“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.’”
There are few chapters in the Bible that stimulate the imagination of the eternally focused Christian as the 4th chapter of the book of Revelation. John walks us through his vision as he is transported to heaven and witnesses the amazing splendor surrounding the throne of God! His description of the throne, the twenty-four elders, the sea of glass and the four living beings is something no Christian should read hastily and without a sense of wonder and reverence.
What exactly is heaven like? For centuries, this question has captivated the thoughts of Christians who believe in the scriptural promise for the Elect of God. Books have been written by people who claim to have visited heaven during a temporary death experience. Movies about these experiences are also extremely popular. It is only natural to wonder what our heavenly dwelling place will be, after all, we will be spending eternity there with God. In this chapter, we read what John writes as he gives a description of the four living creatures and marvel at their odd appearance. We wonder at the sea of glass and ponder what it must look like as it sparkles ”like crystal.” In awe, we read the description of the flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder coming from the throne of God. It must have been a sensory overload for John, and surely we will also struggle to attribute words to such an experience. I daresay even the most verbose of us will find ourselves without fluency when we arrive.
However, as much as we like to fixate on what heaven will look like I believe there is something far more important in this description. Read the chapter again but this time don’t look with your imagination…listen. What does heaven SOUND like? Exactly! It sounds like WORSHIP! That is what jumps off the pages of my Bible. Everything that is described in chapter 4 is focused on God and worshipping Him. The four living beings are saying; seemingly in unison, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” When a word is repeated three times in Scripture, we know God places the ultimate emphasis on the word. God is indeed Holy! And when the living beings speak this statement, the 24 elders respond by falling down around the throne and now take their opportunity to worship God by saying; “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.” Are you getting the picture? WORSHIP!
A.W. Tozer once said, “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” Tozer nailed it! Drop the mic! My fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, we may not be with God in heaven right now while we walk around on this earth. However, we are invited to join heaven spiritually through worship anywhere and at any time! If you don’t ‘get into’ worshipping God now, while you are on this earth, you may find yourself just a little out of place standing with the 24 elders and the 4 living beings around the throne of God in heaven!
Now, I know what some might be thinking. Does he expect me to throw my hands in the air and dance around during worship on Sunday? If you are asking that question, you are missing my point. I’m not trying to get anyone of us to behave a certain way during worship services, or anytime you worship. What I am trying to do is encourage all of us (including myself) through the vision of worship shown to us here, to begin to grasp how Holy and worthy of praise our God is. It isn’t about Sunday worship service although that is a part of it. It is about anytime you come before the Lord and worship Him. If you struggle to feel the passion and the reverence demonstrated by the four beings and the elders described here surrounding the throne of God then may I suggest the next time you attempt to worship God stand up, close your eyes and imagine standing beside them as they worship God! Whoa! Does that help change your perspective? When you come before God to worship Him, you not only join the four beings and the 24 elders, but you stand shoulder to shoulder with millions of saints praising God. Now that will be a vision to see!
I will close this blog as I began. John began the chapter by saying the “same voice” (the one we know to be Jesus Christ) said to him at the beginning of the vision, “Come up here…” I personally like to picture Jesus sitting at the right hand of God at the throne motioning me to come through the door and to the throne. That is an invitation I will always take. I hope you do as well so we can all join our voices in saying: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!”