This week I wrote up an annual report for our church that reflected on the year 2020. In the beginning of the report, I half-jokingly and half-seriously said that I’m sure that most of us would rather not reflect on 2020! To say the least, we weren’t impressed! All of the events that took place reminded us of something out of the book of Revelation. It has left many Christians weary, tired, and struggling just to make it through each day. Like we studied last week, we need to remember that Christ is busy building His Church where Satan’s throne is (Rev. 2:12-17)!
This week, I want us to be encouraged by another throne! A throne that is established in heaven and is above all thrones! What makes this throne so special is the One who is sitting on it – God the Father, with the Son at His right hand. In Revelation chapter 4, Jesus allows John to enter the heavenly throne room!
“…and behold, a throne was standing in heaven and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and sardius in appearance and there was a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder."
If you’ve wanted to get a glimpse of what heaven is like, this is for you! How incredible it is for John to speak of these unspeakable things! John describes how in heaven, God the Father is sitting on His throne (Rev. 6:16-17) and tries to describe for us what His appearance is like at this moment. Now, because God is a Spirit, it’s difficult for us to imagine, but there is a lot we can learn. He says His appearance is like pure jasper. According to Revelation 21:11 that’s like a crystal clear diamond! He’s a stunning diamond refracting unapproachable light! On top of that, He is described as a fiery-red sardius color. These colors signify to us God’s holiness and purity, but as well as His fiery wrath that is about to be poured out on the Christ-rejecting world during the tribulation period in chapter 6-19.
The tribulation period as you know, if you’ve read Revelation, is an awful time. It’s not pretty. It’s so dark and so ugly during this time period on the earth that it makes you grovel just thinking about it.
During this time, the despotic world ruler known as the Anti-Christ starts to consolidate power to himself. War breaks out, famines, pestilence, wild beasts lose their tameness, great earthquakes take place, cosmic disturbances are occurring, the earth is scorched, the sea is turned to blood – it’s a time of utter devastation.
Now I believe that as the Church, we are not destined for this time of God’s wrath known as “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-5:11). Christ took the wrath we deserve, and we have the hope that Christ can come at any time before this 7-year period of God’s wrath (Rev. 6:16-17). The word church is used 20 times in Revelation 1-3 but “after these things” it is not mentioned again until after the tribulation period is over (See Rev. 1:19 for the 3-part outline of Revelation). The tribulation is a time where we could say God’s program resumes with Israel (See Romans 11). It is a very Jewish time period (See the Olivet Discourse of Mt. 24-25) known as Jacob’s Trouble where great world events center around Jerusalem and this terrible time causes the hearts of Israel to accept Christ as their Savior (Mt. 23:39).
But even though I believe we have the blessed hope of not undergoing God’s wrath, we will still face much of man’s wrath and Satan’s wrath in this world until we get to heaven. We will suffer like our Savior as we see in Mark. But I want you to notice a wonderful detail about God’s throne that those who go through the tribulation period will be greatly comforted by: the 360 degree emerald rainbow around it.
When I was in Santiago, Chile I personally took this title picture between the skyscrapers of a solar halo rainbow around the sun. It was one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen because it took me right back to the throne of God in Revelation 4! There is a rainbow around the throne and not just any rainbow – a light-green rainbow that symbolized God’s mercy and coming peace and prosperity when Christ returns. The idea of a rainbow itself reminds us of the temporal nature of God’s judgment and His promise that He would never flood the world again (Genesis 9). It’s a promise that every storm, with its “flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder” eventually come to an end. Storms never last forever!
So there you have it folks – even at the beginning of God’s wrath He wants everyone to know that it will be tempered by His coming mercy. Always remember that even when it seems like this world is falling apart and crumbling to pieces, the mighty and merciful One sitting on the throne! God is in the control room behind it all. John’s original readers under the gun of persecution needed to hear that. Those who come to faith during the tribulation period will need to know that. And we must remember it as well! Don’t let the evils of this world make you cynical and fearful! Trust that God is still on the throne and those who overcome through trusting Him will sit with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21)!
With credit to Dave Wyrtzen, Truth Encounter Podcast, A Glimpse of the Throne.
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