Heaven is the word God uses for where we as believers are headed. Heaven is mysterious to many; and a place of many fanciful speculations. But, God’s Word has given us all He wants us to know about Heaven. As we open to Revelation 4, we open to the first words of the only guided tour of Heaven found in God's Word. Note these opening words: Revelation 4:1 (NKJV) After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Think of what we are witnessing as we begin this morning looking through: The Door of Heaven: Standing Open
There have been many wonderful sights that people have been able to witness: the light from the first light bulb, the awesome sight at the launch of giant rockets into the sky, the glimpse of lost treasures in ancient tombs: but nothing anyone has ever seen compares to this.
These next two chapters we will study in Revelation, starts with each of us given this sight, through the Apostle John’s eyes: of the door to Heaven standing open.
As John is taken by the Spirit of God, from his exile, to see through that doorway, he finds himself transported to the Throne Room of the Universe. That is a profound truth. Heaven is where God sits enthroned. It is not just a place “somewhere”, Heaven is THE place, made so by God being THERE. If you have ever wondered about Heaven, this is God’s way of answering your questions. If we will listen, we will find all that He wants us to know about His Place, His Throne, and life in the Presence of God.
Just like we saw happening in Rev. 1:10, John is guided by the Spirit to hear the words of a loud voice that sounds like a trumpet. It must have been shocking to go from familiar scenes in Patmos, and of the seven churches: to the scenes of Revelation 4 & 5.
The glimpse of the Throne of God, dominated by hard to imagine numbers of angels, as well as sights and sounds that are so immense: boggles our minds. But that is what is seen through the open door.
1. Heaven is dominated by the Throne of God.
2. Heaven is what surrounds God and His worship.
3. Heaven is always described as God’s presence and His Dominion; and with all the events of this world are all seen in perspective to God’s Throne.
God wants us to orient every day of our lives to the truth that He is seated above each moment of our lives. Opening to Revelation 4 & 5 is much like remembering that the blazing stars of a cloudless night are always there, we just rarely see them. So, we must not let the rest of life distract us from the
foundational truths that we must always remember as we open our hearts and minds to God's Word. Every moment of every day:
Heaven is Real. God is on THE Throne; and, we are His servants.
As we open to Revelation 4:2-3, we see not only The Throne central to Heaven, we also see: The One Seated on The Throne.
The One Seated
On The Throne
Every moment of life is lived before the eyes of God, Seated on His Throne.
No event of our life is missed by the One Seated there.
That is the message of the next sentence in this letter.
As we enter into Revelation 4 & 5 we must always remember that the best explanation of Scripture is Scripture. So to see the Throne of God most clearly we must see it through the lens of all the other times God chooses to show The Throne to us.
In one of the most well known scenes in the Old Testament, The Throne of God surrounds Isaiah’s call.
Please turn with me to the scene of Isaiah 6, and notice it is representative of what we often see about God’s Throne: it is High, it is Holy, and because of the smoke and quaking, it is almost Distant.
Like Moses describing the quaking, smoke-shrouded, thundering at Mt. Sinai: God on His Throne projects Holiness, and that the unholy are put on notice to be cautious.
Like Ezekiel and the fiery whirlwinds, and strange creatures surrounded by dual haloes, and completely covered with eyes: God and His Throne are the place of absolute holiness, purity, reverence, and awe.
As we open to Isaiah’s visit to God’s Throne, remember that:
God Showed to us the Holy
Atmosphere Around His Throne
Most of our lives are dominated by the physical world: our health, the weather, our family, our car, our job, etc. The Holy Scriptures each of us hold, were designed to transport our minds away from our physically-dominated-world that is easiest for us to see and feel; and to transport our minds onto the spiritually-dominated world of God’s Throne.
Paul explained this process that God uses to the Colossians when he taught them to: “Set your affections on things above” (Col. 3:1). Paul was telling them that they still had to live out their life in the Roman Empire (most of them were stuck for life as slaves). But, they could live life on earth in a transformed way when they learned to focus their mind and heart on “things above”.
We are actually spending our time together learning about the “things above” in Heaven: The Throne Room of the Universe. God’s Throne is central to all things above. The more we understand about what is going on this very moment at The Throne of God, the more we stay in step with God’s plans for us while we live in this world.
God's Word explains for us in great detail: The Sounds and Sights around the Throne of our Awesome God. Today, that Throne Room of God is the place:
While we are gathered here with the songs of worship to our God in Heaven still reverberating in our hearts from the first part of our gathering: something is happening up there, in the place we have directed our worship.
What we are doing.
What we sang and all of our thoughts.
Each word of our prayers, and the gifts we just gave in the offering:
Each of those actions, that originated in our redeemed hearts and minds, rises above us, rises out of this place on South Drake Road: and arrives before The Throne of God’s presence.
Do you realize how much of what you do today, on the Lord’s Day, matters to the Lord God Almighty, seated on The Throne?
To help us understand more about the impact of our lives, look with me at:
What Happens in
As we just sang, as we gave, and while we worshipped: what was happening at that very moment in Heaven?
Often we think of Heaven in the past (when Christ left for earth and the angels came to announce His birth).
Or we think of Heaven in the future (when Jesus comes breaking through the clouds at the front of all the saints and armies of Heaven as King of Kings).
But do we often enough stop and focus upon Heaven Now: what is happening at this very moment?
While we are gathered here, above us at the epicenter of the Universe, at the Throne Room of God: it is literally pulsating with activity. So what is going on right now up there?
Awesome has lost a bit of its meaning to us in the 21st Century. In the Bible, God is described as awesome, and when He is present there is such a sense of wonder: that it bordered on fear. This awesomeness was an overpowering sense of God’s glory that could be felt.
Our God is
An Awesome God
When Paul wrote from Corinth to the fledgling church at Rome, he sought some way that He might encourage them. They lived with all the daily load of life, plus the general excitement that came from being at the center of the world in that generation.
You’ve heard the modern version of the culture that Rome was in the First Century, summed up in the words: “All roads lead to Rome”.
That was true, each Roman Road, built across the Empire, was part of a river of activity that flowed into the pulsating heart of the Empire: the city of Rome.
There was no grander place of building, no larger display of power, no more distracting place of fascination than in Rome. Every day something new arrived, either an army, or a caravan, or some breaking news of far off places and events. There were endless distractions that flowed down the roads that all led to Rome.
Today, via the Internet: all roads now can lead to us. There is hardly anything, going on anywhere: that isn’t a click away. The river that flowed into Rome brought good and bad information.
Keep Focused by
So Paul wanted to help these saints live their lives for Christ. After explaining the glorious doctrines of salvation (Romans 1-11), Paul says: “Since you are saved, live for Christ” which is the short version of Romans 12:1-2.
Then, a few chapters later in Romans 14:10, Paul says, guard what you do with your life, because we all have an appointment. Please look at Romans 14:10 with me.
That pathway of blessing comes only to those that obey Him. Jesus allows us to live as we wish, but reminds us that the clock started running the instant we were saved, and someday, the tape will be replayed. Even in something as small as when a Christian brother disagrees with me, my response matters to God enough that I will answer to Him before the Throne. Romans 14:10 (NKJV):
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
The destination each of us in Christ are heading is that Throne. We have an appointment that will either make us ashamed or confident, the choice is completely ours.
What remains of our life there someday, that glorified Him: is exactly what we did in our life here that glorified Him. It is that simple. You know what will await you at His Throne because it is what we are doing today.
Either my actions are pleasing or displeasing Him. Period. That is the test. We don’t get to redo life when we get to Heaven and see what mattered to God, then it is too late. The blessings of God are tied to my getting focused on what matters to Him now.
How did Paul try to get the distracted Romans to get ready for their big appointment with God? He reminded them of the Throne. That is the same method Jesus uses here in His letter to us, the Book of Revelation.