Revelation 4-5 are often read only for their value in describing worship (worthy is the Lamb….) or their angelology (who are the elders? What are the four living creatures?) While these elements are certainly there, the function of these chapters in Revelation is to introduce the vision of the seven seals. The Lamb is worthy of the same worship applied to God, but this means he is also worthy to open the scroll with seven seals. These seals represent the beginning of God’s judgment on the world.
First, the “door of heaven” is opened, is a common apocalyptic element. The idea of going “up to heaven” may be drawn from Gen 28:17 or Ps 78:23, but is developed in non-biblical apocalyptic into the idea that heaven is closed. Only the visionary is invited to “come up” into heaven.
3 Maccabees 6:18 Then the most glorious, almighty, and true God revealed…
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