The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revelation 4:1-6a

Worship in Heaven

We now deal with the specifics of these verses, but I dread doing so.  Some things defy analysis, like the Angel’s visit to Mary or our Lord’s birth (Luke 1:26-38; 2:8-20): These are events to be adored, not dissected.  Let us remind ourselves that what we are so graciously allowed to behold is worship in heaven around the very throne of God.  No, I do not believe that this is poetic imagery.  Granted, this Book is full of symbols and even some in this vision—but not the vision itself.  This is worship as it is in heaven and paradigmatic of what ours should be on earth.

Upon finishing the letters to the churches, John is summoned to an open door in heaven by the same voice which addressed him in chapter one—that of the risen and glorified Christ.  He is “in the [Holy] Spirit” referring to the Spirit’s enveloping presence around him, but I’ll not quarrel with those who believe the Apostle was bodily transported into heaven as even Paul could not tell the difference (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).  The first thing he sees is the Throne and the One seated thereon who is obviously God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  Please note that there is no attempt to describe His appearance in human terms other than to say that He “sat.”  The best John can manage is to describe the Father’s visage employing precious gems.  This is what we should expect.  At no place in Scripture is the Father’s face or features ever revealed—the reason being that he is the Son, and only the Son, who reveals the Father to us (John 14:9).  The gems shine out with blinding luster to reveal the Father’s glory; and, though the rainbow does the same, I like to think that it also reminds us of his mercy (Genesis 9:8-17).

Then there are the twenty-four elders.  Every great and majestic king has his court.  Though some disagree, I see these as representing the twelve tribes of Israel of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New—that is, the whole Church of God of both covenants gathered together as one in the New Jerusalem.  The lightning and thunder manifest our God’s splendor and majesty, terrifying to behold (Exodus 19:16-25; 20:18-21).  The “sea of glass, like crystal” which stretches before the throne speaks to our God’s holiness and otherness—unapproachable in and of Himself to all creation.  The Spirit, who is not His creation but equal with Himself as the Third Person of the Triune God, is just before the throne as will soon be the Second Person embodied as a Lamb.  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.  I fear I have not said enough—and too much.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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