Revelation Chapter 4
VERSE 6 continued, “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.”
Another good explanation of the “sea of glass”:
“The sea of glass appears again in Rev 15:2, but is there shown mixed with fire (judgments). The sea of glass that is found here is not just a large chunk of glass, but its intended we think, to remind us of the bronze (or molten) sea that Solomon had built before the temple. Besides the larger one Solomon had, the original equivalent in the tabernacle was the bronze basin for washing the hands and feet (Exod 30:18). The position of this basin in front of the holy indicates that nothing unclean is able to approach God, but must first be washed or cleansed.
In the tabernacle, the water in the Laver represented truth, and that is what we believe the sea of glass represents in this picture. That it is solid like glass shows that his word and truth are unchangeable. It’s not clear here if this is just a large glass Lavern, or if this object is a solid glass object.
Most depictions of the throne scene visualize the “sea of glass”, which John saw as a sheet or plate of glass upon which all the various characters described stood. This may be the correct thought, but equally well the “sea of glass” may simply be in reference to the “sea”, the “molten (or brazen) sea” as described in 1 Kings 7:23 made of bronze, but in this instance consisting of a glass like crystal.
We see the church standing on this sea like glass later in Revelation. In other words, the church stands on the foundation of God’s unchangeable word. Everything that they believe or hold to be true comes from that word and not from traditions of men.
We see the symbol of the glass sea, replacing the symbol of water in the original tabernacle and therefore the glass sea would also represent the truth.
This would then indicate that, the crystal or truth that is before the throne, and that the church is later seen standing on, is frozen, fixed, unchanging, or crystallized. This would make sense, since we know that God’s truth is unchanging forever. He does not change his word, but his truth is everlasting. Symbolically the water (God’s word) that was originally seen in the tabernacle scene, is still here, but frozen like clear ice. This may be where the hailstones come from, that are found later on in Rev 11:19, and 16:21, which we know represents hard truths. See also Job 38:22, 23.
The sea of glass shows that, while things from the world’s viewpoint are not always clear, if we see things from God’s viewpoint, they are crystal clear. God’s word has become perfectly clear to those who are able to look through the door, now open in the spiritual heaven.
Under the law arrangement, this Laver was copper (mistranslated brass and/or bronze), which represented human nature. Perfect human nature was all that was attainable under the law, so it makes good sense for the original tabernacle Laver to be made of that metal. As an earthly metal, it is a fitting symbol of human nature.
In the Revelation picture its clear glass or crystal, which seems to be associated with the heavenly scene. We likewise find this type of material associated with supporting God’s throne in (Ezek 1:22, 26, 10:1). This would seem to indicate this heavenly picture is more advanced from that of the tabernacle or Solomon's, and for that reason, it’s showing us a spiritual or higher nature. In other words, those who attain to this tabernacle as priests will be of a spiritual nature like their Lord, instead of an earthly nature like the priests in the original tabernacle.
The water that was found in the original Laver represented God’s word, and those who come to it are seen as using God’s word to clean up their lives. It’s needful that they do this before they can approach God’s throne as it says in the original description of the tabernacle. If the 24 elders represent the word of God, in comparison we find that in the original tabernacle, the tables of the law were placed in the ark, under the mercy seat. We also had the table of show-bread, which represented special truths for the consecrated priestly class. This would be in keeping with the thought that this vision in Revelation has much in common with the original literal tabernacle, in that we see God’s truth represented in all of these symbols.” (Revelation Notes: Southern Wisconsin)
We will continue with Verse 6 in our next post.
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