Reading: Revelation 4:1-11
The name of the book, ‘Revelation’, is a description of what the book is: it’s an unveiling, a looking behind the scenes of what is going on in Heaven. We often think of Heaven being the place we go when we die, and I suppose it’s not bad short hand. However, the truth is that Heaven throughout the bible is always the ‘Throne Room of God’. It’s not something that will come into being but has always been, and will always be. From everlasting to everlasting. It is worth remembering that at the climax of all things, God will create a new heaven and new earth (21:1) untouched by death, evil, sin, selfishness and pride, and it is on this New Earth we will live forever with God, with new eternal bodies and every tear wiped away! (21:4)
Physically, John is still on the Island of Patmos, but in the Spirit he is seeing the throne room of God. The physical reality is torn open, like an open door (1) and the true, more real reality of Heaven is revealed. Unveiled. At Jesus’ Baptism something similar happens (Mat 3:16) and Isaiah, while ministering in the Temple, sees the same manifestation (Isaiah 6:1). Jesus’ words are proved true, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near’ (Mat 3:2, Mk 1:15). Right now around us, unseen, but more real than anything we can touch, taste, see, smell or hear is the Kingdom of Heaven. Do you believe that?
One thing dominates this vision, the throne. It represents the power and majesty of the one sitting on it, and everything else seen by John is described in relation to the throne. Encircling it he sees a rainbow, resembling an emerald. Surrounding the throne in a wider circle are twenty-four other thrones, on which are seated twenty-four elders in white, wearing gold crowns, worshipping (v. 4). From the throne come flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder (5). In front of the throne are seven lamps blazing, which John identifies as the seven Spirits of God (5) reminding us that God is complete and perfect. Also, in front of the throne John sees what looks like a sea of glass, clear as crystal (6). Finally, in the centre, around the throne John sees four fantastic living creatures, with eyes on every side and six wings, who continually say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (8). The throne of God, is THE defining reality of all creation. Like the Sun in our solar system everything else revolves around it. Everything!
And there is worship, night and day; the angels, creatures and the elders are praising him who is forever (10), the One who has made everything, and whom everything is for. (11). This passage leaves me breathless. Around me, below me, beside me, behind me and in front of me this song fills reality. When we praise, when we worship, we add our voices to this on-going, beautiful moment in heaven. When we praise and worship we are there! There is nothing ordinary about a church worship service, there should be nothing boring about worshiping God; it is the very reason we have been created. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states: “What is the chief end of humanity? Answer. Humanity’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”
“… The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:8)
Father please forgive me my forgetfulness. In the monotony and razzmatazz of life and all the bits in between I forget that your throne is in Heaven, and is very near. In the midst of my stuff I forget that all things revolve around you and not me. Today I want eyes that see you as you are. May everything I do today be done as a worshipper. Mighty God who is forever, move me to awe and worship throughout the day. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” In Jesus name. Amen.
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