28.2 Revelation – A gift for us

Our questions today regard heaven in the “then and there” sense.  Without doubt, heaven will be an amazing place, something unparalleled in all of current creation.

But, stepping back from all of that we realize it is even more amazing.  We first need to remember that God created both heaven and earth, both the old heaven and earth and the new heaven and earth of Revelation 21.  Secondly, we need to remember that God is eternal.  By being eternal God has no beginning and no end, stretching forever in both directions.  That means God existed before creation, before there was an earth and before their was a heaven.  Not only did God exist, but by the definition of eternity, He existed for an eternity before creation.

Where I am going with this mind-blowing thought is that heaven does not exist for God.  God lived for an eternity before their was a heaven.  He does not need a place as we do.  He does not need a physical home.

So, then, where is there a heaven?  Why is there a physical home?  The answer is for us.  All of creation, both old and new, is a gift God created for us.  The beauty and splendor we see in the views of heaven throughout scripture are not simply views of something that was designed for God, but something that God designed to live with us.

This is true of all creation on heaven and earth.  We tend to think of amazingly wonderful places as places that exist and that we see and are awestruck.  But, the fact is that the reason they exist is not an accident, it is not because God needed a mountain here or a valley there or a sea or beach or planet system or galaxy or anything else.  They exist for you and me to be able to see, to be able to experience, to be able to be amazed at the wonder of God’s creation – because God chose to bless us with them.

 

My Answers:

3.
I see fully being in the presence of God.  There is beauty all around, but the beauty pales in comparison to the majesty of the most sovereign.  I feel peace and joy, a joy that surpasses anything on earth.  There is no worry or pain, no sorrow or fear, no greed or lust.  Things simply fit.  There is perfect harmony.  On earth heaven is often portrayed as a bunch of people milling around aimlessly and mindlessly in white robes doing work for a slave master.  Of course this isn’t accurate, it is not heaven.

4.
J14: It is a physical place, many rooms, with a place specifically prepared for me.  I’m a guest, a loved one, someone wanted and appreciated.  I am going with Jesus at the invitation of Jesus God Savior King

1Cor: there is a fullness in heaven, in body in spirit, that is unknown on the earth.  Today we see only shadows, only reflections, only hints, but the real thing will be right in front of us and with us

Rev21:It is a Holy place, a big place, a new heaven and a new earth and on it a city, dressed as a bride for her husband, perfect and beautiful, no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain because sin and all its tendrils are gone, all is made new.

10.5 Revelation – Praise Worthy

Praise Worthy

In Revelation 5:12, the heavenly beings sing in chorus to Jesus, saying, “He is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

7 things.  7 blessings.  7 categories of blessings.  As I look at the list, I’m struggling to find any blessing someone might desire that isn’t part of that list.  Love?  But true love is a gift of the Spirit of God who is Love and is given in the same way it is received.  Peace, Joy?  Again, these are things of God and we have seen they are already held as possessions by Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Then we get into the powerful, but confusing, echo of Revelation 5:13.  John writes, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying…

As we continue to read Revelation, we will see that there are legions of people that will still reject Jesus.  Even during a time of His reign on the Earth for 1000 year, men will still turn away from Him.  As we look around the world today, we have a very hard time imagining every creature singing praise to Jesus.

Yet, what John sees and hears is exactly that.  Even as mankind strives to lie and deny, every part of us and every part of creation sings the truth.  We are like a child throwing a tantrum in the arms of a loving parent, yet, the entire scene further exemplifies and amplifies the image of the magnitude of the love of that parent.

How much of your “world” is shaped by lies?  How much of what you think and believe and what you discuss, worry about, live and breath comes from the tantrums of a mankind throwing a tantrum that it doesn’t need God?

John points out that it is inevitable.  Every part of creation, which was made by God, has no power or ability to do anything other than sing out praises and blessings to the savior.  Even our denial, shows the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice because it is one that pays the price for all sin with nothing we can do to add to it in any way.

Why do the elders keep falling down and praising God/Jesus?  Let’s put it in perspective.  Let’s say you are trapped in a burning building.  When you realize you have absolutely no exit, no ability to save yourself from the flame that you yourself set, a firefighter bursts in and scoops you up and carries you to safety.  What would be your reaction to that firefighter?  Now, magnify the severity of the fire by a million and the hopelessness by an equal magnitude.  Now, repeat this scene over and over and over, realizing you weren’t saved once, but repeatedly for every second you lived.  And that as you give thanks to the firefighter for the risks and sacrifices he endured to save you, it is further revealed to you each additional time this has happened, not only for you, but for everyone you love.  Even as you kicked and fought the firefighter in the smoke of the fire, he held you and his power is sufficient to save you.  The elders bow repeatedly because the alternative is to run back into the burning building.  The bigger question is, why do we keep going back into the burning building instead of getting on our knees?

My Answers:

11.
a.
power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.  These summarize eternal blessings for the King of Heaven.  He is worthy because He submitted Himself to death for the sin of others and purchased them (us) back into the kingdom

b.
It is all in – physical, mental, singing, praising.  It is not an obligation – it is an outpouring of love.

12.
a.
Everyone: in heaven, 4 creatures, 24 elders, thousands upon thousands of angels – all on the earth – under the earth, sea and all that is in them

b.
made by God in His image -it declares God’s glory – it is vast, but it was subjected to frustration to someday be liberated from bondage to decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God.   – it testifies to the majesty of God (Luke 19:40 – the rocks would cry out) Romans 1:20 (God’s invisible qualities have been seen from what has been made

13.
a.
John saw every part of God’s creation bowing, singing and praising Jesus Christ and God the Father – with everything they have.

b.
Mostly turning away from Him – wanting Him only to be “a part”, not the whole.

09.5 Revelation – Worship = Love

Worship = Love
or “Why Heaven isn’t boring”

There were two questions in our study this week that I think are very closely related.  One discussed the meaning of giving glory, honor and thanks.  The other asked for the “why” behind the action of the 24 elders.

I think these both come back to the same question: How do you define worship?

I’m going to define it this way:  Worship is a form and expression of love rightly reserved for God.

The saints and angels are not worshiping God in heaven out of obligation or duty.  They are worshiping Him because it is the only right thing to do.  They are worshiping Him because of Love.

This is a different love, than the love behind hugging your child or parent or spouse.  It isn’t a different love than the willingness we have to sacrifice our own time and talents (and life) for others that we care for and about.  It is simply a bigger love than all those things combined.  It is why God is so angry with us over idolatry.  It is us giving that incredibly precious thing, that is only rightly God’s, to some piece of rock or wood.  It is us missing out on the pouring back of love from God when we connect only to Him in worship.

It is also important to note this giving back component to the worship relationship.  Did you notice that the 24 elders give their crowns to God over and over again?  For them to do that, God must give them back each time.

The reason I don’t think this ever will get old or boring in heaven comes down to an ice cream parfait.  It is along the lines of the commercial line, “but wait, there’s more.”  When you eat an ice cream parfait it has layers.  You may start with a little bit of the chocolate, then mix in some of the nuts. The next bite might include a little of the creaminess of the whipped cream.  The smell of caramel, the coldness of the ice cream, the warm brownie, the sound of the crunch as you break through a chocolate piece.  When you are eating it, your total focus is on the delicacy in front of you.  Every part of you is fully engaged in the joy and pleasure of it.  Each layer you go deeper reveals new and exciting nuances that make you ooh and aah in new appreciation.

I think this is an example of being in the presence of God.  The more we see and experience is like plunging through another layer of the parfait.  The new revelation makes us want to sing out in joy and encourages us to go deeper.

Ok, that’s enough, I’m going to go get some ice cream and worship God!

My Answers:

10.
fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him, laying their crowns before the throne and singing a song of praise to the worthy, glorious, honorable and powerful creator.  It is the only right response.

11.
Peace, praise, glory.  There is power and might that is honored and worshiped.  It is a royal Holy Day.

12.
The best way to have God at the center is to have Him at the start and end as well.

09.4 Revelation – God in the Center

God in the Center

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord, God, Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come!

This song from Revelation 4:8 is the perfect cube.  3×3, God exactly in the center.

Like at it like a sudoku puzzle.  Every way you read it is a perfect and complete summation.  Lord, God, Almighty.  Holy, Lord, Who was.

It challenges our thinking when we open our eyes to just how deep and meaningful this is.  Especially to the fact that God is in the center.  As the bible starts out, “In the beginning God”.

Even our thinking of the royal court of heaven.  When we think of a royal court, the center of the court is the throne.  That is because Kings and Queens may come and go and each be seated on that throne.  But in heaven, God is the centerpiece, not the throne.

And like a wheel, everything rotates around and is linked to the center.  Interesting trivia, in geometry, the center of a circle is called the origin.

So, here is an application and a challenge.  Take this square to your next quiet time of devotional.  Worship God in each quadrant as it comes out from the center.  How do you respond to the Holy God?  How do you live you life in recognition that God is your Lord?  How do you acknowledge that God is present, today, in your life?  How, do you bow in reverence to the “All Might” of our God?

It is fun and rewarding to recognize that you are worshiping God in the same way as the celestial beings encircling Him seated at His throne.

My Answers:

8.
a.
All persons of the Trinity are Holy, a perfect and complete holiness

b.
All might is of God’s.  He is the Lord (master/king)

c.
God is eternal and present.  He is not just “the God of the old testament” or the “God of Jacob or Israel or Daniel”.  He is also not just the baby Jesus in the manger.  He is eternal and eternally present

9.
To live it out in thought word and action.  Tor give all praise to God.  To truly strive to do His work, putting Him at the front and myself at the rear