Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Revelation
Book: Revelation
Chapter: 4

A Vision of God, as On his glorious Throne, around which were
twenty-four elders and four Living creatures. (1-8) Whose Songs,
and those of the holy angels, the Apostle heard. (9-11)

1-8 After the Lord Jesus had instructed the Apostle to write to
the churches "the things that are," there was another Vision.
The Apostle saw a Throne set in Heaven, an emblem of the
universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the
Throne, not described By human features, So as to be represented
By a likeness or image, but only By his surpassing brightness.
These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and
of God's awful Justice. The Rainbow is a fit emblem of that
Covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head
of the Church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing
Colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing
nature of the new Covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the
Throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing,
probably, the whole Church of God. Their Sitting denotes honour,
Rest, and satisfaction; their Sitting about the Throne signifies
nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They
were clothed in White raiment; the imputed Righteousness of the
saints and their Holiness: they had On their heads crowns of
Gold, signifying the Glory they have with him. Lightnings and
voices came from the Throne; the awful declarations God makes to
his Church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of
Fire were burning before the Throne; the Gifts, graces, and
operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ,
dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits
upon the Throne. In the Gospel Church, the Laver for
Purification is the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which
cleanses from all Sin. In this all must be washed, to be
admitted into the gracious presence of God On Earth, and his
glorious presence in Heaven. The Apostle saw four living
creatures, between the Throne and the circle of the elders,
standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the
true ministers of the Gospel, because of their place between God
and the people. This also is shown By the description given,
denoting Wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the
affections By which they Mount up toward Heaven.

9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their Redemption and
Conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the
eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious,
thankful Songs of the redeemed in Heaven. Would we On Earth do
like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united,
not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not