Summary: Why did Jesus take John into God’s throne room first?
OPEN: Bill Crockett tells of the time he was delivering a motivational lecture to a group of young Navy men. “I spoke in great detail about why I joined the military and how much it meant to me. Finishing my story, I pointed at a sharp looking sailor out in the audience and asked him why he decided to go to sea.”
"Well, Chief," he said, "my old man’s a farmer. And when he put lights on the tractor, I knew it was time to leave the farm."
APPLY: That sailor knew how to read his future. He knew his future because watched his dad. And what his dad did revealed to him his future and the decisions he had to make.
I. It’s interesting - that when Revelation begins talking about future things, the 1st thing it focuses on – is the Father
Look at Revelation 4:1-4 “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.”
So, Jesus tells John he’s about to see "what must take place after this…"
BUT, instead of the horrendous pictures of War and Famine and Pestilence that people often associate with Revelation… instead, we find ourselves in God’s throne room witnessing an awesome worship service - filled with strange sights and sounds
· lightning and thunder and rumblings in the distance
· beautiful colors
· unusual creatures
· And an inspiring example of how to praise God
As I looked at this passage I suddenly thought… "What’s going on here? If Jesus has told John that he’s about to see "what must take place after this…" why would the 1st thing Jesus take John to be a “church service”? Why visit this beautiful BUT seemingly irrelevant ceremony. Why not just get right down to the nitty gritty of it all and tell us all about what we really want to know about: the conflict between the forces of good and evil, between the forces of Satan and the angels of God? But instead we find ourselves being led into God’s throne room.
Why start here? Why? Because that’s where God KNEW we had to begin.
II. We have to realize - when we read Revelation – it’s possible to focus on the wrong things.
TV Evangelists and radio preachers get caught up looking at the wrong things all the time. Regarding Revelation (which many of these men focus on to the exclusion of all other Scripture)
some commentators and preachers focus on the powers of darkness; the Mark of the Beast - 666; the war of Armageddon; and so on.
They seem to dwell on the darker, scarier aspects of this vision and thus focus on the wrong things.
ILLUS: For example, over the past 50 years or so, prophetic teachers have gotten people so scared of the prophecy about the mark of the “beast” (666 which is described in Revelation chapter 13) that faithful church goers have made nuisances of themselves - fighting any attempt by our government to use Social Security numbers, identification cards or anything like of the sort – for fear that “the mark of the beast” might be placed upon them unawares.
Few seem to have stopped to consider that God was the one who told them about that mark in the first place. AND, if God told us about it, do you suppose we could stop it from happening? Of course not.
AND the way God describes the mark of the beast, it’s obvious that Christians won’t be marked by it one day and suddenly discover the next that they’ve been hood winked. No… when it came (for I believe the mark came centuries before we were born - a description of the economic poverty non-Catholics experienced) or when it will come (if it is indeed yet future) Christians will be forced to make a decision:
Take the mark, worship the beast and survive
OR Follow Jesus and starve (Revelation 13:11-18)
As I researched the internet for comments on "the mark of the beast" I ran across some interesting comments.
· One of the prominent speculations was that "the mark" was to be an implantable microchip. And that this chip would identify who you are. It would be similar to the photograph in your driver’s license.