“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 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” (Rev. 4:2–3).
When the heavens open and John is invited up, he says that he was immediately “in the spirit” (v. 2). This is the second time this has happened in the book—the first is when he received the initial vision of the Lord Jesus walking among the churches (Rev. 1:10). Here is the vision of the Lord Jesus enthroned in Heaven.
This vision is very similar to the vision that Ezekiel saw at the beginning of his book (Eze. 1:26-28). Here it says that the color of the one who sat on the throne was like jasper, which can be red, yellow, brown or green. Sardius (known to us as carnelian) is red in color. In Ezekiel, the one who sat on the throne was described as the color of amber in the midst of fire. Here in Revelation, there is a rainbow around the throne, but the rainbow is described as emerald green. In Ezekiel, it is simply described as a rainbow. Clearly John is functioning in an intertextual way, wanting us to think of Ezekiel’s vision while at the same time developing it. The bow is around the throne, and so we should think of it as having a halo effect.
The first color mentioned is the color of jasper, which was the last stone in the high priest’s breastplate (Ex. 28:20; Ex. 39:13). The second stone mentioned here is sardius, which is the first stone in that same breastplate (Ex. 28:17).