John’s vision here begins with a door open into heaven. The first voice he hears in verse one is generally accepted to be that of Jesus. John had heard that voice on earth. As John is then aware of being fully in the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit, the visions that occur after that remind us of a similar reference in Ezekiel 3:12-15. Much interpretation of the detail of the imagery that follows has been made to the point of extremity. One writer noted: “One who adapts Biblical images as freely as he (John) has in this chapter should not be expected to preserve an undeviating consistency in his pictures. They are for kindling the imagination, not for transference to the drawing board.”
No matter what interpretation you give each of these eleven verses, keep in mind the original audience. These were persecuted Christians, many of whom may have known people – even had loved ones – that had been killed because of their faith in the Lord. But they were holding on to that faith while looking toward heaven. Here, as instructed by the Lord in Revelation 1:10-11, John gives them a grand glimpse of that splendor in the sort of literary imagery that was common to their day. In the middle of the Lord’s battle with Satan, John gets that look at the throne of our Creator in heaven, and the worship that He worthily receives there.
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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