When I read this chapter, I am just in awe of this description of heaven. Jesus invites John, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Rev 4:1 I’m not sure how a description can do justice to something that is beyond our realm of understanding.
As John looks into the throne room of heaven, he sees someone sitting on a throne. This person is described by gemstones and brightness. The throne he sits on is the seat of judgment. We know that God sits on that seat. His throne is surrounded by 24 more thrones with 24 elders seated in them. We don’t really know who these are. Could they include the 12 apostle? Maybe.
There are signs of storm, which seem to represent judgment. John sees 7 lamps burning and we are told these are the seven spirits of God. Could these be the Holy Spirits of God? And 4 living creatures that are quite odd by our standards. They look like a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. They each had 6 wings with eyes covering them. The creatures and the elders worship the one who sits on the throne day and night, never stopping.
This vision is probably very vivid to John. Maybe similar to a surround sound movie theater, with the thunder and lightning causing the whole place to shake and rumble. It would be like a sneak peak of the future that is to come. The coming attraction that we see while waiting for a movie to start.
Some theologians believe that John being “caught up” to heaven is a description of the rapture. Others say that the rapture is never mentioned in the Bible. The Latin word raptus, means caught up. That’s where we get the word, rapture. For those who believe in the rapture occurring before tribulation, this is where they believe John’s telling us about it.
We’ll take a look at the scroll with the 7 seals tomorrow!