Revelation 4

The Word Made Fresh

1Then I looked, and saw a door standing open in heaven. The first voice which spoke to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what is going to happen after these things.” 2Suddenly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven with someone seated on it 3who looks like he is made of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow that resembles an emerald is around the throne, 4and there are twenty-four other thrones around it with twenty-four elders seated on them in white robes, wearing golden crowns. 5Flashes of lightning were coming from the throne, with rumbling and peals of thunder. In front of the throne seven flaming torches are burning which represent the seven spirits of God. 6In front of the throne there is something that appears to be a sea of glass or crystal.

Around and on each side of the throne there are four living creatures with many eyes in front and behind. 7The first is like a lion; the second like an ox; the third has a human face; the fourth is like a flying eagle. 8They each have six wings, and are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night they sing without stopping:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come.”

9Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall before the throne and worship the one who lives forever. They cast their crowns before the throne and sing,

“Our Lord and our God, you are worthy
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created everything;
by your will they came into existence and were created.”


1-6a: Now John finds himself facing a door into heaven and is given an invitation to enter. He does so, and is at once in God’s royal court inhabiting a throne surrounded by 24 elders on smaller thrones. God is indescribable — appearing like jasper and carnelian and surrounded by a rainbow, emanating flashes of lightning and peals of thunder. In front of God’s throne are seven flaming torches — the seven spirits of God (see 1:4, 3:1 and 8:2) – and in front of them all an expanse that looks like a sea of glass or crystal. What a vision! The twenty-four surrounding thrones are occupied by elders in white robes wearing gold crowns, of whom we will read more later in the vision.

6b-11: Now John sees four fantastic “living creatures” full of eyes; one with a lion’s face, one with the face of an ox, one with human face and the fourth with the face of an eagle. You will find a similar description in Ezekiel 1:5-9. Their function is to sing the doxology of the eternal God, “who was and is and is to come.” Whenever they do so, the 24 elders fall before the throne, cast their crowns at God’s feet and extol God for creating all things.


John’s vision of heaven is spectacular, isn’t it? Whatever heaven is like, it will be breathtakingly beautiful. I want to go there. Don’t you? Then tend your relationship with God!