BibleTools.info

Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Loading...

Revelation 4:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And he that sat - There is here no description of the Divine Being, so as to point out any similitude, shape, or dimensions. The description rather aims to point out the surrounding glory and effulgence than the person of the almighty King. See a similar description Numbers 24:10, etc., and the notes there.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And he that sat was to look upon - Was in appearance; or, as I looked upon him, this seemed to be his appearance. He does not describe his form, but his splendor.

Like a jasper - ἰάσπιδι iaspidiThe jasper, properly, is “an opaque, impure variety of quartz, of red, yellow, and also of some dull colors, breaking with a smooth surface. It admits of a high polish, and is used for vases, seals, snuff-boxes, etc. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped jasper” (Dana, in Webster‘s Dictionary). The color here is not designated, whether red or yellow. As the red was, however, the common color worn by princes, it is probable that that was the color that appeared, and that John means to say that he appeared like a prince in his royal robes. Compare Isaiah 6:1.

And a sardine stone - σαρδίῳ sardiōThis denotes a precious stone of a bloodred, or sometimes of a flesh-color, more commonly known by the name of carnelian (Robinson‘s Lexicon). Thus, it corresponds with the jasper, and this is only an additional circumstance to convey the exact idea in the mind of John, that the appearance of him who sat on the throne was that of a prince in his scarlet robes. This is all the description which he gives of his appearance; and this is:

(a)entirely appropriate, as it suggests the idea of a prince or a monarch; and,

(b)it is well adapted to impress the mind with a sense of the majesty of Him who cannot be described, and of whom no image should be attempted. Compare Deuteronomy 4:12; “Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude.”

And there was a rainbow round about the throne - This is a beautiful image, and was probably designed to be emblematical as well as beautiful. The previous representation is that of majesty and splendor; this is adapted to temper the majesty of the representation. The rainbow has always, from its own nature, and from its associations, been an emblem of peace. It appears on the cloud as the storm passes away. It contrasts beautifully with the tempest that has just been raging. It is seen as the rays of the sun again appear clothing all things with beauty - the more beautiful from the fact that the storm has come, and that the rain has fallen. If the rain has been gentle, nature smiles serenely, and the leaves and flowers refreshed appear clothed with new beauty: if the storm has raged violently, the appearance of the rainbow is a pledge that the war of the elements has ceased, and that God smiles again upon the earth. It reminds us, too, of the “covenant” when God did “set his bow in the cloud,” and solemnly promised that the earth should no more be destroyed by a flood, Genesis 9:9-16. The appearance of the rainbow, therefore, around the throne, was a beautiful emblem of the mercy of God, and of the peace that was to pervade the world as the result of the events that were to be disclosed to the vision of John. True, there were lightnings and thunderings and voices, but there the bow abode calmly above them all, assuring him that there was to be mercy and peace.

In sight like unto an emerald - The emerald is green, and this color so predominated in the bow that it seemed to be made of this species of precious stone. The modified and mild color of green appears to everyone to predominate in the rainbow. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28) has introduced the image of the rainbow, also, in his description of the vision that appeared to him, though not as calmly encircling the throne, but as descriptive of the general appearance of the scene. “As is the appearance of the bow that is on the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.” Milton, also, has introduced it, but it is also as a part of the coloring of the throne:

“Over their heads a crystal firmament,

Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure.

Amber, and colors of the showery arch.”

- Paradise Lost, b. vii.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches "the things that are," there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God's awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1133

(1 Corinthians 2:2; Colossians 1:20.) Light From the Cross—Without the cross, man could have no connection with the Father. On it hangs our every hope. In view of it the Christian may advance with the steps of a conqueror; for from it streams the light of the Saviour's love. When the sinner reaches the cross, and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners, live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom. 5BC 1133.1

Through the cross we learn that our heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to Him with more than a mother's yearning sympathy for a wayward child. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”? It is our privilege also to glory in the cross of Calvary, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then with the light of love that shines from His face on ours, we shall go forth to reflect it to those in darkness (The Review and Herald, April 29, 1902). 5BC 1133.2

Love Is Stronger Than Death—Jesus placed the cross in line with the light coming from heaven, for it is there that it shall catch the eye of man. The cross is in direct line with the shining of the divine countenances, so that by beholding the cross men may see and know God and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. In beholding God we behold the One who poured out His soul unto death. In beholding the cross the view is extended to God, and His hatred of sin is discerned. But while we behold in the cross God's hatred of sin, we also behold His love for sinners, which is stronger than death. To the world the cross is the incontrovertible argument that God is truth and light and love (The Signs of the Times, March 7, 1895). 5BC 1133.3

16. The Science of Redemption—The scheme of redemption far exceeds the comprehension of the human mind. The great condescension on the part of God is a mystery that is beyond our fathoming. The greatness of the plan cannot be fully comprehended, nor could infinite Wisdom devise a plan that would surpass it. It could only be successful by the clothing of divinity with humanity, by Christ becoming man, and suffering the wrath which sin has made because of the transgression of God's law. Through this plan the great, the dreadful God can be just, and yet be the justifier of all who believe in Jesus, and who receive Him as their personal Saviour. This is the heavenly science of redemption, of saving men from eternal ruin, and can be carried out only through the incarnation of the Son of God in humanity, through His triumph over sin and death, and in seeking to fathom this plan all finite intelligences are baffled (Letter 43, 1895). 5BC 1133.4

(Genesis 9:13-17; Revelation 4:3.) Bow Shows Righteousness of Christ, Mercy, and Justice—In the rainbow above the throne is an everlasting testimony that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish....” Whenever the law is presented before the people, let the teacher of truth point to the throne arched with the rainbow of promise, the righteousness of Christ. The glory of the law is Christ; He came to magnify the law, and to make it honorable. Make it appear distinct that mercy and peace have met together in Christ, and righteousness and truth have embraced each other.... 5BC 1133.5

As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained; for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world's Redeemer, and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” (The Review and Herald, December 13, 1892). 5BC 1133.6

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 75

A rainbow is represented in Heaven round about the throne, also above the head of Christ, as a symbol of God's mercy encompassing the earth. When man by his great wickedness provokes the wrath of God, Christ, man's intercessor, pleads for him, and points to the rainbow in the cloud, as evidence of God's great mercy and compassion for erring man; also the rainbow above the throne and upon his head emblematical of the glory and mercy from God resting there for the benefit of repentant man. 3SG 75.1

Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men. 3SG 75.2

After Noah had come forth from the ark, he looked around upon the powerful and ferocious beasts which he brought out of the ark, and then upon his family numbering eight, and was greatly afraid that they would be destroyed by the beasts. But the Lord sent his angel to say to Noah, “The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be [meat] for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” 3SG 75.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Education, 115

The rainbow spanning the heavens with its arch of light is a token of “the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature.” Genesis 9:16. And the rainbow encircling the throne on high is also a token to God's children of His covenant of peace. Ed 115.1

As the bow in the cloud results from the union of sunshine and shower, so the bow above God's throne represents the union of His mercy and His justice. To the sinful but repentant soul God says, Live thou; “I have found a ransom.” Job 33:24. Ed 115.2

“As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:9, 10. Ed 115.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1072

It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation full and complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world's Redeemer and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love for God. Mercy invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and justice is sacrificed to accord to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. 6BC 1072.1

If we were defective in character, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for justice stands at the entrance, and demands holiness, purity, in all who would see God. Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken up. The change from earth to heaven will not change men's characters; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the characters formed in this life, after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth. 6BC 1072.2

The salvation that Christ made such a sacrifice to gain for man, is that which is alone of value, that which saves from sin—the cause of all the misery and woe in our world. Mercy extended to the sinner is constantly drawing him to Jesus. If he responds, coming in penitence with confession, in faith laying hold of the hope set before him in the gospel, God will not despise the broken and contrite heart. Thus the law of God is not weakened, but the power of sin is broken, and the scepter of mercy is extended to the penitent sinner (Letter 1f, 1890). 6BC 1072.3

Read in context »
More Comments