May 14, 2014 Posted by admin in Books

A Glimpse Of Worship In Heaven

A Glimpse Of Heaven

Today's blog is an excerpt from my book, Revelation Unplugged.

Revelation 4:1-5(NLT) - Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow. Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. This is the sevenfold Spirit of God.

Jesus personally invited John to heaven. Pay close attention to His words, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” This means that the messages to the seven churches were relevant only for a period of time. In my estimate, the time for The Church to get things right is now. We had 2000 years to straighten up and it’s coming to an end. The direction of history is about to change and we’re about to see how The Book of Revelation addresses that.

I used to think that the door which opened in heaven represented The Rapture because other people told me so. It also made sense because the trumpet sounded just like Paul said it would at The Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:52. I will deal with this in detail later in the book. Nonetheless, just like the sudden change we anticipate on that glorious day, John was instantly in the Spirit. Upon entering heaven, the scene blew his mind. He saw God sitting on His throne glowing resplendently with beautiful colors like light refracting through the finest jewels. That concept might be difficult to conceive in our limited human experience but like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, one day it will all make sense.

Twenty four elders surrounded God on thrones of their own. The first thing he noticed was their white outfits and the gold crowns on their heads. Jesus offered the faithful saints who avoided the corruption of the dead church in Sardis the opportunity to walk with Him in white garments. He then said that all who were victorious would get the same reward. He even offered it to those saints who repented of their lukewarm attitudes in Laodicea. He also presented the persecuted saints in Smyrna the opportunity to wear The Crown of Life as a reward for their faithfulness.

I’ll flash forward a little right now just so you’ll understand the significance of John’s initial observation. When he first entered heaven there were only twenty four human beings in white around God’s throne. However, by the time he wrote Revelation 7, which took place after The Great Tribulation, take a look at what he saw. I won’t discuss it in detail until later on in the book but right now you need to see this.

Revelation 7:9-17(NLT) - After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Jesus introduced Himself to Sardis as The One with the Sevenfold Spirit of God. So when John wrote in Revelation 4:5 that the Sevenfold Spirit of God burned continually before the throne whose throne do you think it is? His name is Jesus. He is the Lamb on the throne who redeemed all of those human beings in Revelation 7. They washed their robes in His blood and made them white. They made it through the toughest time of testing on the earth and as promised, received their everlasting rewards. Like Paul said in Hebrews 6:19, this promise of God’s redemption will anchor the persecuted souls of The Church during The Great Tribulation.

Worship in Heaven

Revelation 4:6-11(NLT) - In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”

My goodness! My heart is overwhelmed! Do you grasp the vivid imagery of these words? The four “living beings” were created with the sole purpose of worshiping God? All day and night, throughout eternity, they pay homage to The One who sits on the throne. They have no personal plans and they never need to write God into their schedules. He is the only item on the agenda!

Since God is the King of kings, it’s not surprising that each of these beings represent the kings on the earth. The lion is the king of the jungle. The ox is the king of domesticated animals. The human is the king of all created beings. The eagle is the king of the birds. The presence of all of those eyes on their bodies definitely tickles the imagination. Why do they need so many eyes when they’re only looking in one direction?

At any rate, do you notice that the eagle is in flight? As a result we should envisage it with wings outstretched. In addition, do you notice that they call attention to God’s character before everything else? They say continually, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Unlike most of us, their first fascination is not with His superb beauty or immeasurable power but His holiness! In their eyes, He is holy first and then He is mighty.

Since God created them that way, doesn’t that say something about His priorities? He places His character before everything else in heaven. Hence, He expects us, who were created in His image and likeness to place our character before everything else on earth. The living beings see straight through the dramatic display around His throne into God’s heart so He must be doing the same with us. Where do you place holiness in your priority list? Is it after physical beauty, power or influence? If so, then you are not reflecting the image of The One sitting on the throne in Heaven.

Once the four living beings set the tone by placing the highest focus on God’s character, the twenty four elders join in and shift the focus to His tangible attributes. They say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” Holy is who God is but glory, honor and power is what He possesses. For that reason, we should pattern our worship after what is done in heaven. Even though we are blown away by what God does for us, we must never forget that worship begins with the inner image of who He is.

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