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Chapter 4

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   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

   4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the
   seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment;
   and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

   5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and
   voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,
   which are the seven Spirits of God.

   6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and
   in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four
   beasts full of eyes before and behind.

   7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a
   calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was
   like a flying eagle.

   8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they
   were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying,
   Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

   9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that
   sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

   10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the
   throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their
   crowns before the throne, saying,

   11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for
   thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were
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Commentary for Revelation 4

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   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)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.
   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.
   Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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