Pastor Scott Jonas
Rev 4: The Throne
The newest Marvel movie is Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The premise is that there are unseen universes behind our universe. There are hidden realities behind this reality. Dr. Strange finds a way to open a door to these other multiverses.
I believe that all human beings suspect this is true. There is a world beyond this one where things are the way they should be. The hidden reality is where things are made right. We have no proof that this multiverse exists but we feel it in our bones. There is more than this life.
The bible calls the hidden reality “Heaven.” Heaven is not a place “up there in the clouds.” It is just beyond our perceptions. Every once in a while, God will open up the curtain and allow a human to see Heaven. Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration do not look up into Heaven. Instead, Elijah and Moses are right here on a mountain top. Shepherds see a multitude of Angels praising the new born Savior. Zechariah witnesses a terrifying Angel in the Holy of Holies. Moses talks to God as one would face to face. Heaven is hidden behind our reality.
In Revelation 4, John sees a door. It is an opening to the throne room of God. It’s as if he has been given glasses that allow him to see beyond this world into Heaven. Take them off and he sees houses, trees, marketplaces and the usual. Put them on the glasses and John sees the seat of the Lord. God on his throne appears to glow like the most precious gems imaginable. John doesn’t say they were gems he says that’s what they appeared to be. He’s trying to explain what he’s seeing but it’s so fantastic that he’s grasping for a description that will make sense.
He looks through the door into heaven and sees 24 thrones around God with 24 elders wearing white. Before God was a sea of glass. It wasn’t crystal but it was like crystal. There were creatures, probably Angels, surrounding God. They had the characteristics of things we know like lions, ox, eagles and humans but they weren’t those things. They had a connection to our reality but they were something else entirely.
These creatures praised God saying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. The elders, the people of God, take off their crowns and cast them to the throne as if to say “We aren’t worthy but you are. You are the creator, we are part of your creation."
Revelation is mostly symbolic. Symbolic doesn’t mean made up. It means that symbols help you to understand the reality. Heaven is real and it is just beyond our fingertips. The throne room of God is so near to us. It is just behind a door we can not see. Prophets have been shown that door. They describe that universe the best way they can using images we are familiar with.
God’s throne represents his authority and power. In Heaven, everyone knows God and praises him for who he is. Both heavenly creatures like angels and earthly creatures like humans bow before him. Faith is no longer required because God is real and visible. The number 24 is 12 times two. 12 is the number for God’s people and it is doubled for emphasis. The whole people of God is reunited. It is like we are back in the Garden in Genesis two. His people talk to God face to face. There is no suffering, pain or anxiety.
For the seven churches John wrote to this vision helped them get through incredible persecution. In their world, Christians were being hunted. It appeared like Christianity would go extinct and Rome would win. The vision of John was not a window into the end of time, it was a doorway into the throne room of God right now. Rome may be dominating life in 100 AD but in the throne room of heaven, Jesus is Lord of all.
Reading Revelation is like possessing John’s special glasses into Heaven. We get to see what he saw. We see the reality of the universe next door. Heaven and earth are coming together. It is not Heaven coming down and Earth going up. It is Hidden Heaven which is all around us and Visible Earth which is all around us becoming one.
Whatever your reality, pair it with this vision of the throne room of God. I visited Bev Dixon’s daughter in the hospital. She is sixty years old and through no fault of her own her liver has failed. Her doctor told her that it is 50/50 that she lives through this. Death is at Kim’s door and she knows it. When I was in her hospital room you can feel the presence of Heaven. Our conversation was deep and meaningful because of that.
Whatever your reality, pair it with this vision of the throne room of God. I know a kid who is being bullied in school. This kid can get through it knowing that no matter how much cruelty they are experiencing there is a reality behind this one where everything is made right. Where no one is bullied and everyone is humbled by the presence of their creator.
Whatever your reality, pair it with this vision of the throne room of God. When you get overwhelmed by politics, crime, racial disharmony, the massacre in Buffalo, pair it with this vision of the throne room of God. Here people can be murdered just for the color of their skin. Just beyond a doorway there is eternal worship of the one true God where people of every color and nation are unified through praise.
As you are going through this week, put on your heaven glasses. It will help you to put this reality in perspective. It will give you empathy for those who are hurting. It will give you hope to carry on. Christ is on his throne right here, right now.
By Grace through Faith