Rev. 4:2-3, 5-6.
“And immediately I was in the SPIRIT: and, behold, a THRONE was set in Heaven, and ONE sat on the THRONE. And HE that sat was to look upon like a Jasper and a Sardius stone: and there was a Rainbow round about the THRONE, in sight like unto an Emerald. . . . And out of the THRONE proceeded Lightnings and Thunderings and Voices; and there were Seven Lamps of Fire burning before the THRONE, which are the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD. And before the THRONE there was a Sea of Glass like unto crystal.”
The first thing John saw in Heaven was a THRONE. The Throne was not vacant, but One sat upon it, upon whom to look was like looking at glistening gems, such as Jasper and Sardius. The occupant of the Throne was no other than God Himself. In Rev. 21:10-11, John in describing the New Jerusalem says, that its light is the “GLORY OF GOD.” A light like unto a stone most precious, even like a JASPER stone, clear as crystal. This corresponds with John’s declaration in 1. John 1:5, that “GOD IS LIGHT.”
Ezekiel in describing his vision of the “Throne of God” says–“Above the Firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a Throne, as the appearance of a Sapphire Stone: and upon the likeness of the Throne was the likeness as the appearance of a MAN above upon it. And I saw as the color of Amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of His loins even upward, and from the appearance of His loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the Bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the GLORY OF THE LORD.” Ez. 1:26-28.
Now there are two things in Ezekiel’s Vision that correspond with John’s Vision of the “THRONE OF GOD.” First that the form of the one who sat on the Throne could not be clearly distinguished or described, but that it was RESPLENDENT WITH LIGHT, which veiled the form or person; and secondly, that there was a RAINBOW ROUND ABOUT THE THRONE. The person of God then, as He sits upon His Throne, is veiled in a Glory that can only be compared to the shining of some beautiful gem. But one of the remarkable things about the Throne of. God is, that it is surrounded
by a “RAINBOW” that is emerald in color. The first mention we have in the Bible of a Rainbow is in Gen. 9:13-17. “I do set My BOW in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a COVENANT between Me and the Earth.” A Covenant that God would not destroy this earth again by a Flood. But that Rainbow was only SEMI-CIRCULAR, such as we see in the heavens in summer after a shower; but the Rainbow Ezekiel and John saw around the Throne of God was CIRCULAR. In this world we only see half a Rainbow, or the half of things, in Heaven we shall see the whole of things. The Rainbow is the sign of a Covenant based on an accepted Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of Noah (Gen. 8:20-22), and the Rainbow about the Throne of God is the sign of a Covenant based on the accepted Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The difference between Noah’s Rainbow and the one around the Throne of God is, that Noah’s is composed of the seven primary colors, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet, while the one around the Throne of God is EMERALD. What does this “CIRCULAR GREEN RAINBOW” about the Throne of God signify? It signifies that God is a Covenant keeping God, that His promises as to this earth shall be fulfilled. Even though He is about to bring great judgments upon it, He will not destroy it, but it shall pass through those judgments safely. He will redeem it, and bless it, until its hills, and valleys, and plains, shall teem with the green verdure, fruitful orchards, and bountiful vineyards of the long Millennial Day that is to follow those judgments. If the Rainbow did not encircle the Throne as a “Halo,” it might by its reflection in the “Sea of Glass” appear to John to be round.
The “Throne” was not the “Throne of Grace” for out of it proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices, that remind us of Mt. Sinai, and proclaim it to be the
“THRONE OF JUDGMENT.”
Before the Throne was a “SEA OF GLASS.” This “Sea of Glass” was unoccupied, but later is seen mixed with fire (Rev. 15:2-3), and occupied by martyrs of the Tribulation Period who get the victory over the Beast, and who have harps, and sing the Song of MOSES AND THE LAMB. This “Glassy Sea” reminds us of the “Brazen Sea” that stood before Solomon’s Temple (1. Kings 7:23-45), and thus was in front of the Ark of the Covenant, the “Mercy Seat” of which was the earthly Throne of God in Old Testament days.
Right here it might be well for us to remember that the earthly Tabernacle erected by Moses, with all its vessels and instruments of service and mode of worship, was patterned after the “Heavenly Tabernacle.” Heb. 9:23.
A knowledge then of the Tabernacle and its various parts and vessels of service, will help us to understand John’s Vision of the “Heavenly Tabernacle.” Like John, Paul was “caught up” into Heaven, and saw the “Heavenly Tabernacle,” and he most beautifully and clearly makes a comparison between it and the “Mosaic Tabernacle” in his Letter to the Hebrews.
The “Throne” that John saw in Heaven corresponds with the “Mercy Seat” of the Ark of the Covenant. The “Four Beasts (Living
[paragraph continues] Ones)” with the “Cherubim” that guarded the “Mercy Seat.” The “Four and Twenty Elders” with the “Priestly Courses” that officiated in the Tabernacle. The “Seven Lamps (Spirits)” before the “Throne,” with the “Seven Branched Candlestick” of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. The “Sea of Glass” with the “Brazen Laver” for cleansing, that stood in front of the Tabernacle. The “Altar” under which John saw the “soul of Martyrs” with the “Altar of Burnt Offering.” If the “Throne” section of the “Heavenly Tabernacle” corresponds with the “Most Holy Place” of the “Mosaic Tabernacle,” and the “Four and Twenty Elder” section with the “Altar of Incense” and “Seven Lamps of Fire” corresponds with the “Holy Place,” then the “Sea of Glass” and the “Altar” should correspond with the “Court” of the Tabernacle. This will help us to relatively locate what John saw in the Heavenly Tabernacle.
It is also profitable and instructive to compare the “Heavenly” and “Earthly” Tabernacles with the “Tabernacle of Man.” See the Chart of “The Three Tabernacles.” Here we see that the “Spirit”