1. Exposition

What is the function of the rainbow?

Revelation 4:3 (ESV)

3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

John saw a rainbow of dazzling colour (indicated by emerald) arched in a semi-circle over the throne. After the great flood in the days of Noah, the Lord had placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder to mankind of God’s covenant with earth (Genesis 9:13–17). That the earthling John saw a rainbow over God’s throne served as a reassurance to John of the Lord’s covenant faithfulness to planet Earth. The details of “what must soon take place” (Revelation 4:1) fit within the boundaries of God’s covenant with Earth. Even plagues (Revelation 6:1–17, Revelation 8:1–13) will contribute ultimately to Earth’s full renewal (Revelation 21:1–22:21).