And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.…
I. THE RAINBOW.
1. It reclaimed the fact of the Divine reconciliation. What! is the rainbow in the cloud the symbol of the God of peace? And can the rainbow round about the throne be the symbol of the God of wrath, the God of war? Nay, it bears the same import in both the one case and the other; and how, then, like the elders before the throne, should the new song be ever so much upon our lips at the sight, and even at the very thought, of it.
2. And then, in virtue of the Divine reconciliation, the rainbow further intimated that providence is administered under the reign of grace.
3. After all, the grand purpose of the rainbow was to seal or ratify the covenant of God. It is certain there cannot be a flood in presence of a rainbow.
II. THE POSITION OF THE RAINBOW. The rainbow is round about the throne — not above, as dominating, or upon, as occupying, but round about, as encompassing the throne; and in this regard its position is as significantly instructive as it is itself.
1. It evidently carries us up to the Divine origin of the covenant. This covenant is most certainly of Divine authorship. It is an exclusively Divine product. The rainbow is made up of various intermediate elements, the eye, the sunshine, and the rain. But not the covenant. It is all God Himself.
2. This further intimates that the Divine majesty rules in the covenant throughout. Let us never suppose that God has abdicated His throne when He dispenses mercy, that He has laid aside His majesty when He exercises grace.
3. Once more, by the position of the rainbow, we are assured that the covenant will never pass from the Divine remembrance.
III. THE ASPECT OF THE RAINBOW. The natural rainbow is of varied hue; but green is the prevailing colour in the rainbow round about the throne — here said to be "in sight like unto an emerald." Now, let us observe why this rainbow has so much in it, not of heaven's, but of earth's colour, not sky-blue, but emerald-green.
1. It indicates that there is a refreshing beauty in the covenant which is never wearisome to look at. Some colours, even heaven's own azure-blue, soon dazzle or fatigue the vision. The earth's soft emerald-green never does. Hence the prevailing colour of this rainbow. To look at the throne, and Him who sits on it, in the fire-light resplendence of His holiness, "like a jasper and a sardine stone," how can we do so without having our eyes, as it were, burned out? But with this emerald-green of covenant love and grace all round, how the sight of that very glory becomes a beatific vision. We see God and live.
2. And again, this emerald-green of the rainbow may be held to intimate that there is an essential unity in the covenant, whatever variety may circumstantially distinguish it. There is no rainbow without the sevenfold variety of the prismatic colours, yet these colours are all harmoniously blended together in its arch of beauty; at least, they are so blended together by the prevailing green of the rainbow round about the throne. And yet, again, the symbol is in this regard significant. There is a manifold variety of Divine promises and blessings which at sundry times and in divers manners have been given in sovereign manifestation from the throne; but they are all suffused with the one ever-permeating tint of grace, new covenant grace.
3. Yet, once again, the everlasting duration of the covenant may be said to be shadowed forth in the emerald aspect of "the rainbow round about the throne."
(E. A. Thomson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.