“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle” (Rev. 4:6–7).
There are two realities to be interpreted here. The first is the crystal sea. The word is thalassa, which is the word for lake or sea, but it is referring to the heavenly version of the artificial sea that God had Solomon establish in the temple (2 Chron. 4:2-6). In the earthly temple, this is where the priests would purify themselves. Our great high priest has no need of purification, and the bronze sea is now a crystal sea.
It was common for ancient kings to have their thrones settled upon statues of creatures, as Solomon’s throne was established on lions. But those were carved creatures, and these are living creatures. The four living creatures most likely answer to the cherubim in Ezekiel’s vision, with this difference. Each of the four cherubim in Ezekiel have four faces. The same four faces appear here, but each of the cherubim has just one.
These living creatures are in the midst of the throne, and also are around it. The rabbis interpreted the faces to mean king of the wild beasts (lion), king of the domestic beasts (ox), the king of all birds (eagle), and the king of all creatures (man). There appears to be some connection between the cherubim and man in Christ because in v. 9 we see that whenever they give glory to the one who sits on the throne, the 24 elders follow suit and fall down before Him.