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How can we deduce who the one is who sits on the throne in Rev 4:2 & 8, the Father, the Son, or holy spirit?

All from the Berean Literal Bible

Rev 4:2

Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sitting upon the throne,

Rev 4:9

And whenever the living creatures will give glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One sitting upon the throne, the One living to the ages of the ages,

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    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2023 at 10:20
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    Note that "One" does not occur in the Greek - it is an artifact of the version you have chosen to quote.
    – Dottard
    Jul 7, 2023 at 0:57
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    @Dottard The word "one" does exist in the text--see Revelation 4:8. However, where it is also supplied the word "one" is not, as you seem to suppose, being used as a cardinal number, but rather as a pronoun; and it is correct as a pronoun because the Greek nouns are in masculine-singular form. The translation to English would be grammatically incorrect without it.
    – Biblasia
    Jul 7, 2023 at 2:09
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6 Answers 6

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Who sits on the throne?

The short answer to the OP's question, with particular regard to Rev, 4:2 & 8, as to who is being depicted as sitting on the throne, is that here we have the undisputed, and the utmost in spiritual personalities, the Almighty God, Himself, all plausible, or is it implausible, "Trinitarian" aspects/beliefs aside, lest we stray.

The heavenly stage is set. The focal point of this stage, is the heavenly throne and the "One" sitting upon it. All the actors, so to speak, are in their heavenly positions, absolutely surreal in their appearance, around and about and in the midst of a truly splendorous and ethereal spiritual scene, with symbolism abounding. Our narrator's (John's) mind and soul are apparently absorbed, in the vision of things celestial, and as if in spirit form himself, is there as a spectator of the preamble to the fiery and judgmental acts soon to follow.

The four, very distinctive, living creatures, around the throne, are indeed something to behold, but there is no need to go into that here. Suffice it to say, they are the cherubic attendants to the "Almighty One" sitting on the throne, whose face fittingly cannot be seen, having been masked with that of ... a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance ...Rev, 4:3. All four living creatures are ceaseless in their praise of the "Almighty One", when they say:-

"Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty who was and who is and who is coming." Rev, 4:8 NWT

The scene then moves to ... the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the root of David ... Rev, 5:5, a now very distinctive spiritual person, who had previously become the sacrificial lamb, so to speak - while in his earthly role as the "Son of Man', having temporarily put aside his reality as the only begotten "Son of God" - for the good of all mankind, Jesus Christ the redeemer, no less. At the Almighty's behest, this now newly anointed redeemer, is to be the Almighty's right hand and "throne bound" himself, in his role as the temporary ruler of the "New Kingdom", of both heaven and, subsequently, earth. Found worthy of opening the scroll, with the 7 seals, he sets about his imperial tasks ... etc ... etc ...

As for the so called "Holy Spirit", well, apart from the active force shown by the two, very distinctive, spiritual personages heretofore mentioned, I don't think he's even named in the credits ....

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Its quite clear that this throne relates to the ‘one’ and only God almighty. Its ‘The’ throne not a general throne.

However, I note from the Q – appears to want to clarify from a trinity perspective. This becomes problematic.

Trinity Problems

Does ‘one’ still imply 3=1 – does the father, son and the HS all sit on the ‘one’ throne? No

Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Act 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”– Rev. 7:10

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”.– Rev. 5:13

Rev 14:4 These are they who have not been defiled with women; for they are pure, these following the Lamb wherever He shall go. These have been redeemed out from men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb.

Acts 5:31 God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Luke 22:69 - But from now on the Son of Man will be sitting at the right hand of the power of God."

Hebrew 1:3 ……sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Rev 11:15 - ………"The kingdom of the world has become that of ourLord and of His Christ, and He will reign to the ages of the ages."

Rev 12:5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

Rev 15:3 and they sang the song of God’s servant ‘Moses and of the Lamb:’ “Great and wonderful are Your works, O Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations!

Conclusion

It is clear that Jesus is clearly differentiated from God and is on the right hand side, therefore not God or on the throne. There is nothing to say that the Throne has 2 or 3 seats – it is clear ‘one’.

So, God sits on the throne and Jesus sits on his right-hand side and is give authority from God:

Matt 28:18 - "All authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Me.

If you are the true God, you already have authority, you own and rule everything – no one can give you authority – otherwise you are not the ‘Almighty’

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First, the throne scenes in the Bible are highly symbolic and cannot necessarily be taken literally. Afterall, if God is truly omnipresent (Ps 139:7-12, Isa 66:1, Jer 23:23, 24, Heb 4:13, 1 Kings 8:27, Matt 18:20, etc.), then a single location for God is somewhat meaningless.

However, we do have some interesting portrayals of the great throne of God in heaven:

  • the throne is called the throne of God and the Lamb (ie, Christ) in Rev 22:1, 3
  • the Lamb is described as "at the center of the throne", Rev 7:17
  • The Holy Spirit is described as "before the throne as seven torches, Rev 4:5
  • the throne of God and the Lamb appears to be a double-seater throne where the Lamb (Jesus) sits on the right, Rev 5:1-13
  • Jesus is represented as a Lamb with seven horns sitting on the throne - clearly symbolic!

Again, these are all symbolic representations of a greater reality about which we are told very little.

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    Nonsense. If it was symbolic, and not literally "one," then why the particular need to emphasize "one" so much in the text? If, as you say, it is symbolic, then you need to establish what the "one" is symbolic of. Furthermore, it also speaks of sitting "at the right hand of God"--what does that mean? There's no such thing as a "double-seater throne." That's a fabrication. Besides, if you believe in a Trinity, wouldn't you require a "triple-seater throne"? -1
    – Biblasia
    Jul 6, 2023 at 11:30
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    @Biblasia - so you believe Jesus is really a "Lamb"??? Your inconsistency is rather obvious.
    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2023 at 21:41
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    The focus of the question was on the word "one" in the context of God's throne. The questioner did not even mention the word "Lamb." It is assumed that when you answer that it is all symbolic, you are addressing the actual question--hence my interest in how you see the word "one" as merely symbolic.
    – Biblasia
    Jul 6, 2023 at 23:46
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    @Biblasia - the word "one" is used to show unity of both the Lamb and God. The word "one" actually does not exist in the Greek and so needs no comment. I also notice that you have not responded to the symbolism of the "Lamb" with seven horns! How do you explain that is literal?
    – Dottard
    Jul 7, 2023 at 0:58
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    You are the one who claimed: "so you believe Jesus is really a "Lamb"??? Your inconsistency is rather obvious." This was prior to me having even mentioned the word. Perhaps you would like to explain to me how what you said had any basis in fact. If you already know what I believe on it, why should you again ask?
    – Biblasia
    Jul 7, 2023 at 2:04
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There is one verse in question here, requiring hermeneutic examination. The various other verses quoted do not actually relate to Revelation 4:2, which is unique. It is part of an audio-visual presentation the apostle John is being given by the Holy Spirit. A vision of unearthly scenes in heaven unfolds, with voices like trumpets, thunders, lightning flashes and a total of twenty-five thrones seen by John.

Of note is that in the Greek text, the word 'one' is not in that verse. None of the three interlinear translations I have before me have 'one' in the Greek text. In translations into English, when words have to be added to make sense of the sentence, they must be enclosed with square brackets [thus]. Here is how a literal rendition of verse 2 reads:

"and behold a throne was set in heaven and on the throne a sitting [one] and the [one] sitting [was] like in appearance to a stone a jasper and a sardius and [there was] a rainbow round the throne like in appearance to an emerald."

On, in, and around this throne are sights that John has never seen before. On this throne is a form resembling precious jewels; round about is a rainbow that looks like an emerald; in front of the throne is a sea of glass like crystal. Then comes lightnings, thunders, and voices out of the throne, with seven lamps around it which are the seven Spirits of God. (In Revelation, seven is symbolic of heavenly perfection.) But most astonishingly of all:

"...in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature [was] like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, and the third living creature had a face as a man, the the fourth living creature [was] like a flying eagle." Revelation 4:6-7 (The Englishman's Greek New Testament, Robert Estienne)

It could not be more obvious that this is a vision depicting spiritual truths. Therefore, when the next chapter continues that heavenly scene by adding that in the midst of the throne stands a lamb as having been slain, but which is very much alive, it's not a literal lamb! This lamb has seven horns and seven eyes (which also are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.)

This lamb is then declared to be worthy to take the sealed book, to start opening it, and is identified as the risen Jesus Christ. The twenty-four elders on their respective thrones around the throne of God, and the four living creatures, and thousands upon thousands of angels then make this declaration, which answers your question as to how the Father and the Son can be co-equal:

"Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." (Ibid. Revelation 5:13-14)

Given that Jesus said we are to honour him just as we honour the Father, and that he who does not so honour him does not honour God, that heavenly scene of worship of the Lamb in the centre of that throne, and he who sits on that same throne, is our example. (John 5:23)

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Disclaimer: I don't speak for any sect and I am not professionally trained in biblical languages.

[Rev 4:2 NASB20] [2] Immediately I was in [the] Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and [someone was] sitting on the throne.

The questioner has informed us that she is working with an interlinear. This makes her question completely understandable, and what is confusing her is obvious.

  • a verb without a subject is not allowed in English. For example, "Ran to the store." English requires a subject: "I ran to the store." Or, "Ahmed ran to the store."

  • a verb without an explicit is allowed in Greek, because the language allows for the subject to be implied by the form of the verb, so you can say, "Ran to the store" and the subject might be male, or female based on the form of the verb.

  • but if one doesn't want to specify the subject, I would say "Someone did this" or, "One did this." It is not a number, like the number before two, but a reference to someone not immediately identified.

I hope that helps.

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  • There actually is one remaining example of this in English. "Am running to the store" has no explicit subject, but only "I" would make sense as the implied subject. In fact, it's not unusual for people to send short messages like "Sorry. Am running late!". Aug 9, 2023 at 1:33
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Jesus also in the Garden says "I am" and as soon as he says "I am" the soldiers and those who have come to get Jesus fell down. Notice Jesus does not say we are, because there is no power in we are. But there is power in the words "I am". Why is there power here in the words "I Am"? Because of the one who spoke these words "I am". The one and living God alone has the authority and power that comes from saying the words "I am". Obviously, Jesus already has all power and whe. It says he was given all power. It is clearly speaking of the Body that was born into this world, which was formed in Mary's womb by God in order to have a human form in which to dwell. Because God himself came down among us as a man, but yet God as well. When the voice came out of the burning bush. Notice a few things:

  1. It is burning but not consumed, meaning it was a supernatural fire that was made visible by the viewer (Moses) this fire is the Spirit of God.
  2. Notice the voice and what the voice says. Tell them "I am" sent you.
  3. Interesting fact there was not a human man form in the bush. I wonder why. Because God is clearly depicted, he has not yet been in actual body form. He is representing Himself in the essence which He has at the time.

John 4:24-26 KJV

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Who is the Messiah that the woman at the well is talking about? The human body God has entered is the Messiah. Yet the Spirit God which is God (remember Jesus said God is a Spirit) is Messiah as well because it is He who is the core of who the Body is. Jesus has a spirit. The Spirit of God. He does not javelin a human spirit. Also, there is not any proof or evidence found in Scripture that the Lord's body was ever given a human spirit.

We cannot question how God chooses to illustrate himself and who he is. It is this line of questioning that actually led people to come up with the term Trinity. Man's explanation of what their understanding can muster up about how God could come down as both man and God.

Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV

5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

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