Immediately I was in the Spirit... it was like
Revelation 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4 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.
5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. 7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
John says: Immediately I was in the Spirit. It can be as difficult when reading a text like today’s which is based on a vision, a spiritual experience, to understand and apply what is being said as it was for the one who experience the vision to describe it. The glory and the splendor of God and heaven is seemingly indescribable in natural terms. John uses the word like when describing the things he saw. Obviously by what he describes heaven was unlike anything he had ever seen or known. Throughout Christian history, for as long as we have had the written word, people have tried to understand and explain what the meaning of these indescribable things is. Biblical scholars go to great lengths to explain the four living creatures, the seven Spirits of God and who the twenty-four elders are. In truth though, even with the greatest exegesis and hermeneutics, even with the most pains taking language translation, there is still a level of theory and speculation which happens when anyone tries to translate the infinite to the finite, what is eternal into fixed time, to describe what is indescribable. I am not saying that we should not seek to understand the mysteries of scripture. James 1:5 says: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But it is possible regarding some things, that the wisdom we receive may be what Paul, who himself had spiritual, heavenly encounters, says in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. There are some things which we simply cannot fully understand until they are revealed to us in and by the Spirit, in God’s perfect time. So for myself, what I ask regarding the indescribable mysteries of God, heaven and scripture, is does not having the full revelation and the full understanding affect my faith?
Paul tells us love never fails. He says faith, hope and love abide and that the greatest is love. Not knowing who or what the four living creatures are or represent does not affect my faith. My faith is established in and on love. My faith is as Romans 10:9 says: That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. My faith is based on the love that never fails, the love of God. It is based on something I do know. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I may not fully understand why God loves me that much, but I know that He does. Because of His perfect, never failing love: We love, (I love) because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) I may not fully understand all that is written in God’s word. I may not fully understand and know all of the law and the prophets, but I do know what all that I don’t know depends on. Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
So based on my faith, in the never failing love of God and my response to His love, loving God and loving others, what can I know and what can I apply in my own life from John’s indescribable experience in the heavenly realm? John says: And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” If those who are in the presence of the indescribable splendor and majesty of God in heaven praise and worship Him, give all glory to Him, should not I, who desire to abide in His presence here on earth, do the same? As the psalmist says in Psalm 148, so will I:
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. And He has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord! Amen. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Amen.