The Throne Room
The letters to the church are now complete. All seven churches in Asia Minor have received commendation, or criticism or both from the glorified Jesus Christ. The vision now turns from the church to a glimpse of the throne room in heaven and this should serve as a reminder to the churches that should be encouraged because they are also under God’s sovereign rule.
Vs. 1: “After this…” – The vision continues but we see & now we see a future time that has yet to take place.
John sees “a door standing open in heaven” this is similar to Ezekiel 1:1 – where the prophet saw “The Heavens were opened”, and he sees a vision of God – The door John sees is open, it is not opened but this could imply that the door to heaven is open wide or some suggest that the door means that vision is limited to John alone.
“The first voice…” This is the voice from chapter 1 and he now invites John to enter through the door to heaven.
“I will show you what must take place after this…” In chapter 1 Jesus tells John to write the things that must come to pass; now He is going to show him those things. These events must happen, they are the outworking of God’s divine will. He is in complete control. John is not writing about matters of chance, but about events that will certainly take place for they are God’s divine will.
Vs 2: “behold a throne stood in heaven” John is interested in thrones. He uses the word “throne” over forty times in Revelation out of sixty-two references in the New Testament. He speaks of the throne of God in almost every chapter of Revelation. The throne symbolizes the absolute sovereignty of God.
Fun Fact: This Heavenly scene with God on the throne is believed to be the inspiration to Handel’s Messiah.
Vs 3: “he who sat there had the appearance of…” The one sitting on the throne does not appear in human form but is instead portrayed as the brilliance of light reflected from precious stones. (Cf. Ezekiel 1:26 – 28)
The three stones held a place of honor in ancient times. They are among the twelve precious stones that adorn the breastplate of the High Priest. In fact, the Jasper and Carnelian (sardius) are the first and last stones in the Breastplate.
Jasper – Represents or suggests qualities as majesty, holiness, or purity.
Carnelian or some versions say Sardius – Represents or is interpreted as wrath or judgment.
“Rainbow that had the appearance of emerald” – a reminder of God’s eternal covenant.
Vs 4: “Seated on thrones were twenty-four elders clothed in white garments with golden crowns on their head.” It is uncertain who the twenty-four elders are, but generally it is believed they are an exalted or superior angelic order who serve and worship God.
The white garments speak of holiness, and the golden crowns speak of royalty.
Vs 5: “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and peals of thunder,” This is symbolic of the awesome power and majesty of God. Thunder in the Old Testament is often associated with the voice of God.
Before the throne are the seven spirits of God According to the chapter one concerning the “Seven Spirits…” Some interpret this to represent the complete manifestation of the Holy Spirits being. Some see this as a reference to the seven archangels of Jewish Tradition. In Enoch 20:1 – 8 these angels are named Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel, and Remiel. However, this is unlikely since it would be a strange intrusion of Jewish tradition into Christian thought. There is uncertainty as to what these seven angels represent conclusively but we can deduce that they are part of a heavenly entourage that has a special ministry in connection to Christ.
Vs 6: “Before the throne was as it were a sea of glass” John is not giving an exact description, but he is speaking in symbols. We need to remember that modern ideas about glass did not apply in the first century. Glass was dark, even opaque. Clear glass would have been extremely expensive. The text speaks only of “what looked like a sea of glass.” We are intended to understand it as a visual phenomenon that adds to the awesome splendor of the throne-room scene. Its crystal surface stretches out before the throne, reflecting the flashing, many-colored light from the throne, furnishing a surface for the activity around the throne, and creating for the Seer an unspeakably heightened sense of the transcendence and majesty of God.
Around the throne are “Four living creatures” they are related to the cherubim in Ezekiel 1, but there are several differences. They could also be similar to the Seraphim in Isaiah 6:2 – 3 who lift up their voices to sing. It is believed they are also an exalted order of angelic beings, who guard the throne and lead the heavenly hosts in worship.
Four living creatures –
Eyes in front and behind signifies universal watchfulness
Vs. 7: Some commentators say that the description of the creatures is to interpret them as having the strength of a lion, ability to serve as an ox, the intelligence of man, and the swiftness of an eagle. Others say the four forms suggest what is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in animate nature.
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