1 1 After this I had a vision of an open door 2 to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.”
2 3 At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat
3 one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.
4 Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders 4 sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. 5 Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
6 In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal. 6 In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back.
7 The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle 7 in flight.
8 The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, 8 were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:
11 “Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”
1 [1-11] The seer now describes a vision of the heavenly court in worship of God enthroned. He reverently avoids naming or describing God but pictures twenty-four elders in priestly and regal attire (⇒ Rev 4:4) and God’s throne and its surroundings made of precious gems and other symbols that traditionally express the majesty of God (⇒ Rev 4:5-6). Universal creation is represented by the four living creatures (⇒ Rev 4:6-7). Along with the twenty-four elders, they praise God unceasingly in humble adoration (⇒ Rev 4:8-11).
2  The ancients viewed heaven as a solid vault, entered by way of actual doors.
3 [2-8] Much of the imagery here is taken from ⇒ Ezekiel 1:10.
4  Twenty-four elders: these represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles; cf ⇒ Rev 21:12-14.
5  Flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder: as in other descriptions of God’s appearance or activity; cf ⇒ Rev 8:5; ⇒ 11:19; ⇒ 16:18; ⇒ Exodus 19:16; ⇒ Ezekiel 1:4, ⇒ 13. The seven spirits of God: the seven “angels of the presence” as in ⇒ Rev 8:2 and ⇒ Tobit 12:15.
6  A sea of glass like crystal: an image adapted from ⇒ Ezekiel 1:22-26. Four living creatures: these are symbols taken from ⇒ Ezekiel 1:5-21; they are identified as cherubim in ⇒ Ezekiel 10:20. Covered with eyes: these suggest God’s knowledge and concern.
7  Lion . . . calf . . . human being . . . eagle: these symbolize, respectively, what is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in creation. Calf: traditionally translated “ox,” the Greek word refers to a heifer or young bull. Since the second century, these four creatures have been used as symbols of the evangelists Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John, respectively.
8  Six wings: like the seraphim of ⇒ Isaiah 6:2.