Revelation 4:3
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
and he that was sitting like in appearance to a stone of jasper and a sardius, and a rainbow round the throne like in appearance to an emerald.

World English Bible
that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at.

Young's Literal Translation
and He who is sitting was in sight like a stone, jasper and sardine: and a rainbow was round the throne in sight like an emerald.

Revelation 4:3 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the 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 iaspidi The 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 sardiō This 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.

Revelation 4:3 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Open Door.
(Trinity Sunday.) REV. iv. 1. "A door was opened in Heaven." When Dante had written his immortal poems on Hell and Purgatory, the people of Italy used to shrink back from him with awe, and whisper, "see the man who has looked upon Hell." To-day we can in fancy look on the face of the beloved Apostle, who saw Heaven opened, and the things which shall be hereafter. We have summed up the great story of the Gospel, and have trodden the path of salvation from Bethlehem to Calvary. We have seen Jesus,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Twelfth Day. The Thrice Holy One.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. Above Him stood the seraphim. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.'--Isa. vi. 1-3. 'And the four living creatures, they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come.'--Rev. iv. 8. It is not only on earth, but in heaven too, that the Holiness of God is His chief and most glorious
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

The Mercy of God
The next attribute is God's goodness or mercy. Mercy is the result and effect of God's goodness. Psa 33:5. So then this is the next attribute, God's goodness or mercy. The most learned of the heathens thought they gave their god Jupiter two golden characters when they styled him good and great. Both these meet in God, goodness and greatness, majesty and mercy. God is essentially good in himself and relatively good to us. They are both put together in Psa 119:98. Thou art good, and doest good.' This
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

A Book for Boys and Girls Or, Temporal Things Spritualized.
by John Bunyan, Licensed and entered according to order. London: Printed for, and sold by, R. Tookey, at his Printing House in St. Christopher's Court, in Threadneedle Street, behind the Royal Exchange, 1701. Advertisement by the Editor. Some degree of mystery hangs over these Divine Emblems for children, and many years' diligent researches have not enabled me completely to solve it. That they were written by Bunyan, there cannot be the slightest doubt. 'Manner and matter, too, are all his own.'[1]
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Cross References
Exodus 24:10
and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.

Isaiah 6:1
In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Ezekiel 1:28
As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

Ezekiel 10:1
Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them.

Revelation 10:1
I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;

Revelation 21:11
having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

Revelation 21:19
The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

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