"The Book of Revelation, An Eschatological Study of the Endtimes", by Chad J. McCoy
A Glimpse of Heaven
Everyone wonders what it will be like in heaven. Revelation chapters 4 and 5 give us a glimpse of the throne room, as preparations are made for the opening of the 7 seals.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
"Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
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 were created
and have their being."
After dictating the seven letters to the churches, Jesus disappears and John sees in front of him an open door. This door is just hanging there in space, and John is standing in front of it. He hears the voice of Jesus telling him to enter.
As he does so, he sees a throne, with someone sitting on it. He does not know who this person is, but whoever it is, has the appearance of jasper and carnelian.
I can find nothing significant about these two stones. They are both precious stones; jasper, which is found in colors of dark red, green, brown, blue, yellow, white, and clear; and carnelian being a flesh-colored stone.
It is obvious that this is God, because we know this is heaven, and there are other beings that are bowing down to this person and worshipping him. Only one person is worshipped in heaven, and that is God. Besides that, the other beings call him God. We will see this in a moment.
Above the throne is an emerald rainbow. Once again, I don't see any particular significance here.
Of course, I am drawn to the rainbow of Noah, which was used to symbolize a promise. This emerald rainbow could be signifying a new promise, but what is that promise, and what does the color green have to do with it? What does green represent? Leaves. Grass. Plants. What do we have, then, a vegetarian promise?
As I said, I don't see any significance, and even if there is one, I don't see how it makes any difference to our study. I am sure it looks magnificent, adding to the splendor of heaven, but I cannot conceive of any other purpose it might have apart from mere decoration. That is not to say that it has no purpose, I just don't know what that purpose could be. Whatever it represents, the emerald rainbow has nothing to do with events on the earth during what we call the tribulation period, and therefore understanding its significance is not crucial to our study of the end of the world.
Now surrounding the throne are 24 other thrones, with 24 elders seated there. Who are these elders? I'm of the opinion that they are men, but we're never told who they are. Could they be angels? I suppose they could be. If they are men, who would they be? The disciples along with 12 other men? Who knows? Their identity is not relevant, just as the identity of the seven angels who sound the trumpets are not relevant.
The elders are dressed in white and wear golden crowns. This leads me to believe that they are men, because the bible tells us that when we get to heaven we will be given white robes and crowns.
2nd Timothy 4:8: Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1st Cor. 9:25: Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1st Thess. 2:19: For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
James 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
1 Peter 5:4 : And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Revelation 6:11: Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
Revelation 3:4,5: Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
John sees flashes of lightning and hears rumblings and peals of thunder coming from the throne. In front of the throne there are seven lamps blazing, which are the mysterious seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne is a lake of water so clear, John says it looks like glass or crystal.
Now let's add to the picture. There are four creatures in front of the throne. Each one looks different, but one thing they all have in common is that they are completely covered with eyes. Eyes on the front of their bodies, eyes on their backs, eyes even underneath their wings. Another common trait is that they all have six wings.
One creature looks like a lion, one looks like an ox, one has the face of a man, and another looked something like a flying eagle.
Now here we go again. Do we try to decipher what these creatures are, or what they represent? Do we attempt to ascertain what purpose all of their eyes could have? I believe these are actual creatures. If they represented something, if they were simply icons, symbolic of something else, then the bible would have told us, just as it told us that the seven lamps are the seven spirits of God.
These creatures are real. They are not symbolic. There is no mystery here. Their purpose is to give glory to God. We can speculate until the Lord's return about why they look the way they do, but what would it gain us? Not a thing.
They never stop giving glory, honor, and thanks to God. And when they do this, the 24 elders fall down before God, throw their crowns at His feet, and worship Him.
So now we have our glimpse of heaven. God is sitting upon His throne. Over his throne is an emerald rainbow. In front of his throne is a crystal lake. Around his throne are seven blazing lamps, and four creatures who continuously give Him praise. Surrounding the throne are 24 other thrones, with 24 elders sitting on them, who are also giving praise to God. All the while, there are thunderings and lightnings coming from the throne.
Now begins the preparations for opening the seven seals.
John sees that God is holding in His right hand a scroll that has writing on both sides, and is sealed with seven seals. Now sit back and watch the drama unfold.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"
14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
An angel steps forward and with a loud voice asks who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll. But there was no one deserving enough to even look inside it, let alone open the seals, until Jesus stepped up to the throne. He looked like a lamb that had just been killed, evidently meaning that the lamb's wool was covered in blood.
The four living creatures and the 24 elders worshipped the Lamb, saying that he had been killed, and with his blood, paid the price of men (which is sin) for God. This clearly is Jesus.
He is described as having seven horns and eyes. We are told that these are the seven spirits of God.
After Jesus takes the scroll from God, the four creatures and 24 elders bow down and worship him. Each one is holding a golden bowl full of incense, which we are told are the prayers of the saints.
After this 100 million angels come in and encircle the throne. They worshipped the Lamb, and then every living creature in the world worshipped him, also.
The four living creatures ended the commemoration by saying "Amen", and the 24 elders fell down and worshipped God.
What John has just seen is the coronation, or installation ceremony of the Lamb.
The next section begins the opening of the seals, and the time of tribulation for those on earth.