Revelation 4

Listen to Revelation 4

The Throne in Heaven

1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me 1like a trumpet, said, 2"Come up here, and 3I will show you what must take place after this."
2 At once 4I was in the Spirit, and behold, 5a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
3 And he who sat there had the appearance of 6jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was 7a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
4 Around the throne were 8twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, 9clothed in white garments, with 10golden crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came 11flashes of lightning, and rumblings[a] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning 12seven torches of fire, 13which are the seven spirits of God,
6 and before the throne there was 14as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are 15four living creatures, 16full of eyes in front and behind:
7 17the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.
8 And the four living creatures, 18each of them with six wings, are 19full of eyes all around and within, and 20day and night they never cease to say, 21"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, 22who was and is and is to come!"
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, 23who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders 24fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast 25their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 26"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for 27you created all things, and 28by your will they existed and were created."

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Revelation 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

A vision of God, as on his glorious throne, around which were twenty-four elders and four living creatures. (1-8) Whose songs, and those of the holy angels, the apostle heard. (9-11)

Verses 1-8 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.

Verses 9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.

Cross References 28

  • 1. Revelation 1:10; [Exodus 19:19, 20]
  • 2. Revelation 11:12
  • 3. Revelation 1:1, 19; Revelation 22:6
  • 4. See Revelation 1:10
  • 5. Psalms 11:4; Psalms 103:19; Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:34; Matthew 23:22; See 1 Kings 22:19
  • 6. Revelation 21:11
  • 7. Ezekiel 1:28; [Revelation 10:1; Genesis 9:13-17]
  • 8. Revelation 11:16
  • 9. See Revelation 3:4
  • 10. ver. 10; See James 1:12
  • 11. Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18; [Exodus 19:16]
  • 12. [Zechariah 4:2]
  • 13. See Revelation 1:4
  • 14. Revelation 15:2; [Revelation 21:18, 21; Psalms 77:19]
  • 15. Ezekiel 1:5
  • 16. Ezekiel 10:12
  • 17. [Ezekiel 1:10; Ezekiel 10:14]
  • 18. Isaiah 6:2
  • 19. ver. 6
  • 20. Revelation 14:11
  • 21. Isaiah 6:3
  • 22. See Revelation 1:4
  • 23. Revelation 1:18; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 15:7; Daniel 4:34; Daniel 12:7
  • 24. Revelation 5:8, 14; Revelation 7:11; Revelation 11:16; Revelation 19:4
  • 25. ver. 4
  • 26. Revelation 5:12
  • 27. Revelation 10:6; Revelation 14:7; Genesis 1:1; Acts 14:15
  • 28. Psalms 33:9-11; [Ephesians 1:11]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 4

This chapter contains an account of the second vision John saw, as preparatory to the sealed book, and the opening of it, as the first vision was to the epistles to the seven churches. The preface to this vision, or the introduction to it, and preparation of John for it, are in Re 4:1,2, which declare the time of it, the position John was in, what he saw and heard, a call to him to come up, and the effect it had upon him; and then follows the vision itself, which is of a throne, described by the place where it was set, in heaven; and by him that sat upon it, Re 4:2, who was like to a jasper and a sardine stone; and by what was about it, first a rainbow of an emerald colour, Re 4:3, then four and twenty seats, with as many elders upon them, sitting clothed and crowned, Re 4:4, and by what went out from it, lightnings, thunderings, and voices; and by what were before it, seven burning lamps, which are the seven spirits of God, Re 4:5, and a sea of glass like crystal; and by what were between it all around, and the elders, four living creatures, described in general by their being full of eyes, before and behind, Re 4:6, in particular, the first by its likeness to a lion, the second by its likeness to a calf, the third by its likeness to a man, and the fourth by its likeness to a flying eagle, Re 4:7, and by what were common to them, first by their wings, of which they had each of them six; and by their eyes, they were full of within; and by their constant employment in celebrating the perfections of God, and in giving glory, honour, and thanks unto him, Re 4:8,9, at which time also the four and twenty elders appear in a worshipping posture, and give adoration to God; partly by deeds, casting their crowns before his throne; and partly by words, ascribing glory, honour, and power to him; giving a reason for it, taken from his creating all things for his pleasure, Re 4:10,11.

Revelation 4 Commentaries