Revelation 4 is a reminder of who God is and that He is worthy of all our praise. John is invited by the words, "Come up here" to see heaven. Many people see 4:1 as the transition into the third part of the structure outlined in 1:19, what will take place later, but when you look at chapters 4 and 5, it really focuses on the worship God is due... no and in the future.
The imagery on display here is John's desperate attempt to describe the indescribable. He uses precious stones and gems to portray the Throne room. Jasper (a quartz gemstone usually red in colour) and rubies are first used to articulate the beauty before John. A rainbow is used next. But this references back to Noah (Genesis 9:12-13) and God's fulfilment of His covenant promise:
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
The 24 other thrones surrounding the throne show that God shares His reign with those that follow Him. He does this through His grace. While the flashes of lightning talk of perfect justice and the sevenfold Spirit tells us of God's completeness. All this imagery combines and uses some of the Old Testament descriptions Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel used to describe God's majestic.
We see and hear of a place full of authority - God's authority. The sea is often depicted as chaos. Think of the Red Sea that crushed and washed away Pharaoh's army or the storm at sea that Jesus commanded to be calm. Here in the Throne room, we are told of a sea of glass, clear as crystal. No chaos, no evil. God has brought calm and peace to the chaotic. The evil has been removed. It is now smooth as glass.
The 12 elders present are unclear exactly who they are, but strong consensus has these 24 as the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles. Providing us with a picture of all the saints, while the four living creatures represent the 12 tribes. These 12 tribes are grouped into 3s and represent the 4 points of a compass. Those present, through the 24 elders are the 4 living creatures, represent all believers, and their message is simple...
Holy is God because God is sovereign. He sits on the throne and lives forever.
Whether this is in comparison to Emperor Domitian who was called lord and god, we now see that the true Lord and God (capital L and capital G) is God Himself. He is Holy, He is the Almighty and He is eternal. Worship is recognising who God is already and what He has already done and what He has promised to do! Caesar did not create the world and is not eternal and he did not redeem us by his blood and he has no control over hope - no earthly powers do. Only God.
Our Lord God Almighty is worthy of all praise, through any persecution, plague, or poverty He is with us and is worthy of all praise!