4 After this I looked, and behold, [a]a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a [war] trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”2 At once I was in [special communication with] the Spirit; and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne.3 And He who sat there appeared like [the crystalline sparkle of] [b]a jasper stone and [the fiery redness of] a sardius stone, and encircling the throne there was a rainbow that looked like [the color of an] emerald.4 Twenty-four [other] thrones surrounded the throne; and seated on these thrones were [c]twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing, with crowns of gold on their heads.
The Throne and Worship of the Creator
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning and [rumbling] sounds and peals of thunder. Seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, which are [d]the seven Spirits of God;6 and in front of the throne there was something like a sea or large expanse of glass, like [the clearest] crystal. In the center and around the throne were four living [e]creatures who were full of eyes in front and behind [seeing everything and knowing everything that is around them].7 [f]The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like a calf (ox), the third creature had the face of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings]; and day and night they never stop saying,
“Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], who was and who is and who is to come [the unchanging, eternal God].”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”
Revelation 4:1This chapter begins the revelation to John of future events.
Revelation 4:3In antiquity this name was given to various kinds and colors of precious stones, while the sardius was a reddish stone. The gems are indicative of royalty.
Revelation 4:4The twenty-four elders may indicate the twelve tribes of Israel together with the twelve apostles, representing redeemed humanity. Others say the twenty-four may be an angelic order of worship akin to the Aaronic priests.
Revelation 4:6Some scholars identify these creatures as cherubim glorifying God and guarding the throne of heaven; others suggest the creatures represent God’s attributes (especially His omniscience and omnipresence).
Revelation 4:7Jewish tradition suggests that during the exodus the four standards of the tribal triads depicted these images: the triad led by Judah, the lion; the triad led by Reuben, the man; the triad led by Ephraim, the ox; the triad led by Dan, the eagle.
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