Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Glory of Heaven

[4:1] After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." [2] At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. [3] And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. [4] Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. [5] From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, Rev. 4:1-5 (ESV)

The focus shifts. It seems as if Revelation is almost two different books. The first three chapters dealing with different churches and their particular problems. And then beginning in chapter four a vision of heavenly glory fantastic in scope. It is this second part of Revelation that invites so much speculation when people are bored with the stories of Christ and the forgiveness of sins. Speculation. What people don’t understand they seem happy to speculate upon and pass off as understanding. Personally, I’d rather just pass over it, or seek to understand from what is spoken of elsewhere in scripture. Much of the speculation that is passed off as understanding, though, can be disproven by that, scripture. Scripture interprets scripture. And when treading on the ground of the obscure it is better to intepret the obscure by the clear, rather than obscuring the clear with speculation based on the obscure.
John starts off this vision describing the heavenly throne room of God with analogies. It is interesting to me that he uses the words “like, and “appearance” as if to say these are the closest things with which I can give an analogy that comes close to describing what I saw. He uses those things that we find precious on earth, emerald, jasper, carnelian. Can you imagine walking into an earthly throne room decorated thus? The power and influence that would have over a person? And yet all the glory and power on earth is but a pale reflection of that which God has over the world

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