What do these two chapters teach us about the heavenly dwelling place of God? In what way is the plan of salvation revealed in these texts, as well?
The vision of the heavenly throne room is a vision of the heavenly sanctuary. This is made evident from the language referring to the Hebrew religious system. For instance, the words for door and trumpet in Revelation 4:1 appear often in the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) in reference to the sanctuary. The three precious stones in Revelation 4:3 are part of the High Priest’s breastplate. The seven lampstands are reminiscent of the lampstands in Solomon’s temple. The twenty-four elders remind us of the twenty-four divisions of service for the temple priests throughout the year, and their prayer offering in the golden bowls of “incense” (Ps. 141:2). All of these verses point back to the Old Testament worship service, which centered around the earthly sanctuary.
Finally, the slain Lamb of Revelation 5 points, of course, to Christ’s sacrificial death. Christ, the Lamb, is the only mediator of divine salvation and is accounted worthy because of His triumph (Rev. 5:5), His sacrifice (Rev. 5:9, 12), and His divinity (Rev. 5:13).
“Christ took upon Himself humanity, and laid down His life a sacrifice, that man, by becoming a partaker of the divine nature, might have eternal life.”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, p. 141.
What we see in these two chapters, centering around God’s throne, is a depiction of God’s work for the salvation of humanity. We can see, too, that this work has unfolded before the other intelligent beings in heaven, a key theme in The Great Controversy motif.
Think about what it means that Christ, as God Himself, took on our humanity and died as our Substitute; that is, whatever wrongs you have done and for which you yourself should be punished, fell on Him instead. Why should this truth motivate everything that you do?