Revelation 4:1 says, “After these things, I looked and behold the door standing open in heaven.” Very interesting that “standing open” is in the perfect tense, an indication that that door was opened at some point in the past and it's still open. I would take the point of opening as the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, and the now opened the door, is for us to enter into the presence of God. When Jesus said, “it is finished” in John 19:30, His work on the cross was done. The penalty for sin was paid. The way into heaven was open. It won't be closed until time is done. So, the door was opened, and John says, “the first voice that I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me.” The trumpet takes us back to chapter one saying, “Come up here.” Remember the passage in First Thessalonians Chapter 4, “for the Lord will descend with a shout.” What do you think your shout is going to be? I think it's going to be, “Come up here.” “Come up here and I will show you things which much must take place.” Again, we have the phrase “after this” or better translated, “After these things.”
Revelation 4:2-3 says, “Immediately,” John says, “I was in the spirit. And behold, a throne said in heaven. And one who sat on the throne and he who sat there was like a Jasper and sardius.” Jasper is clear and sardius is red. So what John sees is an image sitting on the throne, but he doesn't see the clear outlines face characteristics. In Revelation 4:3 he says, “and there was a rainbow around the throne in appearance like an emerald. What is the rainbow remind us of? Remember at the flood it was a promise of peace. So, I would take this as a symbol of peace. A rainbow around the throne and “an appearance like an emerald” is very interesting. From verse three on, what we're actually seeing is something very similar to what Daniel saw in Daniel 7:4-13. You remember he saw “the Ancient of Day” sitting on the throne, being approached by “one like the son of man.” So very, very similar. And again, the connections between Revelation and the Old Testament are everywhere.
Revelation 4:4 says, “Around the throne, where 24 thrones and on the thrones, I saw 24 elders sitting clothed with white robes, and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” There are lots of arguments about who are the 24 elders. A lot of people think they're angels. I'm convinced they're not because of what we see in the context of the text. I think the 24 elders probably represent the church and probably we could look at them as maybe some of the great ones that come out of the church age, maybe the ones who excelled during the church age, but they represent the church as a whole. 24 elders sitting and they've got “white robes,” of course, white robes, picture of the righteousness of Christ. They had” crowns of gold on their head.” We know in the New Testament there are five different crowns promised to the overcomer, namely, those who overcome are promised a reward at the judgment seat of Christ. As our lives are evaluated by the Lord Jesus Christ, there are those that are going to receive the reward of a crown. By the way, the word “crown” “Stephanos” – “the Victor's crown.” So, this again relates back to the overcomer.
Revelation 4:5 says, “From the throne proceeded lightning and thunder, rings and voices.” Wouldn't you like to know what they said? In Revelation 10:3-4 John says the thunder spoke again and as he was going to write down as a part of this book what the thunder said, he was told not to write. Isn’t it interesting? I don't know about you, but I've heard sermons on what the seven thunders said. The truth is, we don't know. God didn't tell us. We might be better off for not knowing. We were not allowed to know at this point. Verse 5 continues, “Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.” Why the seven spirits of God? Isaiah 11:1 says, “There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” It is interesting that the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to both as “the root” and the offspring of David. As God, He is “the root of David,” as man, He's the offspring. So we have the deity and humanity of Christ pictured. Isaiah 11:2 says, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, the spirit of counsel, and might the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” I think all of these are simply expressing the character of the Holy Spirit. So I take this to be the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 4:6 says, “Before the Throne, there was a sea of glass like crystal.” What does that mean? I don't know. Obviously, it would imply purity. Later in the book, the sea is used as a picture of the nations. The multitudes of the nations could represent the multitudes of those who have been purified standing before the Lord. That would be the closest that I could give you. The verse continues, “sea of glass, like crystal in the midst of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.” Very interesting. Revelation 4:7 says, “The first living creature was like a lion. The second living creature was like a calf. The third living creature had the face of a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.” If you go back to Ezekiel chapter one these same creatures are not described in the same way, but they are described as a lion, a calf, a man and an eagle. Why is that? Well, one suggestion that's been presented, these four represent the story of the life of Christ. If you think about it, a gospel of Matthew presents Christ our King of Israel, symbol as lion Jesus -- the lion of the tribe of Judah. The Gospel of Mark presents Him as the calf, or Ox, a symbol of what is servant. It's interesting that the key word of the Gospel of Mark is immediately. It's a word that was specifically used of an obedient servant. It's translated “straightaway,” or “immediately” in the Gospel of Mark. Luke, of course, places emphasis on the humanity of Christ. Luke is a very human gospel, and it deals a lot with his interactions with the down and out people. And then, of course, the eagle Flying Eagle, a picture of the Gospel of John, The Deity of Christ.
Revelation 4:7 says, “The four living creatures, each having six wings were full of eyes around and within.” The emphasis on eyes, I believe, has to do with divine intelligence or supernatural intelligence. What do our eyes through our eyes tell us? That's how we gather information. Revelation 4:8 says, “They do not rest day or night saying, Holy, holy, holy.” Where have we met these before? Is it Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy.” Why three times? It's this Father, Son, Holy Spirit. “Holy, holy, Holy Lord, God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Who’s that? Jesus Christ.
Revelation 4:9-10 says, “Whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before him, who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever and casts their crowns before the throne.” I’ve run into a lot of believers who say I'm not interested in eternal rewards. I don't care whether I get a crown or not. I'll just be happy to be there. We need to understand that winning the Crown is not for us. It's not to our credit. It's for His glory. Every one of us can win eternal rewards. He offers us the opportunity to live lives of faith and obedience so that we are, as he said in Matthew 6:20, laying up treasure in heaven. And what's the value of all that? All of it is going to speak to the glory of Christ. It's in honor of what He's done for us. It's a way of expressing, if you will, our gratitude for his sacrifice and our great salvation. So, they cast their crowns before the throne.
Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things and by your will they exist and were created.” Now, bear in mind Who's sitting on the throne of God. The Father. Right? We're about to see the Lord Jesus come into the picture. So, God, the Father is sitting on the throne. And to God the Father, Glory, “honor and power for You created all things.” This is Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Right? What does John tell us in John 1:1? “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God.” And then down in verse three, “all things were made by Him. And without Him was not anything made. It was made. So, who created” the Father or the Son? The answer is “yes!” They work together, right? In Proverbs 30, the question is asked “What is God's name? Do you know it? And what is his Son's name?” That's a very interesting question. You must wonder how many ancient Hebrews pondered on that and wondered, “What does this mean”? And of course, if they pondered long enough and searched the Old Testament scriptures enough, they would know.