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.
Back in revelation 1:19 John was instructed by Jesus to write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
He saw the glory and the power and the majesty of Christ. The things which are or the things of the church seen in chapters 2 and 3. Now, the things which shall be hereafter. Hereafter what? After the things of the church. The time of the church is passed. The church is forcefully removed from the earth.
Paul said in 1 Thess 4:13-17, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. Verse 14.. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Verse 15.. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. Verse 16.. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Verse 17.. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
We also know that this event will happen at the same time the Antichrist is revealed. 2 Thess 2:7.. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. Verse 8.. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: So the Holy Spirit who is keeping that Wicked from appearing will be taken out of the way and the church will taken with Him.
We are now introduced to the heavenly scene. Revelation 4:2.. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. Verse 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.
Verse 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. Verse 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.
Some commentators believe that these elders refer to angels or heavenly beings. I believe they are representatives of the church. There is no instance in the bible where the word elder refers to an angel. It is always a person and a representative of the people. The seven lamps being the fullness of the Holy Spirit there before the throne.
Verse 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. Verse 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 Ezekiel 28 we see a parallel description of the creatures. He names them cherubim.
Verse 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 Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Verse 9.. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, Verse 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, Verse 11.. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Now it is interesting that these elders cast their crowns before the throne. When we look at the use of the word crowns in the bible we find. Phil 4:1.. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, 1 Thess 2:19.. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 2 Tim 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. James 1:12.. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 1 Peter 5:4.. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Rev 2:10.. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev 3:11.. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
How fitting that these elders should cast their crowns before the Lord! It is because of him that the crowns are made possible!