Advent 2022: Week Three, Wednesday, Revelation 4:1-8

Today we see the throne of God through John’s vision. I advise reading it slowly.

1. After these, I looked and behold, a door had been opened in heaven. At first, I heard a sound like a trumpet speaking, then it said to me, ‘Come up here. I will show you what needs to happen after this.”

2. Immediately I became in the spirit. Behold, a throne sat in heaven and someone sat upon the throne. 

3. The one sitting looked like a jasper and sardis stone. A rainbow, which looked like an emerald, encircled the throne.

4. Twenty-four thrones encircled the throne. Sitting upon the thrones were twenty-four elders. They wore white clothes, and upon their heads sat golden crowns. 

5. Lightening, noise, and thunder came out from the throne. Seven fire torches were burning in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. 

6. Before the throne was a glass sea, like crystal. In the midst of the throne, encircling it, were four creatures covered front and back with eyes. 

7. The first creature was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face of a human, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 

8. Each of the four creatures has six wings that encircle it. Inside they are full of eyes. They have no rest day or night as they say, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! The one who was, is and is coming.’

I spent far too long trying to figure out what a rainbow that looks like an emerald would be. Then I spent too long thinking about creatures covered in eyes. Then I though too long about a glass sea.

This vista of the throne of God — who is not named in the passage but is referred to simply as the ‘the one sitting.’ It is a curious way of talking about the Almighty. He has no activity here, but only sits. Everyone else does everything, especially these poor creatures that never get a break. It is easy to miss that part of it — they have no rest. Ever. Their eternal work is the praise of God.

There are many words to describe the feeling we in reading this text. One is awe. The other is incomprehension. Yet another word is fear. Indeed, this text could be described in fearful ways. It tells about a portal opening in heaven which transports a human in spirit to a place filled with color, color so bright the human has no way of really describing it. Twenty four people, all dressed the same, with golden crowns, watch. There are four monsters covered in eyes with six wings — like giant spiders that fly. It is loud with thunder, noise, and lightening. How frightening!

This scene is not supposed to bring comfort or peace. Why would we think we wouldn’t have fear in the presence of the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth? Yes, he loves us. Yes he guides us. But he is awesome, holy, and powerful. His ways are not ours. His thoughts are not ours.

He is the sitting one.

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