March 22 2022
Today, Tuesday March 22
“Before the Throne…” Revelation 4:5-6 “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.”
As John looked at the scene in heaven he saw two things “before the throne”. First were seven lamps of fire. Unlike the lampstands mentioned in Revelation 1:12-13, these were outdoor torches, giving off not the soft, gentle light of an indoor lamp, but the fierce, blazing light of a fiery torch. John identifies them as “the seven Spirits of God”.
This phrase describes the Holy Spirit in all His fullness. Isaiah saw the Holy Spirit upon the Messiah in Isaiah 11:2: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” The Prophet Zechariah was told this about the Holy Spirit in Zechariah 4:6: “So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.”
The sevenfold representation of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah speaks of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, reverence, and deity; in Zechariah of power; in Revelation 1:4 of grace and peace. “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne”.
But here the Seven Spirits before the throne speak of fiery judgment. Remember Gideon in Judges 7:16-20 when he attacks the enemy with torches? Torches are also identified with war in Nahum 2:3-4. John's vision depicts God as ready to make war on sinful, rebellious mankind and the Holy Spirit as His war torch. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter of those who love Christ but He will be the Consumer of those who reject Him.
Also in front of God's throne “was something like a sea of glass like crystal.” This sea is metaphorical, since there is no sea in heaven (Rev. 21:1). What John saw at the base of the throne was a vast pavement of glass, shining brilliantly like sparkling crystal. Exodus 24:10 records a similar scene when Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel "saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself".
Heaven is not a shadowy world of mists and indistinct apparitions. It is a world of dazzlingly brilliant light, refracting and shining as through jewels and crystal in a manner beyond our ability to describe or imagine (Rev. 21:10-11, 18).
A pure crystal sea symbolizes God's holiness and righteousness of God. The mingled fire speaks of His holy judgment. The crystal "firmament" in Ezekiel's vision also comes to mind (Ezek. 1:22); it was the foundation for God's throne. We shall meet this "sea of glass" again in Revelation 15 where it is connected with Israel's victory over Egypt.
This sea is before the throne of God and is another indication that the emphasis is not on mercy but on judgment. When we think about this sea represents the holiness of God we should remember it is “the pure in heart that will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Also in Hebrews 12:14 we are exhorted to: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:”
Heaven is only a prepared place for those who are prepared to go there!