Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11 HCSB
Stop and think about God’s creation. God created every kind of bird, animal, insect, fish, and human. There is not just one type of bird but a variety of birds of all sizes and colors. The animals vary from the very small mouse to the very large elephant. The creatures under the water vary from the small minnow to the large whale. Even humans are of many different sizes and colors. God surely likes variety and colors. Think about the human body and how all the different parts work together so perfectly. It is hard to imagine how anyone could think that all of creation just happened without a God.
As this verse says, God is worthy of all glory, honor, and power. Since He created everything in the world, everything belongs to Him and everything continues to exist at His will. Every breath we take and every heart beat is a gift from God. He allows us to live and blesses us with a variety of creatures around us and a variety of foods to eat. The point of this verse is that someday all creation in heaven, earth, and the sea will praise God.
Challenge: God is the sustainer of all life. He is worthy of our praise. Spend a few minutes praising God for His wonderful world that you enjoy. Praise Him for giving you life and blessing you in so many ways.
Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne. Four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back were in the middle and around the throne. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature was like a calf; the third living creature had a face like a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. Revelation 4:6-7 HCSB
One of my favorite outdoor photos is one that I took at a campground in Tennessee. It was fall and the trees had already started to change to their many shades of reds, yellow, and orange. The trees lined the shoreline of the lake. The lake was perfectly still and created a perfect mirror reflection of the beautiful trees.
In New Testament times glass was very rare, and crystal clear glass was virtually unheard of. John said that there was a sea of glass before the throne of God. The picture that John painted with his words stands in stark contrast to the chaos of this world. In heaven there will be peace and calm like a sea of glass.
Challenge: Know that heaven will be a wonderful peaceful place filled with beauty. Thank God that someday that you will be able to see the wonders of heaven.
Around that throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones sat 24 elders dressed in white clothes, with gold crowns on their heads. Flashes of lightning and rumblings of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Revelation 4:4-5 HCSB
In Kentucky we have had a lot of rain recently. It has been hot and humid, creating just the right atmospheric conditions for afternoon thunderstorms. Lightning and thunder are normally a part of these storms which can be very dangerous. I was on the golf course once when lightning struck a tree about 100 yards from where I was standing. The power of the lightning blew the tree apart like a piece of dynamite. Splinters of wood went flying everywhere. My dad and I quickly made our way to the clubhouse. That experience has caused me to respect any lightning when I am outside.
These verses tell us there were 24 thrones with 24 elders around the main throne. These probably represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles. This is symbolic that the message of Jesus Christ is for everyone, both Jews and Gentiles. There were flashes of lightning and rumblings of thunder coming from the throne. This is reflective of God’s great power and majesty. God is awesome and deserves our respect.
Challenge: Do you really respect and honor God? Thank God that everyone who has accepted Jesus as Lord is welcome in heaven. Praise God for who He is.
Immediately I was in the Spirit, and a throne was set there in heaven. One was seated on the throne, and the One seated looked like jasper and carnelian stone. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne. Revelation 4:2-3 HCSB
I enjoy outdoor photography. Taking pictures of God’s beautiful creation is fun. Finding just the right location to frame a scene with other items that are closer and achieving the right angle with the correct amount of light is a skill that God has helped me to develop over the years. There have been times when I have had to stand in precarious positions to get the best picture. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly true. It would be hard for me to adequately describe what I have captured in some of my pictures.
Just imagine being John and trying to describe what he saw as he was ushered into the throne room of God. He used the most descriptive words he could find to tell his readers how majestic and wonderful the sights were that he was given the pleasure to see. Jasper as we know it today is an opaque stone, but in Revelation 21:11 it is described as being a transparent crystal like a diamond. Carnelian was a fiery red mineral found in Sardis. The rainbow was not like what we see as a rainbow with many different colors. It was an arc around the throne and was the color of emerald green. John did the best he could at describing something that really was indescribable.
Challenge: God is still on His throne and is as majestic as He has always been. Try to imagine what the throne room of God looks like. Praise Him for who He is, what He has done, and what He going to do in the future.
After this I looked and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Revelation 4:1 HCSB
From time to time I have been invited to a sneak preview of an upcoming movie. These are movies that have a Christian message and because I am a minister, I have been invited to see the movie before it is released to the public. The people who made the movie are hoping that I will encourage people in my church to go see their production. It is always fun to receive a special invitation and feel as though I am getting special treatment.
John received special treatment. He was invited to come and see the throne room of heaven. The “after this” is referring to the messages to the seven churches. The “open door” mentioned here is not the door into the kingdom mentioned in Revelation 3:8 or the door into the heart mentioned in Revelation 3:20. This door was the door into the next part of heaven, the throne room of God.
Challenge: As believers, we will someday be invited to enter into the throne room of heaven. It is hard to imagine what that room will be like. It will be like nothing we have ever experienced. Thank God that because of Jesus paying the penalty for our sins that we will receive “special treatment” someday. The verses following this verse gives us a sneak preview of what heaven will be like.
The victor; I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God – the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God – and My new name. Revelation 3:12 HCSB
A person who is described as being a “pillar of the community” is someone who is usually a prominent member or supporter of a particular community. He is someone who is actively involved in the community and is an influencer in the what the community has done and is currently doing. Others look to him for consistent guidance and direction.
Those who are victors (believers in Jesus Christ) will be made pillars in the sanctuary of God. Of course this is symbolic just as symbolism is used throughout the book of Revelation. A structural pillar provides support for the building just as the pillar of the community provides support for the community. Similarly, the pillar in the sanctuary of God will be a prominent supporter of God’s community and will play an active and important role in the community of God.
Challenge: Are you a pillar in your community? Are you a positive influencer in your community? Someday you will be a pillar in God’s community. Pray that God will use you as an positive Christian example in your community today.
In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5 HCSB
I can remember when my children tried out for the dance team, the basketball team, or for a part in the drama at school. They would anxiously wait to get the definitive phone call or to see the list posted of those who “made it”. It was always a time of celebration and excitement when they made the list and conversely a time of disappointment when they did not make the team or get the part they wanted. Life is filled with wins and losses. Part of life is learning how to deal with the disappointments and how to celebrate graciously.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we can be assured that we have “made” the list. There is no doubt. Jesus has promised to clothe His followers in white (a sign of righteousness and holiness) and to never erase their names from the Book of Life. The Book of Life symbolizes God’s knowledge of who belongs and does not belong to Him. All who are listed in the Book of Life are guaranteed they will join the hosts of heaven as belonging to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Challenge: Thank God that your name is in the Book of Life and that someday you will enjoy eternity in heaven.
The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end, I will give him authority over the nations – and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter, he will shatter them like pottery – just as I have received this from My Father. I will also give him the morning star. Revelation 2:26-28 HCSB
I am not an early riser. As a former student minister I am accustomed to staying up late and eating pizza. Recently on vacation I rose early and took a walk on the beach to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful to see the many different blues, pinks, and orange colors in the sky as the sun rose over the horizon. Right before dawn is usually the darkest and coldest time. That is when the morning star shines bright in the sky to show the way and bring light to a dark world.
In the same fashion, this world will be at its darkest and coldest hour when Jesus decides to return. Christ is called the morning star in Revelation 22:16. On that glorious day, the brightness of Christ will invade a very dark world. He will expose the darkness of sin. The light of love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness will dispel all darkness.
Challenge: As believers, we have Christ dwelling within us. We are the “morning star” to bring His light to a very dark world. His light should shine forth in our lives to light the way for others. His light will expose the evil of our world and will help us to stand for what is right and good. Listen to Steve Green sing “Morning Star” on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGAIFuHYAfU
“Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17 HCSB
My daughter took our grandson, who was born recently, to the doctor for his regular check-up. The doctor was concerned that he was not gaining weight as quickly as he should, so even though she was feeding him around the clock, he asked my daughter to begin feeding him more. My grandson needed more nourishment. With the extra feedings he gained four ounces in four days and was back on tract to gaining the weight that he should.
The “hidden manna” was spiritual nourishment for the faithful believers. As the Israelites made their way to the Promised Land, the Lord miraculously provided manna from heaven for their physical nourishment (see Exodus 16:13-18). Its source was hidden or unknown. In John 6:51 Jesus is proclaimed as the “bread of life”. This spiritual nourishment will satisfy our deepest spiritual hunger.
Challenge: Thank God for providing all that you need spiritually just as He provided for the physical needs of the Israelites.
“Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.” Revelation 2:7 HCSB
In Genesis there is the mention of two trees: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge (see Genesis 2:9). The tree of life provided eternal life. The tree of knowledge provided the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the the tree of knowledge, they were banned from the garden and from the tree of life. Through Christ, sin has been defeated and followers will be allowed to eat of the tree of life and receive eternal life with God in paradise.
In this verse in Revelation John speaks of a “tree of life” and reminds us of the great promise that as believers we have victory over sin and death. Someday we will all face the death of our earthly bodies. Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior do not have to fear death because Jesus has promised those who believe in Him will live eternally in God’s paradise.
Challenge: God will eventually destroy all evil and bring all of His children into His paradise. Everyone will eat of the tree of life and live forever. Thank God for His wonderful gift of eternal life to those who profess His name.