September 12, 2021
THE MAJESTY OF HEAVEN
As we enter Chapter 4 of the Revelation, we need to look at a verse we looked at in the beginning of this series – Revelation 1:19 – “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” (Jesus is Speaking NIV)
Chapter 4 begins the “What will take place later” portion of 1:19. By the time we get to Chapter 4 the Church, the Body of Christ is no longer on earth. We have joined Jesus at His Wedding Feast as the Bride of Christ. This fulfills Jesus prophecy spoken of in John 14:3 – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Now John will begin seeing things from a different vantage point, he will be seeing them from Heaven. Revelation 4:1 begins a new chapter in more ways than one. “After this” refers to the period of time following Chapters 1-3 when the Church was still on earth.
“After this” John sees a door standing open in Heaven. In some translations the door was opening, but this door is always standing open, as we will see later on in The Revelation.
Next John hears a voice, that voice sounding like a trumpet again, that says, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (4:1) This is the voice of Jesus Christ, Himself, calling to John the Revelator to join Him in Heaven so Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit can reveal all that is going to have to happen; all that is going to have to happen on earth because of the great sinfulness of mankind.
“At once I was in the Spirit,” John is carried away by the Holy Spirit and is standing before the Throne in Heaven, with someone seated upon it. Now, who could that be?
To begin with John could have no better guide to show him around heaven than Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and an Angel. The same Holy Spirit we have to guide us every day, here on earth. It’s just that we don’t let Him work in our lives all the time, as He would like. What a blessing we find when we do. (John 16:13)
John 5:24-27 tells us who has the authority to Judge, who the Judge will be. Verse 27 gives us the truth of the matter, “And He (God the Father) has given Him (Jesus) authority to judge because He (Jesus) is the Son of Man.” Jesus is sitting on the Throne of Judgment because He is the Son of Man, the one who hung on the Cross. And from there He will Judge the world and all the sin in it. He will not just judge the world, all of Creation has been awaiting this. (Romans 8:18-22)
Now let’s look at John’s description of the Majesty of Heaven in Revelation 4. I can imagine we will be seeing colors we have never dreamed of. We will see the colors we know in different ways, also. But, we really can’t guess what it will look like. When we get there we will have the eyes of a Resurrected Body that will allow us to see as we have never seen.
1 Corinthians 2:9 – However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (NIV) We might imagine, but we will never really know until we get there. Think of the imagination that has gone into what the world looks like today, all the colors, all the plants and all the different looking animals. I don’t care how many millions of years you give it, evolution could not come up with what God has blessed us with.
Revelation 4:4-8 goes on to describe the rest of the scene near the Throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”
To me one of the most picturesque descriptions of God on the Throne is found in Isaiah 6. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4)
It mirrors much of John’s, description, neither of which we can begin to imagine. As we can see from the Scriptures there will be beautiful majesty in heaven.
Revelation 4:4 begins a description of more of the scene in heaven. The picture widens to show more of the Throne Room. There are 24 elders on thrones surrounding God’s Throne. There has been much discussion about who these 24 people are. Many think 12 of them represent Old Testament saints and 12 of them represent the 12 Apostles. However, there is no definitive thought on who they are. I believe if it was important for us to know, Jesus would have told us.
dressed in white – Represents the imparted Righteousness of Crist (2 Corinthians 5:21).
crowns of gold on their heads – refers to the rewards to be handed out at the Bema Seat Judgment of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12)
Revelation 4:5 is a present tense statement of more of the sights and sounds of heaven.
flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder is a present tense statement, the lightning, rumblings and thunder are continually coming from the Throne, we will see more of this later in The Revelation, John is seeing a preview of Divine wrath that will be poured out later
the seven spirits of God the Sevenfold Spirit speaks of: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, Reverence and Deity. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter of those who accept Christ and the Consumer of those who reject Him
Revelation 4:6a – a sea of glass denotes the appearance, not the actual material, remember, John is trying to describe Heaven with a very limited vocabulary, and besides, how do you describe Heaven, at all? The sea also represents a place of complete peace and restfulness for all the Saints that will see it someday.
Revelation 4:6b – four living creatures are introduced to us in this passage, they are In the center, around the throne meaning they are in close proximity at all times. The four living creatures resemble both the cherubim of Ezekiel and the seraphim of Isaiah. (Ezekiel 1:5-10, Isaiah 6:2)
Revelation 4:8 – Again, we see Isaiah’s Seraphim with six wings. This is still present tense, and they are singing constantly, Holy, holy, holy, just like our choir sang this morning. I wonder if the Seraphim harmonized with us? This also reminds me of the Isaiah passage in Isaiah 6:4 – At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. Can you even imagine Worship at that level?
In 4:9-11 we see the results of this Worship with the everyone singing:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
You know, Worship in Heaven is what we will experience when we get there, but why wait? I’m convinced we are to have all out Worship all the time.
We should be practicing down here for when we get there.
Bostwick UMC 9/12/21