The Center Of Heaven

 

Revelation 4:1-5 (KJV)1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

If you want to know what Heaven is like, don’t look to Hollywood nor to popular opinion. In the last several years Hollywood has done movies – bad ones – about Heaven. I admit I’ve never seen them, but read the reviews of them and decided I didn’t want such confusion in my life.

In the 1998 Robin Williams movie What Dreams May Come Robin Williams played a man who went to Heaven but found it to be a lonely place. Why? Because though his children were in Heaven with him, his wife was not there. Someone else is not there either. Throughout the movie God is no where in Heaven. He is completely ignored.

In the movie and the best selling novel The Five People You Meet In Heaven a man dies and goes to Heaven. He meets five people who tell him that his life really mattered, that he made a difference to them. In Heaven he discovers forgiveness and acceptance completely apart from Jesus Christ or even God.

Many people have a Hollywood view of Heaven. They view Heaven as a Paradise that we all (at least the good ones) will some day reach. Heaven is about mankind, humanity. It is our evolution upwards, a natural course for a superior animal species. This is the Heaven idea that satan sells to an unwary world. The devil sold the same plot to Adam and Eve. Though they were in Paradise already the serpent told them they were diminished because Eden wasn’t about them but about God. The devil promised once you eat that which has been forbidden by God you will become gods yourselves (see Genesis 3:5). You will have Paradise without God!

This is what we read about in all these books of people who went to Heaven. In every case those who “come back” say they saw a loved one first, or someone famous first. They speak of Heaven being a peaceful, idyllic place. Yet few introduce God as more than a supporting Actor in Heaven. He is but an “extra”, a “Walk In” Who comes, introduces Himself, then leaves. He is like Oz in Dorothy’s dream, the little Man behind the curtain.

Yet this is not the Heaven that the Bible speaks of.

When the Prophet Isaiah saw into Heaven what did he see?

Isaiah 6:1-4 (KJV) … I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

God is the Author and Subject of Heaven. The Angels that fly around the Throne cover their faces in awe of God. They cry out and declare Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. Man is not in the frame as Isaiah first looks, but God. God is the center of Heaven. Pastor and Author Randy Alcorn wrote:

Heaven without God would be like a honeymoon without the groom or a palace without a king. Teresa of Avila said “Wherever God is, there is Heaven”. The corollary: Wherever God is not, there is hell”.

It is God that makes Heaven Heaven. Without God there is no Heaven. When John sees Heaven he sees God first, and everything else second.

After This

Revelation 4:1 (KJV) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

We start with the words “After This”. After what? Jesus has just spoken to His seven Churches, each in various states of spirituality. Jesus will not speak directly to the earthly Church after this. He will tell us as His present earthly Church what is going on, but the Church is not mentioned in Revelation chapters 4-22. Those who are Pre-Tribulationalists believe that this is because the Church will be Raptured or taken off of the earth prior to the events of the Great Tribulation. You may or may not believe this as there are various theories on Christ’s Church in end time events. As a Pre-Tribulationalist I believe the Church will be Raptured prior to the Great Tribulation. In Matthew 24:3-21 Jesus spoke of the Coming Tribulation and the end of days. As Jesus spoke He spoke to a Jewish Church, and to Jewish Apostles. He spoke of the Fig Tree, a picture of Israel His Chosen Nation. When the Apostle Paul spoke of the Coming of Christ and the future Anti-Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) he wrote of …

2 Thessalonians 2:9-14 (KJV) (the Anti-Christ) whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those on the earth during the Anti-Christ’s reign will have a strong delusion that they might believe a lie. But then the Apostle tells the earth bound Church “God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”.

The Great Tribulation is called “The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble”:

Jeremiah 30:7-9 (KJV) Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is to cause Israel to repent and to call upon the Name of Jesus, the Messiah they have as a nation rejected. Jesus will not leave His Church – those who love Him – on the earth during this Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us that:

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (KJV) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

We who are are Christ’s will be caught up to Heaven just as John was called up to Heaven. We will see the Great Tribulation played out on the earth for Israel’s salvation – being tried often brings a person or a nation to the Lord. The Apostle reaffirms Christ’s protection of His Church by saying:

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (KJV) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Dr. Thomas Constable states in his commentary on the Book of Revelation:

There are 20 references to the church in chapters 1—3, but then none until 22:17. This strongly implies that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation. Evidently the Rapture takes place between chapters 3 and 4.”

Jesus Christ Is The One Who Opens The Door Of Heaven

Revelation 4:1 (KJV) After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

John heard a voice as it were a trumpet talking with him. When I think about a trumpet I think of something similar like a bugle, a brass instrument whose sound carries. The trumpet or bugle was used in ancient times to call troops to battle, to notify people of important events. Most significantly the trumpet voice was the sound God made when He spoke from Mount Sinai. God told Moses:

Exodus 19:13 (KJV) … when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

Exodus 19:16 (KJV) And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

Exodus 19:19 (KJV) And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

The trumpet voice signifies that God Himself is speaking. God tells John come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. Who is this Speaker? It is God the Son. How do we know? Because John told us. He said

The FIRST VOICE which I heard”

What was the FIRST VOICE that John heard when he was cast out on Patmos? He is the One Who spoke to John saying:

Revelation 1:8 (KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

He is the One Who told John Revelation 1:11 (KJV) … I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Jesus is the One Who has the keys to death and hell. Jesus is the Door to Heaven. Jesus said:

John 10:9 (KJV) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Jesus calls John up to Heaven. John has an open door before him because He is the ONLY DOOR by which anyone can be saved. Jesus is the One Who opens doors no man can shut, and shuts doors no man can open (Revelation 3:8). He is the One Who gives eternal life. It is by Jesus’ Word we enter Heaven. It is Jesus Who will give us our tour of Heaven.

Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter

Christ is the Mediator between us and the Father, the Mediator of a better Covenant which was established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament, dying for our sins so that we might have eternal life (Hebrews 9:15).

When Isaiah looked into Heaven he was frightened. He saw God and said:

Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

There was no joy in Isaiah looking into Heaven for to see God as He is is to know how horrible WE ARE. Our uncovered sins before the God Who is

Holy, Holy, Holy

would frighten anyone. Isaiah was torn apart by his sin unto God sent an Angel – a Seraphim – who took a burning coal of righteousness from the altar of God and laid it upon his MOUTH, saying:

Isaiah 6:7 (KJV) …. Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

This is highly symbolic of saving faith in Christ. When we come to Him as we are, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, when we …

Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)… confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Isaiah was frightened when he saw God (good man that he was) without God’s righteousness. Jesus is God’s righteousness to us. When we receive Him as Lord and Savior, confessing Him before men:

Matthew 10:32 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

John was walking and talking with Jesus, even in the midst of the trials of Patmos. Jesus told John “Come up here, and I will show you the things that will come after”. Right after Jesus’ Word is released to John we read:

Revelation 4:2 (KJV) And immediately I was in the spirit:

He was “in the Spirit”, filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

When Ezekiel (37:1) was “in the Spirit” he had the vision of the Valley of dry bones.
When Paul was pressed “In the Spirit” (Acts 18:5) he testified to the Jews.
We who are Christians are to walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:9) for the Spirit is in us.

Jesus sent His Spirit to fill John, to let him see …

God Enthroned Is The Center Of Heaven

Revelation 4:2 (KJV) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

John saw A THRONE with ONE sitting on that Throne. The word “Throne” occurs 45 times in Revelation, emphasizing that God is in control of all that is transpiring. It is the Father Who is on the Throne. God the Son is leading John through the revelations, and the Spirit is empowering John to understand. This does not diminish Christ as the Scripture tells us that He is:

1 Peter 3:22 (KJV) … gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

and that Jesus … Hebrews 10:12-13 (KJV) … after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

And that we who are His are to be … Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is – insofar as authority is concerned – presently seated at the right hand of God in the position of ultimate authority. But Revelation depicts Christ risen from His seat. The end of days has come. John sees God the Father in all His Majesty.

Revelation 4:3 (KJV) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

God looks like JASPER. We are told in Revelation 21:11 that JASPER is CLEAR AS CRYSTAL. Jasper was probably a designation for diamonds. SARDINE or SARDIUS is not a reference to a little fish, but was a fiery red gem found in Sardis. From God came glittering bright brilliant white and fiery red colors, symbolizing the beauty, purity, and holiness of God. There is a rainbow round about the throne. Why a rainbow? Because the rainbow reminds us of the JUDGMENT of God. The Bible tells us that in earth’s history that because of sin…

Genesis 6:6-7 (KJV) … it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

God saved eight souls by an Ark, but all others in humanity died. Following the Judgment of the Flood God “set a rainbow in the clouds” (Genesis 9:8-17) as a promise that He would no longer destroy the earth by flood of water. The rainbow was both a COVENANT as well as a PROMISE of GRACE. John sees the rainbow around the Throne of God now for we begin the Judgment of God on a fallen creation. Though God will not flood the earth with water He will allow His Judgment to pour out on those on the earth. This particular rainbow is emerald or various shades of green. In green there is life. Though God will judge sin on the earth, there will be no absolute destruction of all living things. Warren Wiersbe wrote:

“Usually, a rainbow appears after the storm; but here, we see it before the storm.””

Revelation 4:4 (KJV) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

Around the Throne (θρόνος thronos) of God there were 24 thrones (θρόνος thronos). The King James says “seats” but it is the exact same Greek word – thrones. No one knows exactly who these 24 elders are for John does not tell us. Some believe that these elders are symbolic of the Christian Church. The Apostle said:

2 Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV) It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

so it is possible that this is representative of the Church. The “elders” are called “elders” and not “children”. They are not angels for the word “elders” is used elsewhere in Scripture for humans only, not for angels. These elders are under the authority of God. They are dressed in white raiment, which was previously used in Chapter 3 to describe the saved in Christ:

Revelation 3:5 (KJV) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:18 (KJV) I counsel thee to buy of me (Jesus) gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Revelation 4:5 (KJV) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

There is lightnings and thunders and voices coming out of the throne of God, much like the Judgment that God portrayed when He sent the Law to Israel from Mount Sinai. The Grace of God in Christ has been rejected by the world. Man has sought to approach God by his own means rather than approaching through Christ. So Judgment is coming. There are beasts or strange Angels around the throne of God. These odd angels are described:

Revelation 4:7-9 (KJV) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

What are these odd beings doing?
They are worshiping God!
They are giving GLORY and HONOR and THANKS to Him that sits enthroned.
To Him Who lives forever and ever!

John was not frightened by these “beasts” or Angels.
They are praising the God Whom he loves!

And what of the elders?
Shall we debate WHO they ARE?
No, let us read what THEY are doing:

Revelation 4:10-11 (KJV) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying ….

The “elders” got off their thrones and fell down before Him that sat on the Throne. They worshiped the Lord our God. They took off their crowns and humbled themselves before Almighty God, throwing their crowns before Him. There was no pride here, no arrogance. They cried out:

(11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We cannot live sinless lives, but we can worship the Lord our God.
We cannot be perfect, but we can get off of our thrones and worship Him Who is.
We can take off our crowns, and cast them down.
And worship Him Who is the Center of Heaven.
Both ELDER and BEAST worship the Lord.
Shall we do any less?
Shall we do any less?

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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