Beauty And Hope Of Heaven
Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, September 9, 2015
“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. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 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. 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.” (Revelation 4:1–4).
Whether we are reading or deeply studying the book of Revelation, we must recognize the fact that our God is merciful toward us. He is giving us a glimpse into things so incredible and brilliant, that the prophet needed to be “in the Spirit” to grasp and record it. Can you imagine what a mess we would make in searching the prophecies for these days without being “in the Spirit”? Unfortunately, we do not have to imagine. It happens all of the time. There is no shortage of messy, irresponsible renderings of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which was eternally intended to be as clear as the ancient jasper stone partially representing the vision of God on His throne in our theme text. So, as we seek to unpack some of the beauty of this book, let it be remarkable that God is merciful and stands ready to give us His Spirit for understanding if we ask.
Brother John heard a voice he described as sounding like a trumpet. Have you read any descriptions like these in Scripture before? In Exodus 19 and 20 we see the same imagery of a sounding trumpet just prior to God giving a special message to His people from Mt. Sinai. In many places in the Old Testament and throughout the histories of many ancient cultures, the sounding of trumpets signaled warning or other important communication. The prophets of old were instructed that we must raise our voices with distinct, intelligible tones to warn people of impending judgments (Isaiah 58:1; Joel 2:1). At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, a heavenly voice like a trumpet will sound to assemble the molecules of faithful dead people unto the resurrection of everlasting life (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). So, whenever the Scripture uses the imagery of a trumpet blast, something very important is about to happen.
Being led by Him whose voice sounded like a trumpet, and being in the Spirit, John got a glimpse of God on His throne. It is important to state here, that anytime the prophets saw representations of God, no matter how spectacular, it was only as much as they could handle in the Spirit. For until we shall have put on immortality, no man shall see Him (in His fulness) and live. Yet, all that He revealed to John, as unto other prophets was astounding. God’s beauty was such that it is described as precious stones and the rainbow. As we said in our devotions based upon the life of Joseph, these colors are present in the spectrum of light as seen through a prism. These incredible colors, which are present in the light of God and seen in precious jewels, represent righteousness.
Here are two verses to illustrate the point. Of Lucifer prior to his fall from grace, the Bible says: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:13–15). Concerning this covering the Bible further states: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10). So, God in His glory and righteous character is revealed sitting on His throne with a message for anyone who is willing to receive the Spirit.
Whenever we can see someone just like us who has the ability to overcome the evils of this world, we have hope. If they can be covered by God and submit to His leading, then so can we.
The vision continues with John seeing a special group of people—the 24 elders clothed in white apparel. Since the Scriptures are full of examples of white apparel being representative of the righteousness given to the saints, many of us believe that these people were not mystical, but rather a group of God’s people who have been redeemed from earth (Revelation 19:5-8). Some believe that these people of God were resurrected during the time of Christ as a representative bunch, demonstrating Jesus’ victory over hell, death, and the grave (Matthew 27:50-54). Thus, the representatives of redeemed people are seen in heaven in white apparel with holy crowns on their heads in order to give us hope. Whenever we can see someone just like us who has the ability to overcome the evils of this world, we have hope. If they can be covered by God and submit to His leading, then so can we.
The beginning of John’s vision in Revelation 4 gives us a crystal clear picture of God’s covenant keeping power (throne and rainbow), righteousness (precious stones and white apparel), and redemption (24 saved elders), so we can have hope through the hopelessness of the last days! I will repeat this many times throughout our journey in the Revelation: We are in for a wild ride as the final moments of earth’s history unfold, but we must take courage. He who sits on the throne of the universe is poised to keep His people as we await Jesus’ return. Let us place our faith in Him, and be diligent in service until then.
We can have hope through the hopelessness of the last days!
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, thank you for showing us that you are able to keep us holy through these last days. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen