2 3 At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat
4 Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders 4 sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. 5 Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
6 In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal. 6 In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back.
7 The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle 7 in flight.
8 The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, 8 were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: ＂Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.＂
1 [1-11] The seer now describes a vision of the heavenly court in worship of God enthroned. He reverently avoids naming or describing God but pictures twenty-four elders in priestly and regal attire (Rev 4:4) and God's throne and its surroundings made of precious gems and other symbols that traditionally express the majesty of God (Rev 4:5-6). Universal creation is represented by the four living creatures (Rev 4:6-7). Along with the twenty-four elders, they praise God unceasingly in humble adoration (Rev 4:8-11).
2  The ancients viewed heaven as a solid vault, entered by way of actual doors.
5  Flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder: as in other descriptions of God's appearance or activity; cf Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18; Exodus 19:16; Ezekiel 1:4, 13. The seven spirits of God: the seven ＂angels of the presence＂ as in Rev 8:2 and Tobit 12:15.
6  A sea of glass like crystal: an image adapted from Ezekiel 1:22-26. Four living creatures: these are symbols taken from Ezekiel 1:5-21; they are identified as cherubim in Ezekiel 10:20. Covered with eyes: these suggest God's knowledge and concern.
7  Lion . . . calf . . . human being . . . eagle: these symbolize, respectively, what is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in creation. Calf: traditionally translated ＂ox,＂ the Greek word refers to a heifer or young bull. Since the second century, these four creatures have been used as symbols of the evangelists Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John, respectively.