I’M IN HEAVEN, NOW WHAT?
Revelation 4:1-11 (NKJV)
The Throne Room of Heaven
4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Verse 1 of this passage shows John hearing the sound of a trumpet and of a great voice calling him up to Heaven. Immediately, the transition is made from the earth to the heavens. John is then given a view of what Heaven will be like.
This first verse is a clear picture of the rapture of the Church. John pictures for us what it will be like to be snatched out of this world and taken directly to Heaven. That will be a thrilling experience!
However, the question that is often asked by people regarding Heaven is this: “What will we do when we get there?” That is a good question! It is a question people have asked for centuries and it is a question that this passage answers for us. For, in the 11 verses that make up this chapter, we are given an opportunity to look into Heaven so that we can see some of the things that are going on there. The things going on there are thrilling, but what makes them so special is the fact that they involve us!
So, let’s take a few minutes to join John in that Heavenly city. Let’s take this time to peek behind the curtain to what will be going on in that place called Heaven. Today, I want to preach on this subject: I’m In Heaven, Now What?
I believe this text gives us some of the answers to that question. Just remember, if you are saved today, we are looking into your future! If you are not, then give your life to Jesus so you too can do what we are going to do! I’m In Heaven, Now What? Good question! Let’s see if we can answer it right now.
I. V. 2-6a YOU CAN EXAMINE THE SCENERY OF HEAVEN
A. V. 2-3 You Can See The Sovereign – Of course, the most magnificent feature of Heaven, the centerpiece of that city, will be God Himself. The One no man can see and live, Ex. 33:20, will be visible for all the citizens of that place to see! Rev. 22:4 says it as clearly as it can be said: We will see God some day!
1. His Stability – A “throne set” this speaks of His Government! Our God rules an everlasting kingdom! His kingdom is established and stable! No one can overthrow God, Psa. 47:8; Psa. 45:6.
2. His Symbolism – John tries to do the impossible: He tries to describe God!
a. The Jasper Stone – Like a diamond! Brilliant and clear, yet hard, inflexible and firm! This speaks of the moral law of God! There are certain fixed laws in the universe, i.e. The Law of Gravity, The Law Of Thermodynamics. These laws are fixed and unbreakable, except by God Himself! God’s moral Law is just as fixed and stable – Rev. 2:9; Psa. 119:89.
b. The Sardius Stone – Blood red, flashing and fiery. This stone speaks of the holiness of God and of His anger against sin! This serves to remind us that God is holy and that He hates sin! Just as the fires on the sacrificial altars of Israel were never to be extinguished, as long as sin inhabits the universe, the fire of God’s hatred will burn against it, Heb. 12:29!
c. Just as a side note: These stones can also speak of the holiness of God (Pure white) as well as His redemption (Red). For while God is a holy God Who hates sin, He is also the same One Who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us on the cross!
d. But wait! The Sardius and the Jasper stones were also the first and last stones in the breastplate of the Old Testament High Priest, Ex. 28:15-30. The Sardine stone represented the tribe of Reuben. His name means “Behold a son”. The Jasper stone represents the tribe of Benjamin who’s name means, “Son of the right hand”. In these two names we see a portrait of our Savior, the Lord Jesus in His humanity. He is the divine son, Isa. 9:6 and He is seated at the Father’s right hand, Heb. 10:12. These stones picture the completed work of the Lord Jesus for sinners. They remind us that even though judgment is sure for those who are in their sins, there is grace and salvation for those who will embrace the Gospel!
3. His Serenity – An emerald rainbow encircles the throne. The color speaks of serenity and calm. The rainbow is a symbol of mercy, Gen. 9. In Noah’s day, he could only see half the rainbow. He did not understand all that had happened and why God did all that He did in the flood. Such is life for you and me. We go through the trials and struggles of life with only half the story. We see God’s grace and experience His mercy in this life, but we don’t have the complete picture. One day, we will be in His presence and it will all make sense then, 1 Cor. 13:12; Eph. 2:7. When the storm has passed, the rainbow appears! One day, in Heaven the storms will have passed forever and we will be at peace in the city, where all the mysteries of life will be made clear!
B. V. 4 You Can See The Saints – Heaven isn’t just a place for the Redeemer, it is also a place for the redeemed. These 24 elders are a picture of the redeemed of the ages. 12 representing the O.T. saints and 12 representing the church age saints of God.
1. Their Position – They are seated! Note: They too occupy thrones which indicates that they are rulers too, Rev. 1:6. The fact that they are seated lets us know that they are at rest. The battles are over and they find themselves seated before the throne of God at perfect rest and peace! Thank God a day of rest awaits the heaven bound saint today! One day we will actually be where we are positionally now, Eph. 2:6.
2. Their Purity – These elders are robes in “white raiment”. This is always a symbol of holiness and purity Rev. 19:8. Thank God, the day is coming when the saints of the Lord will be in His presence free from the stain and blight of sin!
3. Their Prize – Each of these elders wears a “crown of gold”. This crown in not like the crown that Jesus wears, Rev. 19:12. His crown is a “diadem” which refers to a king’s crown. The elders wear the “stephanos” which is the “victor’s crown”. It was given out to those who had earned it on the field of battle or in the athletic games. It was presented for a job well done, Heb. 12:1-2. There are at least five crowns named in the New Testament that believers can win. The point here is that these elders have already been before the Judgment Seat of Christ and have been judged and have received their reward.
(Note: There is coming a day when your service for Jesus will be recognized and rewarded. You may not receive the accolades down here, but you can rest assured the He will sees all will give you a crown over there! Therefore, carry on, Gal. 6:9, for the glory of God knowing that one day He will say, ‘Well done!”.
C. V. 5a You Can see The Sights – John speaks of “lightnings and thunderings”. These point to the judgment which is about to be poured out upon the world. Heaven is not just a place of glory, but it is also a place where the power of God and His judgment on sin will be displayed as well!
D. V. 5b You Can See The Spirit – The Holy Spirit, who has indwelt us, taught us and lead us will be there in Heaven for us to see and glorify. It will be an exciting time to be in the physical presence of One Who (Holy Spirit) has meant so much on this journey!
E. V. 6a You Can See The Sea – John says that there is a sea of brass before throne. This sea refers to an article in the Tabernacle and the Temple known as the “Laver”. The laver was a bronze container that was placed outside the entrance to the Tabernacle and the Temple (for cleansing). Before the priests could enter, they were required to stop at the laver and wash themselves, Ex. 30:18-21. The laver was a place that reminded the priest that he was a sinner and had to cleanse himself before he could come into the presence of the Lord.
(Note: We have a laver too! It is called 1 John 1:9! I wash there several times daily. In fact, we cannot enter into the presence of the Lord to worship or pray until we stop by the laver to wash up, Psa. 66:18.) But, in Heaven, the sea has turned to crystal. This signifies two important truths.
1. For the sinner, the time for repentance has passed. Judgment is set and the time for the execution of God’s sentence is at hand.
2. For the saint, the time of sinning has passed! In heaven, we will have repented for the last time and we will be capable of sin no longer. The time for repentance is now!)
II. V. 6b-8 YOU CAN ENJOY THE SOUNDS OF HEAVEN
A. V. 6b-8a The Source Of The Praise – John describes four beasts who are engaged in the ministry of praising the Lord. The four beasts are some type of angelic creatures. Many people have tried to figure out what they represent. Some say they represent the four Gospels. The lion represents the Gospel of Matthew, or the Gospel of the King. The calf represents the Gospel of Mark, or the Gospel of the Servant. The man represents the Gospel of Luke, or the Gospel of the Son of Man. The eagle represents the Gospel of John, or the Gospel of the Son of God. Others say the beasts represent Jesus. The Lion shows Him to be King. The Calf shows Him to be a Servant. The Man shows His Humanity. The Eagle reminds us of His Heavenly origin.
Now, I might as well tell you what I believe about these beasts. I believe they represent the totality of creation. The lion represents wild life. The calf domesticated animals. The man represents intelligent life. The eagle represents bird life. This is just creation doing what it was designed to do: bring glory to the Lord. These beasts, whoever or whatever they are, are in the business of praising the Lord!
B. V. 8b The Sound Of The Praise – They lift their voices and they praise God for His holiness and for His immutability! They declare Him to be the righteous One and the One Who is self-existent. They glorify Him as the “I AM”. On that basis alone, He is worthy of all the praise of all men!
C. V. 8 The Span Of The Praise – “they rest not day and night.” Their anthem of praise will continue unabated throughout all eternity! Heaven will be a place filled with the praises of the angelic hosts! Imagine the praise from countless voices as these beings, who were created for the sole purpose of glorifying God, exalt Him!
(Note: It has been said that this world is the quietest place in which you will ever live. If you die without the Lord and go to Hell, you will hear the screams, the curses and the cries of the damned through eternity. What an awful thought! If you are saved and go to Heaven, you will hear the sound of the angelic praise and you will hear the redeemed as they shout and sing the praises of their Redeemer!)
III. V. 9-11 YOU CAN EXALT THE SOVEREIGN OF HEAVEN
(Ill. Remember those 24 elders? They are a picture of us. Here is what we will be doing in Heaven! We will be worshiping and there are a few things we can learn about heavenly worship in this passage.)
A. V. 9-10a Your Worship Will Be Visible – When the beasts praise the Lord, the saints will rise from their thrones, they will bow before Him, they will cast their crowns at His feet and they will shout praises to the Lord.
(By the way, every time you see these guys in Revelation, this is what they are doing, 4:10; 5:8; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4.) That is pretty visible praise! In fact, it seems perfectly in order too! The Lord doesn’t rebuke them for their praise. By the way, this is the kind of thing we are to be involved with while we are here! Too many want to try and worship God in their hearts. How does He receive glory from that? Praise is something that glorifies God and that points out His worth to others!
B. V. 10b Your Worship Will Be Valuable – They take the golden crowns from their heads and they cast them down at His feet. Why? Because the only reason they have them is because He loved, He extended grace to save them, He kept them, He gifted them to serve, He equipped them for victory, He did it all and He deserves all the glory and the praise. Down here, we try to keep some for ourselves. Over there, every selfish motive will have vanished forever and all that will matter is praising the One Who made salvation, service and Heaven possible.
(Note: While we travel this world, there is nothing more valuable that we can give the Lord than ourselves. In fact, that is exactly what He wants, Rom. 12:1. As we yield ourselves to Him in service, He will use us for His glory and then in Heaven, He will reward us for what He equipped us to do! Then we can take the rewards He gives us and we can offer them back to Him so that He can be glorified for what He has done for us! Therefore, live you life in such a fashion that you earn many crowns to cast at the Savior’s feet!)
C. V. 11 Your Worship Will Be Vocal – In Heaven, the saints actually praise God out loud! I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. You may never shout here, but when you get there, you will shout to the top of your lungs. You will join your voice with all the redeemed and you will praise the Lord Who sought you, bought you, kept you and delivered you home to glory. Notice what they praise Him for:
1. His Worth – He is worthy of our praise this very moment simply for Who He is!
2. His Work – He is worthy of praise for all that He has done down through the ages, from creation, to redemption, even for His judgment. He is worthy of praise for His works. (Note: Think of how the Lord has worked wondrously in your life!)
3. His Will – The elders recognize that which we will understand some day too; namely, that everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is part of God’s perfect plan. He does it all for “His pleasure.” When we get there, we will see it as it should be and we will praise Him for it!
(Note: There is nothing wrong with getting in on a little of that vocal praise right now! He is just as worthy today as He will ever be. Therefore, let the “redeemed of the Lord say so!” Let us render to Him the sacrifices of praise and the fruit of our lips, Heb. 13:15. We might as well get in practice now!)
Sounds to me like Heaven is the kind of place I want to be! It sounds like it is better than the best service you have ever attended all the time!
Thank God, I know I’m headed there and I know when I get there some of the things I’ll be doing. And, I like the sound of all of them.
What about you? Are you going? Is it settled that you are saved and headed for glory? If so, then praise the Lord for what He has done for you.
If you are lost or if you are not sure about your spiritual condition, then I invite you to come to Jesus Christ. Trust Him as your Savior and you can go to Heaven when you leave this world!