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Sunday, December 10th, 2023
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 4

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

And the first voice-talking with me ; or, And the first voice which I heard as of a trumpet talking with me; the voice, namely, mentioned in chap Revelation 1:10 .

Verse 2

I was in the Spirit ; rapt in prophetic vision. With the command, "Come up hither," he was immediately carried in vision through the open door into heaven.

Verse 3

A jasper ; a precious stone of various colors, as purple, blue, green. In chap Revelation 21:11 , the light of the new Jerusalem is compared with it for brilliancy.

A sardine stone ; a precious stone of a bright red color. Compare Ezekiel 1:27 , where he who sits on the throne has "the appearance of fire." An emerald ; a gem of a soft green color. Created objects can but very imperfectly represent the divine majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole creation can afford, But some faint shadows of my Lord; Nature, to make his beauties known, Must mingle colors not her own.

Verse 4

Four and twenty elders ; the representatives of God’s people under the Old and New Testament dispensations, twelve for each, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles of Christ.

Verse 5

Out of the throne proceeded lightnings , and thunderings , and voices ; representing the awful majesty, holiness, and power of God.

Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne ; see note to chap Revelation 1:4 .

Verse 6

A sea of glass like unto crystal ; chap Revelation 15:2 ; an expanse of crystal-line clearness and splendor. It answers to the "paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness," Exodus 24:10 ; and to the firmament "as the color of the terrible crystal" on which the throne of God rested, Ezekiel 1:22 ; Ezekiel 1:26 .

Four beasts ; rather, four living creatures. The word in the original is different from that applied to the persecuting beasts in chap Revelation 11:7 ; Revelation 13:1 ; Revelation 13:11 , etc. The agreement between these four living creatures and the cherubim of Ezekiel’s vision, chaps Revelation 1:10 , is so remarkable, that we must suppose that in both cases the same thing is represented. In both places they appear as the immediate attendants upon God’s throne, of which in Ezekiel they are the bearers; in both places they have the same four faces, only that in Ezekiel each has all the four, while here they are distributed one to each; in both places, moreover, their bodies are full of eyes. In their six wings, and in their ceaseless cry, "Holy, holy, holy," they agree with the seraphim of Isaiah. They seem to represent all the created powers and agencies by which God administers his providential government over the world; which are all pervaded by his omniscient Spirit, and stand ever ready to do his bidding; which all show forth his praises, and execute with unerring certainty his high purposes.

Full of eyes ; representing their ever wakeful vigilance and discernment of God’s will. In Ezekiel they and the wheels by them are all pervaded by the one Spirit of God: "Whithersoever the Spirit was to go they went; thither was their spirit to go," chap Revelation 1:20 . None of God’s creatures are omniscient, but his omniscience directs all their movements.

Verse 7

Like a lion ; representing power, majesty, and dominion.

A calf ; a young bullock or ox, an emblem of laborious and patient endurance.

Face as a man ; indicative of reason, intelligence, and kindness.

A flying eagle ; denoting swiftness, keen-sightedness, and elevation. Another view of these four faces is, that they represent the heads of the four divisions into which the Hebrews distributed the living creation-man, cattle, beasts, birds-uniting in themselves the powers and attributes of all; in other words, that all which is great and excellent in creation ministers to God’s will.

Verse 8

Six wings ; expressive of swiftness in executing the purposes of God.

Verse 10

The glory and blessedness of saints in heaven, the clearness with which they discern the will of God, and the alacrity, delight, and perfection with which they obey it, no human language can fully describe, and no man on earth adequately conceive.

Verse 11

That good pleasure of God which gave birth to creation, and constantly upholds it, awakens the liveliest gratitude in the hearts of his people, and will draw forth to him the most ardent ascriptions of glory and honor, thanksgiving and praise, for ever and ever.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 4". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/revelation-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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