Gods Throne Room
Thinking about the apostle John, and the book of the Revelation, we see him air-lifted out of this world, through a door that had been opened in the heavens. He was told that he was about to receive a revelation of “things which must be hereafter”. John was a representative man. He represents all true believers in Jesus Christ who will be taken out of this world at the end of the church age in the event called “The Rapture”. I praise the Lord for that blessed hope! He is coming, and we are going!
As we move deeper into the book, we are given a glimpse inside the very throne room of God itself. We are allowed to view some of the activities that take place in Heaven before God’s judgment is visited upon our world.
The scene that is described in these verses is almost beyond comprehension. But, here, John gives us a small glimpse of what we will be doing in those days. So let’s join John today in God’s presence and try to grasp what is taking place in these verses. I want to take you up to Heaven to look inside
Gods Throne Room.
You see, we need a heavenly perspective on this world. Taken by themselves, the events, the trials and the problems of this world often make no sense at all. From an earthly perspective, this world appears to be out of control today: war, natural disasters, disease, crime, wickedness, ungodliness, and so on. Yet, when you understand that God is on His throne; and when you understand that He is in control; and when you think that He is working out a perfect, eternal, good plan, then it all falls into place. A beautiful Persian rug looks like a mess of tangled
threads and fibres when it is viewed from the underside; but when it is viewed from above, the pattern becomes very clear, and very beautiful. So, today, let’s move up to Heaven and get a glimpse of what is taking place around God’s throne. I want to share the scenes John saw when he went up to Heaven,
as I try to preach this sermon entitled
Gods Throne Room.
First of all then let us focus on …
THE PERSON ON THE THRONE
The very first thing John sees is God Himself sitting on a throne in Heaven. What a thrill that must have been! To go to the White House and meet with the President would be an honour. To go to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen would be an honour. But, to walk into the very throne room of God and
see Him sitting on His throne would be glorious beyond description! Yet, that is the honour John was given and it is an honour we too will enjoy one day!
Let’s listen in as John describes his encounter with the Sovereign God. In Rev 4 verse 2, John sees him as The Ruling One A “throne” speaks of “sovereignty and authority”. We are viewing One who occupies the place of absolute authority over all the affairs of Heaven and Earth. Psalm.103:19. says “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all”.
This rule speaks of “stability, firmness, and durability”. God’s throne is an eternal throne! No foe will ever be able to force Him down from the place where He rules and reigns. This world may not recognize God’s authority and rule today, but He reigns nonetheless! Men do not give a second thought to the existence of God; but He notices all, controls all and He will ultimately judge all. Men may not give Him the time of day now, but we will all face Him some day. Man may not bow today, but they
will one day, Rom. 14:12.
Then in verse 3 John sees him as The Resplendent One – and attempts to do the impossible: he attempts to describe God. The One on this throne is God the Father. How do we know?
God the Son takes the seven sealed book out of His hand in Rev. 5:5-7. John describes God as being like a “jasper and a sardine stone”. The word “like” lets us know that we have encountered a symbolic language. God is not a mineral or a stone, but His appearance reminded John of those two precious stones.
The “jasper” is clear and bright. It is possible that it is similar to a diamond. A diamond is a very hard stone and it speaks of “firmness and durability”. This comparison reminds us that our God is “firm and unchanging”. Since we are in the context of a throne room, where sovereign authority is about to be exercised, this tells us that God’s laws, like God Himself, are firm and unchanging.
There are certain laws in nature that are firm and unchanging too. Take gravity for instance, what goes up will come down! God has established the Law of Gravity, it is firm and unchanging. If you place a pot of water on the stove and turn on the heat, you need not expect to find ice in the pot when you return. God has established the Law of Thermo-dynamics, it is unchanging. The same is true concerning God’s moral law. He is unchanging and inflexible there too. Men may kick against the moral law of God, they may call the Bible out of date and old fashioned:
but one day they will answer to God on that law.
Then John describes him as like the Sardine stone.
This stone is a blood red stone. It reminds us that while God is a God of sovereign rule and absolute authority, who holds men to a high standard of holiness, – He is also the God of redemption! He is a God who saves all those who will turn to Him by faith.
Thank God He is a Saving Lord as well as a Sovereign Lord. Before we leave these two stones behind, it is worth noting that the “Sardius” and the “Jasper” were the first and last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest, Ex. 28:17-21. The “sardius” represented the tribe of Reuben, and the “jasper” represented the tribe of Benjamin. These two stones were representative of all the twelve stones and were a reminder that God always kept His people and His covenants with His people close to His heart.
In other words, these stones were a constant reminder that God would keep His Word and do everything He had promised to do.
Judgment will come, but it will be carried out by One who has walked among us. There is a human side to His judgment. He will judge, but it will be tempered by His compassion and mercy.
John also sees God as The Restraining One – God’s throne is encompassed by an emerald rainbow. We know that the first rainbow was given to Noah as a visible sign, a promise that God would never again destroy the earth by a flood, Gen. 9:11-17.
I recon that this rainbow in Heaven is a reminder that when we arrive there, the storms will be over for the children of God. It is a reminder that while we may not understand everything that happens here, we will when we get there. It is also a reminder that God will judge the earth, but that He will do so in line with His promises and His covenants.
You see, the rainbow speaks of God’s mercy. Even as the wrath of God is about to fall on this doomed world, God is still moving in restraint and mercy. One day, we will all be face to face with Him. We will meet Him in the scenes of glory or in the halls of judgment, but we will meet Him just the same. Make sure you are ready for that moment!
Has it dawned on you yet that you are going to see Him one day? Has it become clear that you will stand in His throne
room and see His face? One day, the road of your life will end and we will be home: our journey will be complete; our burdens lifted; our tears dried away; our questions answered; our
broken hearts healed forever; and we will be home!
Praise God, for the child of God, there is a better day coming!
So then Johns first focus was The Person On The Throne.
In the second place, John then focuses on
THE PEOPLE AROUND THE THRONE
Consider first Their Association – Who are these individuals? Some people think they are angels, seraphim or cherubim.
The word “elders” is never used to refer to angels in the Bible.
So they must represent some other group.
Personally, I think they represent all the redeemed children of God. Let’s examine the evidence for that.
· They are sitting on “seats”. This is the same word translated “throne” in verse 2. Thus, they are seen to be reigning with God. The saints reign with Him, as we are told in 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 1:6; & Rev. 2:26-27.
· They seem to be a representative people. In Rev. 21:12-14, the New Jerusalem is described as having twelve gates named after the 12 tribes of Israel. It is built on twelve foundations which contain the names of the 12 Apostles. Twelve plus twelve equals twenty-four! & I recon that these twenty-four elders cold well represent the redeemed people of God of both the Old Testament and New Testament?
In the Old Testament, King David appointed 24 Levites to represent the entire priesthood, 1 Chronicles 23: 28.
When a meeting was necessary, it would have been impossible to gather every one of the thousands of Levites together; but when the twenty-four came together, they represented the whole body. The same is true of these Elders. These represent the entirety of
the redeemed saints of God! These elders represent us!
Then consider if you will, Their Activity – They are “sitting”. This signifies rest. Their labours are over and they are sitting down – at rest in the presence of God in Heaven.
In the Spirit, we too are seated in Jesus in Heaven today, Eph. 2:6. That is our positional situation. Practically, I am still in this world; living, labouring and longing for Heaven. One day, we will be physically where God has already positioned us!
I just want to remind you that one day, this life with all its burdens, cares, worries and problems will be behind us forever. We will go to a new home where those things can never hinder or bother us again. We will enter into His rest in Heaven!
We have seen something of their association and their activity, now let us look at Their Attire – They are “clothed in white raiment”. White garments in the Bible speak of “the righteousness of the saints” Rev. 19:8. When God saved us, He forgave our sins and cleansed every stain of sin away from us forever. He declared us to be forgiven and justified in His eyes,
1 Cor. 6:11; & Rom. 5:1, & 9, that is our positional standing. Practically, or in our own eyes, however, we are anything but righteous at times. We strive for that, but we have a hard time achieving it. One day, this sinful fleshy nature, and body – will drop away forever. We will be remade in His image and we will be perfectly holy and righteous, just like He is! Thank God, there is a day coming when we will leave sin and the appetite for sin behind forever!
Notice too, Their Adornments – They have “on their heads crowns of gold”. There are two words for crown in the New Testament. One is the word “diadem”. This is the word that is used to describe the many crowns Jesus will wear when He returns in power and glory to reign on the earth, Rev. 19:12. This is the kingly crown; the crown of glory. The other is the word “stephanos”. It refers to “a victor’s crown”. It speaks of the crown given to victors in athletic or sporting contests.
The “diadem” is worn by Jesus by divine right. The “stephanos” is earned by the saints.
Incidentally, the Bible shows us at least five crowns that can be won by the people or the saints of God.
1. The Crown of Life – James 1:12; Rev. 2:10 – This crown is given to those who demonstrate their love for Jesus by successfully enduring trials and temptations.
2. The Crown of Righteousness – 2 Tim. 4:8 – This crown is given to those who live in the light of His coming. The saints, who long for, live for and love the coming of Jesus,
can receive this crown.
3. The Crown of Glory – 1 Pet. 5:4 – This crown is the
reward of the faithful Pastor.
4. The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thess. 2:19 – This crown is
a reward for those who faithful share the Gospel message
and point others to Jesus.
5. The Imperishable Crown – 1 Cor. 9:25 – Awarded to those who battle the flesh and seek to live holy lives.
You need not worry that your service for the Lord Jesus will go unnoticed. He sees everything you do for His glory. He knows about every sacrifice. He sees every effort. He takes note of every prayer, every witness, and every secret thing you do to bring glory and honour to His Name. He will reward your faithful service one day. You may not receive recognition here, but you surely will there. In fact, Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, that “if you do what you do for the praise of men only,
you have already received your reward”, Matt. 6:1-6.
So then we have seen as John did … The Person On The Throne
& The People Around The Throne, let us look finally at …
THE PRAISE BEFORE THE THRONE
As John watches, amazing things begin to take place around the throne of God. Let’s observe the action.
First, He Speaks Of Wonders – “Lightenings, thundering and voices” – These things speak of approaching judgment. Heaven booms with the warning signals that judgment is on the way.
These same things were seen in Ex. 19:16-19. The heavenly noises that were a warning for the people of Israel to keep their distance from God’s holy mountain. The sounds were a warning that men had better reverence God, or they will face Him in judgment.
Then, He Speaks Of A Witness – “seven lamps of fire” – This is the 7 Spirit of God in His fullness. The Spirit is no longer a “Comforter” He is now an instrument of God’s judgment.
He is there to witness to the righteousness of the judgments
that are about to fall on the earth.
Then, He Speaks Of Waters – “a sea of glass like unto crystal” – This crystal (or glass) sea speaks of God’s judgment as being formed and fixed. On this earth, there is nothing more constantly changing or in motion than the ocean. The sea is never still and it is never the same. Yet, this sea of glass, is
solid and unmoving! Judgment is fixed, settled and it
cannot be altered!
On earth, water speaks of cleansing, while in Heaven, there will be no more need for the saints to come to God for cleansing.
We will never fail Him again! That will be a blessing.
But, for the lost sinner, this sea reminds us that it has become too late for repentance. Judgment is set and fixed. Man has reached his limit and God is about to pour out His wrath on a lost and sinful world. What a horror awaits the earth dwellers?
This throne room is a place of judgment, but it is also a place of praise. There are two groups involved in the praise of God on this occasion.
The Shout Of The Cherubim (or the four living creatures) and The Shout of the Believers.
First, John sees these four “living ones” and attempts to describe them for us.
One was like a lion – One was like a calf — One was like a man – One was like an eagle! These four Angelic beings represent the Four Faces or Facets of God, as I spoke about a few weeks ago. They are “full of eyes” – perfect intelligence; They have “six wings” – speaks of swiftness; and they “rest not”– speaks of ceaseless activity. These representatives of all creation stand in the presence of God and lift their voices in praise to the Creator.
They declare His holiness. They declare His eternal nature.
They declare His sovereignty and His control over all things.
Then there is The Shout Of The Believers – It isn’t just the four living creatures that lift their voices in praise. When the four begin to praise the Lord, the 24 four elders join in.
Their Praise Is Voluntary – Nobody is seen forcing them to praise the Lord. When they hear their Lord exalted, they cannot help but join right in. They fall down before Him and worship their Redeemer!
Their Praise Is Visible – They don’t just praise the Lord “in
their hearts”, they fall down before Him and offer visible,
open, unabashed praise to the Lord.
Their Praise Is Valuable – They take the crowns they have been given and they cast them at the feet of the Lord God. They acknowledge that where they are, when they have and all they have accomplished is a direct result of His power, His grace and His love. They owe it all to Him and they offer Him everything
they have. They are not concerned about their own glory, but they are lost in His glory! &
Their Praise Is Vocal – On top of everything else, they open their mouths and loudly proclaim their love and adoration for the Lord. At that moment. Heaven will literally throb with the praises of God!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Do you want to know what we will be doing in Heaven?
We will not be floating around on a cloud, strumming a harp. Neither will we be fishing, hunting, sleeping or doing any of the foolish things we hear from time to time. If you want to know what we will be doing, look no farther than this passage.
When we leave here, we will be called up, cleaned up and caught up in His praise and worship. When we arrive there, we will see what we were; where we were headed and what He has done for us in saving our souls. We will at last understand it all, and we will not be able to restrain our praise. Our praise too will
be voluntary, visible, valuable and vocal.
I am excited about going to Heaven. How about you? I look forward to seeing my Saviour and my Lord. I look forward to joining my voice with those of the other redeemed saints and praising the One who sought me, bought me and taught me
by his love. In the mean time, I want to live my life here as an expression of praise to the Lord who loves me. I want to be found glorifying Him by a life that is lived to His praise. He is worthy of our love, our devotion, our adoration and our praise. He deserves it as much today as He will when we get home to glory. Let’s give Him everything He deserves; and let’s not wait to Heaven to do it! Amen.