(3) 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.
Here, our God is described as looking clear and transparent (jasper) and also having a blood red color (sardine stone). When we study these colors and their symbolic application we can see the holiness, wrath and grace of God in view. How wonderful it is for us to come to understand that our God is a holy God who is both just and merciful!
If we stop and think about the holiness of God we come to a very clear conclusion… God does not commit sin. God is completely separate from personal sin this is the most evident meaning of being holy.
But divine holiness, in principle, also carries with it a different aspect of His character… because our God is a holy God, He must be a God of justice, He must reject and punish every sin that is committed.
If God recognized sin as being acceptable He would taint His holy character by placing Himself in alliance with those who work injustice in this world. If God simply excused sin without punishment, His actions would be unjust making Him guilty of personal sin. Because our God is holy, His character demands that he reject and punish all sin.
This is where the sardine (blood red color) comes in. Throughout the Bible, the punishment of sin in symbol and actuality involves the shedding of blood. The shed blood of the sacrificial animals in the OT and the shed blood of the wicked at the final judgment are two examples of this principle. When we see God described as jasper and sardine, we see Him as the perfectly Holy One who punishes iniquity.
But, by far, the greatest example of shed blood found in the Scriptures is the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ and His work on the cross (including the shedding of His blood) is one of the greatest themes found in the Bible.
Why did a sinless Christ shed His blood? It was done in payment for sins that were committed by others. Christ died so that sinners could escape the judgment of a holy God. In Christ’s death we can see both the justice and the mercy of God. God’s justice was at work in punishment of sin that was found in Christ’s shed blood and death on the cross. But God’s mercy was also on display in Christ’s death which allowed those who were guilty of sin to escape eternal punishment for that sin. In this way, we can see the blood red color of the sardine stone representing a Holy God’s mercy in the face of His wrath.
For those of us who have been redeemed through Christ and His work, we can enter this day with joyful hearts. Our God, is the God of the jasper and sardine stone. He is the Holy One who has mercifully removed the just punishment for sin that we deserved. The punishment for our sin was taken upon Himself (in the person of Christ) displaying both His wrath and mercy on our behalf. As the recipients of His mercy, we know that we have escaped eternal punishment, we have become members of God’s family, we have become joint heirs with Christ, and headed for an eternity with our Lord, the One who loved us so much He gave His life for us!
May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation: