The Throne in Heaven
1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
- After this = After Jesus gives his sermon to the seven churches.
- A door standing open in heaven – the door is open so John can see in.
- An open door in Revelation is a big thing. It means that something is being revealed. A revealing – an unveiling – a revelation. Here John can see heaven.
- Continuing on, John is seeing things from God’s perspective.
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
- Just think, we all have doubts or we want to see proof. Here for John heaven is opened and he comes to see the throne.
- In the Spirit = Divine Revelation
- We now see heaven and earth coming together. This is what is happening when we sit in church – this is the divine worship service.
- There is only one church – not one on earth and one in heaven.
- Think how this relates to Ephesians 2 as it shows us seated in the heavenly realm.
- Also, this helps with understanding Revelation 20 where we see ‘they reigned with Christ for 1,000 years.’ It didn’t begin in Revelation 20, it began here (or in Ch 1) – a kingdom of priests reigning with Christ.
3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
- Just as Moses was not allowed to see God directly, we see the same with John.
- The glory is too much – this is the best John can do to spit out a description. This is better than what Moses got which was to see God’s backside.
- See how Paul speaks of God in 1 Tim 6:16 “who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
- The description is diamond like (jasper). The glowing red of carnelian and a halo around the throne – the rainbow.
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
- Not just one throne but 24 other thrones and the 24 Elders representing us, ruling and reigning with God.
- A critical note – thrones in Revelation are always a heavenly scene.
- 24 = 12+12 = the whole OT people of God plus the whole NT people of God.
- Clothed in white = God’s righteousness = the holiness of Christ.
- Crowns = these are representing us as the saved people of God = the Church.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,
- The scene around the throne is like what we saw on Mt. Sinai.
- This reminds us who is there – the Lord himself. The very same Lord.
- We don’t need to guess. The 7 burning torches are the 7 Spirits of God.
- All of this is to tell us God is here and God reigns.
6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:
- Sea of glass – could there be something here about baptism?
- The 4 living creatures – eyes front and back = ever watchful – all seeing.
- They are always alert to do God’s will – they appear to be the closest to the throne.
- In v. 8 we will see that they never cease praising God.
7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.
- ) Lion = The King of the Beasts
- ) Ox = Also known as a calf/young bull = King of the domesticated beasts
- ) Face of Man = King of all of God’s creation
- ) Eagle = King of all birds of flight.
- These can be compared to the living creatures in Ezekiel 1:5-14
- There are some variances, but the important thing is that it was a common way to describe things.
8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
- Six wings = Compare to Isaiah 6:1-2 –“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.”
- The 6 wings are not unique to John and Revelation.
- Eyes all around & within. Seems to be more descriptive than what we saw in v. 6
- The Holy, Holy, Holy scene here seems to be a modified version of what the cherubim sing in Isa 6.
- The Holy, Holy, Holy = the Sanctus.
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
- Giving thanks no matter who you are.
- The eternality of God.
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
- This is a summation of the one who reigns.
- We will see this as we continue through Revelation – only God reigns.
- Satan does not reign – Anti-Christ does not reign – Political leaders do not reign.
- However, we will see ch 6-19 that the Church does suffer the attacks of the world, especially the unbelieving world.
- The Church is going to suffer the attacks of Satan and his henchmen – the Anti-Christ and other powers as well. But we also see the Church is gathered around the throne.
- So, not even the gates of hell will prevail against it and thus the praise we see here in chapter 4.
- This is literally the refuge of the Lord – this is Psalm 46 language – this is the language of the ark – God’s refuge as God gathers a people to himself.
- Therefore v. 11 can say “You are worthy” — Why?? Because you have created all things.
- This proves who God is and who is not God.