Bible Question: Who were the two witnesses in Rev 11. The Bible seems to say the two witnesses are Moses & Elisha by comparing Zechariah 4:10-14 and Malachi 4:1-6 and Matthew 17:4 What do you think?

Answer: The Bible is its own interpreter comparing " scripture with scripture." Still we have to use context and judgment in interpreting and comparing any text to another. For example, we would not equate the " lion of the tribe of Judah" who is Jesus (Rev. 5:5 KJV) with the Satan, " your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). We understand that you are suggesting " Moses & Elisha" (you probably mean Moses and Elijah) appeared with Jesus in a vision on the mount of transfiguration as also being the " two witnesses" of Revelation 11:3? We trust with this additional consideration, what is posted will make more sense! Please consider the following:
TWO WITNESSES ARE SAME AS TWO OLIVE TREES. As you suggested, the " two witnesses" of Rev. 11:3 would certainly be parallel to the " two olive trees. . . which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves" in Zech. 4:12 because in the context Rev. 11:4 also adds: " These [" the two witnesses" ] are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." How then do the " two witnesses"— also described as " two olive trees"— prophesy?
FOR 1260 DAYS TWO WITNESSES PROPHESIED IN SACKCLOTH. In our context of Rev. 11:3, the " holy city shall be trod under foot for forty and two months" and at the same tim, " my two witnesses. . shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth" (Rev. 11:2). As you probably know, 42 months would compute to the same as 1260 days (42 x 30 days = 1260 days). During this time then, the " two witnesses" are prophesying in " sackcloth." What does " sackcloth" indicate? Yes, it is a time of mourning and grief (eg. Gen. 37:4; 2 Sam. 3:31, etc.) In the same Book of Revelation, the same 1260 days is described. We see the " woman" who was crowned with the 12 Apostles as her guiding lights and clothed with the gospel " sun" had to flee to a " wilderness" where she was nourished for the same period of time: " a thousand two hundred and three score [1260] days."
" And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. . . And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev. 12:1, 6)
1260 DAYS TWO WITNESSES PROPHESIED; 1260 DAYS ELIJAH IN WILDERNESS. The Prophet Elijah also fled from Jezebel into the wilderness for 1260 days and was nourished— first by the Brook Cherith by ravens, then by the widow (1 Kings 17). So, yes, certainly there would be a connection between Elijah and the 1260 days of the prophesying of the " two witnesses." But during this time, Elijah's prophesying ministry— to the people of Israel and before Jezebel and the false prophets of Baa— was actually interrupted. (During that time he was alone and fed by the ravens and then only housed by the widow and her son.) However, he was sustained and nourished in a " wilderness" just like the " woman" of Revelation 12 and for the same amount of time. See 1 Kings 17 and James 5:17 " Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months" [3 x 360 + 180 = 1260].
ELIJAH AND MOSES DIED IN FAITH. Now, as you know, " Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11). Does this mean Jesus was wrong when he said, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man. . ." (John 3:13) Of course, not. There are three senses of " heaven." [1] The first " heaven" is the earth's atmosphere where birds fly (Gen. 1:20; Jer. 4:25; 34:20; Zeph. 1:3). [2] Another " heaven" is where the planets and stars exist (Gen. 1:14-17; 15:5; 26:4; Psalm 8:3; Jer. 8:2, etc.). [3] Where God and his sanctuary exist is in the " heaven of heavens" (Deut. 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27, etc.). Elijah was dramatically taken into the sky (as his life was a picture of the Gospel church), but he is not alive in approximation of God's throne. But Elijah— with Moses, Abraham and all the faithful ancient worthies of old— died. " These all died in faith, not having received the promises. . ." (Heb 11:1-13) Moses too, though faithful, did not receive what was promised— because Jesus had not yet come; and his followers, his Church, were not all yet called and prepared
(Heb 11:24-40): " By faith Moses. . .forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. . . And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
THREE WITNESSES IN THE VISION ON MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION. On the Mount of Transfiguration, was it a vision of Moses and Elijah with Jesus that the Apostles saw? Or did they actually see Moses and Elijah as alive? " Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man. . ." (Matt 17:9) Jesus, of course, was alive and literally there, but his appearance was transformed. But the other two in the vision were not around after the vision ended. So the three together in this special event demonstrated the glory of God's plan. Moses represented the " house of servants" during the Jewish Age; and Elijah represented the Church, the " woman" who endured persecution during the Christian Age, but was finally and gloriously delivered.
" And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Heb 3:5-6)
Jesus— to whom the whole Jewish Age pointed and on whom the whole Gospel Age is based— will reign gloriously in the Millennium of his Kingdom Age, the third Age represented in the Vision. These three were figures of the glory of God's plan of salvation.
MOSES AND ELIJAH PRINCES " IN ALL THE EARTH." In the Kingdom of Christ, yes, Moses, Elijah (and Abraham, Noah, Jacob, Rahab, Barak, David, etc.) instead of being our " fathers" in faith will be resurrected to be the " children" of the glorified, heavenly Church, the Bride of Christ— and " princes in all the earth." As " children," they will receive life from Jesus and his Church. As " princes," they will rule over the earth as the earthly representatives of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
" Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. . . The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Psalm 45:10-17
" TWO OLIVE TREES" IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE. So exactly who/what are the " two witnesses" of Revelation 11:3 who prophesy 1260 days and are compared to " two olive trees" ? As you may know, the Book of Revelation is a symbolic language book. Not surprising! Just as Jesus spoke in parables— word pictures— we would expect the visions he gave to John to record are symbolic of literal realities. Matt 13:34 " All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them." So Jesus was really not talking about literal seeds or literal sheep. (Even the Old Testament is full of " types" or " shadows" of things to come for our later understanding - Col. 2:17, etc.). The Passover sacrifice of the lamb, of course, pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus Chris, the Lamb of God, dying for all mankind. The " two olive trees" of Zech. 4:1-11 symbolically produced the oil which fed the lampstand of seven candles. The lamp stand represents the seven churches whom Jesus cares for through the Christian Age as described in the vision of Revelation 1:11-20.
REVELATION, A SYMBOLIC BOOK. Our specific premise in understanding the book of Revelation is symbolic is based on an opening statement in Ch. 1, verse 1: " The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." The word " signified" means that the Revelation was given in signs or symbols, so that in understanding this revelation we should expect to find symbolic language. (See, for example John 12:33 on the word " signified," Vine's Expository Dictionary). Thankfully, in a few instances, parts of the visions are decoded from symbolic to literal. For example, " waters" are symbolic of peoples in Rev 17:15, " And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
TWO WITNESSES PROPHESY AND TEMPLE TROD UPON DURING THE SAME TIME. The setting in which the " two witnesses" are mentioned relate to the " temple" being trodden " under foot" while the " two witnesses" at the same time are prophesying for 1260 " days" in " sackcloth." Rev 11:1-5 " And there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ' Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it. ' And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 3 ' And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These [the two witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth" (NAS). (The " two witnesses" are identified with the " the two olive trees," and the 1260 days are the same as the 42 months.)
TWO WITNESSES SAME AS TWO OLIVE TREES. Also, these " two witnesses" are— as mentioned above— similarly described parallel to the " two olive trees" in a prophecy in Zechariah (4:1-3). The " two olive trees" would symbolically support the true Church during the Christian Age— the " candlestick all of gold" with " seven lamps." " And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof." What has supported the true Church during the Christian Age? The Bible! And the Bible has " two [agreeing] witnesses"— the Old and New Testaments— which have given strength and nourishment to the true Church during the Christian Age. Just so, the " two olive trees" through the Scriptures have taught and provided the symbolic oil of the holy Spirit for the Church during this Age.
TWO WITNESSES IN " SACKCLOTH," MOURNING. But the Bible was for a time in a mourning state, " clothed in sackcloth." The Scriptures were banned by the nominal Church in power and hardly accessible to the common Christian. Still Jesus watched over his true church, a " little flock," throughout the seven periods of time throughout the Christian Gospel Age. So as Jesus is described as caring for the 7 candlesticks at the end of Chapter 1— so the 7 stages of the Church's history are then described in Chapters 2 and 3: Ephesus, Smyrna, etc. Rev 1:12-20 " And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man [Jesus], clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. . . ."As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." NAS These seven lampstands of Revelation 1 would confirm our understanding of the Zechariah prophecy. (The Bible is its own interpreter!)
CHURCH FIRST PERSECUTED BY PAGAN ROME " DRAGON." In prophecy, a " day" equals a year. Ezek 4:6 " . . .I have appointed thee each day for a year." During the Christian Age, true Christians were sustained and carried for those 1260 " days" or 42 " months" (42 x 30 = 1260) by the truths of the Bible— even though the Bible was banned and in " sackcloth." When did this time start and when did it end? Chapter 12 of Revelation is an overview of the Christian age, during which is also mentioned the 1260 " days." But first, the " dragon" persecuted Christians. The " dragon" of Pagan Rome persecuted Christians in the first centuries. The " woman" of Vs. 1 would describe the early church with the " twelve stars" of the apostles as her " crown." But festering in the early church already was the " mystery of iniquity" (2 Thessalonians 2:7)— which could not be, so to speak, born until Pagan Rome was thrown out of ruling the false spiritual " heavens." The Pagan Roman " dragon" enjoyed both spiritual and civil rule— until thrown out of " heaven" (spiritual) to the " earth" (civil).
CHURCH FLEES TO WILDERNESS ON TWO WINGS OF EAGLE FOR 1260 YEARS. But then, Christian church leaders who were grasping for power at Constantine's time united with the civil Rome— and lo, the " man of sin" was born! As a result, the " woman" had to flee to the " wilderness"— for how many " days" ? " A thousand two hundred and threescore days," that is, 1260 years. The true Church separated (in spirit if not actually) from the false church in power. The prophecy says she was carried in this " wilderness" condition on the " two wings of a great eagle." The " two wings" here would represent the Old and New Testament carrying and nourishing the true church— often called heretics— during those 1260 years. " And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent" (Rev. 12:14). This would described the same period of time: 360 + (2 x 360) + 360/2 = 1260 " days" or 1260 literal years when the " two witnesses" prophesied in " sackcloth."
Revelation 11 Revelation 1 Revelation 12 Zechariah 2
Old & New Testaments 2 witnesses;
2 olive trees (Jesus in midst of 7 candlesticks) 2 Wings of eagle 2 Olive trees
True Church Temple 7 Candlesticks (7 churches) Woman 7 Lamps
1260 Years Prophesy 1260 days;
Holy city trod on 42 months (vs. 2) N/A Fled to wilderness 1260 days N/A
BIBLE NO LONGER PROPHESYING IN " SACKCLOTH." When did this 1260 years begin and end? They began when the papacy was fully installed in power in A.D. 539 A.D. when the Bishop of Rome was grant ed actual authority in the Western Roman Empire. This period concluded exactly 1260 years later in the very year 1799 A.D.— when Napoleon broke the persecuting power of the papacy when the pope— whom he put in jail— died. Very shortly after the persecuting power of the Roman Church's power was broken, the Bible began to be widely published and available to the common people. " After three days and a half" (Rev. 11:11) [31/2 years) in 1803, The British and Foreign Bible Society conceived of and then in 1804 founded which proliferated Bibles at reasonable costs for everyone who would want one. ( ) The " two witnesses" no longer taught the Church in " sackcloth."
ELIJAH ALSO FLED INTO WILDERNESS FOR 1260 DAYS. This time would be appropriately be compared to Elijah also fleeing into the wilderness for 1260 symbolic days when he was sustained. This was, indeed, a time of famine for the word of the LORD when the "two witnesses" prophesied in "sackcloth." Still Elijah, the Church in the wilderness, was fed by the unclean ravens and then by the widow, who represented the Reformers who used the Bible—a little more food! What period of times did/does the 1260 symbolic " days" of " wilderness" cover? For more studied description of Elijah in prophetic type , see: htdbv5/htdb0092.htm
ELIJAH, A PROPHETIC TYPE IN MALACHI'S PROPHECY. But what does the prophet Malachi mean in Mal 4:5-6, " Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" ? This last Prophet predicted that Elijah would introduce their Messiah— so the Jews to this day are expecting him Elijah to tell them who the Messiah is! In Jesus' day, the Apostles— believing Jesus was the Messiah— asked where is " Elias" [Elijah] according to prophecy? So Jesus acknowledged that Elias would first come and " restore all things"— but then he added that " Elias" has to suffer first:
" And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought." Mark 9:11-13
ELIJAH— THE WHOLE ANOINTED BODY OF CHRIST— INTRODUCES THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS. Then Jesus added, that in a sense— to those who could receive it— John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17) had thus come and had introduced him as the Messiah. " But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him." John the Baptist actually was an extension of the picture type of Elijah introducing the Messiah who would " restore all things." (See also Acts 3:19-21) John introduced the Head of the Messiah anointed— Jesus. When the whole anointed body is completed at the end of the Christian Age (2 Cor. 1:21)— then the Christ, the whole anointed Christ, will " restore all things." The Anointed has to suffer and die first before restoring. While from one standpoint the Christ will die gloriously going up in a " chariot" as Elijah did— from a human standpoint the career of the " anointed" will be ended with an imprisonment and beheading as John died. While on earth, the Church's influence as " salt" in the world for good— turning " the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers"— will not have much success. So the earth will be smitten " with a curse."
" Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5,6
AFTER THE TRIBULATION— THE BLESSING OF THE WORLD. But after the earth is smitten with trouble and tribulation, the Anointed will bless the world. So when did this 1260 years begin and end? They began when the papacy was fully installed in power in A.D. 539 A.D. when the Bishop of Rome was granted actual authority in the Western Roman Empire. This period concluded exactly 1260 years later in the very year 1799 A.D.— when Napoleon broke the persecuting power of the papacy when the pope— whom he put in jail— died. Very shortly after the persecuting power of the Roman Church's power was broken, the Bible began to be widely published and available to the common people. " After three days and a half" (Rev. 11:11) [31/2 years) in 1803, The British and Foreign Bible Society conceived of and then in 1804 founded which proliferated Bibles at reasonable costs for everyone who would want one. ( ) The " two witnesses" no longer taught the Church in " sackcloth."
THE TWO WITNESSES. Therefore, we would understand that the " two witnesses" are the Bible— the Old and New Testaments which supplied the Church during those difficult 1260 years of persecution— and now triumphantly are supplying the Church the " oil" of the holy Spirit (see Rev. 11:6-12). Moses and Elijah are ancient worthies (the " elders," Heb. 11:1) who although they appeared with Jesus in " vision" are still waiting their " better resurrection" (Heb. 11:35) as " princes in all the earth" (Psalm 45:16).

Bible Question: Were the devil and arch angel Michael warring over Moses' bones when Michael threw the devil out of heaven?

Answer: We are assuming you are referring to Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7-9. To our understanding, these are two different occasions.
MICHAEL CONTENDED WITH THE DEVIL ABOUT BODY OF MOSES. In disputing " about the body of Moses," Michael the archangel contended with the devil close to the time when Moses died. Jude 9 " But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you" (NAS) As you may know, " Michael" signifies " who as God," or one representing God. Who else but the Logos— Jesus in his pre-human existence— could be more " as God" ? Satan desired to have the corpse of Moses to use it for the further misleading of the people, who might worship it as a mummy— which might become a temptation to idolatry. But God miraculously hid the body of Moses.
MICHAEL LEFT JUDGMENT OF DEVIL TO GOD. It's an interesting lesson for us too that the Logos himself did not make a judgment even on Satan, but left that in God's hands and in His times. According to the Bible, Satan will be bound during the Thousand Years and then destroyed at the conclusion of the " Little Season" (Rev. 20:1-3, 10) But at that time, the Logos contended for what was right, but left the final judgment to God. How often we contend with others— even Christians— and sentence them to judgments for which we have no right to do!
MICHAEL FOUGHT AGAINST DRAGON. Revelation 12 actually is a key to understanding the whole book of Revelation as it describes the progress of the whole Christian Age from beginning to its end— including the time Michael and his angels fought against the dragon in heaven" (vs. 7), Furthermore, as you may understand, the Book of Revelation is written in symbolic language as denoted in the first verse, Revelation 1:1 " The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to point out unto his servants the things which must needs come to pass with speed,— and he showed them by signs sending through his messenger unto his servant John. . ." (Rotherham).
WOMAN WITH A CROWN OF TWELVE STARS IN TRAVAIL. So when Revelation 12 talks about a " dragon," " twelve stars," a " woman," a " tail" and a " horn— and even " Michael"— they have to be decoded from their symbolic signs. The other times in Jude and Daniel (10:13, 21; 12:1) " Michael" was referred to, it was not in a symbolic context. Briefly, the " woman" we would suggest is the Early Church who had "a crown of twelve stars" as the twelve Apostles, her guiding lights. She was clothed with the Gospel light of the " sun" and stood on the " moon" which was a symbol of the reflective light of the Law which pointed forward to Jesus and his Church. But inside the Early Church also Paul says even in his day was festering " the mystery of iniquity." See 2 Thessalonians 2:7 - " For the mystery of iniquity doth already work..."
MAN CHILD IS MICHAEL WHO DISPLAYS HIMSELF " AS BEING GOD." So the " man child" that came out of the Early church was the " man of sin" which was born in the ecclesiastical " heaven," where the Red Dragon was! The Red Dragon was Pagan Rome— which not only ruled the " earth," but also the " heaven," the religious, spiritual (pagan) ruling powers of the day. But this Dragon was thrown out of the " heaven" and replaced in the struggle with the growing apostate Christian man child which wanted to " rule all nations with a rod of iron" (vs. 5). Who was this " Michael" who fought with the " dragon" ? Jesus never had to " fight" with anybody for a place in " heaven." This " Michael" (" who has God" ) would be a false " Michael" claiming to be " as God"—
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NAS
" Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
Much, much more could be said— including why the " woman" fled to the wilderness for 1260 " days" when this " Michael" was ruling and rejoicing (vs. 10). But the "Michael" in Jude refers to Jesus in his pre-human existence, and the "Michael" of Revelation 12 refers to a false Christ—the antichrist.

Bible Question: Will you please explain Revelations 20 Verse 5? "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."

Answer: Most Biblical scholars are agreed that the first sentence of this text is an interpolation, or spurious, meaning it was not originally in the book of Revelation. There are many passages found in the modern translations that were additions, which do not properly belong in the Bible. Since we are told not to add to the Word of God, it is our duty to recognize as spurious such additions.
Sometimes additions were made by copyists who were trying to improve on what they thought the text should say, and sometimes it was just a simple mistake.
If we left out the spurious part, the verses preceding would easily flow together, speaking about the faithful followers of Christ, the Church class, who will receive the heavenly reward in the first resurrection:
(Rev. 20:4) "...and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Rev 20:5) This is the first resurrection."
Although the world of mankind will be raised to life during the 1000 years of Christ's reign (that is the purpose of his reign), we can still explain this text if someone insists those words should be there because the world will not live again in the full sense of perfection, as Adam had, until the 1000 years are finished. It will take the full 1000 years to perfect and test mankind to see if they are worthy to inherit eternal life.
Raising people to life will be a momentary work. But resurrecting (full raising up) people to perfection will be a gradual work, lasting 1000 years. So although the words "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" are most likely not part of the inspired Bible, it would be strictly true to say that the rest of the dead will not live again (will not regain the fulness of life lost) until the thousand years of restitution and blessing are complete.

Bible Question: What is the meaning of the four beasts of Revelation?

Answer: First, take a look at a different translation — the New American says: Rev 4:6 "and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind." The " living creatures" is symbolic, and is not a real creature. The Book of Revelation is written in symbols. It tells us so right at the introduction of the book " he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John" (Revelation 1:1) According to Thayers( a Greek dictionary) the word " signified" means to give a sign. Some of the illustrations in Revelation would be absurd if taken literally.
" Living Creatures" is the correct thought in Revelation 4:7. When beast is used in other places in Revelation it is from a different Greek word and means a dangerous animal. So whatever " Living Creatures" means it would illustrate something positive and active.
From the context of the chapter we suggest that the scene is in heaven. Verse 1 mentions " a door (view or insight) was opened in heaven. Verse 2 says " A throne was set in heaven." Verse 4,5 and 6 mention" round about the throne," " out of the throne," and " in the midst of the throne." Who is the one sitting on this throne? Verse 8 helps us here and is a key to then unlock the rest of the chapter because the " Living creatures" are saying to the one on the throne " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was and is and is to come." Also verse 11 mentions some bowing down before the throne saying " Thou art worth, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" The chapter itself shows that God is the one that is sitting on this throne and these living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to God.
Which brings us to the question what could these Living Creatures be? Since there are no nations in heaven we would like to suggest that these represent the attribute of God. See the following interpretive understanding of this passage that is consistent with the rest of the Bible and with the symbols of Revelation.
6. And before the throne [in the arrangement of the divine government] there was a sea of glass [an eternal fixity] of glass [purity] like unto crystal: and in the midst [central fundamental principles] of the throne [divine government], and round about the throne, were four beasts [living creatures, four attributes of God] full of eyes before and behind [far-seeing in wisdom extending before his creations and afterward maintaining his integrity].
7. And the first beast [living creature, attribute] was like a lion [justice], and the second beast [living creature, attribute] was like a calf [young ox, power], and the third beast [living creature, attribute] had a face as a man [love], and the fourth beast [living creature, attribute] was like a flying eagle [active far-seeing wisdom].
8. And the four beasts [living creatures, attributes] had each of them six wings [with two wings God maintains his sovereignty, with two other wings he protects his subjects, and with the last two he carries forth his plan] about him, and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9. And when those four beasts [living creatures, attributes] give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne [seat of divine government], who liveth for ever and ever.
If you would like a further insight into the book of Revelation we have a booklet on our web site " Revelation: How to study it and have it make sense" Just click on Bible Topics and Revelation will be listed near the bottom.