In the first verse of Revelation 4, we are told that John sees an open door. Remember that John has just seen the glorified Christ in Chapter 1, where John falls before him as a dead man. And John has written down, at Christ's direction, the things that were intended for the seven churches of Asia Minor. Now, he looks up and sees a door "standing open in heaven." I mention this first, not only because it is the first thing John sees, but because of the significance of it being open. The door to the throne room of God is always open.
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) tells us:
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Most Holy Place once had restrictions on who could enter and how often. But that all changed when Jesus sacrificed Himself and paid the penalty for our sins with his own blood. A Passage in Hebrews refers to the Most Holy Place:
Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
This is the greatest invitation we can think of! The Most Holy Place represents heaven itself.
"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence" (Hebrews 9:24).
God desires full access for us in entering His throne room. And St. Peter will not be standing at this door asking why he should let you into heaven's throne room. Just as God tells the apostle John in the next verse to "Come up Here!" He is now calling us to enter through the door into His throne room. And all who have accepted Christ as Savior can enter. The door is never closed - and it never matters the time of the day or night.
We are to have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. When the Lord shed his own blood on the cross and gave up His spirit, He not only caused the veil in the Temple to split in two (Matthew 27:51), but He also split the spiritual curtain which separated us from His holy presence. We who now form part of His church have "a new and living way" open to the glory which is in Him.
So, let's now approach the Most Holy Place - sometimes called the Throne Room in Heaven. Many of the Bible writers give us a glimpse of the Throne Room, like Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. But the most detailed description of the throne room is found in Revelation 4 & 5.
Now, let's go through the door and gaze upon the throne.
Revelation 4 NKJV
1 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."
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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!"
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 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:
11 "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."
What does John see as he enters heaven through the open door? The most striking part of the scene for John is the throne of God Himself upon which, he tells us, One sits.
It is important to note that John does not give us a detailed description of God Himself because such a description would be impossible. As the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:16:
"[God] ...alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen!"
Although John does not give us a description of God, he does give us a description of the Throne Room. This throne must be spectacularly beautiful. And this throne is occupied.
In my lifetime, I have personally seen only three thrones.
o King Ludwig I, in Munich, Germany - The walls of the throne room are overlaid with pure gold.
o King Tutankhamen - in 2003 Cairo - We visited the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. King Tut's throne was behind a glass enclosure.
o King Minos of Crete - in 2005 Outside Heraklion, Crete are the ruins of Knossos Palace. He was king over the Minoan civilization.
When I saw these thrones, they were all unoccupied. The kingdoms of these rulers of the past did not last forever. In fact, none of them lasted very long. But when John saw the throne in Heaven, it was occupied.
Psalms 47:8 NKJV
8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.
Isaiah said it this way concerning God's throne, in
Isaiah 6:1 NKJV
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
When Isaiah saw the throne of God, it was occupied, and he was never the same. The key to our spiritual life is to glimpse upon and reverence the throne - and He who sits on it.
Let me remind you that the throne of God will never be vacant. It cannot be stolen. Our God cannot be out-muscled or over-powered. Psalm 45:6 says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever." No! Positively NO! God's throne is never vacant and never will be. And none but God occupies it. The throne of God stays exclusively His. So when you come "boldly to the throne of grace," as mentioned in Hebrews 4:16, there will be someone on that throne ready to listen. In fact, anytime we experience the presence of the Lord, His throne is never far. And it is more than just a seat to sit upon. It represents authority, power, rule and dominion. It is at this throne and from this throne that official Kingdom business are made and pronounced. And you and I have a standing invitation to enter the throne room of God. The door leading into this room is always open.
Once again, let me state the reason why I want to take you to gaze upon the throne of God. There have been times I have been praying in the past where it seemed my prayers were going nowhere. This has probably happened to most of you as well. Intellectually, I know the Word of God tells us He does hear us when we pray, but you sense there is no response. It seems to be going to some nebulous being, far beyond the grasp of my realities. There is a sense of disconnectedness, with no real sense of praying to a real person. My taking you to gaze upon the throne of God and Him who sits upon it, is to give you a simple devotional aid. John describes a scene in heaven into which our prayers ascend.
God has invited all of His people to come before this throne so they might receive mercy and find grace to help them in their time of need. But it is much more than that.
As we read in the Bible earlier, this throne is an eternal reality - it is forever and ever. It won't become real when we get to heaven and see it for the first time. It is real right now. It doesn't exist just because we are in need, for it existed prior to human existence. It was secured in eternity before the heavens and the earth were created.
The finished work of Jesus on the Cross has made it possible for weak, broken people to come freely before this throne. And they can do it without any condemnation.
The Spirit of God is constantly beckoning the saints on earth to live before the throne. One day we will joyously cast our crowns before this throne. These crown - and there are five mentioned - represent our spiritual achievement as we walk before the Lord in obedience and cooperated with the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
1. Crown of Life - for all who love God and are willing to suffer for Christ.
2. Crown of Righteousness - for those who love and long for His appearing.
3. Incorruptible Crown - for those who finished and won the race.
4. Crown of Rejoicing - for those who are soul winners.
5. Crown of Glory - for those who minister faithfully.
One day in Heaven, we will cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus - for He alone is worthy. But first we need to learn to cast our hearts before this throne in devotion and passion for the Son of God.
This throne, filled with the grace and majesty of God, is the most awesome place in all existence. It is the foundation of the entire created order. It is the center of everything. It is the purpose for everything, for He who created all things sits upon the throne. And, according to Revelation 4:11, He takes pleasure in all He has created.
When we someday stand before Him at the judgment seat, what He is thinking about us will be the only thing that counts. Once I came to understand that the only thing relevant to my life is what God thinks is relevant, then I had a clearer grasp of the meaning of my life.
If we lose our vision of the throne of God as the center of everything we live for, then we lose our equilibrium and stability. We lose our reason for enduring hardships. We lose our motivation to bless our enemies. We lose the real reason why God gives us good things. Everything else passes away, and nothing has any significance, relevance and meaning outside the reality of the person upon this throne - and He who sits at His right. All else is temporal, except the things that are pleasing to Him.
Notice how the angels and the 24 elders address God. They refer to Him as "Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" (Revelation 4:8). And they speak twice about God in Chapter 5.
o "Him who sits on the throne" (Verse 13), and
o "Him who lives forever and ever" (Verse 14).
Compare that to what Jesus told us to address Him. Christ said, "After this manner pray, our Father..." (Matthew 6:9). And Paul reminds us that we have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba Father" (Romans 8:15).
The angelic host does not call Him "Our Father." Only Jesus and born-again believers - the adopted sons and daughters of God who have entered into the blessed Father-child relationship - they call Him "Father!". And we have that relationship on the grounds of Christ's sonship.
Jesus also said for us to pray that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). The community of God on earth - the church, the Father's family, is part of a larger community already in heaven. The community of God on earth is to live as the community of God lives in heaven.
The community of God in heaven is filled with worship and adoration for Him. They recognize and gaze upon the greatness, beauty, loveliness and splendor of Jesus on His throne. They deeply love the Son of God. They gaze upon Him at the throne of grace. The church still on earth is also to be a passionate, worshiping community that exists to give ourselves wholly to the Son of God. The purpose of both God's community in heaven and His community on earth begins and ends with worship around the throne.
Too many Christians spend little time before the throne. Instead of living in contact with the awesome One seated upon the throne, they live without taking advantage of this sacred privilege.
Do you ever imagine standing in heaven's throne room as you worship and intercede? Sometimes I whisper, "Oh how I love You, Lord. Please give me insight into Your glorious throne." Then without saying a word, I simply gaze into the awesome scene that the apostle John and other holy men of old have described for us.
Take a glimpse with me of this place as depicted in the Word of God. Picture a mighty throne, immersed in flames, standing in heaven. Imagine an indescribably glorious person with hair like pure wool and garments as white as snow, seated upon that throne. His appearance is like the shining, dazzling brightness of light green jasper and fiery red sardius. Picture a bright arch that looks like a rainbow of emerald encircling the entire throne. This radiance about Him, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds, is the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
Watch the flashes of lightning and listen to the rumbling thunder coming out from the throne. Gaze in awe at the flowing river of fire before Him. Picture 24 lesser thrones surrounding the great thrones on the right and the left and 24 elders clothed in white and wearing golden crowns sitting upon those throne.
In front of the throne of Him who lives forever throughout eternity, imagine the flames of seven blazing torches - the 7-fold Spirit of God that reflect in an immense sea of transparent glass like crystal, mixed with fire. This awesome, dazzling expanse of this clear, glassy sea mirrors the entire scene, creating a mirror image. Daniel 7:9-10 describes a river of fire flowing from His throne presumably into the sea of glass that is mingled with fire.
Now picture four, six-winged, living beings hovering around the blazing throne. They are full of eyes in front and behind. Listen as day and night these beings never cease to proclaim passionately, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).
Look! Do you see Him? Jesus is there at the right hand of His Father. His loveliness and His splendor are beyond description. And He is welcoming you to the throne of grace, smiling and bidding you to come. The mighty throng of angels are parting to let you through, for they step aside softly when they see a child of God approaching the throne.
Revelation 15:2 describes the place where we stand before the throne. The redeemed of the ages stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire. We stand here to speak into His heart and let Him speak into ours.
That is the scene into which I come to offer my praise, adoration and prayers. And you can enter that scene in your own prayer life also. And as you come there, day after day, year after year, our lives are enriched, our spirit is invigorated, and our minds are renewed. Here we are cleansed from the defilements of earth, and our souls are restored. The fruitless, temporary things of earth lose their hold upon us as we behold them from the perspective of that eternal invisible world. And over the course of time we are changed - transformed - from glory to glory.
We read in Revelation 22:1,
"Then he showed me the river whose water gives life, sparkling like crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb."
WOW!! Are you yearning for life? Are you thirsty for a drink of living water? Do you want to enjoy the River of Life? Well, get the throne of God in your life. The river of refreshing flows from the throne of God. Revival and refreshing is always connected to the throne of God. Where God rules, the river flows. Invite the throne of God into your life and the river of God will flow deep and wide.