After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” - Revelation 4:1-11
Meditate on this chapter. Here are a few key things to note:
1. Heaven is not for a select few and you do not earn your way in. Heaven is open for all who believe on the name of Jesus Christ, confess that He is Lord and Savior, that He died on a cross for all mankind's sins, rose three days later, defeated death and the grave, and lives in heaven preparing it for those who accept His free gift of salvation. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us (those who are truly saved), to help us and guide us while we live on this earth. The door is open, we live in the age of grace. God is patient with us and long-suffering because He does not want anyone to go to hell, He wants all to be cleansed by His Son's blood and be welcomed into His family.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:8-9
2. God's voice is powerful! Remember, He spoke and the world was created.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. - Genesis 1:3
3. God is King of kings, Lord of lords, Creator of all. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess His Lordship and glory!
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - 2 Philippians 2:5-11.
4. God's appearance is so bright and pure that we cannot view Him completely with our earthly limitations or we will die. As we cannot look directly at the sun, God's brightness is even more brilliant than the sun because God is light!
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. - 1 John 1:5
Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank. - Exodus 24:9-11
The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. - Exodus 24:17
But He (God) said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:20-23
5. A rainbow is a complete circle instead of a semi-circle. If you have ever seen a photo of one that was taken from space, you can see that a rainbow is not arched, but a complete circle. I personally think of it as a promise ring from God to us since that is His covenant with us that He will never completely flood the whole earth again. Whenever God looks and sees the rainbow, He remembers His promise. A rainbow is literally around the throne completely. If God is light and heaven is perfect and majestic, can you imagine how brilliant and beautiful the rainbow around the throne is?
And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. - Genesis 9:12-15
Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. - Ezekiel 1:28
6. White is symbolic of purity, cleanliness, and holiness. Because heaven is a perfect, righteous, holy place, no sin is allowed or can ever enter it. These elders are wearing white to show they have been cleansed. Through Jesus' blood, God replaces our sinful stained rags with righteous, holy robes. Why robes? robes symbolize royalty. When we are saved, God adopts us as His children. We are, therefore, children of God, the King and are princesses and princes. These 24 elders are showing how loving, compassionate, and glorious God is. They praise and worship God continually and place their gold crowns at His feet proclaiming His majesty.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! - 1 John 3:1
7. God is worthy of praise 24/7 with all of our being. When we are in heaven, we will also worship and praise God Almighty. He has always existed, continues to live, and will live forevermore.
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” - Exodus 3:14
8. John is not saying the 4 creatures are a lion, calf, man, and eagle, he said: "like a lion" "like a calf", "has a face like a man", and "like a flying eagle". As you can tell, John is seeing things he does not understand and we would not be able to put into words. Therefore, he is describing to the best of our understanding of what he is seeing.
9. Just as the 24 elders cast their crowns before the throne, we will lay the crowns we receive at God's feet.