“In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the centre and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the One who always was, who is, and who is still to come.””
Revelation 4:6-8 NLT
The complexities of the vision of Heaven continue to unfold before John. He now notices that there is a “shiny sea of glass” before God’s throne. Not any old glass – to John, the effect was as if it was made of crystal and it sparkles, glinting away in the lights that emanate from and around the throne. Perhaps John’s view was tempered by his constant view of the sea around Patmos, the island where he was exiled. A sea sparkling in the sunlight. But he was aware that the crystal sea was something special. John revealed what he thought he saw and he made a stab at describing it, but what was it really? Another feature of Heaven beyond our understanding?
But we now come to the four living beings. They were beyond anything that John had ever seen or experienced, but he tried his best to describe what they looked like. He doesn’t say how big they were, but getting a meaningful perspective in what his glimpse of Heaven revealed would have been difficult without any reference points. But he managed to pick out similarities with earthly creatures. And the first thing that grabbed his attention was that they were covered in eyes. Front and back. We humans have two eyes, and a brain that can process the images we see to provide information about what we are seeing, and with two eyes giving us a stereoscopic, 3D, view of life around us. But imagine what is required when there are so many eyes. Now I know that many insects have compound eyes, giving them images different to our single eyes. But somehow I think that this is different. These beings were in a different league to anything we know or understand on Planet Earth. These beings could see anything, and they had the mental processing power to deal with what they saw. Absolutely fascinating and amazing.
Back to us pilgrims, standing in John’s shoes, mouths hanging open as the enormity of what John saw starts to sink in. Many people avoid Revelation because it contains images and events that disturbs their world. The thought that there is a real place containing so much that they don’t understand makes them feel uncomfortable. But we pilgrims know we have a loving Heavenly Father, who made us in His image. Spiritually, God placed within us the prerequisites for our lives in Heaven, and has given us the opportunity to connect with Him through His Son, Jesus. We will join Him one day, and what we don’t understand will be explained. In Heaven, our praise and worship of God will be interlaced with our wows of discovery and delight. Heaven will be an amazing place.
Dear Lord God. How can we thank You enough. You have placed Your Spirit within us to help us and prepare us for a life with You. Please forgive us for our waywardness and lack of faith. Amen.