In this post I put the scene all together and search the scriptures of other accounts that describe God’s heavenly throne room.
Here are the first five verses, again.
After these things I saw, and behold a portal was being opened in the sky, and the first sound that I heard [is] as a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show to you what must occur after these things.”
At once, I arose in air [or “came to be in Spirit”]: and behold, a throne was standing in the sky, and upon the throne one sitting,
And the one sitting resembling in appearance a jasper gemstone a sardius stone [like carnelian], and a rainbow from all around the throne resembling in appearance an emerald.
Then, all around the throne, twenty-four stately seats, and upon the chairs of state twenty-four elders sitting, having been clothed in white robes, and upon their heads golden crowns.
And from the throne is coming bright shining lightnings and sounds and thunders—and seven torches, flames burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.Revelation 4:1-5
And before the throne something like a transparent sea resembling crystal.
And in the midst of the throne and round about the throne four living-creatures being full of eyes in the front and on the back.
And the first living-creature like a lion,
and the second living-creature like a young bullock,
and the third living-creature having the face like that of a human,
and the fourth living-creature like a flying eagle―
Furthermore, the four living-creatures each one of them having six wings, and each round about and within being full of eyes―and they have no rest day and night saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God, the Almighty-Omnipotent, the One [Who] was, and the One [Who] is, and the One coming.”
And now, whenever the beasts will give glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One sitting upon the throne, the One living into the ages of the ages,
The twenty-four elders will fall before the One sitting upon the throne, and they will worship the One living into the ages of the ages, and they will throw their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are You, O Lord, and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You created all things, and through Your will they were existing and they were created.”Revelation 4:6-11
The Four Living Creatures
Three other prophets (and most likely four) had been given glimpses of the throne room of God—(Noah), Moses, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and all of them gave eye-witness testimony of their visions. Of these ancient reports, only two described the four living-creatures—seraphim—which attended God.
From the Prophet Isaiah,
Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;Isaiah 6:2-3 (NRSV)
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
From the Prophet Ezekiel,
In the middle of it was something like four living creatures.
This was their appearance: they were of human form.
Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.
Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot, and they sparkled like burnished bronze.
Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.
And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as they moved.
As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; such were their faces.
Their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. Each moved straight ahead; wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. In the middle of the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and lightning issued from the fire. The living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning.
As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them.
As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl, and the four had the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved.
Their rims were tall and awesome, for the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.
When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them, and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for a living spirit was in the wheels. When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for a living spirit was in the wheels.Ezekiel 1:4-21 (NRSV)
The Transparent Sea
And of these two prophets, only Ezekiel described the transparent sea resembling crystal, and the great roar of sound John heard as he gazed upon the throne of God and saw the seven Spirits of God.
Over the heads of the living creatures there was something like a dome, shining like crystal, spread out above their heads.
Under the dome their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another, and each of the creatures had two wings covering its body.
When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army …Ezekiel 1:22-24 (NRSV)
The Throne Room of God
Reading through each of these accounts—and understanding how each prophet was given his own vision and described what he saw in his own way—we begin to see a whole picture.
- Throne of God—Stands in the center of heaven, the focus of the whole heavenly realm.
- Rainbow—Seems to emanate from the Throne of God as an aurora of light that becomes a rainbow all around it.
- Tumult—Sounds forth from the midst of the throne’s place, like a massive waterfall, thunder, many voices, an army.
- Crystal Expanse—Surrounds the throne, a transparent yet seemingly also palpably real expanse, like a sea or a dome, beneath God’s throne.
- Twenty-Four Elders—Sit upon stately chairs of authority placed all around the Throne of God; they are clothed in white raiment, crowned with coronets of gold.
- Four Living Creatures—Seraphim who are in attendance to God, and who have a distinctive appearance.
- Praise—Sings out from all those before God, a refrain that begins “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and proclaims God’s glory, honor, power, and worthiness as Creator and Sovereign of the cosmos.
Holy, Holy, Holy
We find out from Isaiah that these four living creature are called seraphim, and they indeed are the ones who continually offer up praise to God, singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” For Christians today, their three-time declaration gives honor to the triune God, Who is Father, Son, and Spirit.
Each living being presented a different face to John, that of lion, young bullock, human, and flying eagle. Ezekiel reveals each seraph has all four faces.
John saw eyes covering the seraphim front and back, and Ezekiel also saw eyes without and within, though to his view it seemed as though these eyes were on a wheel attached to each living creature.
Both Isaiah and John noted the seraphim’s six wings. Ezekiel perceived only four, but both Ezekiel and Isaiah saw the seraphim’s wings covered over the seraphim’s bodies, while other of their wings were raised up to God.
The seraphim’s worship begins the chorus of praise that sweeps across the elders.