How amazing to actually see what God’s throne room looks like–and who is there! That’s where John takes us in the fourth chapter of Revelation. His experience will banish any childhood fantasies about heaven. Aren’t we thankful that we catch a glimpse of what our future holds? We believers will actually see, hear, and experience what we are about to see through John’s eyes. Wow!
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.’ “Revelation 4:1 NASB
Is this the time of the rapture of the church?
Although there are other theories, great evidence supports the rapture of the church occurring between Revelation 2 and 3. Let’s explore a bit of the evidence, beginning with Revelation 1:19.
‘Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.’Revelation 1:19 NASB
Since Revelation 4:1 begins with the words, after these things, we know that John, standing in heaven, is watching the future unfold on earth.
Additionally, John enters heaven through an open door, and no one leaves heaven until the church returns with Christ at Armageddon. We know that the trumpet will sound to announce this event as told in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, and the voice in Revelation 4:1 was “like the sound of a trumpet.”
Interestingly, after Jesus instructs John to write a letter to each of the seven churches, the church isn’t mentioned again until Chapter 19. Since the church has vacated earth, so will the Holy Spirit who lives inside believers. No longer is the Restrainer present to hold back the evil Satan unleashes through the Anti-Christ and False Prophet.
Hence, God allows the seven-year Tribulation to begin, whose purpose is to bring His judgment and wrath upon the wicked, not upon the righteous (see Romans 8:1).
Our glorious God
After John wrote the letters to the seven churches, he finds himself in the spirit and transported to heaven. The first thing he focuses on is God seated on His throne.Revelation 4:3 NASB
And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
Isn’t it interesting that this is our only glimpse of God? We know man is made in God’s image, but John describes Him in relation to the colors of precious stones.
A jasper stone here was probably clear white, and a sardius is red, perhaps like a ruby or a red jasper stone. The rainbow around the throne is green like an emerald stone–not as the many-colored half-rainbows we see in the sky after a rain storm. This soft green light encircles the throne of God in one complete circle, perhaps signifying His mercy and grace. Suffice it to say that God and His throne are bathed in beautiful colors of transparent lights, which is the glory of God.
The twenty-four elders
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.Revelation 4:4 NASB
Next, John sees twenty-four thrones in a circle around God’s throne where twenty-four elders sit. No one really knows who they will be, although speculation abounds. Many surmise that they represent those from the church because they wear white clothing and golden crowns.
The seven lampstands
Out from the throne came flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God;Revelation 4:5 NASB
As a child, I still have vivid recollections of severe summer storms. They could be quite frightening as bright flashes of electricity in a dark sky preceded pounding, deafening thunder. Yet, John describes these same things as coming from God’s throne. Not terrifying, but witnesses to the power and divine majesty of the holy God we serve.
And in the midst stood seven lamps–the seven spirits of God–burning with fire and positioned in front of the throne. But what exactly are they? We know there is only one spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. So, these spirits may refer to the varied ministries of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of the Lord, and wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord (see Isaiah 11:2).
The four living creatures
…and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like a calf, the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.‘Revelation 4:6-8 NASB
These creatures may be an exalted order of angels whose sole purpose is to worship and glorify God. To John, they resemble a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle in flight, all having six wings. These also parallel the descriptions in Ezekiel 1:10 and Isaiah 6:2. Night and day, forever and ever, they will continually give praise to God the Father. We’ll see in the next chapter that they also worship Jesus, thus proving that Jesus is separate yet equal to God.
A concert of praise to God
And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘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.‘Revelation 4:9-11 NASB
At the conclusion of this chapter, we see the creatures and the elders joined in agreement as they worship God together. The creatures cry holy, and the elders cry worthy. As the elders fall on their knees, they cast their golden crowns before God’s throne and praise Him for His creation, giving Him all glory, honor, and power. What a powerful time of worship and praise to our holy God!
I don’t know about you, but this glimpse into God’s throne room gives me goosebumps.
How wonderful to look forward to that day when we will be in His presence, praising and worshiping our God along with the rest of heaven.
Dear Father, thank You for allowing us to glimpse You and Your throne room in heaven. We give you all the praise, all the glory, and all the honor both now and forever. We worship You, for You alone are worthy. We anticipate the day when we will worship You in heaven. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
A Glimpse into God’s Throne Room by Karen Jurgens copyright 2023 All rights reserved.