Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Revelation 4:3

    Revelation 4:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he that sat was to look on like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And to my eyes he was like a jasper and a sardius stone: and there was an arch of light round the high seat, like an emerald.

    Webster's Revision

    and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.

    World English Bible

    that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.

    Definitions for Revelation 4:3

    Sardine - A beautiful stone.

    Clarke's Commentary on Revelation 4:3

    And he that sat - There is here no description of the Divine Being, so as to point out any similitude, shape, or dimensions. The description rather aims to point out the surrounding glory and effulgence than the person of the almighty King. See a similar description Numbers 24:10, etc., and the notes there.

    Barnes' Notes on Revelation 4:3

    And he that sat was to look upon - Was in appearance; or, as I looked upon him, this seemed to be his appearance. He does not describe his form, but his splendor.

    Like a jasper - ἰάσπιδι iaspidi The jasper, properly, is "an opaque, impure variety of quartz, of red, yellow, and also of some dull colors, breaking with a smooth surface. It admits of a high polish, and is used for vases, seals, snuff-boxes, etc. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped jasper" (Dana, in Webster's Dictionary). The color here is not designated, whether red or yellow. As the red was, however, the common color worn by princes, it is probable that that was the color that appeared, and that John means to say that he appeared like a prince in his royal robes. Compare Isaiah 6:1.

    And a sardine stone - σαρδίῳ sardiō This denotes a precious stone of a bloodred, or sometimes of a flesh-color, more commonly known by the name of carnelian (Robinson's Lexicon). Thus, it corresponds with the jasper, and this is only an additional circumstance to convey the exact idea in the mind of John, that the appearance of him who sat on the throne was that of a prince in his scarlet robes. This is all the description which he gives of his appearance; and this is:

    (a) entirely appropriate, as it suggests the idea of a prince or a monarch; and,

    (b) it is well adapted to impress the mind with a sense of the majesty of Him who cannot be described, and of whom no image should be attempted. Compare Deuteronomy 4:12; "Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude."

    And there was a rainbow round about the throne - This is a beautiful image, and was probably designed to be emblematical as well as beautiful. The previous representation is that of majesty and splendor; this is adapted to temper the majesty of the representation. The rainbow has always, from its own nature, and from its associations, been an emblem of peace. It appears on the cloud as the storm passes away. It contrasts beautifully with the tempest that has just been raging. It is seen as the rays of the sun again appear clothing all things with beauty - the more beautiful from the fact that the storm has come, and that the rain has fallen. If the rain has been gentle, nature smiles serenely, and the leaves and flowers refreshed appear clothed with new beauty: if the storm has raged violently, the appearance of the rainbow is a pledge that the war of the elements has ceased, and that God smiles again upon the earth. It reminds us, too, of the "covenant" when God did "set his bow in the cloud," and solemnly promised that the earth should no more be destroyed by a flood, Genesis 9:9-16. The appearance of the rainbow, therefore, around the throne, was a beautiful emblem of the mercy of God, and of the peace that was to pervade the world as the result of the events that were to be disclosed to the vision of John. True, there were lightnings and thunderings and voices, but there the bow abode calmly above them all, assuring him that there was to be mercy and peace.

    In sight like unto an emerald - The emerald is green, and this color so predominated in the bow that it seemed to be made of this species of precious stone. The modified and mild color of green appears to everyone to predominate in the rainbow. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28) has introduced the image of the rainbow, also, in his description of the vision that appeared to him, though not as calmly encircling the throne, but as descriptive of the general appearance of the scene. "As is the appearance of the bow that is on the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about." Milton, also, has introduced it, but it is also as a part of the coloring of the throne:

    "Over their heads a crystal firmament,

    Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure.

    Amber, and colors of the showery arch."

    - Paradise Lost, b. vii.