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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Revelation 4

Verse 1

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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.

Ver. 1. A door was opened in heaven ] That is, preparation was made for the manifestation of more heavenly mysteries.

Was as it were of a trumpet ] To reuse and raise up his attention. For it might fare with him as with a drowsy person, who though awaked, and set to work, is ready to sleep at it. Compare Zechariah 4:1 .

Come up hither ] Not by local motion, but by mental illumination.

I will show thee ] That thou mayest show the Church, that they have a most glorious and almighty deliverer.

Verse 2

2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Ver. 2. I was in the spirit ] SeeRevelation 1:10; Revelation 1:10 . That is, I was ravished into a spiritual ecstasy.

And behold a throne ] So Isaiah was prepared for his prophecy by such a sight, Revelation 6:1 . And Ezekiel (besides that stupendous vision, Eze 1:4-28 ) heard behind him a voice of great rushing, saying, "Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place," Ezekiel 3:12 .

Sat on the throne ] As judge of heaven and earth, Genesis 18:25 .

Verse 3

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.

Ver. 3. Like a jasper and a sardine ] God is here resembled (saith Mr Cotton) by three precious stones, holding forth the three persons in Trinity. A jasper having (as they say) a white circle round about it, representing the eternity of the Father. A sardine stone of a fleshy colour representing Jesus Christ, who took our flesh upon him. An emerald, being of a green colour, refreshing the eyes of them that look upon it, representing the Spirit, who is (as the rainbow) a token of fair weather, and is a comfortable refresher, wheresoever he cometh.

And there was a rainbow ] Which is signum gratiae et foederis, a sign of grace and of the covenant of mercy, which is always fresh and green about Christ’s throne of grace.

Verse 4

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.

Ver. 4. And round about ] The saints are round about God, Psalms 76:11 , a people near unto him, Psalms 148:14 .

Four and twenty elders ] A full senate, a stately amphitheatre of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, clothed as priests, crowned as kings and conquerors.

Verse 5

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.

Ver. 5. Lightnings and thunderings ] Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to persecutors? Job 31:3 . Who ever hardened himself against God’s Church and prospered? Job 9:4 . Have these workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up God’s people as they eat bread? Psalms 14:4 . Surely, if they had but so much wit for themselves as Pilate’s wife had in a dream, they would take heed of having anything to do with just men. If any man will hurt God’s witnesses, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies, Revelation 11:5 . It was therefore no ill counsel that a martyr gave his persecutors, If thou wilt not spare us, yet spare thyself. It is a fearful thing to fall into the punishing hands of the living God.

The seven spirits ] See Revelation 1:4 .

Verse 6

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.

Ver. 6. A sea of glass ] The word, say some; the world, others. The word is to us a crystal glass, giving us a clear sight of God and of ourselves, 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; James 1:23 . The world is to God a sea of glass, corpus diaphanum, a clear transparent body, he sees through it.

Four beasts ] ζωα , or living wights; a not angels, but ministers, those earthly angels, who are set forth, 1. Full of eyes for their perspicacity and vigilancy. 2. Furnished with six wings apiece for their pernicity and promptitude to scour about for the people’s benefit. 3. Qualified with all necessary endowments, for the discharge of their duties, being bold as lions, painful as oxen, prudent as men, delighted in high flying, as eagles.

a A living being in general; a creature. Obs. OED

Verses 7-8

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.

Ver. 8. Full of eyes within ] To look to themselves also as well as to the flock, Acts 20:28 , lest while they preach to others, &c., 1 Corinthians 9:27 .

They rest not ] Gr. They have no rest, and yet they have no unrest either, the sweet content they take in their continual employment is fitter to be believed than possible to be discoursed.

Holy, holy ] This they double, treble, and warble upon, nine times over.

Verse 9

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

Ver. 9. And when those beasts ] When the preachers are performing their office, as heralds of God’s praises.

Verse 10

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,

Ver. 10. The four and twenty elders ] The people yield their assent, and say, Amen; the want whereof St Paul accounts no small loss, 1 Corinthians 14:16 .

And cast their crowns ] Canute, king of England, set his crown upon the crucifix, and proclaimed, saying, Let all the inhabitants of the world know that there is no mortal man worthy the name of a king, but he to whose beck, heaven, earth, and sea, by his laws eternal are obedient. (Hen. Huntington.) When the Great Turk cometh into his temple, he lays by all his state, and hath none to attend him all the while. Solomon’s mother set the crown upon his head (so doth the Church upon Christ’s head) in the day of his espousals, Song of Solomon 3:11 .

Verse 11

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 created.

Ver. 11. Thou art worthy ] If we would have our souls set as a pearl in that fair ring of heavenly courtiers that compass the Lamb’s throne, let us praise God as they do.

For thou hast created ] Our service must not be rash but reasonable, Romans 12:1 , such as whereof we can render a reason. God hates a blind sacrifice, a Samaritan’s service, when men worship they know not what nor why, John 4:22 .

And were created ] God’s power put forth in the creation and administration of the world is twice here mentioned; as that which can never be sufficiently admired and adored. See Trapp on " Gen 1:1 "

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 4". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.