Revelation Chapter 4
VERSE 6 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.”
BEFORE THE THRONE THERE WAS A SEA OF GLASS, LIKE CRYSTAL:
As explained by Brother Shallieu in The Keys of Revelation:
“The “sea of glass” before the throne, like the “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,” is another reference to Israel’s Tabernacle and Temple arrangement. First, it is a reminder of the laver of water situated just outside (“before”) the first veil or entrance into the first holy compartment of Israel’s tent of meeting. Whereas the candlestick was located in the interior or the Holy of the Tabernacle, the laver, placed in the courtyard without, was exposed to semi-public prominence before the nation.”
More specifically, the term “sea of glass”—a reminder of the main laver used in Solomon’s Temple, which is related to the laver of the Tabernacle—merely emphasizes a corresponding larger receptacle. The word “sea” usually refers to an extensive body of water, such as an ocean. Purposely designated a sea for this reason, the laver in the Temple was a large vessel, containing an ample reserve or supply of water for the Temple service.
“And he made a molten sea, ten cubits [15 feet] from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits [7 1/2 feet]: and a line of thirty cubits [45-foot circumference] did compass it round about” (1 Kings 7:23). “It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward. And the thickness of it was an hand-breadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths” (2 Chron. 4:4, 5). Thus God’s power (the oxen) on behalf of the nation (twelve oxen, hence twelve tribes) was constantly on the alert. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
In the foregoing it is apparent that the primary purpose of the laver was for cleansing. However, the laver serves another less conspicuous but essential function; namely, in addition to being a mirror, the Word serves as a telescope of things distant. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am [clearly] known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
It is more in this latter sense, and less as a cleansing agent, that the laver in Revelation is to be considered. Furthermore, the laver is presented not from man’s standpoint but from God’s standpoint. As the candlestick within the Holy compartment of the Tabernacle of congregation was in close proximity to the Most Holy—that is, God’s “throne room,” wherein He figuratively dwelt between the cherubim above the mercy seat—so the laver stood without to the east before the structure in the Court. Thus both articles of furniture were before the throne, one outside and one inside the forepart of the Tabernacle. The laver, then, also represents God’s predictive ability, His unerring foresight—in short, His omniscience. God sees perfectly into the future. All things are clear and openly manifest to Him, whereas, as the Apostle says, the Lord’s people can only partly understand His perfect Word—they see “through a glass, darkly.”
Continued with next post.
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