If all you can see is all that there is, then today, before anything else happens, it is already a gloomy day. This is the point of the Revelation. There is more than what you can see. Afraid of being too heavenly minded for no earthly good we have lost sight of what is behind our very existence. That heaven which is only a heart-beat away carries the very essence of our life here on earth. Let’s continue to see what John sees:
“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.” (Revelation 4 v 4-6)
John enters the throne room and he immediately sees the throne. Many scholars have given amazing interpretations of what is in the throne room and no one knows exactly of course.
But we do know that this was not the throne of Caesar with all of his fearful power, might and worshipped deity. This throne room made Caesar’s pale into insignificance. What John saw and then wrote to the churches was a reminder that behind their very existence was something of unspeakable and indescribable power. Despite their challenges; resisting surrendering to false rulers and powers; refusing to be led by false teachers and prophets; persecution; temptations to compromise at every level; they are being called to recognise a greater power and someone who is to be feared more than all their Caesar’s put together.
What are you facing today and what are you fearing?
Trying to resist speculating what exactly John saw, I now speculate!
I don’t know who the 24 elders were. (Don’t write in as I do know the theories!) But I do know around God’s throne John saw living beings, life and thrones of what appeared as victory. I do know that though this life at times gives us feelings of defeat and failure it is neither our end nor is it our present reality in God. For we belong to a throne room of achievement, fulfilment and victory!
- So what are you intimidated by?
- For the churches it was everything from the falseness of man to the power of Caesar Domitian. But look! From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In the history of their faith they would remember all too well these descriptions of Mount Sinai in the Exodus story. So why are you intimidated when behind you is someone who intimidates the whole universe?!
- So why give up now because you feel a failure?
- For the churches they have been challenged to repent, wake up, hold on, return to their first love; we know how tough it is to be a disciple of Jesus in our world. But look! In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. We have already seen that John is seeing the completeness and the perfection of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit and His complete work are in front of the throne. Don’t give up because the Spirit will complete His work in us!
- So how can you live with the chaos and the confusion?
- For the churches their lives were not easy. They had suffered many losses during the persecution. Evil seemed to prosper. There are many theories about the sea. Later in the Revelation we will see beasts emerging from the sea and whatever that means it doesn’t sound good! I love the sea and you probably do too. But we know it can be beautiful and terrifying. These ancient people viewed the sea as a confusing, chaotic and evil to be feared. When Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee it spoke powerfully to their chaotic lives as it still does to us. But look! In front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. You might be struggling today with a chaotic sea tossing you around but it will not win. It will be tamed.