The Rainbow Round the Throne
Revelation 4:2-5
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.…

I. The obvious idea connected with a "throne" is that of POWER or dominion. It is the known public seat of legislation, government, and judgment, surrounded with all the pomp and circumstance of state ceremony and outward splendour. Before it the loyal are proud to bow in token of their homage. At its footstool the rebel is eager to fall prostrate, that he may sue for mercy. And from it the traitor hastens to flee lest his sentence of condemnation should be pronounced by the sovereign. Now let us carry these simple ideas to the interpretation of the symbol employed in the text. Conceive for a moment that the vision vouchsafed to the apostle were granted to you. How inconceivably exalted would your views of the Divine glory become! You would feel that power belongeth unto God! Let us consider how it is exalted by His other perfections. Omnipotence alone, if it were not guided by omniscience, would only he the source of unmeasured and inconceivable confusion and mercy. But "blessed," says the prophet, "be the name of our God for ever and ever, for wisdom and might are His." Again, even this combination of attributes would not afford sufficient security for the happiness of His subjects, unless it were hallowed by the most perfect purity. But He is emphatically "the Holy One of Israel."

II. A second emblem connected with the former, which, whilst it detracts nothing from its glory, softens its splendours, and mitigates its terrors. "And there was a rainbow," it is said, "round about the throne." This is the symbol of MERCY; and independently of its being God's own instituted type, it has a native significance which it is delightful to notice. The most striking feature in the natural rainbow is the skill in which its beauteous variety of colours is blended together. Have we not here a most exquisite emblem of the way in which the Divine attributes all harmonise together, whilst mercy, so to speak, is the emerald grace, and presents the prevailing and refreshing hue? What, to the sinner, is power without mercy but a sure pledge of his destruction. Infinite wisdom only closes the door against the possibility of escaping detection. Holiness banishes him for ever from the presence of Him who is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity," whilst justice records the sentence of His condemnation in characters of flame. But how blessed the change when "mercy and truth meet together — righteousness and peace kiss each other." The eternal wisdom is engaged to plan, almighty power to execute, the scheme of redemption — justice is appeased in the person of the sinner's surety — all guilt is removed, and perfect righteousness imputed through faith in the blood of atonement; and holiness itself is satisfied through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. But the most precious and important feature of the emblem is still unnoticed. It not merely tells of mercy, but covenant mercy; and was instituted as God's own sign for this very purpose. And blessed indeed are the provisions of that covenant! It tells no more of works of righteousness to be done by the sinner as the condition of his eternal salvation. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord. I will put My laws into their mind," etc.

(C. F. Childe, M. A.)

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

WEB: Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne

The Rainbow Round About the Throne
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