Greetings, Fellow Eschatologists! We’re going to start a seven-part series on Revelation chapters 4 and 5. In this first post, we’re going to look at the apostle John’s description of God on His throne. Enjoy!
Revelation Chapter Four
First in a Seven-Part Series
by Karen Thompson
God on His Throne
In Revelation chapters four and five, John’s vision of the end times begins. The first thing John experienced was being taken up to the throne room of God where he was treated to marvelous sights and sounds. John described seeing various beings in the throne room: 24 elders on their thrones, four beasts, a multitude of angels, and they were all worshiping God and the Lamb. The worship by these beings is a key focus in these chapters. John described how the worship began and how it kept growing in intensity and sound, ascending higher and higher until it reached its highest culmination. This ascending worship by the beings in heaven is an overture to the events that followed. When the worship reached its highest culmination, the very first event of the apocalypse began—the opening of the seven seals! In the first two verses, John described how it all started.
God Described in Three Colors
Rev. 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
John said he looked and saw an open door in heaven. When he saw the door, he was immediately invited to enter. A voice like a trumpet spoke to him saying, “Come up hither and I will show you things which must be hereafter” (v. 1). If you recall, at the beginning of the vision, John was instructed to write down everything he saw: “and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter…” (Rev. 1:19). The Lord finished showing John everything about “things which are” regarding the churches. Now it’s time for John to see “things which must be hereafter.” It’s at this point in the vision that John begins to see what happens in the future, in the end times.
Immediately upon receiving the invitation to come up, John was “in the spirit” and went through the open door to heaven. He found himself standing in the very throne room of God where he saw God Himself on His throne! He saw “a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (vv. 2–3).
His description of God was unusual. Instead of focusing on specific features like His face or His clothing like he did when describing his vision of the glorified Christ, John used just three colors to describe God. That’s it—three colors. He said the One, or God, who sat on the throne had the appearance of both the jasper and sardine stone. The third color, emerald, was used to describe the color of the rainbow he saw around the throne. Three colors to describe God on His throne: jasper, sardine, and emerald. Nothing else, just three colors. Could these colors mean something?
The jasper stone can be found in red, yellow, green, and clear colors. Though the jasper stone can be found in many colors, I’m confident John was describing a stone that was crystal clear because later in Revelation chapter 21, John again referred to the jasper stone, but this time he described it as “clear as crystal” (v. 11). Another confirmation that the color John meant by jasper to be clear crystal can be found in the stone emblems that each of the twelve tribes of Israel were assigned. The jasper stone was ascribed to the Naphtali tribe and it was clear in color. It signifies water and fullness of glory.
The sardine (also called sardius) stone is the color of blood red. The sardine stone was ascribed to the tribe of Judah; red in color, it signifies blood and man.
Lastly, John said there was a rainbow around God’s throne in the color of emerald, which is green. The green emerald stone was ascribed to the tribe of Reuben; it signifies healing life, birthing, rolling sea (water), turmoil (pangs, pain). Also, the color green symbolizes resurrection life, restoration, and reinstatement.
Three colors tell the whole story: fullness of glory, blood and man, resurrection life, restoration, and reinstatement! At the end of Revelation, through and by the shed blood of the man Jesus from the tribe of Judah, all of Israel will experience His fullness of glory and will be restored and reinstated with God almighty!
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