After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…
I. THE OPENING OF THE SCENE.
II. THE DIVINE THRONE.
1. The nature of the throne. There is a manifold throne attributed to God: there is a throne of grace and mercy, of glory and majesty, of dominion and sovereignty.
2. The properties of the throne. These are great and manifold. It is a throne high and lifted up; it is Divine, supreme, and universal; it is infinite, eternal, and immutable; it is from everlasting to everlasting; it is eternal in its date, and endless in duration; it has neither beginning nor end, succession nor change.
3. The position of the throne. It is "set in heaven." The throne of judgment, the great white throne, is placed in the clouds; the throne of grace is erected in the Church; the throne of glory is placed within the vail; the throne of the universe is placed in the heavens (Isaiah 66:1).
4. The stability of the throne. It is "established in the heavens." It is ordered and arranged, guarded and disposed by infinite wisdom and unerring skill. It is firmly fixed, stable, and immutable.
III. THE POSSESSOR OF THE THRONE: "One sat upon the throne." He sits on the throne, in a state of deep repose, undisturbed felicity, and eternal blessedness.
IV. THE MAJESTY OF THE THRONE. This. is represented by two sacred emblems — sitting and similitude. He sat upon the throne, and He was to look upon like three sacred stones.
1. Here we behold the fulness of the Divine perfections. He is possessed of infinite, eternal, and immutable excellence — He is the source, the centre, and the sum of all worth and glory.
2. Here we behold the variety of Divine perfections: "I am the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering," etc.
3. Here we behold the unity of Divine perfection. All these perfections are displayed in Immanuel, who is the image of the invisible God.
V. THE MERCY OF THE THRONE.
1. The history of the rainbow is very remarkable. We first find it in the clouds; then established in the heavens, as the faithful witness of God's eternal truth (Psalm 89:39). It forms the glorious diadem of the angel of the covenant (Revelation 10:1.); and in the verse before us it forms the gracious canopy of God the Father's throne.
2. The rainbow round the throne was the blessed symbol of God's glory and perfections; it was the token of His love, the emblem of His mercy, and the pledge of His faithfulness, His counsel and His covenant.
3. The position of the rainbow: "The rainbow was round about the throne." It surrounds the seat of Divine majesty, above, below, and on every side. The majesty of Deity, the glories of the Godhead, and the splendours of the Trinity all beam benignantly through the rainbow of the covenant.
4. The likeness of the rainbow: "It was in sight like unto an emerald." Amid the varied hues blended in the rainbow, green is the prevailing; and the colour of the emerald is a deep, living green.
(1) The comparison implies the beauty of the covenant. God beholds His people enrobed in all the beauties of the rainbow, and the deep, living loveliness of the glowing emerald.
(2) It also implies the riches of the covenant.
(3) It likewise supposes the perpetuity of the covenant. The rainbow, like the emerald, is ever fresh and green.
(4) The comparison teaches the unity and variety of the blessings of the covenant.
VI. THE ATTENDANTS ON THE THRONE.
1. Their names. They are called "elders." This is the sign of their age, their honourable office, and dignified condition; their wisdom, experience, and venerable character.
2. The number of the elders: "They are four and twenty." There is an enlargement of the Church implied in the number. He was then the God of Israel, but He is now the God of the whole earth.
3. Their posture and position: "There were four and twenty seats." The saints sometimes stand; but here the elders sit, the emblem of dignity and undisturbed felicity, dominion and authority, rest and holy happiness, and their great reward.
4. Their glorious clothing: "They were clothed in white raiment." White robes are beautiful, they are Zion's loveliest garments — white robes are excellent, they form the best robe — white raiment is resplendent, it is both white and shining.
5. Their golden crowns: "They had on their heads crowns of gold."
VII. THE TERRORS OF THE THRONE.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."