The Crew of the Spacecraft
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. The Revelation 4:4-6.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. These are the chairs of the crew of the spaceship. Those who sit there conduct the missions in which the spaceship is involved. John, who was used to sitting on the ground or on tree stumps could easily be forgiven for calling a nice upholstered chair "a throne". In fact, both Darby and the KJV use the word "seat" instead of "throne" when they are speaking of the 24 seats.
I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. Some say that these elders might be representatives of the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve Apostles of Christ. It has also been suggested that they are the actual patriarchs and apostles, but that theory is impossible to maintain, because, at that time, one of the twelve apostles, is still busy writing The Apocalypse. So he could not have been among the 24!
The KJV Bible study writes, Their number is important. The Levitical priesthood had twenty-four courses (shifts) in Israel (cf. I Chr. 24:7–19). Is it not also possible that there is no symbolism involved at all. Perhaps the spaceship simply needed a crew of 24 (plus the captain), and that is why there were 24 elders sitting on their thrones. Let's not use symbolism when a simple statement of fact is possible! In Bible College we learned this always applicable phrase, If plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.
They were clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. Here we need only to think of scenes from "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" and the whole picture falls into place. The crowns of gold may well have housed their communication devices. After all, the "Away" team must have a way to commune with the ship when they are scouting the planet they are visiting.
And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. This set of events, with slight variations, is recorded four times, in different arrangements, in The Apocalypse. Note 4:5; 8:5; 11:19, 16:18.
lightnings, thunderings and voices. According to Vine's Dictionary of Greek Words, we need not understand from this that lightnings means lightning as in a thunderstorm. The Greek word can simply mean, a dazzling light. The fact that there would be voices coming from the throne is, of course, not surprising, the crew was probably conversing with each other over the speaker system.
Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. We had a similar phrase back in 1:4 where it simply said, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne. Even though modern Bible teachers insist that there is only one Spirit of God, yet they seem to agree that these seven refers to the Holy Spirit. Unless you have found a way to do something weird to the rules of math, seven never equals one. Such also is the incongruity of the doctrine of the Trinity - three equals one!
The View from The Spacecraft
Before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal. What he saw next was not part of the throne room, but it was, before (in front of) the throne. John's attention has shifted from the throne to the viewing screen of the spaceship. This sea of glass was the electronic screen through which the captain and crew could watch the surrounding area. At the time John was in the spaceship, the screen was filled with a view of the Mediterranean Sea. The combination of the screen and the view, caused John to say, before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal; it was a picture of the Mediterranean Sea and it was as clear as crystal, just as clear as a television screen portrays a scene.
If one insists on seeing this any other way than that it is a spaceship one must really have spent too much time reading standard biblical encyclopedias!