Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
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.
[4:2-5. In the spirit John sees God the Father sitting on His throne in heaven (cf. v.8). The gems and the rainbow show the glory of God. (cf. Ezek 1:22-28). The 24 elders probably represent the raptured church in heaven. Their seats or thrones show a reward of authority in the millennial kingdom (cf. 20:4), and their crowns (Gr. stephanos) are crowns of reward from the judgement seat of Christ (cf. Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). The white raiment shows their righteousness, which has now been judged and purified. The number four and twenty represents the church as priests before God. David divided the Levitical priesthood into 24 sections (1 Chr. 24:7-19). Believers are seen here as a kingdom of priests (cf. 1:6). Old Testament saints are not yet included, since they will not be resurrected and rewarded until after the Tribulation period (cf. Dan. 12:1-3). The seven lamps or seven Spirits again symbolize the Holy Spirit of God (cf. 1:4).]
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.
[4:6-8. The four beasts or living creatures (lit., "living ones") are probably angels (cf. Ezek. 10:15-22) who guard the throne of God. The eyes symbolize wisdom, and the wings depict movement. They worship God as did the seraphim in Isaiah's vision (cf. Is. 6:1-3). The lion represents strength (cf. Ps. 103:20), the calf represents service (cf. Heb. 1:14), the face of a man represents intelligence (cf. Luke 2:52), and the eagle represents swiftness (cf. Dan. 9:21). The angelic vision has a strong allusion to Ezekiel 1:4-14.]
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.
[4:9-11. All of heaven worship the Father. The angels extol His character, and the elders (church) extol His creative powers. God has the right to rule and the sovereign authority to judge the earth, because He is both holy and the Creator of all.]