Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Revelation Part 4: The Throne, The Lamb, The Seals
Chapter 4 gives us a thought-provoking description of the throne of God. (See also Isaiah 6:1-3) John describes what he saw when "a door" in heaven was opened and he was allowed to see inside. Here are parts of verses 2 thru 6:
...there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
I don't know about you, but I can't even wrap my mind around this description. On one hand, I think of earthly thrones with kings sitting on them. Kinda like in the movies. But obviously the throne of heaven is sooooo much more than that! On the other hand, I can't help but think of the Wizard of Oz, with all the fire and smoke and rumblings that greet Dorothy and the others when they enter the Wizard's emerald palace. But God is not a wizard and he doesn't resort to theatrics in order to make us worship him.
The bottom line is this: I can't begin to imagine what God's throne looks like, but I know for a fact I'll see it someday myself!
My favorite verses--almost in the entire Bible--come after the description of the throne. It's when John tells us about the living creatures and what they're doing.
Verse 8 says, "Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come."
Oh, how I long to be there, joining in the worship of God! When I read these verses, the song "Revelation Song" always comes to mind and I sing it with gusto!
But then comes chapter 5, verse 6, and I'm sad even thinking about it.
"Then I (John) saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders."
How ashamed I am knowing that the Lamb--Jesus!--was slain for my sins. But "worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" 5:12
The sealed scroll comes next. No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth is found worthy of opening the scroll except the Lamb. (5:3) There are seven seals, but the Lamb only opens the first six right now. I have limited understanding on what exactly the contents of the seals represent, but I do believe them to be prophetic, preparing us for things that are still to come. Read them for yourselves and see what you think.
6:11 caught my attention this morning. It tells about the martyrs--those who have died for their faith in Jesus Christ. These souls call out to God and ask when the inhabitants of the earth are going to be judged and their blood avenged. But they're told to "wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed."
This verse basically tells us God has a specific plan and number of believers he's willing to allow martyred for their faith before he puts a stop to it. Some people might ask why God would even allow this to happen, but my feeling is more along the lines of asking "Why not?" Jesus was crucified. Our Lord. Our leader. Why would we think we deserve an easier way out than what he was allowed?
I'll end with 6:15-17, which is truly "food for thought" for those who are not believers. Surely you've got to ask yourself, "What if...???"
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"