deserve, and you will cut them off from hope and spoil your influence. Will this pay? No, a hundred times, no. Bind the one who needs your help close to a loving, sympathizing heart, and you will save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins.  {CT 267.4}

For the Word Doc, click here: Rev_4-5_-_Sanctuary_in_Revelation

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