Revelation 4 – Resting in Peace??

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Did you know that heaven is noisy?  In Chapter 4 we start to read about all the noise that goes on in heaven.  There are trumpets, singing, loud shouts, thunder and lightning.  It is only in Chapter 8 verse 1 do we see any reference to silence in heaven (we shall look at that when we get to chapter 8 – it must have been significant for it to be mentioned.)

John at this point after receiving instructions for the letters to the churches, is given another vision; this time of heaven.  He sees through an open door and hears the voice that he recognises from before that sounded like a trumpet.  He is invited to “Come up here” to be shown what must happen next.  Some say that this is similar to the call of Moses on Mount Sinai where Moses was called up by God and shown the model for the temple and given instruction for leading the nation.

John sees someone sitting on a throne gleaming with the colours of precious stones.   He is of course not allowed to see the face of God so can only see him shielded by the brilliance of God’s glory. The throne is surrounded by 24 more thrones on which the elders sat wearing white robes and gold crowns (These are thought to represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles).

There are flashes of lightning, peals and rumbles of thunder.  In heaven this usually represents the majesty and power of God and often indicates an important event.  There are the seven spirits and seven lamps which we saw in chapter one represent the seven churches.  There is a sea of glass, clear as crystal.  In the earthly temple a large vessel of water used for the ritual cleansing was known as the sea.  Living creatures; a lion, a bull, one with a human face and an eagle in flight.  They had eyes front and back to show that they saw everything, each had six wings and were singing;

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. (v 8)

Holy is repeated three times to reflect each person of the trinity.

Many of these images are comparable to the vision seen by Ezekiel in Ezekiel chapter 1.

The living creatures also sing songs of glory and honour and thanks and when they do the elders fall down and worship, throwing their crowns in front of the throne and join in singing:

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honour, and power.  For you created all things and by your will they were given existence and life (v11)

My dictionary defines peace as: freedom from disturbance, tranquility, mental or emotional calm, a state or period where there is no war or a war has ended.

We tend to say when someone has died, that we pray they rest in peace and that they have been welcomed into heaven.  The original meaning of this was to reflect the hope that they died reconciled to Christ and are therefore at peace from the evil that surrounds us in the world – no longer at war with sin.  However, if you look at the other meanings of peace which is quietness and tranquility then heaven becomes the opposite of this. Revelation describes heaven as a very noisy place where our loved ones we hope will be worshiping God and joining in the chorus shouting “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty”

 

All quotes from the Good News Bible

 

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