After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…
In the forms of earth the formless heavenly things are represented - the Divine government which in our thoughts is so often restricted to the conditions of human government. It is needful to remind ourselves that when we have conceived the most lofty notions of the Divine rule, we are infinitely below the real and actual. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
I. THE THRONE SYMBOLICAL OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. A government by law and authority.
II. THE OCCUPANT OF THE THRONE, whom no man hath seen nor can see, represented as "like a jasper stone and a sardius," symbolical of essential holiness and punitive justice. Symbols have but their limited teaching. Here the two aspects of the Divine Name represented which the circumstances of the Church needed - persecuted, suffering. The detente of the holy ones by the holy God; the punishment of the enemies of truth, who are enemies of all who love the truth. "I will repay, saith the Lord."
III. THE DIVINE THRONE ENCOMPASSED BY SYMBOLS OF COVENANTED MERCY. "The rainbow" - "the symbol of grace returning after wrath."
IV. THE DIVINE THRONE ENCIRCLED BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CHURCH.
1. The high honour to the Church.
2. Divine recognition of.
3. Utmost glory of: they sit on thrones - fulfilment of many promises.
4. Their character - purity, indicated by "white robes."
5. Their kingly honour: "on their heads crowns of gold."
6. The universality and unity of the Church represented in the "four and twenty ciders" - "the twelve tribes of Israel," "the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
V. THE SYMBOLS OF THREATENED JUDGMENTS PROCEEDING FROM THE THRONE are "lightnings, and voices, and thunders," all effected by the manifold operations of the Holy Spirit of God - "seven lamps of fire."
VI. THE DEPTH AND PURITY OF THE DIVINE ADMINISTRATION SYMBOLIZED in "a glassy sea like unto crystal." Thy judgments are a great deep."
VII. To THE RIGHTEOUSNESS, JUSTICE, WISDOM BENIGNITY, OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT ALL CREATURE LIFE BEARS WITNESS. Thus the four living creatures. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."