Today: [Revelation 4:] The Throne Revealed. In Revelation 4 John is caught up to the throne of God to experience its glories. He sees the throne and the one sitting thereon. He sees four living creatures and 24 elders – all representing something of who God is and who He is in us.
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[Rev 4:1-11 KJV] 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. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
After the messages to the seven churches the vision of John to a scene of the throne room of God. He looks and sees a doorway standing open in the heavens. It is easy just to keep reading to see what happens next but ask yourself what does this door represent? This part of the vision could have been different in a myriad of ways, but the Father chose at this point in showing John heavenly things and the throne to represent the access to this realm as a door. In the gospel of John this very writer recorded the words of Jesus as follows:
[Jhn 10:7 KJV] 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
We see then that Jesus is the Door to us by which we enter into relationship to the Father. What do you do with a door? A door gives you access to what lies beyond it. Paul uses this very language describing redemption in Christ:
[Eph 2:18 KJV] 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
I submit to you as the first verse of Revelation declares that in showing John a door he was showing something more than the beginning of a revelation of God’s linear purpose through time. We tend to see Revelation exclusively as a road map of future apocalyptic events. Now when the Pharisees asked Jesus these questions he always changed the narrative to something much more personal:
[Luk 17:20-21 KJV] 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
These men wanted an understanding of Jesus’ thoughts on eschatology, but Jesus responds to them that they aren’t asking the right question. The kingdom they were seeking to understand was not revealed not only in some epic unfolding of future events but in realizing as well that the kingdom that, yes will surely come in a future unfolding is also something on the inside of you – an entirely different proposition.
John sees the door and immediately is in the spirit and sees a vision of the throne of God. Let me ask you a question: Does Jesus sit on the throne of your heart? Paul speaks of this in Ephesians:
[Eph 3:17 KJV] 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
From that perspective what John sees is something of the kingdom that Jesus declared to the Pharisees in Luke 17 is on the inside of you.
John not only sees a throne but he sees one who sits on the throne. This is such an otherly sight that John doesn’t immediately or presumptively identify this person. Instead, he gives a description. The person sitting on the throne is luminescent like a living gemstone both of jasper and sardine. Jasper was the stone on the high priest’s breastplate that stood for the tribe of Benjamin at the tenth position. Sardine or carnelian was a blood red stone that stood at the third position representing the tribe of Rueben. The carnelian speaks of courage and warfare as warriors of this time wore it into battle to give them courage and strength.
Verse four reveals that there were twenty-four seats around the throne and on them sat twenty-four elders clothed in simple white raiment with crowns on their heads. These elders were not identified, but the early fathers believed they were the 12 founding apostles of the first century and 12 finishing apostles that would be raised up at the culmination of the church age. There is something else to note about the 24 elders:
Jesus sits enthroned on your heart, so the vision of the throne speaks not only of heavenly things but represents as well the human heart indwelled by Christ. Twenty-four ribs surround your physical heart. Twenty-four ribs encasing the human heart, 24 elders around the throne and Jesus sits enthroned on your heart. The white clothing speaks of the priestly ministry of the believer and of the righteousness of Christ. The crowns denote the believers rank as both king and priest.
Out of the throne comes flashes of lightning, thunderings, and voices. When the voice of God speaks to you He will speak out of your heart His habitation by the spirit. The bolts of lightning and thunderings are heaven’s response to faith-filled prayers as we will see in Rev. 8:3-5. John also sees seven lamps that represent the seven spirits of God enumerated in Isa. 11:1-3. They are:
- The Spirit of the Lord
- The Spirit of Wisdom
- The Spirit of Understanding
- The Spirit of Counsel
- The Spirit of Might
- The Spirit of Knowledge
- The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
All these things are on the inside of you by the indwelling of the Spirit of God breathed into you at the new birth and enlarged to capacity in you by the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In v. 6 John sees the floor of the throne room in appearance as a sea of glass. Some have suggested this is made of gold so pure that it is transparent. This sea of glass is the same one that Ezekiel saw in Ez. 1:22. If you compare Ezekiel’s vision and John’s you will see that Ezekiel did not stand on this glass but was on the earth looking up through it at the throne. John, on the other hand, stands on the sea of glass (Ezekiel’s terrible crystal of Ez. 1:22). John is given access as a believer to a realm in God that the Old Testament believer could not enter because they way (who is Christ) was not yet provided. This is why Jesus said that the least in the kingdom is greater than any Old Testament saint because of the provisions of Calvary.
Standing around the throne within the circle of the 24 elders are four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. The human heart has four chambers. The four beasts cry out holy, holy, holy echoing the heart cry of the believer that enunciates praise and worship to God without ceasing with every beat of their hearts.
The beasts have a four-fold face, being that of a lion, a calf, a man and a flying eagle. If you understand what these faces are looking at you will understand their meaning. The face of the lion is looking directly at John, and by extrapolation, the earth below beyond the door John just entered. The lion speaks of rule. When we look upon the earth, it is from the position of being seated in Christ ruling and reigning as kings and priests. The calf looks to the east from whence the Messiah comes. The calf is a creature of sacrifice and also represents service. We believe that Christ is coming and we greet him as living sacrifices poured out in service to Him. The face of the man looks directly at God’s throne. When we stand before God, it is without pretense in any way. We come in vulnerability, humility giving honor to Him, reflecting back to Him His image that we are created to represent. The eagle looks to the west. West is a direction that represents darkness, evil and the sea of lost humanity. We face the domain of darkness as an eagle, mounting up on high and discerning with an acuity of sight more powerful than almost any other creature. All of these personas are in us in Christ just as the seven attributes of the Spirit of God are in us, empowering us and molding us into the image of God.
The six wings of the six creatures affirm to us that they represent something of ourselves because six is the number of man. The wings are full of eyes suggesting that what we see in the spirit we have access to and can move toward or above. Everywhere God puts a window (a vision) He puts a door of access.
The four creatures are not silent, and when they cry holy, holy, holy the 24 elders fall on their faces casting their crowns at the feet of the one on the throne, declaring His worthiness, sovereignty, and power. All of this speaks of the God who was, who is and who is to come. The entire vision declares to us the majesty of God established in unending eternity past, and also who God is in us at this very moment, and who God will reveal Himself to be in the unfolding future. It is also who He is in us at this moment and who we are in Him.
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