Reading through Revelations 4, I cannot but recognize some governmental symbols here. As you might recall, John is caught up to heaven in this chapter and sees the throne and its surroundings. A few thoughts about this:
John is called to go on up or go on in after these things. What is “after these things”? After having done what people in the kingdom do: live out their calling, be obedient to the different assignments of God, like writing some uncomfortable letters to churches he oversaw. And then he accepted the call to go further…
He first saw the throne with one sitting on it. No details given to prevent idolatry, but enough description of the beauty to make us want to see it ourselves.
Next he sees the 24 elders. What would they represent? Not that I think I deciphered Revelations, but let’s draw some principles from that, or maybe just go wild for a while. Could it be that the 24 elders represent the Israelites and the Church (12 tribes and 12 apostles)? Or the 24 orders of priesthood, all taking a turn of two weeks during the year of service in the temple (their lead priests were called elders)?
I am reminded that the disciples asked Jesus who would sit at his right and left hand. He did not reply that these seats were taken by the elders, some heavenly beings, but that he is not the one who has the say. Is this a hint that we will sit on these thrones?
The elders having crowns and representing priesthood could point to us being a people of kings and priest, as said by Moses, Peter, and John.
But what would this mean? That would mean that we already are seated in heavenly places, having a heavenly perspective on circumstances and live. From up there, the sea of live, though in turmoil down here, looks like a sea of glass, in perfect calm.
And the 4 living creatures. As God made us in his image, it might be possible that he created some other beings depicting some of his character traits. If so, let us look at possible symbols in these wounderful creatures. The lion for authority, the young bull for strength, dilligence and sacrifice, man for wisdom and care, the eagle for vision and speed.
In Ezekiel these creatures carry the throne, as if they represent the four character traits that are fundamental to Gods governing rule. If so, is it possible that they give us a picture of the way God wants to rule his Church? Like the tabernacle was a foreshadow and earthly implementation of Gods Holy of Holies in heaven. Or better said: Jesus in Ephesians 4 gave his very own way of government to the Church in form of the lion for apostle, bull for teacher, man for pastor, eagle for prophet. (Just if you wonder bout the evangelist: who needs to be converted in heaven?)
We are seated in heavenly realms, have a heavenly perspective of things, and are ruled just as God intended it, better still, just as God rules. This is the szenario John came into when caught up to heaven, this is were all things that had to happen started. Are we ready to start?