Revelation 4: 1-8
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the centre, round the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all round, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."
When our little boy Elijah was 2 years old, he started doing something which was amusing and then slightly concerning. I’d say to him: "I love you Elijah."
I’d be waiting for him to say: "I love you daddy", because that’s what he used to do.
But instead, he’d point to himself an say: "I love you Elijah." He thought it was hilarious. After the 30th time I didn't find it as funny!
That’s really the story of the human raceGod created us and loves us passionately. But instead of giving God the love He deserves, we love ourselves. Instead of our lives beings focused and centred on God, we became self-focused and self-centred. That’s really the root of sin. It’s self. It’s life that's all about me. The unholy trinity of, 'Me, myself and I.'
This self-centredness, this self absorption is the ca,use of misery, heartache, conflict, stress, depression and insecurity – more than anything else.
Now let's see how things should really be:
“Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.” (Rev 4: 4)
And verses 6-7:
“In the centre, round the throne, were four living creatures…Day and night they never stop saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’”
Do you notice something here? Everything revolves around the throne. God is the centre of everything, everyone is focused completely and totally on Him. These 4 living creatures represent all of creation. 4 seasons, 4 corners of the world. It’s creation itself worshiping it’s Creator.
But it’s verse 4 I really want you to see. We read about 24 other thrones, mini thrones. Most scholars would say that these 24 thrones represent God’s people throughout all of history. It makes sense.
In the Old Testament, how many tribes did God’s people Israel have?: 12.
Then in the New Testament, how many apostles were there?: 12
So 24 is a picture of all those who have ever been part of God’s family throughout human history.
It represents you and me and Moses and Elijah and Abraham and David and Peter and Paul and every Christian at every time in every place.
Notice we’re on thrones as well. We’re the New Testament people of God. It’s a picture that we are ruling and reigning with Christ. He shares His power and authority with His people.
Jesus had promised this in Luke 22: 29-30:
“I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones…”
Look at what Paul says in Eph 2:6:
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…”
One of my favourite things is when is when my son just wants to sit beside me. Maybe we’re just watching a cartoon or we're driving along in the car – but I just love having my little boy beside me.
Imagine that God Almighty, the Creator, the King, Lord of all, says: 'Son, daughter - come and sit beside me. Come and share in what I’m doing, come and have what I have.'
How do we get to do that, I’m so unworthy? Did you notice what God’s people were wearing?
“They were dressed in white…”
How do we get these white robes? I’m going to jump ahead a few chapters to Rev 7. Again it’s talking about God’s people – you and I as we gather before God’s throne, and it says:
“They were wearing white robes….they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7: 13-14)
Isn’t that beautiful. When we wash our filthy, sin stained clothes in the blood of Jesus, we come out white, dressed in His perfect purity and holiness and righteousness.
I’m so thankful that when I stand before a holy, perfect God, I don’t stand there covered in a lifetime of filth – all the anger and impurity and greed and selfishness and pride that too often is part of my life. I wouldn’t stand a chance.
But through faith in Jesus, I stand there dressed in Christ’s righteousness.
Even today that affects how I approach God and how I pray.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4: 16)
For the Christian, God’s throne is not a throne of judgment – but it’s become a throne of grace. I don’t have to come with fear and timidity, but I can come with boldness and confidence, as a child of God and He will help me when I need Him.