The Throne in Heaven
4 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.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 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. 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. 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, 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: 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. 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!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 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,
“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.”
Revelation 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
There is a throne where the Lord God Almighty sits. It is a room where every thought is made right; every act of betrayal is redeemed. It is a room where every hurt, every illness, every sorrow is healed. It is a room where every tear is wiped away and wholeness is restored. This room is a place where the Lord God Almighty reaches into our deepest pain and restores. It is a throne room where we realize and see that all has been, all that is current and all that is to come is in the control of the Creator of all things; The Lover of our hearts, the tender and compassionate Redeemer of the broken.
And it is a throne room where those standing will throw their crowns before His feet in worship. Where all of the accolades, all of the gems, all of the recognition of this earth will pale in comparison to the grandeur and magnificent God. Where our only response will be to take what has been given and return it, throw it before His feet in sheer adoration.
It will be the place where after all of the suffering, all the turmoil, questions even we will see it made a difference to stand strong in this life and follow Jesus with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And the greatest desire will be to hear the words, “You became everything I intended for you to become.
Jesus stood among the lampstands, the flickering lights, the oil of some that had run out and was barely lit. The ones that were about to be snuffed out by His hand. And the few that still shown brightly through their endurance. And to those who were victorious, to those who changed their ways, repented and turned back to God the scene that unfolds from that candlelit room was astounding. A door was opened and peering in John beheld only what few had seen and written of – the throne room of God.
Within Jesus’ letter to the church of Philadelphia, he first spoke of a door.
“This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open: 8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” -Revelation 3:7-8
This door here mentioned deals with the doors of evangelism, the gospel – the proclaiming of Jesus to the lost, the broken, the weary. For this church, the fields were ripe for harvest. Although they had endured much, been persecuted greatly – a door of opportunity stood before them. And throughout the letter is evident Jesus is proud of where they’ve been and how they stood firm amid the difficulty. And through that, He told them that no matter what would come they were to ‘Hold onto what they have.’
Let me just pause a moment and ask for us to consider – where are you at the same place? Where do you need to hear the words “Hold onto what you have”? You have been in the thick of some situation; you’ve possibly been struggling with your faith and your walk and being consistent even due to something that has rocked your world or dampened your spirit. Where is Jesus saying this morning to “Hold onto what you have”? Don’t let go. Sink your feet, replant your feet if need be onto His steady unchanging word and hope that is only found in Jesus.
You see, just like this church of Philadelphia, there are doors of opportunity presented before us as well. There are many people in our lives who are in such need of Jesus. And it is He opens the door. It is He who determines the length of how long it will remain open. It is He who in His timing – that door can be slammed shut. Yes, doors open and they close. And we have a responsibility when they have been propped open for we don’t know how long they will stay that way.
And even though the church had maintained their stance and were tired through it all – there were still opportunities before them.
And so there are doors of opportunity that stands before us – how are we responding? How are we engaging and walking through that door? Who are the people on the other side of the door that Jesus has beckoned us toward?
Keep in mind this initial picture of the throne room. This is where God reigns and this is where He desires all people to be present, united with Him. This is indeed why these doors are open.
Then a second door is mentioned. This is found in chapter 3 as well. It was to the church of Laodicea. Jesus had nothing good to say to these people. They were Believers who had lost their way. Believers in title, but nothing else. They had grown complacent and lukewarm and although busy with ministry activities were not in sync nor in tune with Jesus Himself. His regard for them was not high at all. But within this letter, He mentions a door as well. And this door was of repentance and response.
It’s one thing to be sorry for our sins. It’s one thing to regretful for the things we have done. But it is a completely different thing to respond and repent; To turn from our self-centered, self-reliant and bullheaded ways – and return to Jesus. So often, this is what’s missing. And so even after Jesus shredded their current position spiritually – His grace shown through and a choice was to be made.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” -Revelation 3:20
This was Jesus’ invitation, and I want us to take note here, to the Believers who had lost their way. Not the non-Believer’s, that door was revealed in the letter to the Philadelphia church. This door was to those who had at one point followed Jesus completely and no longer did. And that leads us to this third door mentioned – just sentences apart from one another.
“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven.” -Revelation 4:1
This final door is to the throne room of God.
And it may seem strange that I’ve focused on the doors but there is a critical reason for this. Each door must be walked through before being able to cross the threshold into the throne room. The door of the gospel leads to the door of response and repentance. This, in turn, will open the door of heaven.
There is no other way around this. There is no other philosophy or theology that can stand against this fact. There is a door of the gospel, a door of response and a final door of eternity opening to the throne room of God.
And each of these comes down to our own choice. To which door do you stand before? To which door do you look upon? I will tell you – all of life’s choices and following through in obedience comes down to the ability to enter this final door.
Revelation 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
We just recently studied the book of Ezekiel and Leviticus which have some strong ties to the language here in Revelation. Before God’s throne, John sees brilliant and vivid imagery that is similar to Ezekiel 1.
Ezekiel 1:26 NASB Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.
The throne scene is pretty straightforward. The big picture is illustrating the majesty of God which is radiating with unapproachable light. His glory is on full display.
There were 24 elders sitting on 24 thrones who were dressed in white and featured gold crowns. Throughout Revelation, they praise and worship God, offer interpretations for John, present prayers to God with the four living creatures, and continually adore the Lord with their lips and actions.
Who are they? Some say they symbolize the 24 Aaronic priests. Some say they represent the overall church of believers. Others say they are a combination of the 12 apostles and the 12 tribes of Israel. I’ve also read they could represent a heavenly counterpart to the earthly church. It’s all interesting to discuss, but in my opinion, there is no clear answer. A big picture application is their adoration of God and willingness to serve Him. Before the throne of God, where there is no sin, we get an amazing picture of purified obedience and worship.
John saw seven lamps burning which represent the “seven spirits of God.” Seven was a number the symbolized completeness so the seven lamps could represent the totality of the Holy Spirit. It’s also possible they are a reference back to the seven stars and seven lampstands which focused on seven different churches.
The Four Living Creatures
In another throwback to Ezekiel 1, we get the description of the four living creatures. Again, there are many explanations for these beings. I don’t think there’s any question these are angelic beings which function to guard the throne and lead the other in the adoration of God. The description of their eyes illustrates that they have been given heavenly power and wisdom. Nothing escapes their gaze. It’s possible that each symbolizes a trait of God. This interpretation can be supported with Scripture since we read about the strength of a lion, the service of the ox, the intelligence of man, and the swiftness of the eagle in various passages.
I wrote at the beginning that there were references back to both Ezekiel and Leviticus. When we consider the description of the Jewish temple, we see many overlapping characteristics with the heavenly throne.
|Earthly Temple||Heavenly Throne|
|Holy of Holies||Throne of God|
|7 Branched Candlestick||7 Lamps of Fire|
|Bronze Laver||Sea of Glass|
|Cherubim Over Mercy Seat||4 Living Creatures Around Throne|
|Incense Altar||Incense Altar|
|Ark of the Covenant||Ark of the Covenant|
(List compiled from Wiersbe Commentary)
It’s fascinating to consider that the vision John received from God’s throne was so similar to how God had the Israelites construct their earthly temple! The striking visuals that are presented in this chapter just further illustrate the power and magnificence of our God. After this entire scene is described, the chapter comes to a very fitting close.
Revelation 4:11 NASB “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
And this is the major application that I’ve been led to today. How many times do we try and figure God out rather than just stopping and worshiping Him? How much useless chatter has been spoken from dogmatic positions on the symbolism of Revelation? How can we have deep talks about what we believe theologically about the End Times and ignore the final verse of this chapter?
The fact that we can’t figure our God out should not lead us to bicker and argue but to stand in awe of such a Being who desires a love relationship with us! He is a timeless, inexhaustible God who, because of the slain Lamb, we can call Father. We must come before our Father’s throne and give Him praise and adoration!