The next thing that we see in this scene in heaven is the Holy Spirit of God before the throne. “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” We have here allusions to the presence of God. When we speak of lightning and thundering we are speaking of presence of God. There were thundering and lightening on Sinai when the presence of God descended on the mountain (Ex. 20:18). It is a symbol of His awesome judgment (Ex. 9:23, Ps. 18:13, 14, 144:6). The secret place of thunder is said to be the place that He answers His people (Ps. 81:7). Gill said that “the allusion is to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, when such things were seen and heard, Exodus 19:16 or else the judgments of God, and the punishments inflicted upon his enemies, and the enemies of his church and people, and his awful threatening of them, may be designed; see Psalm 18:13; with which compare Revelation 8:5….” There is a storm coming to this earth from the throne but as it was in the days of Noah the elect are safe and have nothing to fear from the mounting storm. And it is in this sense that we see the Spirit brooding. He was brooding at the waters of creation and again at the baptism of Christ in the form of a dove when Christ was presented as the Lamb of God. He brooded at creation and salvation and so He broods here at the final judgment.
There is an interesting point of view that begins to take shape here. We have a picture of the tabernacle or the temple in our text. It is said of the tabernacle, and by consequence the pattern of the temple, that it was patterned after things in heaven. The temple was the place where men met with God. When our text referred to the twenty four elders as wearing crowns of gold, it was not only describing rewarded saints; it was describing fixtures of the tabernacle. We remember one of the promises to those that overcome in Christ is that they will be pillars in the temple of God. Here the twenty four elder resemble that with their crowns of gold. When the furniture of the tabernacle was made many of the pieces within the holy place were made with “crowns of gold.” We know that Christ was mercy seat being the propitiation (the place where the atonement was made) for our sins and we already know that the candlestick is a picture of the Holy Spirit of God as we see again in our text. Other pieces in the tabernacle which are patterned after the things in heaven resemble the saints and have crowns of gold. Those pieces would include: the ark upon which the mercy seat rests and in which the law was placed and the manna and the rod that budded (God instills in the believer the law of God in their hearts, the provision of God, and authority of God), the table of showbread which held the bread of life, and the altar of incense which represented the praying of the saints (Ex. 37:2, 11, 26). This is in contrast only to the “holy crown of pure gold” that was worn by the high priest who represented Christ our great High Priest. So we have in the fourth and fifth chapter of Revelation the pattern of things in heaven. We have the glory of God. We have the propitiation and High Priest (which is Jesus Christ). We will see the altar of fire and we see in our text instead of the laver the sea of glass like crystal. We have the saints which represent the other pieces of the furniture of the tabernacle. Now we have the candlestick which is the Spirit of God. He is the seven lamps burning before God. We have already spoken about the significance of the candlestick and the description of the seven Spirits of God in the first chapter and we need not cover it again here.
We see then the Spirit of God in His illuminating role. He is directly involved with the fellowship of the saints with their God and with the adoration of worship that flows before the throne of God. He sheds light upon their fellowship and on their worship. Gill said that this represents “the light the Spirit of God in his gifts communicates to the churches; and that warmth and heat, comfort and refreshment; conveyed to them, through the preaching of the Gospel, and the dispensation of the ordinances of it, under his illuminating and quickening influences….” We will never cease to need the aid of the Spirit of God to know and fellowship with God and the person of Christ. It will only be by the light and comfort and joy of the Holy Ghost that we will worship God; that will remain true for all eternity. The chief reason though for the Spirit of God is the coming judgment. In the creation the Spirit brooded and for the coming of Christ the Spirit is brooding again (Gen. 1:2). The Spirit reveals Christ in salvation and in judgment. It is He that will convict this world of their sin and of the judgment to come. We stand in our text on the precipice of new heaven and the new earth and the Spirit stands in the same place He stood at in the beginning.