John’s Revelation was addressed to 7 churches in the Roman Empire. They lived under the authority of Domition, the ‘Lord and God’ of Rome. He ruled from his golden throne, and was surrounded by 24 councilors who represented the 12 signs of the zodiac twice over. They praised him, and his Empire continued to grow as more and more of his ‘creation’ was brought forth.
I love how John robs Domitian absolutely blind! He takes every title the Emperor has claimed for himself, and places it back in its appropriate context with God—who was and is and is to come, the creator, the Lord and God, surrounded by heavenly creatures and earthly elders who—incidentally—fall down on their faces and worship God, demonstrating that all earthly power is derivative.
Suck it, Emperor.
In one fell swoop John reminds the churches that they’ve got their perspective skewed. They’ve been seeing the world from the ground up, and all they see is Domition and the might of Rome. But John takes them into the heavenly throne room, and changes the camera-angle so they see things from the perspective of the Almighty. The churches now look out on the world’s stage from the rainbow-crested, lightning-shouting, crystal-sea-striding, jewel-fired throne of God. They see the four angelic creatures blurring around them, watching everything and thrumming with heaven’s kineticism. They see the twenty-four elders down on their faces, calling out to God in reverential love. The churches look past the creatures, through the elders, and down onto the earth where—in one little speck of land, during one brief sneeze of time—Domition prances around like a show dog that holds his own leash.
Safe to say, when you’ve watching the world from heaven, Caesar’s bark is worse than his bite. And that’s the point of the vision.
“Look – there’s a throne…”
And it’s occupied.
And Caesar has no claim to it.
He’s a speck.
And a dog’s days are seven times as fleeting as a man’s.
Which is nothing in comparison to eternity.