SEVEN-FOLD SPIRIT – Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:5b – 6a)
Seven Lamps Blazing – These likely represent the sevenfold character of the Holy Spirit (Spirit of: the Lord; wisdom; understanding; counsel; might; knowledge; and, fear of the Lord see Isaiah 11:2–3; Revelation 1:4; 5:6) rather than seven individual spirits or angels. Some commentators believe the seven lamps is also an indication that the Church (represented by lampstands in chapters 1-3 of Revelation) has been Raptured and is now in Heaven (before the Tribulation judgments take place). Here, however, the lamps are specifically identified as “the seven spirits of God,” whereas in Revelation 1:20 the lampstands are specifically identified as “the seven churches.”
With God the Father seated on the throne and God the Holy Spirit represented by the seven lamps, the stage has thus been set for the revelation of God the Son, Jesus Christ as the Lamb that was slain.(1)
Glass-Like Sea – The “sea” that separates God’s throne from John and from all things before it may symbolize the purity, calmness, and majesty of God’s rule. There is depth and transparency in this sea, not the fluidity and instability of the natural sea (compare Revelation 21:1). It stands solid, calm, and clear before the throne despite the “flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder” that emanate from the throne. God’s wrath may be severe, but it is controlled. The sea may also be a Heavenly pattern that was used for the molten sea before the sanctuary in Solomon’s temple.(2)
Before the Throne – John’s visions also seem to suggest throughout Revelation that the Heavenly sanctuary follows the pattern of the earthly tabernacle and temple (see Hebrews 9:23), or rather that the earthly tabernacle and temple were patterned after the Heavenly sanctuary. Some of the parallels are seen in Figure 12.3.(3)
Up Next – Four Beasts.
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- Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 943). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 564). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 583). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.