Revelation 4 Step-by-Step

Revelation 4

Table of Contents



Revelation 4 is known as “the throne room of Heaven.” The word “throne” is used twelve times in Revelation 4. The One who sat on the throne is the Father, and the Son is at His right hand. 

The scene has changed. In Revelation 1, John saw Jesus Christ standing before him.  In Revelation 2-3, Jesus is dictating letters to the Church to him. In Revelation 4, John is in “the throne room of Heaven.” 


Revelation 4:1: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” 

The Greek words “meta tauta” signal the end of the present Church age and the start of the future phase.

Meta Tauta - Greek Words for "After This" according to Revelation 4

“Like a trumpet”, it signals the same voice John heard in Revelation 1:10. “Come up hither”, and it is the invitation for John to go up to heaven.


John is now in heaven, and many scholars equate this moment with the time of the Rapture in the Book of Revelation. See more The Rapture.


Revelation 4:2 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat not the throne.”

God the Father is on the throne, and Jesus Christ is at His right hand. John does not describe the form of the deity who sat on the throne. But, he only tells about His splendour. 


Revelation 4:3: “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.”


John uses the radiance of gems to describe the appearance of God the Father on the throne. The Sardius was the first- and the Jasper the last stone on the high prints breastplate. See Exodus 39:8-13. 

The Breast Plate of the High Priest

The rainbow, the sign of Noah’s covenant, encircled the throne like a halo, bearing witness to God’s faithfulness.

“Ezekiel, too, compared the light around God to that of a rainbow. See Ezekiel 1:28: “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. this was the appearance of the likeness of the lory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”



Revelation 4:4: “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.”

The elders are God’s faithful people.


There is much talk about the identity of the elders, but the reasons why many scholars believe they are part of the Church are the following:

1) The song they sing later, in Chapter 5:9, is that of the redeemed: “For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” 

2)They are sitting on thrones, wearing white robes, and having crowns on their heads. These were all promises made to the overcomers in the churches. See Revelation 2-3.

3)They are crowned, and believers are called “kings and priests” in the Bible.




Revelation 4:5: “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.”

The scene of thunders and lighting is reminiscent of the time when Israel met with God at Mount Sinai. See Exodus 19. Back then, the people became fearful, and they ran away. It is the awe of God.
The lamps of fire burning represent the Holy Spirit in a physical form. Also, present when God made a covenant with Abraham, see Genesis 15:17: “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.”


Revelation 4:6: “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.” 
The position of the crystal sea is reminiscent of that of the molten sea in front of Solomon’s Temple. People used it for washing before they were going into the holy place. In heaven, no more needed; thus, they are standing on it.

The better translation for the four “beasts” is four “living beings/creatures.” And the diversity of eyes may symbolise their vigilance in serving God and men. 


Revelation 4:7: “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.”

In his vision of the four cherubim, Ezekiel described the same four living beings that John saw. See Ezekiel 1:4-14.




The Bible’s theme of a lion, ox, man, and eagle is recurring. It represented the tribes of Israel camped in four groups around the Tabernacle in the wilderness. See Numbers 2. In the four gospels, it is also taken as a symbol of Jesus:


Matthew – Lion. Messiah, the king, to reign and rule.

Mark – Ox. Jesus the Servant, to serve and suffer.

Luke – Man. Jesus, the Son of Man, to share and sympathise.

John – Eagle. Jesus, the Son of God, to reveal and redeem.

 Revelation 4:8 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying Holy holy holy, Lord God Almimighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” 

The four living creatures, cherubim, are not blind instruments or robots; they know and understand and have great insight and perception. And together, they are praising and exalting God. 


Revelation 4:10 “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying.”

The crowns mentioned here are that of the faithful who overcame, not by their might, but by the blood of the Lamb. The redeemed believers are now united in praise to God.

Revelation 4:11: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” 

No one can contemplate the vast universe without knowing that God is worthy to receive all the glory.


Why is the Book of Revelation filled with symbols?

There are four reasons:

    1. Symbols transcend time, thousands of years in this case.
    2. Symbols evoke strong emotions in the reader, for, e.g. "beast." 
    3. Symbols persevered because it made it impossible for persecutors of the Church through the ages to understand. Thus, it removed the need to destroy it. 
    4. Symbols provide a description distinct enough to fill the mind with awe and sublimity. Yet, none so precise that people can copy it for idolatrous worship.

How do we interpret the symbolism of the Book of Revelation?

  • Know the Old Testament. Revelation is the culmination of God's plan, which He gave the prophets to write down.
  • Look for analogies elsewhere in Scripture; e.g. "Lamb of God" always refers to Jesus, who did the work of salvation at the cross.
  • Be diligent. A symbol represents the same thing right through; e.g. "the bear" always means the Medo-Persia empire.


Revelation, Scope and Sequence

Revelation, Introduction

Revelation 1

Revelation 2

Revelation 3

Revelation 4

Revelation 5

Revelation 6

Revelation 7

Revelation 8

Revelation 9

Revelation 10

Revelation 11

Revelation 12

Revelation 13

Revelation 14


Missler, Chuck at

Korman, Baruch at

Barnett, John at

Ice, Thomas at

Breaker, Robert at

De Young, Jimmy at


Johnson, Ken. Ancient Church Fathers.

Missler, Chuck. Daniel’s 70 Week’s: Profiles in Prophecy.

Hitchcock, Mark. 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation.