In Revelation chapter 4, John beholds an open door in heaven and receives the invitation to “come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this“ (Revelation 4:1, NKJV). Jesus invited the apostle to look through the open door in heaven’s sanctuary to view eternal scenes in the great controversy between good and evil. We, too, can look through that open door with John and receive a glimpse of the eternal plan of salvation. We are witnesses of issues that are being decided in heaven’s celestial court. Fundamental issues in the great controversy between good and evil develop before our eyes.
Read Revelation 4:2-4. What similarities can you see here with the judgment scene in Daniel 7?
This is obviously a throne room scene. God the Father sits upon the throne surrounded by heavenly beings. There is thunder and lightning symbolizing God’s judgments. We also notice in Revelation 4:4 that 24 elders are present around God’s throne.
Who are these 24 elders? In ancient Israel there were 24 divisions in the Levitical priesthood. These priests represented the people before God. In 1 Peter 2:9, the apostle declares that New Testament believers are a “chosen generation,” “a royal priesthood.” These 24 elders could, perhaps, represent all the redeemed that one day will rejoice around the throne of God; or, perhaps, they represent the people resurrected at Christ’s resurrection and who ascended to heaven with Him (Matthew 27:52, Ephesians 4:7-8).
Either way, this is good news. There are some of the redeemed from the earth around the throne of God. They faced temptations just as we face them. Through the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, they overcame. They are clothed in “white robes,” signifying the righteousness of Christ that covers and cleanses their sins. They have a golden crown upon their heads, signifying they are victorious in the battle with evil and are part of heaven’s royal line of faith-filled believers.
We see a throne set in heaven with God sitting upon it. There are heavenly beings around the throne, and soon all of heaven begins to sing, and the crescendo of praise builds higher and still higher: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created“ (Revelation 4:11, NKJV).