Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 4:2

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Throne;   Vision;   Thompson Chain Reference - God's;   Government;   Sovereignty of God;   Throne, God's;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Throne;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Holy Spirit;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Rainbow;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Satan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezekiel;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Fire;   Guilt (2);   Holy Spirit (2);   Revelation (2);   Throne ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Cherub;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cherubim (1);   Heavens;   Isaiah;   Luke, the Evangelist;   Revelation of John:;   Seraphim;   Throne;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I was in the Spirit - Rapt up in an ecstasy.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And immediately I was in the Spirit - See the notes on Revelation 1:10. He does not affirm that he was caught up into heaven, nor does he say what impression was on his own mind, if any, as to the place where he was; but he was at once absorbed in the contemplation of the visions before him. He was doubtless still in Patmos, and these things were made to pass before his mind as a reality; that is, they appeared as real to him as if he saw them, and they were in fact a real symbolical representation of things occurring in heaven.

And, behold, a throne was set in heaven - That is, a throne was placed there. The first thing that arrested his attention was a throne. Tiffs was “in heaven” - an expression which proves that the scene of the vision was not the temple in Jerusalem, as some have supposed. There is no allusion to the temple, and no imagery drawn from the temple. Isaiah had his vision Isaiah 6:1-13 in the holy of holies of the temple; Ezekiel Ezekiel 1:1, by the river Chebar; but John looked directly into heaven, and saw the throne of God, and the encircling worshippers there.

And one sat on the throne - It is remarkable that John gives no description of him who sat on the throne, nor does he indicate who he was by name. Neither do Isaiah or Ezekiel attempt to describe the appearance of the Deity, nor are there any intimations of that appearance given from which a picture or an image could be formed. So much do their representations accord with what is demanded by correct taste; and so sedulously have they guarded against any encouragement of idolatry.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-4.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Straightway I was in the Spirit: and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne;

Straightway I was in the Spirit ... This seems to be out of place in the eyes of some, since John was already "in the Spirit" when he heard the voice out of heaven; but there were definite reasons for the statement here. The words "come up hither" in Revelation 4:1 have often been interpreted as a reference to "the rapture," in which all of the redeemed of earth (at the time) are caught up to heaven. Addressing himself to this misconception, Nee pointed out that all the theories of the "rapture" posit the resurrection of their bodies:

The rapture of the church is a bodily rapture, yet here it is in the Spirit (Revelation 4:2). And thus this verse cannot be interpreted as referring to the rapture of the church.[15]

Thus, it is not hard to see why some object to the book as the sacred author composed it. After pointing out that "many commentators place the `rapture' of the church between Revelation 3 and Revelation 4," entailing the inconsistency that John had somehow missed it and had to be called up in Revelation 4:1, Wilbur M. Smith stated that, "Inasmuch as the text itself is silent on such a subject, one questions the wisdom of even discussing it here."[16]

And behold, there was a throne set in heaven ... See chapter heading for further discussion of "The Throne of God." From first to last, John's vision is dominated by this symbol of divine sovereignty (the throne)."[17] It stands here at the head of all that John would reveal concerning the future; and, at last, when all is concluded, the throne alone will be all that is standing. Heaven and earth shall have disappeared, but the throne and its holy occupant are eternal. The word "throne" is used ten times in the eleven verses of this chapter, and "over forty times"[18] in Revelation.

There was set ... This means, "There was situated in heaven a throne. There is no action of setting up or placing."[19] God's throne must not be understood as some kind of moveable headquarters, now appearing in one place, then in another. "The throne was not there for this vision only; it was set, established as the throne of heaven (Psalms 103:19; Psalms 119:89)."[20] "And one sitting upon the throne ..." Again, reference is made to the discussion at the head of this chapter. The personality of the supreme and universal Authority is gloriously affirmed by this. And this is exceedingly important! Interpretations of details in this chapter can hardly be affirmed with any dogmatic certainty, but the great and overwhelming message of the throne with the Person of God himself upon it is impossible to miss. Being sure of this, one may well afford to hold judgment in abeyance concerning some of the details. As Lenski said:

Do not stress our conceptions of space and time in order to draw deductions from them, for they would be picayunely, childishly false ... Symbols can only show the ineffable realities in a degree for beings that are still on earth.[21]

[15] Watchman Nee, "Come Lord Jesus" (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1976), p. 53.

[16] Wilbur M. Smith, op. cit., p. 1064.

[17] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 62.

[18] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 56.

[19] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 144.

[20] Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation (Nashville: Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications, 1966), p. 127.

[21] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 170.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And immediately I was in the Spirit,.... As he had been before, Revelation 1:10; it seems he had been some little time out of his ecstasy, how long cannot be said, and now, upon this new scene of things, returned to it; upon the opening of the door in heaven, and hearing the former voice, and the things it said, the Spirit of God at once possessed and filled him, in an extraordinary manner; and his soul or spirit was immediately taken from the consideration of all sensible objects, and was fixed and intent upon the things presented to it in the vision, so that it was as if it was out of the body. The Arabic version reads, "then therefore I went in the Spirit"; in obedience to the voice that called him up, in which he was assisted by the Spirit of God, who lifted him up as he did Ezekiel, when he saw what follows:

and behold, a throne was set in heaven; not for the final judgment, on which the son of man will sit, when he comes to judge the quick and dead, for he is not the person that fills this but this is a symbol of the power, authority, and dominion now exercised by God, not over the world in general, who has prepared his throne in the heavens, and governs among the nations, according to his sovereign will and pleasure, but which he exercises in his church, signified by "heaven". The allusion is to the temple, and the throne of God in it, Isaiah 6:1. The temple was an emblem of the Gospel church, Jerusalem, or the Gospel church state, and was to be called the throne of the Lord, Jeremiah 3:17, and now his throne is set there. Here he exercises a jurisdiction and government; he is King and lawgiver in it; he has enacted laws, and he writes them on the hearts of his people, and puts his Spirit within them, and makes them both able and willing to obey them.

And one sat on the throne; not the trinity of persons in the Godhead, which some think are signified by the three precious stones in Revelation 4:3, the jasper, sardine, and emerald; for, as distinct from him that sat upon the throne, the Lamb is said to be in the midst of it, and the seven spirits of God are said to be before it: nor is Jesus Christ intended, and his two natures; his divine nature by the jasper, and his human nature by the red and blood coloured sardine; since he, the Lamb, is represented as in the midst of the throne, and is often distinguished from him that sat upon it; see Revelation 5:6; but God the Father is designed, who sits on the throne, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit, yet in distinction from them. This clause is left out in the Ethiopic version.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 2 immediately I was a in the spirit: 3 and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne.

(2) The manner of revelation:

(a) See (Revelation 1:10). {(3)} A description of God the Father, and of his glory in the heavens, explained to men by his office, nature, attending company, effect, instruments and events that follow afterwards. In this verse he is presented in office as a judge as Abraham said; (Genesis 18:25) which is declared by his throne as sign of judgment, and his sitting on it.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-4.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And — omitted in the two oldest manuscripts, Vulgate, Syriac.

I was, etc.Greek, “I became in the Spirit” (see on Revelation 1:10): I was completely rapt in vision into the heavenly world.

was set — not was placed, but was situated, literally, “lay.”

one sat on the throne — the Eternal Father: the Creator (Revelation 4:11): also compare Revelation 4:8 with Revelation 1:4, where also the Father is designated, “which is, and was, and is to come.” When the Son, “the Lamb,” is introduced, Revelation 5:5-9, a new song is sung which distinguishes the Sitter on the throne from the Lamb,Thou hast redeemed us to God,” and Revelation 5:13, “Unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” So also in Revelation 5:7, as in Daniel 7:13, the Son of man brought before the Ancient of days is distinguished from Him. The Father in essence is invisible, but in Scripture at times is represented as assuming a visible form.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-4.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Straightway I was in the Spirit (ευτεως εγενομην εν πνευματιeutheōs egenomēn en pneumati). But John had already “come to be in the Spirit” (Revelation 1:10, the very same phrase). Perhaps here effective aorist middle indicative while ingressive aorist in Revelation 1:10 (sequel or result, not entrance), “At once I found myself in the Spirit” (Swete), not “I came to be in the Spirit” as in Revelation 1:10.

Was set (εκειτοekeito). Imperfect middle of κειμαιkeimai old verb, used as passive of τιτημιtithēmi As the vision opens John sees the throne already in place as the first thing in heaven. This bold imagery comes chiefly from 1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1.; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 7:9. One should not forget that this language is glorious imagery, not actual objects in heaven. God is spirit. The picture of God on the throne is common in the O.T. and the N.T. (Matthew 5:34.; Matthew 23:22; Hebrews 1:3 and in nearly every chapter in the Revelation, Revelation 1:4, etc.). The use of κατημενοςkathēmenos (sitting) for the name of God is like the Hebrew avoidance of the name επι τον τρονονJahweh and is distinguished from the Son in Revelation 6:16; Revelation 7:10.

Upon the throne (Επιepi ton thronon). επι του τρονουEpi with the accusative, as in Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:2, Revelation 6:4.; Revelation 11:16; Revelation 20:4, but in Revelation 4:9, Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:1, Revelation 5:7; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 7:15 we have επι τωι τρονωιepi tou thronou (genitive), while in Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:4; Revelation 21:5 we have epi tōi thronōi (locative) with no great distinction in the resultant idea.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

I was in the Spirit ( ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι )

Strictly, I became: I found myself in. Appropriate to the sudden and unconscious transportation of the seer into the ecstatic state. Thus Dante describes his unconscious rapture into Paradise:

“And suddenly it seemed that day to day

Was added, as if He who had the power

Had with another sun the heaven adorned.”

Beatrice, noticing his amazement, says:

“Thou makest thyself so dull

With false imagining, that thou seest not

What thou wouldst see if thou hadst shaken it off.

Thou art not upon earth as thou believest;

But lightning, fleeing its appropriate site,

Ne'er ran as thou, who thitherward returnest.”

Paradiso,” i., 60-93.

A throne

See Ezekiel 1:26-28.

Was set ( ἔκειτο )

Denoting merely position, not that the seer saw the placing of the throne. Compare John 2:6.

One sitting

He is called henceforward throughout the book He that sitteth on the throne, and is distinguished from the Son in Revelation 6:16; Revelation 7:10, and from the Holy Spirit in Revelation 4:5. He is commonly understood to be God the Father; but some understand the triune God.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

And immediately I was in the spirit — Even in an higher degree than before, Revelation 1:10.

And, behold, a throne was set in heaven — St. John is to write "things which shall be;" and, in order thereto, he is here shown, after an heavenly manner, how whatever "shall be," whether good or bad, flows out of invisible fountains; and how, after it is done on the visible theatre of the world and the church, it flows back again into the invisible world, as its proper and final scope. Here commentators divide: some proceed theologically; others, historically; whereas the right way is, to join both together. The court of heaven is here laid open; and the throne of God is, as it were, the centre from which everything in the visible world goes forth, and to which everything returns. Here, also, the kingdom of Satan is disclosed; and hence we may extract the most important things out of the most comprehensive and, at the same time, most secret history of the kingdom of hell and heaven. But herein we must be content to know only what is expressly revealed in this book. This describes, not barely what good or evil is successively transacted on earth, but how each springs from the kingdom of light or darkness, and continually tends to the source whence it sprung: So that no man can explain all that is contained therein, from the history of the church militant only. And yet the histories of past ages have their use, as this book is properly prophetical. The more, therefore, we observe the accomplishment of it, so much the more may we praise God, in his truth, wisdom, justice, and almighty power, and learn to suit ourselves to the time, according to the remarkable directions contained in the prophecy.

And one sat on the throne — As a king, governor, and judge. Here is described God, the Almighty, the Father of heaven, in his majesty, glory, and dominion.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-4.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2.] Immediately I was (became) in the Spirit (i. e. I experienced a new accession of the Spirit’s powerful influence, which transported me thither: qu. d. “I was in a trance or ecstasy:” see on ch. Revelation 1:10. It is hardly credible that any scholar should have proposed to understand ἐκεῖ after ἐγενόμην, “immediately I was there in the Spirit:” but this was done by Züllig, and has found an advocate in England in Dr. Maitland: cf. Todd on the Apoc., Note B, p. 297): and behold, a throne stood (the E.V. “was set,” gives too much the idea that the placing of the throne formed part of the vision: “lay” would be our best word, but we do not use it of any thing so lofty as a throne. ἔκειτο is wrongly taken by Bengel as importing breadth; and by Hengstb. as representing the resting on the cherubim. But it is St. John’s word for mere local position: see reff.) in heaven, and upon the throne (the accus. is perhaps not to be pressed; it may be loosely used as equivalent to the gen. or dat. The variations of the case in this expression throughout the book are remarkable, and hardly to be accounted for. Thus we have the gen. in Revelation 4:10, ch. Revelation 5:1; Revelation 5:7 (Revelation 5:13?), Revelation 7:15, Revelation 9:17, Revelation 14:15-16, Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:9, Revelation 19:18-19; Revelation 19:21; the dat. in Revelation 4:9, ch. (Revelation 5:13?), Revelation 6:16, Revelation 7:10, Revelation 19:4, Revelation 21:5; the accus. in Revelation 4:4, ch. Revelation 6:2; Revelation 6:4-5, Revelation 11:16, Revelation 14:14, Revelation 17:3, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:11. The only rule that seems to be at all observed is, that always at the first mention of the fact of sitting, the accus. seems to be used, e. g. here, and Revelation 4:4, ch. Revelation 6:2; Revelation 6:4-5, Revelation 14:14, Revelation 17:3, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 20:4 (11 seems hardly a case in point), thus bearing a trace of its proper import, that of motion towards, of which the first mention partakes. But the accus. is not confined to the first mention, witness ch. Revelation 11:16, and no rule at all seems to prevail as regards the gen. and dat.) one sitting (called henceforward throughout the book, ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τ. θρ.: and being the Eternal Father (not as Lyra, “Deus trinus et unus,”—so also Corn.-a-lap., Calov.; for He that sitteth on the throne is distinguished in ch. Revelation 6:16, Revelation 7:10 from the Son, and in Revelation 4:5 from the Holy Spirit): see ch. Revelation 7:10, Revelation 19:4, where we read expressly, τῷ θεῷ τῷ καθηένῳ ἐπὶ τ. θρ. So that it is not for the reasons sometimes suggested, that the Name is not expressed: e. g. that by Eich. and Ewald, on account of the Jewish unwillingness to express the sacred Name: that by Herder (see also De W. al.], that the mind has no figure and the tongue no word by which to express it: still less that of Heinr., “Nonnisi ex negligentia scribendi videtur omissum.” The simple reason seems to be, as assigned by Hengstb. and Düsterd., that St. John would describe simply that which he saw, as he saw it. For the same reason he does not name Christ expressly in the first vision, ch. Revelation 1:13): and he that sat (no need to supply “was,” as ἦν in rec.: the nominatives are all correlative after ἰδού) like in appearance (lit., “in vision,” “in sight,” as E. V. in the next clause: dat. of form or manner, cf. Winer, edn. 6, § 31. 6, and see 1 Corinthians 14:20; Philippians 2:8; Philippians 3:5) to a jasper and sardine stone (Epiphanius, in his treatise on the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate says, λίθος ἴασπις, οὗτός ἐστι τῷ εἴδει σμαραγδίζων (see below). παρὰ δὲ τὰ χείλη τοῦ θερμώδοντος ποταμοῦ εὑρίσκεταιἀλλʼ ἔστι γένος πολὺ καλούμενον ἀμαθούσιον, τὸ εἶδος δὲ τοιόνδε ἐστὶ τοῦ λίθου· κατὰ τὴν σμάραγδόν ἐστι χλωρίζουσα, ἀλλὰ ἀμβλυτέρα καὶ ἀμαυροτέρα. καὶ ἔνδοθεν χλωρὸν ἔχει τὸ σῶμα, ἐοικυῖα ἰῷ χαλκοῦ, ἔχουσα φλέβας τετραστίχους κ. τ. λ. He then describes several other kinds, a purple, a yellow, &c. One kind appears to be that meant in our ch. Revelation 21:11, where we have the glory of God like ὡς λίθῳ ἰάσπιδι κρυσταλλίζοντι: for he describes it as ἄλλη κρυστάλλου ὕδατι ὁμοία. It is true that Epiphanius may have put in this species merely to satisfy ch. Revelation 21:11. From this latter passage, where it is described as τιμιώτατος,—which jasper, as commonly known, never was,—Ebrard argues that by ἴασπις the diamond. is meant. ἴασπις, Heb. יָשְׁפָה, a beautiful stone of various wavy colours, semi-opaque, granulous in texture, used in ancient times for gems and ornaments, but in more modern ones on a larger scale for pavements and tables. Even Pliny wrote, xxxvii. (8.) 37, “viret, et sæpe translucet iaspis, etiamsi victa a multis, antiquitatis tamen gloriam retinens.” The altar in Canterbury Cathedral stands on a platform of yellow Sicilian jasper pavement, 30 feet by 14 feet.

σάρδιος, Heb. אֹדֶם, is, as this name shews, a red stone, commonly supposed to answer to our cornelian. But Epiphanius, in his treatise on the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate, says of it, λίθος σάρδιος ὁ βαβυλώνιος, οὕτω καλούμενος. ἔστι δὲ πυρωπὸς τῷ εἴδει καὶ αἱματοειδής, σαρδίῳ τῷ ἰχθΰι τε ταριχευμένῳ ἐοικώς. διὸ καὶ σάρδιος λέγεται, ἀπὸ τοῦ εἴδους λαβὼν τὸ ἐπώνυμον. ἐν βαβύλωνι δὲ τῇ πρὸς ἀσσυρίαν γίνεται. ἔστι δὲ διαυγὴς ὁ λίθος.

Several of the Commentators, e. g. Victorin(75), Areth(76), Lyra, Ansbert, Joachim, &c., Bengel, Hengst., Düsterd., have said much on the symbolic significance of these stones as representing the glory of God. Thus much only seems, in the great uncertainty and variety of views, to stand firm for us: that if ἴασπις is to be taken as in ch. Revelation 21:11, as, by the reference there to τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ, it certainly seems it must, then it represents a watery crystalline brightness, whereas σάρδιος is on all hands acknowledged to be fiery red. Thus we shall have ample material for symbolic meaning: whether, as Victorinus, Tichon., Primas(77), Bed(78), al., of the one great judgment by water (or of baptism) and the other by fire,—as Andr(79), Areth(80), Lyra, al., of the goodness of God in nature ( ἴασπις being green) and His severity in judgment,—as Ansbert, of the divinity and humanity (“quia nimirum humanitas ejus tempore passionis sanguine coloratur”), &c., or as the moderns mostly, e. g. Bengel, Stern, Hengstb., of the holiness of God and His justice. This last seems to me the more probable, especially as the same mixture of white light with fire seems to pervade the Old Testament and Apocalyptic visions of the divine majesty. Cf. Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 8:2; Daniel 7:9; and our ch. Revelation 1:14, Revelation 10:1. But nothing can be confidently asserted, in our ignorance of the precise import of ἴασπις), and a rainbow (cf. Genesis 9:12-17; Ezekiel 1:28) round about the throne (i. e. in all probability surrounding the throne vertically, as a nimbus; not, as Beng. and Hengstb., horizontally) like to the appearance ( ὅμοιος is here an adj. with two terminations, as those in - ιος frequently in Attic Greek: see Winer (reff.): the construction of ὁράσει is not as above, but the dat. is here after ὅμοιος) of an emerald (on σμάραγδος (- δινος is the possess. adj. of two terminations) all seem agreed, that it represents the stone so well known among us as the emerald, of a lovely green colour:—Pliny says of it, ut supra, “quin et ab intentione alia obscurata aspectu smaragdi recreatur acies, scalpentibusque gemmas non alia gratior oculorum refectio est; ita viridi lenitate lassitudinem mulcent.” Almost all the Commentators think of the gracious and federal character of the bow of God, Genesis 9:12-17. Nor is it any objection to this (as Ebrard) that the bow or glory here is green, instead of prismatic: the form is that of the covenant bow, the colour even more refreshing and more directly symbolizing grace and mercy. “Deus in judiciis semper fœderis sui meminit:” Grot. So far at least we may be sure of as to the symbolism of this appearance of Him that sitteth on the throne: that the brightness of His glory and fire of His judgment is ever girded by, and found within, the refreshment and surety of His mercy and goodness. So that, as Düsterd. says well, “This fundamental vision contains all that may serve for terror to the enemies, and consolation to the friends, of Him that sitteth on the throne …”).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-4.html. 1863-1878.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE TRIUNE GOD IN HEAVEN

‘Immediately I was in the Spirit, and, behold, a throne was set in heaven.’

Revelation 4:2

Other Feasts of the Christian year show our Lord God in the works and wonders which He has done; the Feast of Trinity declares to us what God is in Himself, in His divine Being. Here we see the Triune God in heaven. The whole chapter is appointed as the Epistle for Trinity Sunday. Let us consider its teachings:

I. The enthroned Jehovah.—St. John was permitted ‘in the Spirit’ to pass the bounds of mortals, and as Moses (Exodus 24), as Isaiah (6), as Daniel (8), to behold the eternal Father—

(a) In His ineffable majesty; ‘like a jasper and a sardine stone’ (Revelation 21:11). These describe His majesty, and are taken to represent symbolically that God is holy and just.

(b) In His glory as a covenant God. He is surrounded (like the vision of Ezekiel, chap. 1) with the rainbow of promise (cf. Genesis 9:12-17). The emerald is of a lovely green colour.

(c) In His glory as a lawgiver to man. The lightnings and thunders call to mind God on Mount Sinai whom Moses saw.

(d) In unruffled and eternal calm. A tempestuous sea best represents the life of troubled mortals. A sea of glass, like the molten sea in the Temple, like the sapphire pavement seen by Moses in the Mount, is a true emblem of the immovable calm of the Judge of all the earth.

(e) As the dispenser of spiritual light and life to man by His Spirit. The seven lamps of fire were the seven Spirits of God.

II. The adoring Church surrounding the enthroned Jehovah.—These were ‘four and twenty seated elders’ and ‘four living creatures.’ The latter have been taken to symbolise (a) the four evangelists, (b) the ministers of God (it is observed that they lead the devotions), (c) cherubim (cf. Isaiah 6), (d) representatives of animated nature. Adopting the latter suggestion, we have here—

(a) The Old and New Testament Church—twelve tribes and twelve apostles. The Church is one.

(b) The adoration of the universal Church and the creation of God. ‘O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord’; the song is one of redeemed spirits from a redeemed earth. (i) Creation praises the Triune God, ‘Holy, holy, holy.’ (ii) The redeemed praise the Triune God.

III. The Bestower of the vision of the enthroned Jehovah.

(a) It is He that opens the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

(b) It is He alone that can say, ‘Come up hither.’

(c) It is He alone that fills us with the Spirit.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/revelation-4.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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] See 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, Ezekiel 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-4.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 4:2

The Revelation of the Triune God and its Diffusion.

I. The form which both Prophet and Apostle saw seated on the heavenly throne was of a clear, brilliant flame colour, partly red like the sardine, or, to use a modern term, the carnelian, and partly of the lighter hue of yellow amber. The truth symbolised in this appearance is thus set forth in plain terms by the Apostle to the Hebrews: "Our God is a consuming fire." The first attribute under which God presents Himself to a soul which He proposes to renew and sanctify is that of transcendently clear and brilliant holiness; He will be known in the first instance as a God with whom moral evil cannot dwell, who cannot endure, in those who approach to Him, a single stain of impurity. We cannot but grant that, awful as the spotless perfection of the Divine character is to a sinner's gaze, it is yet exceeding brilliant and glorious. The jasper and the sardine stone, although the infirm eye of man cannot bear to gaze upon them when they flash and kindle up in the sunlight, are yet of a hue exceedingly beautiful and brilliant.

II. It is the Mediator between God and man, even the Lord Jesus Christ, "which is our hope," who is here symbolised to us under the lovely and appropriate emblem of an emerald rainbow. What sweet refreshment to the aching eyeballs to rest for a while upon an emerald green, the very colour which, when the power of sight is enfeebled, is calculated to preserve it! In the existence of light, the existence of the rainbow is involved; for what is the rainbow but light reflected from the raindrops? And what is the Lord Jesus, considered as a Divine Person incarnate, but God reflected in the infirm medium of a manhood pure as crystal?

III. "Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne." Fire, we know, is a constant emblem of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is that Person in the Triune Jehovah whose office it is to sanctify the mind of man, not of one man, but of many, to abide in the Church, yet not in one local Church, but in all the branches of the Church universal. Contemplated in His office character as distinct from His essence, He is multiform; and to His multiformity the text certifies.

E. M. Goulburn, Occasional Sermons, p. 267.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-4.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 4:2. Immediately I was in the spirit: This phrase signifies to be under a strong and supernatural impulse, caused by the miraculous operation of the Spirit of God, acting on the imagination in such a manner as to open extraordinary scenes, which had not any exact, external archetype; and it is much illustrated by the view presented to Ezekiel, when he sat in his house among the elders of the people, who probably saw nothing but the prophet himself, as one in a trance or extacy, or whose thoughts were so attentively fixed as to be insensible of what passed around him. We are not therefore to imagine, that the Person sitting on the throne, or the four living creatures, or the four and twenty elders, were real beings existing in nature, though they represented, in a figurative manner, things which did really exist. And though it is possible that aerial scenes might, by divine or angelic power, have been formed, it seems much more probable that all which passed, was purely in the imagination of St John. This will keep us, in our interpretation, clear of a thousand difficulties, not to say absurdities, which would follow from a contrary supposition; namely, that there is in heaven an animal in the form of a lamb to represent Christ; that there are such living creatures as are here described, &c. This observation is made once for all, and may be applied as occasions present. The representation of the throne of God in this verse, is very agreeable to several descriptions of the ancient prophets, as Isaiah 6:1-3. Ezekiel 1:26; Ezekiel 10:1. Daniel 7:9.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-4.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

I was in the Spirit; that is, in an ecstasy in a trance, in a rapture of delight and joy, ravished in spirit. This vision was represented to his mind more lively than any corporeal objects could be to his outward senses, which were now all bound up.

Observe here, 1. The vision itself, a throne set in heaven; St. John's mind was not taken up with earthly matters: worldly crowns and sceptres were now poor things in his esteem, and will be so in the estimation of all others who have a prospect of a throne in heaven, as our apostle had.

Observe, 2. The person whom he saw sitting upon his throne: God the Father in royal majesty, whose power and glory was represented by the similitude of precious stones, particularly by the jasper and sardine stone; which stone, say some, being of a red and fiery colour, represented how terrible God is in judgment, clothed with omnipotent power inflexible justice; but to allay the terror of this vision, St. John saw a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald; this was very comforting, for the rainbow was of old a token of God's covenant,, Genesis 9:12-17 that he would never more drown the world by water; here it denotes the covenant of grace, whereby the church is secured from the deluge of God's wrath by the blood of a mediator: and mark, this rainbow was round about the throne; let God look which way he will, here is that which reminds him of his covenant and promise; and the colour of this rainbow was like an emerald, that is, of a most pleasant and delightful greenness: signifying, That Almighty God, in mindfulness of his covenant, takes unspeakable delight and pleasure in the exercise of mercy towards his children, even then when he appears clothed with terror, to judge and sentence an impenitent world.

Blessed be God, that he that sitteth upon the throne of judgment has a rainbow about him, giving full assurance, that for his covenant-sake, the floods of his wrath shall not overwhelm his children, when his enemies are swept away with the deluge of destruction.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-4.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 4:2. εὐθέως ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύαατι. The asyndeton emphasizes the significance of the εὐθέως. After John has heard the voice, Revelation 4:1, he is immediately—and that too because of the voice(1668)—“in the Spirit,” and thereby made capable of ascending into heaven, and beholding the objects there presented. Although in Revelation 4:1, John is already ἐν πνεύματι, i.e., in such a condition that he beholds the opened door, and can hear the heavenly voice, yet the mode of presentation, Revelation 4:2, which, considered in itself alone, can designate the entire recent entrance of the ecstatic condition, has its justification in that an entirely new elevation of prophetic ecstasy belongs thereto, whereby John can ascend in spirit to heaven, and behold what is there shown him. Hence De Wette and Ebrard properly compare with this, Ezekiel 11:5. Even Hengstenb.(1669) has to acknowledge, that, while Revelation 4:2 designates “the complete entrance into the state of ecstasy,” yet Revelation 4:1 already is to be regarded a “preparation” to this condition.

Züll., incorrectly, just as Revelation 1:10 : “I was there [in heaven] by ecstasy.”

In rapid succession directly follows the description of that which is presented to the view of the one drawn into heaven: καὶ ἰδοὺ, θρόνος ἔκειτο, κ. τ. λ. To this entire description, there is a parallel in the Pirke, R. Elieser,(1670) which is very instructive, because it shows how differently, with many similar features, the O. T. types(1671) appear in a N. T. prophet, and the rabbins:(1672) “Four bands of ministering angels praise God. The first is of Michael, on the right; the second, of Gabriel, on the left; the third, of Uriel, before him; the fourth, of Raphael, behind him. But the shekinah of God is in the centre, and he himself is seated on a lofty, elevated throne; and his seat is high, suspended in the air. The splendor of his magnificence is like Chasmal (Ezekiel 1:4). Upon his head is placed a crown, and upon his brow a diadem with Schemhamphorasch. His eyes go through the whole earth; a part of them is fire, but a part hail. On his right is life; on his left, death; and a fiery sceptre is in his hand. Before him is stretched out a veil ( פרכת), and seven angels who were created from the beginning minister before him within the veil. But that which is called פרגוד, and the footstool of his feet, are like fire and lightning, and shine beneath the throne of his glory like sapphire and fire. About his throne are righteousness and judgment. The place of his throne is that of the seven clouds surrounding him with glory; and the wheel of his chariot, and the cherub, and the living ones give to him glory. His throne is like sapphire, and at his feet are four living ones, each of whom has four faces, and as many wings. When God speaks from the east, this is done between the two cherubim with the face of a man; when from the south, then between the two cherubim with the face of a lion; when from the west, then between the two cherubim with the face of an ox; when from the north, then between the two cherubim with the face of an eagle.

The living ones also stand beside the throne of glory, yet they know not the place of his glory. The living ones stand also in fear and trembling, in horror and agitation, and from this agitation of their faces, a river of fire flows forth before them. Of the two seraphim, one stands at God’s right hand, another at his left. Each has six wings; with two they cover their face, lest they may see the face of the shekinah; with two they cover their feet, lest the feet may see the shekinah, and immediately be able to find his footstep; but with two they fly, dread and sanctify his great name. One cries out, and another replies, saying, etc.

And the living ones stand beside his glory, yet they know not the place of his glory, but in every place where his glory is, they cry and say, Blessed be the glory of God in its place.”

θρόνος-g0- ἔκειτο-g0-. The expression κεῖσθαι indicates neither an especial breadth of the throne,(1673) nor that it rests upon the cherubim,(1674) because the word here, as in Jeremiah 24:1, LXX.; John 2:6; John 19:29, and in the classics,(1675) expresses the simple idea of “being placed.”(1676)

καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν θρόνον καθή΄ενος. The mode of representation itself, according to which the reference here is to “one sitting,” and in Revelation 4:3,(1677) the one mentioned in Revelation 4:2 is described simply as “the sitting one,” shows that John does not mention this sitting one more definitely, because he wishes here to do nothing more than with perfect fidelity to report the vision which he has had.(1678) In Revelation 1:12 sqq., also, he has not expressly mentioned the manifestation of Christ. Utterly preposterous is the declaration of Heinr.: “The name seems to have been omitted only by carelessness in writing, which is especially conspicuous in this entire chapter.” Just as impertinent is the allusion to the Jewish dread of uttering the name of God.(1679) Suitable in itself to John would be the explanation of Herder: “To name him, the soul has no image, language no word;”(1680) but even this is not here applicable, as John in general, even where he definitely mentions the vision here described, expressly calls God the enthroned one.(1681) These passages show at the same time that the enthroned one is regarded(1682) not as the Triune God,(1683) but as God the Father, in distinction from the Son,(1684) and the Spirit.(1685) So Alcas., Stern, Grot., Wetst., Vitr., Beng., Hengstenb., etc.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 4:2. ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, in heaven) Thus the heavenly court is described. Those things which the Apocalypse everywhere touches upon of heavenly subjects, viz. the temple, the throne, the assembly, the altar, the ark of the covenant, may not inappropriately be illustrated from the writings of the ancient Hebrews. See the Dissertation V. of Christian Schoettgenius, appended to the Horæ Hebraicæ, pp. 1212–1223.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In the Spirit; in an ecstasy, as Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:2, and Peter, Acts 10:10, and Ezekiel, Ezekiel 3:12, and himself was both before and after this, Revelation 1:10 17:3 21:10.

A throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne: God is constantly described, in the prophetical visions, as sitting upon a throne, to denote his power and dominion, that he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. See Daniel 7:9, &c.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-4.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

я был в духе См. пояснение к 1:10.

престол Речь идет не о предмете мебели, а о символе верховного господства и власти (7:15; 11:19; 16:17, 18; ср. Ис. 6:1). Слово является основным в гл. 4, где оно встречается 13 раз и 11 раз означает «престол Господень».

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-4.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

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.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Immediately I was in Spirit and, behold, there was a throne set in Heaven, and one sitting on the throne.’

There is no suggestion this time that he is carried forward to the Lord’s day. Rather he is carried ‘upward’ into Heaven. And there he sees a throne set in Heaven. Whatever happens on earth, God is on His throne.

‘One sitting on the throne’. This is the description used throughout the book for God the Father (see Revelation 5:13; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 7:10). The Lord reigns! (1 Chronicles 16:31; Psalms 93:1; Psalms 96:10; Psalms 97:1; Psalms 99:1) That the throne was ‘set’ in Heaven does not mean set for a special purpose, for, unlike in Daniel, there is no suggestion that the other thrones are less than permanent. In a sense (from a literal point of view) the throne was set for all time

Throughout the Bible God is regularly depicted as being on a throne because He is sovereign over the universe. In 1 Kings 22:19 Micaiah declares, ‘I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left’. The point is that he does view the Lord in terms of a king on His throne with heavenly attendants.

Isaiah says, ‘I saw the Lord, sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. And above him stood the ‘seraphim’ ( probably meaning ‘those who burn up’, therefore purifiers - see Revelation 4:6-7); each one had six wings, with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew, and one cried to another and said, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:2 on).’ Again the Lord is depicted as a king on His throne, this time with fewer heavenly attendants, but in this case they are within the Temple for a special purpose, the purifying and commissioning of Isaiah for His task ahead. (Revelation 4:7-8 seem to equate the seraphim with the cherubim, see later on those verses).

Ezekiel 1:4-28 depicts four living creatures, the cherubim, each in the likeness of a man, each with four faces and four wings, two of the wings connecting with those of the other living creatures and two covering their bodies. The four faces are those of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. Their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches, and they were accompanied by bright fire and lightning. (In Ezekiel 10:12 their whole body, and their backs and their hands and their wings, and the wheels, are full of eyes round about).

They were also accompanied by sets of wheels (called ‘the whirling wheels’ Ezekiel 10:13 - possibly with whirlwinds in mind) which went wherever the living creatures went. Over their heads as they flew, joined together by their wings, was the likeness of a firmament (beaten out plate), like the colour of awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads, which they were clearly bearing along. And above the firmament was the likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone, and on the likeness of the throne was ‘the likeness of the appearance of a man on it above, and I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upwards. And from the appearance of his loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. As the appearance of the rainbow was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord’. This whole description is clearly based on the mercy seat above the ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle, confirming that that was seen as the throne of the invisible God, and in Ezekiel it is seen as a moving chariot bearing the Lord around.

There the Lord is depicted as on a transportable throne, borne by the cherubim (Revelation 10:1), with the aim of showing that He has deserted the Temple and is now with His people in the land of the Chaldeans.

Daniel says, ‘I watched until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days did sit, his clothing was white as snow and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames and the wheels of it burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came out from before him, thousand thousands ministered to him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set and the books were opened’. Interestingly Daniel also sees God’s throne as transportable (wheels of burning fire). Note also that there were either two or a number of other thrones ‘placed’. The other may have been awaiting the coming of the son of man. This seems the most probable as no other reason for the plural thrones is given, whereas his enthronement is described, or they may possibly be for the more important members of His court who are seen as sitting in judgment (Daniel 7:9).

A throne is also assumed (and specifically mentioned in Hebrews 12:2) in such passages as Hebrews 1:3, where the Lord Jesus is sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (compare Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33-35; Acts 7:56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). The stress in these cases is that Jesus is sat down (or stands) at the right hand of God, i.e. takes His place with the Father, receiving supreme authority. He is His ‘right hand man’ (Psalms 80:17).

It is clear from all this that God is seen as having a throne wherever He wills in order to reveal His sovereignty and to carry out His purposes. He is always accompanied by heavenly attendants, although of varying descriptions. When limited to only one kind they are there to perform a particular service. When His purpose is to carry out judgment He is attended by a considerable host, some of whom are possibly enthroned, as with minor kings to a Great King on earth. The passages depicting Jesus as at the right hand of God may be thought to suggest a permanent throne, but what they in fact declare in picture form is God’s permanent sovereignty and Jesus’ participation in that sovereignty. So the throne set in Heaven follows this pattern.

However, although the vision that John sees may appear to be of what seems physical, it is really, as with the other visions, a way of revealing spiritual truth. Thus for example, when in 2 Kings 6:17 Elisha’s servant sees horses and chariots of fire, this does not mean that in Heaven there are permanently horses and chariots. Rather he is being shown in terms that relate to his own day the power of God to save and deliver from the hands of men. In the same way John is having spiritual reality brought home to him in a way he can understand and appreciate, and pass on to others. In fact there is no physical throne like an earthly throne in Heaven for God is not physical. He is Spirit (as we also will be in our resurrection bodies - 1 Corinthians 15:42-45). It is put in earthly terms for our benefit. What there really is we cannot begin to conceive

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-4.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

As soon as John heard this invitation, he entered another visionary state (cf. Revelation 1:10). His body remained on the earth, but he saw a throne and someone sitting on it in heaven (cf. Ezekiel 11:1; Ezekiel 11:5). [Note: See J. M. Vogelgesang, "The Interpretation of Ezekiel in the Book of Revelation," (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1985).] "Throne" occurs45 times in Revelation and only15 times in the rest of the New Testament. The tense of the Greek verb translated "sitting" (present participle here and in Revelation 4:3) suggests continuous sitting. The person on the throne was undoubtedly God the Father (cf. Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:5; Revelation 5:7; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:4). John apparently saw a very large room with a throne in the center of it and someone sitting on the throne (cf. 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Psalm 11:4; Psalm 47:8; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:26; Daniel 7:9).

" Daniel, the prophet, saw the same glorious sight ( Daniel 7): the Ancient of Days enthroned, and "One like unto a son of man brought near before him" and given "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, and languages should serve him."" [Note: Newell, p84. Daniel 7:13-14; cf. Daniel 7:9; Ezekiel 1.]

This was probably a room in the heavenly temple since later John also saw the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant there ( Revelation 8:3; Revelation 11:19).

"The major focus of chapter4upon the throne is its symbolism of God"s sovereignty exercised in judgment. From this point of origination proceeds the outworking of God"s wrath described in the body of the Apocalypse (cf. Revelation 6:10; Revelation 6:16-17; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 15:1; Revelation 16:5; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:20; Revelation 19:2; Revelation 19:11). Though evil reigns for a time on earth, God will ultimately prevail." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, pp339-40.]

Some pretribulational commentators have seen a representation of the rapture of the church in this verse. They view John entering heaven in his vision as symbolic of Christians entering heaven at the Rapture. [Note: E.g, Ironside, p80.] This is probably reading too much into the text since it was John himself who entered heaven, and he entered heaven in a vision, not in reality.

The absence of specific reference to the Rapture in Revelation has led some (posttribulational) interpreters to conclude that it will occur at the Second Coming, following the Tribulation judgments. Yet the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming, as various Scriptures refer to these events, make this extremely improbable (cf. John 14:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 with Revelation 19). The unusual absence of reference to the Rapture may be due to God"s purpose in chapters4-19, namely, to focus on the judgments coming on unbelievers culminating in the Second Coming. There are20 references to the church in chapters1-3but none until Revelation 22:17. This strongly implies that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation. Evidently the Rapture takes place between chapters3,4.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-4.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 4:2. As the closing expression of Revelation 4:1 in the Authorised Version, after these things, is not necessary to complete the meaning of the clause to which it is at present added, it seems better to connect it with what follows at the beginning of the second verse. It thus constitutes a resumption of the same expression in Revelation 4:1, and introduces the true beginning of the visions to be described. St. John is prepared for them by passing into the spiritual or ecstatic state. Even in Revelation 4:1, indeed, he was in that state; but here, where the visions begin, there is a propriety in making special mention of the fact, and the word was, which is properly ‘became,’ may be designed to call our attention to the renewal of the first vividness or fervour of his spiritual condition. Two things are seen:—(1) A throne set in heaven (comp. Ezekiel 1:26-28). The verb ‘set’ seems to express not merely that the throne was there, but that it was so by the Divine appointment and arrangement (comp. Jeremiah 24:1; Luke 2:34; John 2:6; John 20:5-7; Revelation 21:16). For the particular shape and aspect of the throne see on Revelation 4:6. (2) One sitting on the throne. It is not easy to determine who is meant. That the Sitter on the throne is neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit is indeed obvious from the fact that in later verses He is distinguished from them both (chaps. Revelation 5:5; Revelation 5:13, Revelation 6:16). But is He the Father or the Triune God? Commentators generally adopt the former view, but there is much that may seem rather to determine in favour of the latter. The whole scene is founded upon Isaiah 6, where we have not only the throne high and lifted up, the seraphim, and the train filling the temple, but also the Trisagion, ‘Holy, holy, holy,’ etc. The vision of Isaiah, however, is always justly regarded as one of the greatest adumbrations of the Trinity contained in the Old Testament (comp. especially Revelation 4:8, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’), so that we are thus naturally led to think now also of the Trinity. In addition, it has to be observed that one great distinction between the visions of chap. 4 and chap. 5 seems to lie in this, that in the former we have the Almighty presented to us as He is in Himself absolutely, that in the latter only are we directly introduced to the Covenant of grace in which we learn to know God as Father. Nor does it seem that there ought to be any peculiar difficulty in accepting this interpretation on the ground that the Son and the Holy Spirit are afterwards spoken of as if distinct from Him who occupied the throne. All that is contended for is, that God is here introduced to us as He is in Himself, and not according to that separation of hypostases or personalities revealed to us in other passages of Scripture. We deal as yet with the Divine Being as He exists in Himself, and with Him viewed in that light the conception of Trinity in Unity is fundamentally connected.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-4.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 4:2. Immediately I was in the Spirit — Even in a higher degree than before. “This phrase,” says Doddridge, “signifies to be under a strong and supernatural impulse, caused by the miraculous operation of the Spirit of God acting on the imagination, in such a manner as to open extraordinary scenes, which had not any exact external archetype. And it is much illustrated by the view presented to Ezekiel, when he sat in his house among the elders of the people, (Ezekiel 8:1,) who probably saw nothing but the prophet himself, as one who was in a trance or ecstasy, or whose thoughts were so attentively fixed as to be insensible of what passed around him. We are not therefore to imagine that the person sitting on the throne, or the four animals, or the four and twenty elders, were real beings existing in nature, though they represented, in a figurative manner, things that did really exist. And, though it is possible that aerial scenes might, by divine or angelic power, have been formed, I think it much more probable that all that passed was purely in the imagination of St. John. This will keep us, in our interpretation, clear of a thousand difficulties, not to say absurdities, which would follow from a contrary supposition, namely, that there is in heaven an animal in the form of a lamb, to represent Christ, and that there are such living creatures as here described; and that God himself appears in a human form,” &c.

Behold, a throne was set in heaven — Representing that of the blessed God; and one sat on the throne — Of a majestic form and appearance, and arrayed in robes of glory as a king, governor, and judge. Here is described God, the Almighty, the Father of heaven, in his majesty, glory, and dominion.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-4.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I was in the spirit, rapt as it were in an ecstacy into heaven, and saw a throne, and one sitting, representing God the Father. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-4.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Perhaps John repeats the fact that he is in the Spirit because he wants us to realize this is not a reference to his, or the church"s, bodily resurrection. (Revelation 1:10) With all that was, and would be, happening to these Christians, it seems very important that John should see the throne and God seated upon it. (Psalms 103:19)

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-4.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

was = became, came to be. See Revelation 1:9, Revelation 1:10.

in the Spirit. i.e. in or by the power of the Spirit, as Revelation 1:10.

Spirit. App-101.

sat = sitting.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

And. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac.

I was - `I became in the Spirit' (note, Revelation 1:10); rapt in vision into the heavenly world.

Was set - not was placed, but was situated [ ekeito (Greek #2749)].

One sat on the throne - the Eternal Father: the Creator (Revelation 4:11 : cf. Revelation 5:8, with Revelation 1:4): the Father, 'which is, and was, and is to come.' When the Son, "the Lamb," is introduced (Revelation 5:5-9), a new song is sung which distinguishes the Sitter on the throne from the Lamb; and Rev. 4:13, "Unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." So in Daniel 7:13, the Son of man brought before the Ancient of days is distinguished from Him. The Father in essence is invisible, but at times is represented assuming a visible form.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-4.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) And immediately I was in the spirit.— Comp. Revelation 1:10. The mind and soul were absorbed in the vision of things celestial. (See. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4.)

“Words may not tell of that transhuman change;

If I were only what Thou didst create,

Then newly, Love ! by whom the heaven is ruled,

Thou know’st, who by Thy light didst bear me up.” —

Paradiso, i. 68-73.

And, behold, a throne was set (i.e., not that the seer saw the throne being set, but when he saw it was already set) in heaven, and one sat on the throne.—Comp. Micaiah’s speech (1 Kings 22:19). The enthroned One is not named. Have we here a touch of the Jewish reluctance to name Jehovah? or is it that the descriptive phrase, “He that sat on the throne” is Used here, and kept before us in the whole book to remind us that the great world drama moves forward ever under the eyes of the ruling One. (Comp, Revelation 5:1; Revelation 5:7; Revelation 6:15; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:5.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
I was
1:10; 17:3; 21:10; Ezekiel 3:12-14
a throne
5; 20:11; Isaiah 6:1; Jeremiah 17:12; Ezekiel 1:26,28; 10:1
and one
9; 3:21; 5:1,6,7,13; 6:16; 7:9-17; 12:5; 19:4; 21:5; 22:1-3; Isaiah 6:1; Daniel 7:9; Hebrews 8:1
Reciprocal: Numbers 2:2 - about the;  1 Kings 22:19 - I saw the Lord;  Psalm 11:4 - the Lord's;  Ezekiel 8:3 - the spirit;  Matthew 22:43 - GeneralMatthew 23:22 - by the;  Acts 10:10 - he fell;  2 Corinthians 12:2 - in the;  Revelation 7:10 - sitteth;  Revelation 14:3 - throne

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-4.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

In the sp/irit means the vision was opening up before him. The first thing he saw was a throne in heaven and the throne was not vacant; one sat on the th- Romans -ne. That indicated that heaven had an occupant who had authority to give rule over the earth as well as over-other persons in heaven.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-4.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 4:2

Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

As soon as Christ has said unto John, come up hither, he was immediately in the spirit; that Isaiah, without any delay, instantly,

" I was in the spirit"

or in a spiritual rapture and ecstasy. (See the exposition, Revelation 1:10).

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:10

" And behold, a throne was set in heaven."

This metaphorical word is borrowed from the great monarchs and kings of the earth, who have their thrones set for judgement, { Psalm 122:5} The throne of his father David, which God promised to give Jesus Christ, {Luke 1:31-33} or else mystically it is the Church of God, which is called glorious throne, { Jeremiah 17:12} A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary; and { Jeremiah 3:17} Jerusalem, the throne of JEHOVAH.

" And one sat on the throne"

namely, King Jesus, { Isaiah 41:14-15} I AM JEHOVAH, your holy ONE, the creator of Israel your King, The King of Saints, { Revelation 15:3} The King of Sion, { Psalm 149:1-2} The King of Nations, { Jeremiah 10:7} The only Potentate, { 1 Timothy 6:15} the King of Kings. { Revelation 19:12-16}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-4.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 4:2. And immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne lay in heaven, and upon the throne one sat. The expression: I was in the Spirit, is purposely a literal agreement with ch. Revelation 1:10, in order to intimate, that here the second vision begins. Bengel: "He was at once lifted above all that is natural and placed amid divine things, had his whole soul filled, illuminated, and occupied by these." By his being in the Spirit, is marked his complete entrance upon the state of ecstacy. Without some previous partial experience of this state, John could not have seen the door that was opened in heaven. Zllig's exposition: "And presently I was [there, in heaven] in a sort of ecstacy, my spirit was snatched up thither, while my body remained upon earth," deserves no refutation. Bengel improperly remarks on being in the Spirit, "this extends to all the seals, trumpets, and vials." This vision does not extend beyond the seven seals. A quite new series begins with ch. Revelation 8:2.

We have here not a representation of the usual heavenly state, but an assembly of counsel and judgment, in which a decision is come to regarding the ungodly world. To this view we are led by ch. 5, according to which all turns on the opening of the book with the seven seals, which has respect to the punishment of the world, for its enmity to God. To the same conclusion points also the representation given in this chapter of the scene itself; all the traits have at once a threatening and a consolatory character, are adapted to frighten the persecutors, to raise the persecuted to a joyful hope; they perfectly accord with the humour of John, as one who was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ, and of the companions in tribulation for whom he wrote. Representations of similar councils of judgment are to be found in 1 Kings 22:19, Isaiah 6, Daniel 7:9, ss., where the thrones were first set. It is not said elsewhere: a throne lay in heaven. The throne did not stand upon the earth, but it rested on the cherubim, which, according to Revelation 4:6, were in the midst of the throne.[Note: That to lay is used here simply for standing, cannot be proved from Jeremiah 24:1, LXX., John 2:6; John 19:29. For what holds of baskets and vessels does not hold of a throne with feet.]On the words: upon the throne one sat, Bengel remarks, "That it is the Father, whose majesty here shines forth on the throne, is sufficiently clear from this consideration, that here as elsewhere, he is distinguished from the Lamb, and from the seven Spirits, as we read in Revelation 4:5 of this chapter, and in ch. Revelation 5:13. The kingdom is originally the Father's, and remains his. For, Christ sits on the Father's throne, ch. Revelation 3:21, on the right hand of the Almighty Father." it is otherwise in Ezekiel. There one sat upon the throne, who resembled the Son of man. He does not distinguish between the Father and the Son, or the Father makes himself known in the Son. But Daniel 7:13 is similar, as there one like the Son of man comes to the Ancient of days in the clouds of heaven. That the name of the person sitting is not given, is not to be explained with Herder, from his glory being such as to transcend all description ("the soul has no image to name him, language no word"), but simply because here only what was seen is described. In Ezekiel too, in Ezekiel 1:4-27, for a like reason no name is given. Both hearer and reader must supply it.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-4.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.Immediately—On ascending and entering the door.

In the Spirit—If this means his own spirit, then the thought is, that his consciousness, withdrawing from all perceptions of the things of sense, concentrated itself into the higher realm of the spirit, and, entering into full sympathy with the divine Spirit, became fully perceptive of things in the supersensible world, and especially of a series of symbols presented by the divine Spirit to the eye of his spirit.

A throne was set—Literally, was tying; again the thing is there in the position before seen by the seer. Bengel says, the term lying is applied to the throne, from its breadth; to which Dusterdieck replies, that the same term is used in the Septuagint, Jeremiah 24:1, in John 2:6; John 19:29, and in the classics; and so is the ordinary term to express a throne’s position. Nevertheless, it may be, and probably is, we think, from the breadth of the ancient thrones, (upon which more than one could sit, Revelation 3:21,) that the term became ordinary.

One sat—Unnamed: not merely (as Alford and others) because the writer strictly narrates “only what he saw,” though that was measurably true. The one was doubtless both unseen and unnamed for the same reason, namely, as says Herder, finely, “the mind has no figure and the tongue no word by which to express him.” The seer beholds and describes only the colours of the dense glory that indicates his presence. It is true, as Dusterdieck objects, that the same withholding of name appears with regard to Christ in Revelation 1:13-20, and following two chapters, also, perhaps, in the angelophany of chapter 10, where see note. And that, we reply, is from a similar reverent mystery suited to Christ, who is designated with a whole cluster of glorious paraphrases, but never by his proper name. Here the symbolic mystery of reverence as suited to God is sublimely expressed by Herder’s words. Nor is its reality at all affected, as Dusterdieck supposes, by the fact that elsewhere the occupant of the throne is explicitly named; see Revelation 7:10; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:4; Revelation 22:1. The symbolic purpose is none the less intended here because it is not preserved elsewhere. The purpose is here the same as it was in the Holy of Holies—namely, to symbolize the truth of divine Personality and specialty of Presence, yet to refuse all specific form, which would authenticate idolatry.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-4.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 4:2. A fresh wave of ecstasy catches up the seer. , repeating Revelation 1:10, not because the author had forgotten his previous statement, and still less because a new source begins here (Vischer), but simply because every successive phase of this Spirit-consciousness, every new access of ecstasy, was considered to be the result of a fresh inspiration; so the O.T. prophets (e.g., Ezekiel 11:1 . . ., followed by Ezekiel 11:5 , Ezekiel 2:2 and Ezekiel 3:24; cf. Enoch xiv. 9 followed by ver 14 . . . . . ., lxxi. 1 and 5, etc.). The primitive Christian conception of the Spirit was that of a sudden and repeated transport rather than a continuous experience (Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31, etc.), particularly in the region of ecstasy. The royal presence is depicted in this theophany by means of similes and metaphors (partly rabbinic) which originally were suggested in part by the marvellous atmospheric colouring of an Eastern sky during storm or sunset; several had been for long traditional and fanciful modes of expressing the divine transcendence (e.g., En. xiv. 18 f. the divine glory like crystal, etc.) which dominates the Apocalypse. God is a silent, enthroned (cf.1 Kings 22:19 etc.), eternal Figure, hidden by the very excess of light, keeping ward and watch over his people, but never directly interfering in their affairs till the judgment, when mankind appears before his throne for doom and recompense. This reluctance to name or describe God, so characteristic of the later Judaism, was allied to the feeling which mediated his action upon the world through angels or through his Christ (see on Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 15:8). For the tendency to describe God and heaven in priestly terms, cf. Gfrörer, i. 276 f. The whole of the present passage is illustrated by Pirke Elieser, iv.: “majestas sancti benedicti est in medio quattuor classium angelicarum. Ipse insidet throno excelso eleuatus, atque solium eius sublime suspensum est sursum in aere, figura autem gloriae eius est sicut color Chasonal, juxta uerba prophetiae (Ezekiel 1:27) ’ atque oculi per totum orbem discurrunt. Sagittae eius sunt ignis et grando; a dextra eius uita est, a sinistramors, sceptrum ignitum in manu eius. Expansum est ante eum uelum, et septem angeli qui prius creati sunt, famulantur ei ante uelum ’ infra thronum gloriae eius est sicuti lapis sapphiri.”

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 4:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-4.html. 1897-1910.