Heaven's Glass Seas
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Heaven's Glass Seas (Revelation 4.5-6a)

"From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits [that is, "the sevenfold Spirit"] of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, as clear as crystal." (Revelation 4.5-6a)✞

What Looked Like

LightningFrom the throne, "lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder" evoke fear and terror at the great events happening in Heaven. In the Old Testament account of the giving of the Law or "the Torah" on Mount Sinai, lightning and thunder accompanied the presentation to Moses. The Torah describes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible which were written down by Moses. Exodus 19.16 tells us, "On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled."

As Clear As Crystal

The Sea of GlassIn this Revelation account of Heaven, around the throne of God was what looked like a "sea of crystal glass." Glass may be traced back to BC 3500 in Mesopotamia but was very rare and precious in Old and even New Testament times. Crystal-clear glass was virtually impossible to find. In ancient times, it was poured in the plastic molten state into molds to make window panes, jewelry and even tableware. Glass beads from BC 3,000 have been found in Egypt and Mesopotamia as decorations upon mummies. An ancient view of the cosmos pictured a sea of glass, clear as crystal above the dome of the heavens on which the throne of God rested. This is an awe inspiring and a wonderful scene which highlights both the magnificence and the holiness of God.

Sea of Glass

Sunset seasThe ancients had learned how to make rudimentary glass slabs which were polished by hand until shiny. This simple plate glass was produced by pouring a large puddle of molten glass on to an iron surface, and then polishing both sides. Alternately, it was produced by blowing large bubbles of crown glass, pressing them flat and then cutting them into rectangular sheets. The glass sea described in Revelation was like crystal and this may be an image adapted from Ezekiel, of the smooth Aegean Sea in a sunset. Ezekiel 1.22 says, "Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome." Revelation 15.2 also speaks of a "a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God."

Queen of Sheba

SolomonThere is an interesting tradition of a floor of glass in King Solomon's palace. Solomon who died in BC 931 was king of Israel after King David his father. The floor in the palace was so smooth and shiny that the visiting Queen of Sheba thought it was water and picked up her skirts to walk across it. She was very wealthy and had come to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon. 1 Kings 10.2 tells us, " Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan — with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones — she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind."

"Heaven Glass Seas"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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