Revelation 4:1-6
(Rev 4:1 KJV)
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.

John was already given information on the things which were and the things which are and now he is going to be given the information on what is going to happen in the last days. The “last days” is the period from the cross to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In chapters two and three letters were sent to the existing churches on Earth but now the scene shifts to Heaven. This verse has been so misunderstood by the pre-tribulation crowd. They have taught for so long that it represents the rapture and they attempt to tie it in with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Revelation 4:1 has nothing whatsoever to do with the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture. This verse is teaching us that the scene now shifts from earth to Heaven. Just as Ezekiel had heavenly visions, John is now having them.
(Ezek 1:1 KJV) Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

John now states that after the letters to the seven churches he looked and then he saw a door opened in heaven and the first voice was that of one which was a trumpet.
(Rev 1:10 KJV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, John is repeating what he had previously saw. Remember the trumpet sounded a true sound and it was a call to battle. In the rest of the book of Revelation, we are going to see how the church is at constant war with the powers of evil. John is told to come up hither, that is, he is commanded to enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who is now going to show him the final chapter of the war between God and the powers of evil. This war continues until the last day when the Lord will destroy Satan and all his host of demons. Notice John is told that these things “must take place.” That means, there is going to be persecution, both physical and spiritual, of the believer. Since these things must take place, the believer better stop looking for an easy escape such as the pre-tribulation rapture. It simply does not exist in Scripture. The true Christians are going to be on earth until the last day and we will suffer persecution until the last day. These are things which “must be hereafter.”

(Rev 4:2 KJV)
And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

As soon as the Lord Jesus had commanded John to come up to heaven, his transfer was immediate. He also stated that he was in the Spirit, that is, he was fully enveloped by the Holy Spirit who was about to play a part in the revealing of future things. As soon as John was in heaven, he saw a throne and he also saw God sitting upon that throne. The fact that John saw the throne first tells us that he was introduced to the fact that all things in heaven and earth emanate from the throne of God which represents His universal sovereignty. Isaiah saw the same glory of God in his vision.
(Isa 6:1 KJV) In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

(Rev 4:3 KJV)
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.

John now sees the throne of God and God sitting upon His throne in all His glory. John likens it to a jasper stone which is linked with the Glory of God.
(Rev 21:11 KJV) Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; The jasper stone was clear as crystal which represents the absolute purity of and holiness of God. Normally a jasper stone is opaque but here it is described as being totally clear as crystal. Here on earth, the believer sees things darkly and in part but when the end of all things come, we will see things clearly. (1 Cor 13:12 KJV) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

The jasper stone was in Aaron’s breastplate of Judgment, in the fourth row. Then we see John likens God to a sardine stone. The sardine stone was also in Aaron’s breastplate of judgment.
(Exo 28:17 KJV) And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. The sardius or sardine stone was in the first row. The sardine stone was blood red. Red is normally associated with judgment. (Joel 2:31 KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Then we are told that a rainbow completely surrounds the throne. When God set His bow in the clouds after the world wide deluge, it was promise that He would never again destroy the earth by water. Here the rainbow in heaven surrounds the throne which tells us of the complete mercy of God. When we see a rainbow on earth, we normally only see half of the circular bow but in heaven we see the full rainbow and we can know that the full mercy of God is available for the Elect of God. On earth we only see a partial story of the mercy of God but in heaven, we shall know of the full mercy of God. (1 Cor 13:10 KJV) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. We are also told that the rainbow had the appearance of an emerald.

The emerald was also in the second row on the Breastplate of Judgment on Aaron.
(Ezek 1:28 KJV) As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. Ezekiel also saw the rainbow and it probably carries with it the meaning of God’s purity which we saw in the jasper stone, along with the red sardine stone which tells us of the judgment of God, and the rainbow is teaching us that although God will judge the earth, He mingles judgment with mercy. Keep in mind that salvation still continues until the last one is saved and then Satan shall be loosed to make his final war against the camp of the saints. In the meantime, the judgments of God will fall on many on the earth as they fight against the church.

(Rev 4:4 KJV)
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.

Around the throne are seated twenty four elders who are clothed in white raiment. We have previously seen that those true believers who have overcome will be clothed in white raiment. The actual identification of these twenty four elders are unknown but it does look like they are representative of all the believers who have become saved during both the Old and New Testament period.

(Rev 21:12 KJV) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

(Rev 21:14 KJV) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

As we see in the above two verses, the number twelve plays a prominent part in the New Heaven and New Earth. Twelve is the number of fullness and if you notice there are twelve apostles and twelve tribes mentioned. There were more tribes and more apostles than these but God uses the number twelve to indicate fullness. So when we have twenty four elders in heaven, they represent the fullness of all the believers who were saved from the time of Adam to the last one on the day which God has chosen. These could not be angels because angels are not given crowns of Gold.
(Rev 1:6 KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. The Bible states that it is believers who are made kings and kings wear crowns. So basically what we have here in the elders is a representation of all the believers.

(Rev 4:5 KJV)
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.

(Exo 19:16 KJV) And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

(Exo 20:18 KJV) And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

From the throne of God the lightnings, thunderings, and voices all symbolize the authority of God and the expressions which God used. We saw the same majestic expressions at Mt. Sinai when Israel had gathered at the base. These same expressions are found in Revelation 8:5, 11:19, and 16:18 and they are there to tell us that it is God who is the one bringing the judgments, as each occurrence appears after each series of seven judgments.

Then there are the seven lamps of fire which burned before the throne. Zechariah saw this in his vision. Then the angel explains to Zechariah about the seven lamps. They represent the Spirit of God.

(Zec 4:2-6 KJV) And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: {3} And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. {4} So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? {5} Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. {6} Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

The seven Spirits of God represent the divine completeness of the Holy Spirit and we find the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:2.

(Isa 11:2-3 KJV) And 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; {3} And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

(Rev 4:6 KJV)
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.

John then sees before the throne a sea of glass which is like crystal. In Isaiah we read about a sea which represents the people of the world which makes great noise. In these verses of Isaiah we read that God is going to rebuke the voices of the world because those voices are in opposition to Him. Isaiah 17;12-13 carry with it the idea of final judgment.

(Isa 17:12-13 KJV) Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! {13} The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.

Then we come to the sea of glass in Revelation 4:6 and we read that it is pure sea. Glass is transparent and would be able to see through this sea because of its purity. This sea is a direct opposite of the sea of the world with all its sinful pollution. We also see that the sea is before the throne. The word “before” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “in the sight or presence of.” So here we have a pure sea in the presence of the throne of God. This sea may also represent the purity and the sinlessness which exists in heaven in contrast to the sinfulness of the earth which is represented by the sin filled seas which the people of the earth inhabit. Remember the twenty four elders are before the throne which represent all the believers and this sea of glass may represent all the believers who have been washed in the blood and are pure before the throne of God.
(Rev 14:4-5 KJV) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. {5} And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Ezekiel, in his vision, also saw this sea of glass which had formed the floor of the throne of God. He saw the bow which surrounded the throne and the precious stones which we saw in this chapter of Revelation.

(Ezek 1:22 KJV) And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.

(Ezek 1:26-28 KJV) And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. {27} And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. {28} As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

Then in the second half of this verse we are told that there are four beasts which are in front and behind the throne, and even in the midst of the throne. The word “beasts” could best be understood as “living creatures.” Whoever these living creatures are, and they could be a high order of angelic beings, are definitely creatures who have intelligence and astuteness since they are able to see simultaneously front and back because they had many eyes. The description of them follows in the next few verses.