1After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! 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.” 2At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! 3And the one seated there looks like jasper and cornelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. 4Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. 5Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 6and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
11 “You are worthy, 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.”
A good morning devotional is like coffee and donuts. It's comforting and tasty but not heavy. A light touch of humor, a nice point to take away, something yummy to start the day. In the morning you don't expect a slab of ribs or a sushi-sashimi combo platter.
But sometimes the morning's text forces you away from the coffee and donuts. Such is the case this morning with this text from the Book of Revelation.
The text describes something powerful, fearsome, awe-inspiring. To comment upon it with anything chatty seems totally out of place. So nothing frivolous or cutesy will follow. In fact -- if you haven't done so -- please read the passage, slowly. If you've already read it, please read it again, meditatively. Picture what you are reading.
Overview of Chapter 4 & 5: In the Throne Room of Heaven, the Lamb of God will initiate the great final conflict with the forces of evil, culminating with the Lamb triumphant and the devil consigned to the Lake of Fire.
The Apostle John is "in the Spirit." This is not the same as "imagination." Almost all of our experiences of our environment and of features within our environment consist of being "in the flesh," that is, as they come through our five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. "In the Spirit" is experiencing things through one's spirit as the Spirit of God takes one "up" into a different realm. Just as real. Just as powerful.
What did John see? God ruling from his throne in heaven. Because God dwells in "unapproachable light," He is described in terms of reflected brilliance, of precious stones.
Surrounding God are the Twenty-four Elders (24 often depicting the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles of Jesus). The 24 can also be representative of the whole company of believers or an exalted angelic order who worship and serve God.
The awesome/fearsome majesty and power of God are depicted symbolically with flashes of lightning ... peals of thunder. 7 symbolizes perfection, completeness, fullness.
Four living creatures: an exalted order of angels who guard the heavenly throne and lead in worship and adoration of God. Nothing is missed, nothing escapes their attention, hence they are "covered with eyes." The seraphim of Isaiah 6:2-3 have six wings. These angels combine features of the seraphim (six wings) and cherubim (faces).
The 24 "cast their crowns before the throne," acknowledging that God alone is worthy of ultimate praise and worship.
In closing, let us say, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer" Psalm 19:14.
Have a good day and may you be taken up into God's throne room to catch a glimpse of God's awesome power, beauty, and majesty,