Sea of glass/vision & visions
How do these two things relate to one another or do they?
Is the sea of glass part of another vision previously given or a new vision by itself? Sometimes we can fail to recognize the most obvious things because we are focused on something else entirely and miss some of the main points.
For this short Bible Study, we are going to see the connection hopefully, by using the word of God and what it reveals for us. You may be surprised at what the Scriptures reveal that you may not have thought about—even though they are there and revealed.
First of all, let us think a little about vision or visions. We will take the title and reverse it, ending up with the sea of glass and a little about what Scripture reveals for us on that, what it is and where else it might be described. These two words, vision and visions alone are used over 125 times in the Bible. One of those uses you should be familiar with, even if you only read the NT in the Bible.
(Please use your own Bible and look up every one of these passages as you go along, in order to get the full benefit from this study.)
Matt 17:1-3 “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.” So they saw Moses and Elijah, along with Christ.
For the subject of the study, skip down and notice V.9; “Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." NKJ
Comment; so Christ used the term “vision” here, as these three disciples had seen and heard what was portrayed with their own eyes. It was to help them visualize a little glimpse of the Kingdom of God, when Christ returns in His Glory to rule, with all of the saints made spirit. (1Thess.3:13-KJV) Keep that in mind as we continue on.
We read in scripture about the vision or visions of God, both old and new testaments. They can reveal many things for us, such as future prophesy, but other words are used to express the same things. Many times what a person in Scripture sees and hears come to them in a vision from God, such as we have seen here, but more is to come.
God grants vision & visions.
For example, Dan 1:17 says; “As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Daniel was able to see and interpret the meaning of many dreams and visions, as his book attests to. God gave that ability to him to express many prophesies but it did not start with him.
The Lord came to Abram in a vision, found in Gen.15:1. God speaks to prophets in visions, but to Moses face to face. (Num.12:6-7)
Balaam was a false prophet, interested only in reward or gain—but God restrained him and gave him a vision concerning Israel, in that situation, to further GOD’s purpose for Israel. (See Num.22 thru 24, especially 24:4&V.15)
Moving forward, as we are only seeing glimpses; Ezekiel was given several visions from God also, which includes something like a sea of glass explained.
Ezek. 43:3 says something about visions and what he saw; “It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw -- like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar;” (This can take us back to where he is talking about; the first vision give to him. Ezek. 1:1-2 “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” NKJV)
Many other prophets had seen visions. So many times what is seen by various servants of God are seen in vision and end up being prophecy for something future. Such is the case with Daniel and Ezekiel, as is the entire book of Revelation, revealed to the apostle John, by Christ Himself through an angel. (Rev.1:1) Many of the things recorded there were played out in vision and John saw them and wrote them down, as he was told to do, (V.19) comparing them to what it seemed like to him in his day and to things that were already explained in Scripture beforehand. (The Old Testament) Many today do not think about this when they read certain passages and then add in/use a little bit of their own imagination or interpretation of Scriptures to establish a new doctrine. Such may be the case concerning the “Sea of Glass” and the future “wedding supper”, according to that particular doctrine.
Sea of Glass
What is this and is that only mentioned in the book of Revelation?
Here is where the connection between vision/visions and this sea of glass should come together for the believer of the Word of God, with all of its symbols/symbolic language, type/antitype and innuendos or parables!
We can read of this part of the study in Rev.4:6; “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.” NKJV or “and before the throne, as it were a sea of glass like a crystal; ASV. Going on to Rev 15:1, we see it alluded too again saying “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous:” So this was something seen by John (Rev.4:2) as in a vision, which we might not think about. We see the sea of glass recorded again in V.2, (which I am reading again from the American Standard Version first;) V.2 “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God.” (ASV) NKJ says; Rev 15:2 “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.”
Think about what this reveals and pay close attention to what is going on here! For the purpose of this study; Glass is something clear—even though solid, can be seen through—as transparency!
(Rev 4:6 from the NIV; “Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” This is what it seemed like to the apostle John. He also explain the walls and streets of the city, made of pure gold, were like glass and transparent! Rev.21:18 & 21)
Let us go back now to where the “sea of glass” or something similar to what John saw is first mentioned. It is not just in the book of Revelation. Ex 24:10 “And they (Moses, Aaron and 70 elders, v.9) saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, (can also appear as a sea of glass) and as it were the very heaven for clearness.” ASV (They could see through it) NKJ has “--and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” Again, it is something that seems solid and yet can be seen through. Going forward through Scripture to Ezekiel with his visions and still concerning this sea of glass or “paved work”, (firmament) as well.
Ezekiel explains similar things and creatures he saw, compared to what John saw, with several verses. (Ezek.ch.1) Note Ezek. 1:22 “The likeness of the *firmament (Expanse, margin NKJ—see definition**below) above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads.” Note also V.26 “And above the firmament (**) over their heads was the likeness of a throne”,
Ezekiel was seeing the same thing as in Ex 24:10 (** from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers—“Thus God (This GOD became Christ—see God of the OT for more) revealed Himself with a pavement of sapphire as clear as the sky under His "feet" Ex 24:10.” John in Revelation explains it as a sea of glass, but it is also explained that way (firmament) in Ezek.10:1)
What Moses explains in Exodus & Ezekiel explains through his visions, when thoroughly studied into and in several chapters, is so strikingly similar to what John sees in Revelation as the sea of glass — Rev 15:2 “mingled with fire:” KJV — these creatures and the fact that what Ezekiel sees is also “mingled with fire” certainly points to them all being the same thing but in different time frames. There is one other thing to be noted here, which is a major point:
This vision John saw in Rev.15:2 does not include the OT first fruits that will be a part of the bride at the “wedding supper”! Only those who have had to conquer the “beast” are listed. O.T. first fruits would be left out of that ceremony if that portrays the wedding ceremony with Christ in the third heaven and on this sea of glass, as it has been presented! Read those words closely! The entire faith chapter of Heb.11 –all first fruits from the OT—does not include those who have had to overcome the beast power or the Roman Empire in the NT! The Roman Empire—considered the “Beast” in its various revivals through time (Rev.13 and elsewhere—Daniels record of this is also for the end-time) is only for Christ’s time forward, beginning only a few decades before Christ came on the scene! The Pentecost ceremony include TWO loaves—one for the OT and one for the NT; together comprising of all the first fruits. (Lev.23:17-21, Heb.11:39-40 & Rev.14:4 - KJV)
From these visions of God, we can learn many things; even about much of the future—if we will just pay attention to what God is telling us and NOT telling through them. We do not have to speculate or even add into scripture something that is not really there. (Prov.30:6) Moses explains and Ezekiel was given this same vision of what John is calling the sea of glass and happenings on it. Ezekiel explained it a little differently than what was seen by John—they both seen it in vision, but from different perspectives and in very different circumstances; however it appears to be the same thing when all things are considered. The Bible is consistent. These are all what we might call “Vision of God” and are revealed through the Holy Spirit of God to those whom God may choose. The Sea of Glass is no exception, being revealed with throne and all, in several places. Isa.6:1 in the KJV, ASV & NIV may also be one of those places, without the sea of glass or the crystal clear expanse (firmament) mentioned. It is however on the earth and after Christ returns, as V. 3 reveals.
So — are you making sure what you are seeing and hearing about are visions of God, found revealed in His word—or just speculations of men with good intentions?
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