For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
The Vision of God's Throne
There is an unmovable throne established in heaven, from which our walk and service is continually evaluated.
"And immediately I was in the Spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven and One sat on the throne" (NKJV, Rev. 4:2).
The apostle John writes to us as an order expressed by the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, with whom he had the exquisite privilege of meeting during his exile to the Island of Patmos.
In the first chapter of Revelation, verse 10, John says that he was in the Spirit when he heard a voice like a trumpet and he says the same thing again here in the fourth chapter verse 2. This teaches us that we must also be in the same Holy Spirit in order to be able to understand something of these celestial things, which would be impossible to comprehend with the limited resources of human intelligence. Therefore, we commend ourselves to the Lord so that he would illuminate them to us.
Experiences in the Old Covenant
The Old Testament records a great number of men's experiences; those who had a personal encounter with God, whether before his throne of glory or in other forms. Such an experience, without a doubt, transformed their lives forever. Such is the case, for example, of Abraham and the heavenly visitations (Genesis14:17-20 and 17:1-8), of Jacob in Bethel and in Peniel (Genesis 28:10-22 and 32:24-31), of Moses in Median before the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10), and of Joshua in front of the man with the drawn sword (Joshua 5:13-15). There are an abundance of examples, but the experience of Isaiah is unique.
"In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted..." (Isaiah 6:1-7). Here there is no mention of it being a dream, or a mystical voice coming from a burning bush or anything like that. It simply states that it was a terrifying and traumatic experience for the prophet. He exclaims with desperation, Woe to me! and considered himself: a priori to be dead because the vision was so terrible: A sinful man faced before the only true, Holy, Holy, Holy God Almighty!... Isaiah however is saved thanks to God himself through a seraph.
The Throne, Today
The word from Revelation mentioned at the beginning speaks to us of "a throne established in heaven." Let us agree that there are not two, or more, thrones: there is a single eternal and unmovable throne established in heaven, and upon this throne is seated the only true God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the throne that Isaiah saw is the same one that John saw! However, there is a great contrast between the prophet and the apostle's reactions.
While the first one falls down in a desperate state, the second is so serene, so sure and confident, as if the most normal thing for a man to see, hear, admire and praise, is his God seated on his glorious throne. Let us understand the prophet Isaiah's situation. Even though the time of development for God's redemptive purpose was still far off, Isaiah becomes, for just an instant, the figure of a sinner without repentance and who is also associated with an unclean generation before God's eyes.
As for John, let us consider his previous experiences. He met Jesus in the days of his incarnation; he followed him from the first encounter until the foot of the cross. He was even a witness of the empty tomb, and he could touch the resurrected Lord. He received the fire of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; he lived in the genesis of the church in Jerusalem and served faithfully alongside the rest of the apostles until being persecuted and exiled for his faith.
Now, when he sees the "Son of Man" again in Revelation 1, although he falls as though dead at his feet, it is not because he felt like an unclean sinner. Rather, it is because of the uncontainable astonishment of once again seeing, with his own eyes, Jesus in whose breast he had reclined many times. From the day of His ascension on the Mount of Olives, John could no longer hear his sweet voice nor feel the loving hands that he had once touched. The emotion is absolutely uncontainable. Before those eyes, now like blazing fire, before those feet, that voice, in short, before such glory, he simply falls at his feet as though dead.
Now, as we see him in Revelation 4 and in the rest of the book, John can now see and describe the one who is seated on the throne and all the glory that surrounds him, without collapsing before such a vision.
A Word For Us
What do these things mean or what does the Lord want to say to us through this? We who, even in the limitations of this physical body, surrounded by an incredulous world and a lukewarm and halting Christianity, should never lose the vision of the throne of our God!
Let us remember that such a throne continues to be established in heaven, and it will never be removed. "The Lord has established his throne in heaven and his kingdom rules over all." (Psalm 103:19), "Your throne, oh God, will last for ever and ever" (Psalm. 45:6), "Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity." (Psalm. 93:2) All judgment that comes upon the earth has to be decided before this throne. From there the decision was taken to create all that exists and from there salvation was also decided. The resurrected Lord also ascended there, after having completed his work, to occupy the place next to the Father which he had shared from before the foundation of the world. Today, in Revelation 5:6, we see him in the center of the throne, as a slain Lamb. All our walk and service is continually evaluated upon this throne. Hagar referred to God as "The One who sees me", on the day when her anguish was relieved. (Genesis.16:13-14). The Lord sees us, brothers and sisters. He knows when we seek him (Psalm 14:2), and if we serve him from the heart and if we truly invoke him. God cannot be deceived.
Humanity Before the Throne
In our days, men live with a guilty indifference regarding the authority of God, as if they will never have to be face to face with Him!
In Revelation 6:12-17 an event is described that is yet to happen: the most important people in the earth will hide in the caves and call out to the rocks of mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him who sits on the throne! The hour of truth will arrive sooner rather than later, then all who deliberately forgot (2 Peter 3:5) the power and the Deity who lives for ever and ever will be faced with that same throne of God and they won't be able to withstand the glory of his face.
Today the rebels, the unbelievers, the Gnostics, the humanists whose religion is nothing more than the exaltation of man, and those that have decided to honor the created things rejecting their Creator (Romans.1:25), still have their freedom. However,... (how terrible is this "However"!) soon all these "opinion leaders" that fill the covers of the press and that are acclaimed by the multitudes, all the famous people of our time, all, all who have rejected the salvation that God has freely offered them in Christ will call out in great voices to the rocks of the mountains so that they cover them! For then there will no longer be a place for regret; but only a fearful expectation of judgment. (Hebrews. 10:27) If there is anything which is impossible in our universe, it is to seek to escape unpunished after having rejected the authority and the salvation of He who sits on that throne!
Let us continue now to consider the multitude in Revelation 7:9. They are also before the throne and in the presence of the Lamb, but contrary to the previous multitude, these are filled with joy. Instead of fright they have a great confidence; they have palms in their hands and worshiped in a loud voice. They don't run away ashamed, rather they celebrate an eternal salvation granted by grace, through the blood of the Lamb. This multitude didn't reject the Crucified One, they didn't make fun of the gospel; they believed it! Have you believed it? Have you confessed that you are a sinner unworthy of being near the Lord? Have you repented of your sins? Have you received Christ in your heart? If the answer is yes, then you belong to this multitude and you have nothing to fear when the day of facing the throne of our God and Father arrives.
Christ on the Throne and in Us
We have often emphasized the beautiful truth of Christ revealed in our hearts (Colossians.1:27; Gal.1:16; 2:20; Ephesians.3:17; etc.) and we will continue valuing this as a great treasure. We have seen that all hope of pleasing the Lord that saved us depends on this being a real experience in each believer, learning thus, how to live in Christ and for Christ in all their earthly pilgrimage. However, because of our human weakness one usually finds cases in which a brother neglects his communion with the Lord, he becomes lazy and negligent, and grieves the Holy Spirit in his heart, and, therefore, his life and his service to the Lord finish in a shameful failure.
In the face of such a possibility, it is urgent for believers to never lose the vision of the throne of God. Although our heart is deceitful (Jeremiah.17:9-10), we should know that the throne of God is unmovable. In the earth things can vary; doubts can assault our soul, our emotions can betray us, but the throne of God does not change like the shifting shadows. (James 1:17). "Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews.4:13).
A Word of Consolation
Revelation 22:1-5 shows us an extremely consoling scene with regard to the throne of God and the Lamb. It says that "His servants will serve him. They will see his face"... Without terror, without judgment, without any fear, but rather with an indescribable and glorious joy. The expectation of contemplating the face of our Great beloved moves us to tears. This will be our prize, our supreme reward. This is the indescribable glory that awaits those who in time have persevered in the Lord, who have given him their heart, they serve him, they love him and they wait for his coming. All suffering will have ended. The road that we begin without strength on the day that we convert to Christ has its goal and its end here. Then we will say that it was worthwhile to live, work, suffer and even to die for Christ. How important it is to know this; let us emphasize this with the greatest energy: We won't ever be defrauded there!
Let us live today with our faces towards the throne of our beloved God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, even though now we see only in part. (1 Corinthians 13:12), let us approach the throne of grace with confidence. Blessed is the Name of our Lord because we can already do this, continually, without any restriction. This is, being the same throne that Isaiah saw, and the same one that is described in different ways in Revelation, the "throne of grace" for those that are in Christ. We can go there confidently, without any fear, and always find the mercy that lifts us up and the grace that helps us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 4:1)
Dear reader: do you feel far away but you want to return to the Lord? Do you need to return to the Source? Let us reconcile right now with the Lord, who is seated on a high and exalted throne! He will never reject a contrite and humble heart.