This Russian icon shows a vision of Heaven as do all icons in the Orthodox Church, for they are called “windows into Heaven” in that they show us how things will be at the end of chronological time in the New Heaven and New Earth of the Resurrection and subsequent restoration of all things. Many of the elements of Heaven have been revealed to us in the ongoing revelation by God to men which is the foundation and bedrock of the Church. These revelations are not fables or theories, the result of the man’s imagination, but the consistent vision of men and women across all time and various cultures, and also in direct accordance with God’s Life and Teaching on earth recorded in the Holy Gospels during His Incarnation.
Among those revelations is the subject of this icon called Deisis, which means “Supplication”, for we see the Virgin Theotokos and St. John the Forerunner standing next to Christ on His right and His left for their great love and fidelity to the Lord. This is why the sons of Zebedee could not be promised these places which were already prepared for those ordained as seen in this icon.