1 After these things I looked, and there was a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said: “Come up here so that I can show you what must happen after these things.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit, and a throne was standing in heaven with someone seated on it! 3 And the one seated on it was like jasper and carnelian in appearance, and a rainbow looking like it was made of emerald encircled the throne. Revelation 4:1 – 3
There is a certain perspective we need to have when thinking about the end-times. If we lose this perspective, we easily become lost in the wrong details and quickly become overwhelmed.
Think About a Throne
The first thing that happens after John records the letters to the seven churches is he is caught up by the Holy Spirit into Heaven. The first thing he sees is very important for us to take note of, particularly when we think that this was what was shown to John prior to the unfolding of the details of the Revelation. John sees a throne. There are three things we need to consider when we think about a throne:
- A throne indicates that there is a position of authority.
- A throne indicates that the one seated on it is the one who is in authority.
- A throne also indicates that all those not seated on the throne must show deference to the One who is.
The fact that this throne is in Heaven indicates that it represents the ultimate authority. But there is more…
An Occupied Throne
This throne is not empty, waiting to see who is going to come and sit on it. This throne is occupied, and the One seated there wields the ultimate authority. The One seated there is none other than the one True God. What John saw must have been incredibly difficult for him to describe, yet it is strikingly similar to what others saw before him.
This is what Ezekiel saw:
26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me. Ezekiel 1:26 – 28 NLT
Then there is Daniel’s vision:
9 “While I was watching,
thrones were set up,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His attire was white like snow;
the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool.
His throne was ablaze with fire
and its wheels were all aflame.
10 A river of fire was streaming forth
and proceeding from his presence.
Many thousands were ministering to him;
many tens of thousands stood ready to serve him.
The court convened
and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9 – 10
I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for these guys to see these incredible visions, let alone have to describe them in language that would be comprehensible to their readers! Although slightly different, all the pictures show us the God of the universe reigning in absolute power and authority.
What each one of these prophetic revelations is showing us is the ultimate reality. There is a throne that is firmly established, fixed, and unmovable, in the heavens. The Lord is seated there without rival or equal, reigning in an authority that can never be, and will never be, successfully challenged in any way. All those around Him, and all those who know Him, respond to Him in the only way that is appropriate: Falling down worship! This is the picture that we must have fixed firmly in our minds when we think about the end-times. Although everything around us may look like it is falling into chaos, God is in charge and He will have the final say.
Yes, scary things will happen. Yes, persecution will come. No, we don’t know how it will all exactly work out. What we do know is that, as long as God still reigns on the Throne, everything will turn out for His glory and the good of His people. This is our security as those who are living in the Reign.
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Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.