2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 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. 6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Verse 2 - In chapter one, verse ten, John was in the Spirit, uppercase S, which is the Holy Spirit of God. Here, in verse 2 he is in his own spirit and carried up. Paul saw the third heaven, as well, but was not sure if he was in his body or, presumably, in his spirit like John here.
2Corinthians 12:1 ¶ It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
In any event, this is John seeing this for himself and it is not a dream. He saw a throne in heaven that had someone seated on it.
Verse 3 – The image is one of a jewel-like beauty.
Exodus 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
Ezekiel 1:26 ¶ And 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.
Verse 4 – Who are the twenty four elders? Are they the twelve Hebrew patriarchs and the twelve Apostles, including Paul? Or, are they, being elders, twenty four elders of the early church, representing those seven churches mentioned previously? If so, would Antipas be among them? We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t say and you can’t make an argument from silence. Here is evidence for at least twelve of them being Jewish.
Matthew19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Does this represent all Old Testament Jewish believers? And does the following mean that twelve of these elders represent all Christian believers?
2Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Crowns imply kingship and authority, the ability to judge.
1Corinthians 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
Also, they are clothed in white raiment.
Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Verse 5 – Now, get the frightening picture here of lightning and thunder and voices coming from the throne. Note the repeat of this later in Revelation;
Revelation 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
…and in another passage…
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
…and see how God’s presence manifested itself to the Hebrews, escaped from Egypt…
Exodus 19:16 ¶ And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Exodus 20:18 ¶ And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
The seven lamps in front of the throne are the seven Spirits of God.
Ezekiel 1:13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
Daniel 10:6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
Revelation 3:1 ¶ And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Revelation 5:6 ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Notice that the spirits, lowercase s, in Isaiah 11:2, even if you could stretch it out to say there were seven, are attitudes, wisdom, and knowledge, not entity or entities.
Isaiah 11:1 ¶ And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And 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; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
God can send you a spirit, lowercase s….
Exodus 28:3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
…or the Spirit, uppercase S.
Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Verses 6 – 8: In front of the throne was a sea of glass like a crystal. Can you picture it? Here are some other references to the terrible beauty of God’s throne.
Ezekiel 1:22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
Exodus 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
These four beasts with eyes in front and in back, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come, are like the four beasts referred to in Ezekiel’s two visions.
Ezekiel 1:4 ¶ And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 ¶ Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. 18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. 23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. 24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. 25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 ¶ And 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. 27 And I saw as the colour 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. 28 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. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
Ezekiel 10: 1 ¶ Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. 2 And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight. 3 Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. 4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. 5 And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. 6 And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. 7 And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.
8 ¶ And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man’s hand under their wings. 9 And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. 10 And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel. 11 When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. 12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. 13 As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel. 14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15 And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
Lion, calf or ox or cherub, eagle, and man’s are the faces of these creatures. There are two curious things here. The first is that Satan was a cherub. The reference in the following verses begins talking about the King of Tyre likening him to Satan, which gives us more important information about Satan than it does Tyre’s king. This is a way the Bible uses one description to describe two individuals. You describe how one is like the other and you have a prophecy of both.
Ezekiel 28:11 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
As you can see, Satan is a cherub, a living creature, in the form of a beast. He is, in Job, chapter 41, in another multi-layered description, a dinosaur, or dragon in pre-1800’s terminology, and a king over all the children of pride.
Satan is called a dragon as you can see by cross-referencing;
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan is a dragon, what we today call a dinosaur, in appearance, but can appear as an angel of light to deceive us.
2Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The second curious thing is that one of these creatures has the face of a man. So, God could have made a beast with a man’s face but instead He made man to be very different although made of similar materials. We live longer than most creatures. We take longer to mature. Most creatures have lived their life cycle long before we are adults. We are helpless physically and need to manipulate our environment to protect ourselves and make weapons to fight against other predators. Our brains consume 60% of our available energy, I’ve read, although I have not confirmed this and that’s why I’m not citing the source. Just putting it out there for conversation purposes. Anyway, one of the prototypes for beasts has the face of a man. It is not the face of an ape as God could have said that easily (1Kings 10:22; 2Chronicles 9:21). We were originally made in God’s image, in His likeness, as Genesis 1:26.
Adam, being the first man, was a son of God. He was created to look like God.
Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
After Adam’s sin mankind began to degenerate and Adam’s descendants were made in his image, lacking the perfection that God intended.
Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
From this scientific fact we can make a prediction. All humanity has and will experience genetic decay as long as we exist in this physical existence. I refer you to Alexey Kondrashov’s 1995 article in the Journal of Theoretical Biology entitled, “Contamination of the Genome by very Slightly Deleterious Mutations: Why Have We Not Died 100 Times Over?”(4) Another example is James F. Crow’s “The High Spontaneous Mutation Rate: Is it a Health Risk?” for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (5) There has been nothing since these papers to indicate the opposite idea, that mankind is genetically improving.
(4) Alexey Kondrashov, “Contamination of the Genome by very Slightly Deleterious Mutations: Why Have We Not Died 100 Times Over?” Journal of Theoretical Biology 175 (1995): 583-594.
(5) James F. Crow, “The High Spontaneous Mutation Rate: Is it a Health Risk?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Vol. 94 (August 1997): 8380–8386.
Image and likeness have to do with how you look, not your mental character or spiritual state. Adam walked upright like God.
Verse 7 shows God’s taxonomic classification; flying creatures, domesticated, wild, and man. Man’s connection to the other animals is through these living creatures. All creatures were made after their kind as it says in Genesis.
Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good…25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Genesis 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
Obviously, this is a very general classification and has nothing to do with the dozens of species that Darwin and modern scientists use to classify different living creatures. Much is made by the creationist minded and the fundamentalist about the phrase after their kind in Genesis 1:21,25; 6:20; & 7:14. The word kind, contrary to what is said often, does not refer to an individual species, whichever of the many definitions of species you use (6), whether it be a local, isolated group of finches or something like the, “breed,” of Animal Husbandry’s dog breeding. (Although there are significant differences between breed and species they are also not from the same disciplines so the issue is basically one about definition of terms that refer to similar but not identical things.)
One of the things Charles Darwin was against was the popularly preached by clerics and many pre-Darwin biologists view that every species of animal that existed in his day was said to have come down from an original ancestor just like them in a doctrine called, “the immutability of species.” If there are a hundred species of a type of bird today then those species would have existed back to Noah’s Ark, goes the idea. This is, of course, absurd as mankind created many breeds of dogs in the last two hundred years alone. If you regarded a breed and a species as having similar meanings but under different types of scientific disciplines, Zoology versus Animal Husbandry, then you can imagine speciation, the process where different breeds or species of dogs, cats, horses, or birds came about taking place rather quickly in history.
But the word kind doesn’t mean species at all. It is more like a general type of creature. Many species of cats came from the first cat creatures on Noah’s Ark. The problem with evolution is that the cat never became a dog, the pea never became a chrysanthemum, and an ape-like creature never became a man. There is no evidence of such a thing occurring without twisting the evidence into knots and the whole popularly understood concept of evolution in that regard, called macroevolution, is a fairy tale for atheists and in complete opposition to the Bible and reality.
Modern taxonomic classifications of living things are purely man-made and are totally subjective to what man chooses to include as a characteristic of the creature being named. God classifies animals differently based on characteristics that would be understood by men without microscopes. For instance, fowls fly, so the bat is a fowl in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18 and the Hebrew could not eat fowl with certain characteristics. The words reptile and mammal were classifications created by man for his own convenience and study. The Bible speaks of beasts of the field domestic animals, and beasts of the forest wild animals. It speaks about animals in the way of their usefulness generally to agricultural man or military man, not their peculiarities to the curious, modern man. Trying to force man’s definitions of everything from beasts to sin on the Bible’s definitions is futile and arrogant. When you argue allowing your opponent to control the definitions of words you are surrendering all leverage to them. Finally, a whale is a large creature that swims in the sea and therefore can be called a great fish, because fish are creatures that swim in the sea. Compare Jonah 1:17 and Matthew 12:40. The order, Cetacea, for whales, is not a concern of the Bible. A whale simply signifies a Leviathan, a large creature which, like all creatures, came first from the sea and then from the earth. (Genesis 1:20-24) Human taxonomic classifications are different language for a different purpose.
Don’t read your own definitions, preferences, or opinions any more than your own personal fears, hatreds, or bigotry back into the Bible.
(6) John S. Wilkins, “A List of 26 Species “Concepts”, Science Blogs: Evolving Thoughts, http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2006/10/01/a-list-of-26-species-concepts/ (accessed 1.14.2015).