The Throne of Grace, and the Throne of Rightesouness

Revelation 4  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
WITHOUT entering fully into the interpretation of this chapter, I desire to notice some points in it, and by grace to apply them to ourselves.
1. The character of the throne which is seen in the chapter.
2. The position of the elders, or translated saints.
3. Their attitude when the praises of Him who sat on the throne are celebrated.
The throne here seen is evidently not the "throne of grace "-(Heb. 4)-which characterizes that to which as believers we draw nigh, in the present state of things; here it is plainly one of judgment in righteousness-:a throne set to judge the quick-as that of Rev. 20:1111And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (Revelation 20:11)-to judge the dead. This throne is set in heaven; and out of it proceed lightnings, thundering:, and voices, as of old on Mount Sinai. God's power is seen in judgment and government; and there is no altar, no way of approaching to Him now;, and the sea of glass is like unto crystal; fixed and immoveable; not—now as the laver of old, to cleanse practical defilements of those who had passed the altar, as cleansed there by the blood. The imagery is that of the sanctuary, the throne, the candlestick, the laver, but no altar: And round about the throne were four beasts (living creatures) full of eyes before and behind; and the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast was like a calf; and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were fall of eyes within: and they rest not day and night saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
The throne is 'surrounded by four living creatures, which we find in the Old Testament Scriptures with more or less difference of appearance, accompanying God's judicial acts, and His government of Israel, or of the world. The cherubim held the flaming sword which turned every way when God in government against Adam's sin thrust him out from the garden of Eden, and shut out his access to the Tree of Life. (Gen. 3) They were made of one piece with the mercy-seat which was on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 26), and were there occupied in gazing downwards upon the blood which besprinkled the mercy seat, on the ground of which God was governing Israel. When Israel, faithless to their trust, were delivered over to the power of the Gentiles for their sins, the living creatures bear away the glory or presence of Jehovah to living which had first gone up from the Cherubim on the Ark, to the threshold of the house (Ezek. 9:3;10. 1-17); and from the threshold of the house it stood over the Cherubim (Ezek. 10:1818Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. (Ezekiel 10:18)), which bore it away from the doomed city to the Mount of Olives, which is on the east side of the city-(Ezek. 11:22,2322Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. 23And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel 11:22‑23))-
. God thus leaving His earthly throne before giving up His people to captivity and judgment for their sins. And again we find the Cherubim in the days of the Kingdom (prefigured. for a little moment in the reign of Solomon) looking towards the house, or outwards-a Cure of that day—when God, having established His throne in righteousness, can then. turn towards the world in blessing, in the days of the kingdom, or millennium.
Thus we find them always accompanying the acts of judicial power, or companions of the throne of God's government and His acts of judgment.
But here there is something more, for we find them 'partaking another character-a character in full keeping with that of Him who sits upon this throne in Rev. 4; for they are the Seraphim of Isa. 6-the Seraphs (or burners) consuming all that -answered not to the intense holiness of God. Each one had six wings; with twain of which, when the prophet saw them, he veiled his face; with twain he covered his—feet; and with twain did he fly, each one crying to his fellow, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." The cry, at which the prophet quailed and trembled, for it discovered the inmost recesses of his heart, and laid bare the springs of his nature, and made him exclaim in anguish of soul, " Woe is me, for I am undone." These living creatures, too, of Rev. 4, are "full of eyes within," while they display the character Of Him who was about to execute the judgments, majesty, patience, intelligence, and swiftness, under the similitude of the lion, the ox, the man, and the flying eagle: still the throne that they accompany here is not merely, as of old, taking cognizance of outward things in Israel, the living creatures having, eyes outside, or round about. (Ezek. 10:1212And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. (Ezekiel 10:12).) These are full of eyes before and behind, and within: when judgment is about to be executed according to the Divine and inward perception of Him who sits on the throne. The throne is therefore a throne of unmitigated judgment.
But what is the position of the elders or translated saints during all the terrors, and thunderings, and lightnings, and voices'? Round about the throne, clothed in priestly garments, and crowned with royal crowns-as kings and priests to God, sitting on thrones round about the throne of judgment, in calm and peaceful security-in perfect communion with him who sits thereon, as David when he went in and sat before the Lord-(2 Sam. 7)-no thought of fear or insecurity, but in the enjoyment of unclouded peace.
Now, the throne the Lord's people know at this time is a throne of 0-race; but they know, too, that there is a time coming when the throne of grace will be no more the character of things as at present, but when the throne shall be established in righteousness-when "righteousness and judgment will be the habitation of his throne." (Psa. 97:22Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. (Psalm 97:2).)
What, then, is it that gives them "boldness" in contemplating this, solemn day of judgment? It is this. They believe and know that the burning holiness of Him who sits upon the throne burst upon the head of One who alone was able to bear it; that the full burst of Divine wrath on account of sin discharged itself on the head of Christ on the cross; the cup filled with unmingled wrath was exhausted by Him-emptied to the dregs-so that none remained; and that by the virtues of His sacrifice, they have "boldness in-the day of judgment;" because as He is so now are they, conscious that they never come into judgment; that the question of sin has been gone into thoroughly, according to the estimate of sin, in view of the burning holiness of God; that it has been entirely and completer), settled, and that for even They are conscious, too, that they stand in the righteousness of Him who sits on the throne, constituted " kings and priests unto God" as a present thing.
But what is the attitude of these elders when the living. creatures "give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever?" They are priests.-They 4111 down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns _before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are; and were created." Their worship is occasioned by hearing the living creatures saying, " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and is, and is to come." No cry of anguish, as from the soul of the prophet of old; when the Seraphims (or burners)-proclaim " Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts" (Isa. 6); but praise waiting on the Lord in their hearts, to be poured forth in intelligent worship when they. hear His name celebrated by the living creatures. Intelligent, because they give their reasons for their praise-unmoved by the" sights and terrors of the throne, they are on their faces in happy worship and praise. Most happy when casting their crowns at the feet of Him who had given them; happier far than when wearing them, seated around the throne.
How is it with you my reader? Have you learned to joy as a present thine- in the character of Him who will sit on that throne of righteousness-to give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness? To rejoice in His righteousness, as well as in His love? And to give the reasons why you do so-happy in intelligent worship and praise? If so, you are happy indeed.
How should it be continually with your heart then? It should be like a well-tuned instrument; praise ever waiting in it upon the Lord; so that when the Spirit of God touches the chord of your heart, it should yield immediate and intelligent praise:-responsive to Him whose praises you celebrate; and intelligent, because you know the grace in which you stand; and the righteousness in which God has acted in putting you there, enabling you to anticipate the praises of the coming day of glory. If "there remained one spot on you conscience you could not worship-impossible, unless the heart and conscience are in perfect rest. The smallest speck would hinder this; for the conscience would not then be in unclouded peace; it would be-occupied with the stain, and quite right that this should be so. There must be first the enjoyment of unclouded and eternal peace with God before there can be a heart filled with praise! It is not the question of being a great or a little sinner. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." And it is well to look forward and judge one's state now in the light of u, moment when grace will have passed, and righteousness will reign. Well to be able to look with boldness at that day. For the title which brings a sinner then to stand with boldness, and in righteousness before the throne, he possesses now by faith in Jesus Christ.