There are few things that you might remember at a glance. Surely you can picture thousands, if not tens of thousands of images over the course of your life that stand out. But how many memories of yours can you say exist based solely on one brief glimpse or striking view of something? Not as many as you’d think,.. but it can happen. Some may recall the feeling of time slowing down when they’re part of (or witness) an accident. Others might instantly be reminded of their heart skipping a beat, when the person of their dreams enters a room for the first time. And I can remember one day when I was driving down the highway, and cleared a hill to find on the other side a sun setting among the clouds and trees that was so spectacular that I almost felt outside of myself.
The Apostle John was given such a vision himself in the book of Revelation. After John writes the seven letters to the seven churches; he was caught up in the Spirit and given a vision of heaven, and of the throne room of God:
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
So John is taken up into heaven, and into the throne room, and into the very presence of God. Yet, he doesn’t stop there. He continues to set a scene for us full of glory and worship and power. So let’s keep reading for a bit, but I want you to really try to get a picture of what John is seeing here:
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Shortly after, we see an image of Christ taking the scroll of the Father to unseal it:
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
And finally we’re told of the host of angels that, along with the creatures and the elders, praise God and Christ from the throne room:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
Did you get all that? John has been describing all of the things that are surrounding the throne of God. Around God’s throne John saw lightnings and thunderings, twenty-four thrones with twenty-four elders, Seven lamps of fire, a sea of glass, the four living creatures with six wings, the Lamb of God with seven horns and seven eyes in the midst of the throne, and an entire host of angels which could have been in the hundreds of millions.
How awestruck would you be walking into that room? John just walked into the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Daytona 500, the World Cup, and the Olympic World Games. Even all of those combined would be a mere fraction of what John was witnessing. But with all that he saw; all the grandeur and the spectacle of what he was seeing; the first thing he noticed,.. the first thing that caught his eye was “behold, a throne in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Revelation 4:2
John’s eyes were fixed on the Lord our God, and the eyes of every elder, every creature, and every angel in that room were fixed on Him too.
Don’t get twisted by books and movies that are trying to tell you what heaven is like. Heaven is not about second chances. Heaven is not about uncovering great mysteries of the universe or about all of those questions that you think you’d be willing to ask an awesome and holy God. Heaven is about one thing and one thing only. Heaven is about Jesus. Stop wondering about how you’ll live, or if you’ll get treasure, or whether or not there’ll be clouds, or any of that nonsense.
We, as God’s children, will be in His presence, and we will get to experience the joy and glory of our Lord and Savior for eternity. We’ll be praising His name and singing and we’ll all be together as redeemed sinners, glorifying God! He will sustain us, and He will be our eternal peace.
We need to keep our eyes on Christ. He is our salvation. If we look to any other, we are without hope. Remember Peter in the storm? While he was looking at Christ, he could walk on the water in safety, but just when he looked away, he got swallowed up by the sea. So what are your eyes fixed on right now?
I know that times can get tough. I have struggles, just as we all do. But we can glorify God through all of it. We glorify God when we give Him thanks for each new day. And we glorify God when we’re scared, and we turn to Him, because we know that He is the only one that can truly help us.
The Father has His eyes on Christ too. In His death on the cross, Christ took upon Himself all of our sin that we committed against God’s commandments. But, in turn, we have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. If God saw us as we truly are, we would be utterly destroyed. But God no longer sees us that way. When he looks at His adopted children, the Church; He sees His Son, Jesus Christ.
As big as this world may seem, and as big as your own personal struggles within it get. Open your eyes to what is, in reality, the very center of your created being. That God brought you into this word, He baptized you with fire, and nothing can ever separate you from His lovingkindness. Grace to you all!