February 28, 2021

"The Throne Room of the Creator-Redeemer"

Scripture Reading: Revelation 4 & 5

The book of Revelation begins as a letter from the apostle John to seven churches in the province of Asia. After the opening vision in Chapter 1, the seven churches are addressed in seven individual letters in Chapters 2-3. The themes may vary from church to church, but the central message is the same: Jesus Christ is not dead, silent or absent from his Church. Christ sits on the throne of the universe as he speaks his Word of grace and peace through the revelation that is now given.

In our reading today from Revelation 4-5, the vision bursts forth with even more brilliance as John is invited into the throne room of God. There he sees and hears more than we could ever ask for or imagine. Our reading begins with John saying, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.” More literally John says, “Behold! A door standing open in heaven!” The vision commands our careful attention: God is revealing, God is speaking, and God is being praised and worshipped. What John sees and hears, is a Word for the Church of Jesus Christ in all times and places.

Questions:

What does John mean by the words “After this”? What has he just finished doing?
What song in our hymnbook uses the words of Revelation 4:8?

As we enter the throne room of God with the apostle, the first thing we are told in Revelation 4:2 is that someone is sitting on the throne. This is good news! (It’s one of the most important things we can take from this vision. Remember it and the rest of the story will fall into place!) Someone is in charge of the universe. We are not left to the forces of chaos and chance. There is One who is seated on the throne and he is the Lord God Almighty. Next comes a barrage of images. We read of a beautiful rainbow resembling an emerald, twenty-four elders, flashes of lightning, a sea of glass like crystal, and four living creatures resembling the Lion, the Ox, the Man, and the Eagle. Much of what John describes in Revelation 4 is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, including the prophet Ezekiel who also spoke of four living creatures before the throne of God. (Take a look at Ezekiel 1)

Questions:

“Apocalyptic Literature” uses pictures and symbols to depict a greater reality. What do some of the pictures and symbols in Revelation 4 and 5 represent such as:
– The twenty-four elders
– The four living creatures
– The Lion and the Lamb
What does it mean that God is the Creator of all things and the Redeemer of all things?

There is certainly more that can be said about the tantalizing pictures and symbols in our reading today. However, it is enough to keep ourselves focused on the main thing: Jesus Christ, the One seated on the throne of the universe. He is not only the Savior of human souls, he is the Redeemer of all creation.

Let’s never reduce the scope of salvation. God has a plan to deliver the world from evil. His Kingdom will be revealed in fullness and glory. Revelation 4 and 5 is a challenging vision that contains a universal flavor. Think about it: the vision proclaims God’s saving work over every square inch of creation. God is the absolute Creator and God is the absolute Redeemer. In a rather thought-provoking statement, theologian Eugene Boring writes, “Given this mind-expanding picture, it is impossible to see any part of the universe as ultimately rebellious and lost, just as it is impossible to see any part of the universe as existing apart from the creative will and activity of the one creator God.”

The Conclusion:

The book of Revelation challenges us as Christians to be part of God’s worldwide plan of redemption. This is a positive calling. It is a call to speak to the grace and truth of God’s creational design for this world and our life within it. Stop trying to do it all alone. You are not alone. As a parent, a co-worker, a boss, a teacher, student, team player, church member and whatever other calling you may have in your life – you do it all in the Name of the One who is “seated on the throne” and in him you have victory. You belong to him. You are worthy because Christ is worthy. That is the good news from the One who is seated on the throne. Amen.

Question:

In light of what Revelation 4-5 reveals, do you have a positive or negative view of life in this world?