So, we are on a new series right now based on the Book of Revelation, which I have entitled “The Revelation.” The reason I call it this is because this final Book of the Bible is not called “Revelations” even though most people refer to it that way. No, the apostle John calls it— “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And so in part one of this series, we spent the entire time seeing that this Book is not the Book of Revelations, such as a revelation of the antichrist, a revelation of the tribulation, the revelation of judgment, etc., etc., etc. No, this Book of the Bible’s purpose and intent is to reveal to us one thing—namely, one Person—and His name is Jesus Christ!
Therefore, when we read this Book through the lens that it is actually good news and not bad news, it will produce a different emotional response in us. Like we saw in Revelation 1:3, it will make us happy when we read and hear the words contained in it, not fearful and confused.
So, we started out studying the “End Times” in a way we may never have heard it before. We got excited about the things that lie ahead! We started out rejoicing in the things the Lord has told us were on the horizon! We did this because we emphasized Who this Book reveals to us—JESUS!
For example, we learned that Jesus is the “apocalypse!” Now this word generally terrifies people because they only associate it with the doom, the judgment, and the woes that are coming on the earth at the end. But the word “apocalypse” is simply the word for “Revelation” in that it comes from the Greek word apokalypsis. So, while the picture that has been painted of the apocalypse is smeared with doom, gloom, destruction, and judgment, technically it doesn’t “reveal” that to us. No, the apocalypse is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In fact, we learned that Jesus Christ is the revelation, not just in this final Book of the Bible, but all throughout the Scriptures because He is the Word. Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, and that includes end-time prophecy.
So, last week, we looked at the seven golden lampstands—those seven churches of Asia Minor that Jesus had the apostle John write letters to. And while we did not spend a fraction of the time we could have spent studying Jesus’ words to these seven churches, we did look at what I called seven pillars contained in these seven letters to the churches. This was seven things that we see repeated and emphasized in these seven letters that not only related to the church then, but to the church of today as well.
Now some of these seven things were encouraging words and others were corrections. But we saw that even though five of these churches were corrected for many things, John did not see a couple of golden lampstands and then the other five were silver, bronze, etc. No, he saw seven golden churches—showing us that even though some churches and their members are “tarnished” with sin, flaws, and failures, they were still gold—the most precious commodity in the kingdom of God. Amen!
But the fact is we covered seven very important things that the church today needs to be reminded of and emphasize. If you missed last week’s message, I encourage you to go to our website and listen to it and get a hold of the video and watch it. There is bound to be at least one of those pillars that the Holy Spirit will encourage you to apply to your life so your spiritual house can stay solid and strong.
WE HAVE AN OPEN DOOR!
Now, this week, I want us to pick up in Revelation chapter 4 where we have a transition. We see that “after these things” the apostle John looked and saw a door standing open in heaven:
This illustrates to me something awesome: I see it as a metaphor that the door to heaven is indeed open for the Lord’s church. Yes, we have access with boldness into the Holiest and can enter into His presence whenever we want, however much we want! Glory to God!
So, look at this more as an invitation for you rather than just what the apostle John experienced. The door to God’s presence along with seeing His kingdom come and His will be done is always open and available to us.
And let me remind you, this is not a physical place. We don’t have to wait until we come to church or go to some other religious institution to experience heaven on earth. No, our “closet” or “secret place” is wherever we decide to make it.
Jesus taught the woman at the well this lesson when she brought up the subject of where one ought to worship. Was it on this mountain or was it only in Jerusalem? Jesus clarified that the hour was coming—and now is—when men and women would not need to go to a physical place to worship God. They only need to worship in spirit and in truth! (See John 4:21-24). In other words, the true worshippers that God seeks now don’t have to go to a physical place to do so like “in church”; now they simply worship in Spirit and in truth. Glory be to God!
That means we only need get into the spirit like John did (Revelation 1:10). That’s where God is, and that’s where we can go too! In fact, that is where we must go in order to truly worship Him effectively.
Church, the veil has been rent! Now we can enter into His most holy place by the precious blood of the Lamb! And it is from this spiritual place that not only we can worship Him, but where we can see things from His perspective better. Let’s take a deeper look into that …
COME UP HITHER!
Then John heard a voice like a trumpet say to him, “Come up here (KJV- Come up hither), and I will show you things which must take place after this.” I believe this statement is extremely important in leading into the things John saw and wrote down for us. Why? It is because everything the Lord showed him that was to take place was from “up there.” In other words, it was from heaven’s perspective, not an earthly, carnal perspective.
It is for this reason that I believe much of the things we have written in the Book of Revelation between chapters 4 & 22 are written from a spiritual perspective and are not necessarily describing to us literal events. So, in my opinion, for people to spend their time trying to make all of these things fit into the worldly events we will experience might not be exactly correct.
But here is an important point for us: How many of you know that we all should have more of a heavenly perspective on things? I believe this is even more important for the days we are currently living in because all of the things we are experiencing in this world right now and the things that lie ahead require a spiritual perspective to where we can see what is really happening, and for us not to get swept away with the issues of this world.
Church, we need to understand that there is a spiritual world that is even more real than this physical world. In fact, the spiritual world parented this physical world we live in. A great example of this is in the story of Elisha and his servant in Second Kings 6:14-17:
In this story, Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the king’s army, and the servant feared, asking the prophet what they were going to do. And Elisha answered and said to his servant— “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them!” Then Elisha prayed and asked the Lord to open the eyes of the young man that he may see what he saw, and the Lord opened his eyes to see the mountain being full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
You see, fear gripped the young man when he looked only through his natural eyes. But when his spiritual eyes were opened to see what was happening in the spirit realm around them, he was seeing from “up there.” Saints, that’s how we ought to look at everything! We must look at things “in the spirit” and from “up hither.” This is where we can live on a higher plain than the vast majority of this world because we are seeing things as they truly are.
And I believe that is exactly what so many have failed to do in regard to this subject we are covering right now. They have only looked at the Book of Revelation through a carnal, natural perspective and in doing so, it has sparked fear and anxiety in their hearts.
Church, we need to “come up hither” too and become more spiritually minded concerning these things because when we do, a new perspective of the Revelation will occur: We will have hope replace the fear! We will have excitement substituted for dread! And we will have joy overcome the anxiety!
THE THRONE ROOM OF GOD
So, we see in Revelation 4:1 that the Lord called John up to enter that door of heaven so that He could show him things from that spiritual perspective …
Then in verse 2, John began explaining what he saw: He said, “Immediately I was in the Spirit…” Now this is opposed to being in the flesh, right? You see, if we are in the flesh, we won’t see these spiritual realities. Our senses will be dominated by natural, carnal things. We will be moved by what we see instead of what we should be seeing—for we are called to look at things that are unseen instead of only looking at what we can see (“See” Second Corinthians 4:18).
And let me tell you how one can more readily be “in the Spirit” than “in the flesh”: As Jesus said in the Garden on the eve of His crucifixion— “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation—for the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41).
You see, the watching is simply being willing to keep our spiritual antenna up and the praying is us staying connected to the spirit. If we do this regularly, we can get out of a flesh dominated life and get into the spirit where we can see things from a totally different perspective. Amen?
Then notice what the first thing John describes that he saw when he entered this open door of heaven— “…and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Oh, glory to God, what John saw first is what we need to see first in our lives—the throne and the One who is seated on it! In other words, we need to see what the highest authority is and who is He who is seated in that seat of ultimate authority—and we can see that it is El Elyon Himself!
You see, church, no matter what happens on this earth. No matter how bad things get. The Lord God Almighty will always remain on the throne! He doesn’t fall off! He doesn’t change. He doesn’t deviate from His consistent rule and victory over all! That’s only us who does that—and the way we can keep ourselves from doing so is by opening our spiritual eyes to see the truth that God indeed is the King of kings and Lord of lords and He reigns forevermore!
So, I believe it is important for us to know the first thing the apostle John saw when he came up hither. It wasn’t the dragon. It wasn’t the beast. It wasn’t the plagues, the bowls of wrath, or the judgments. No, it wasn’t all of the bad things that are to come upon the earth; it was the throne of God that he saw first.
This illustrates something to me: What is the first thing we see when we look in this Book of the Bible? Is it the things that generate fear or is it the glorious beauty of who Jesus is? I believe the latter is to be true for all of us.
You see, living down here on the earth, it is easy to keep our mind stayed on things of the earth. In other words, it is easy to focus on the curse, the death, and all of the things the god of this world is doing. But I believe we are called to elevate our way of thinking and see things, not from an earthly perspective, but from a heavenly perspective.
I’m going to tell you—I watch the way people have flipped out about this pandemic and other things, and I wonder—what are they are going to do if humongous hornets with the faces of men come up out of the earth and start stinging people? You know, that’s one of the things Revelation tells us is going to happen. Now like I said earlier, those things might just be the spiritual influence behind the natural things that will take place on the earth at that time, but my point is, these things we’ve experienced in 2020—although certainly inconvenient and probably as bad as any year most of us have had in our lives—is nothing compared to things others have lived through and others will live through. In other words, it could also be worse. But guess what else is true? It could all be better too! Yes, we could choose to view things from our place seated at the right hand of God.
Church, it is easy to look at all the bad things going on in the world and even try to spiritualize it by saying, “Oh, look at all the people dying and going to hell today!” Well, you can look at that two ways: You can either choose to focus on all the negative things the devil is doing or you can choose to focus on those who are getting saved, healed, blessed, etc. You know, that’s actually happening today as well, right? I know this good news doesn’t generally capture the headlines, but it is happening, nonetheless. Jesus even told us that the angels rejoice over the one sinner who repents rather than in ninety-nine which need no repentance (See Luke 15:10). And he never says anything about angels weeping over those who don’t repent; just that they are joyful when someone does.
So, that’s the mentality I believe we ought to possess all the time—rejoicing to see God’s kingdom increase and prosper instead of letting what’s going on in the kingdom of darkness steal our joy from us.
You see, the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking (I know you can go to some churches and that doesn’t seem to be true, but it actually is😉), but it’s righteousness, peace, and joy (See Romans 14:17). That means that in God’s kingdom three of the predominant virtues you will find are these—righteousness, peace, and joy. So, there is no depression or anxiety in heaven, only joy and peace. Therefore, if we are living our lives in the kingdom of God, then there is no room for any of these negative emotions and ways of thinking.
Church, I believe there is an open door in the kingdom of heaven for us to live in its victory. But it’s going to take us “coming up hither” and living from heaven’s perspective.
THE SOUND OF HEAVEN
And as the apostle John goes on to describe in verses 3-7, heaven is amazing, containing things which are difficult to imagine! But what I want us to now look at is one specific thing that John saw happening in heaven.
In verse 8, he explained how these four living creatures that he saw and described in verse 7 did not rest day or night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” And then John went on to say in verses 9-11— “Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 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: ‘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.’”
So, what John saw happening around the throne of God was lost in the sound of heaven—that is, the Father was being praised and glorified by the various hosts of heaven! But I want you to notice that these words they were saying were not verses to songs. They were simple statements that praised and glorified Father God.
You know, sometimes I feel that we let the praise God desires be inhibited by our apparent lack of ability to sing well. We say things like— “Well, I cannot carry a tune like so and so.” But, again, they were making simple statements declaring things about the Father, not necessarily singing songs to Him.
I’m guessing we all should be doing this. Why? How many of you know that Jesus taught us to pray like so— “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-10)? So, if we are to pray for things to be done here on the earth like they are done in heaven, then don’t you suppose we ought to be declaring the things that they do in heaven? Absolutely!
Now I know that not every word we say or song we sing needs to be verse for verse what we read here in Revelation. There certainly is the place for psalms, hymns and spiritual songs too, where we declare other things. But I also believe it is clear that heaven sounds like this. Therefore, this ought to be a part of our verbiage too.
WORTHY IS THE LAMB
But do you want to know one of the primary things you and I are going to see in heaven is this—that the Lamb of God alone is worthy! This is what we see in Revelation chapter 5 …
Following the worship of God by the four beasts and twenty-four elders, in this chapter, we now have our concentration placed upon the sealed scroll that is in the right hand of God. This scroll represents the eternal inheritance that is awaiting the saints of God and God’s redemptive plan for us to obtain it. The seven seals represent the events that must take place before the saints can receive that redemption & inheritance.
So, a search begins for one who is worthy to receive this scroll, break the seals and reveal its contents. And no angel nor man is found worthy to open it, and the situation seems hopeless. But then, the Lamb—which we know to be the Lord Jesus Christ—comes onto the scene and, rightfully, takes the scroll from God’s hand. John is shown that the Lamb is the only One that is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll.
And what we see in the remaining part of this chapter is the praise & worship that is given to the worthy Lamb of God where they said the following things:
Verses 9-10: And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
Verse 12: saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Verse 13: … I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Church, this is what they are declaring over and over in heaven—that Jesus is the One who is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise. And if we have heaven’s perspective, this is what we are going to be both seeing and declaring. The Lamb is worthy!
Like we’ve seen in the Book of Revelation, it all points to the Lamb of God and how He alone deserves all the glory, all the worship, and all the praise!
IS IT JUST THUNDER?
Now, finally, I want us to go over to John chapter 12—because I believe it illustrates to us many of these things we’ve been learning here today: In John 12:28-41, we have an interesting event in the ministry of Jesus:
In verse 28, Jesus turned His voice towards His Father and said, “Father, glorify your name.” Then we are told that a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Now this was not God speaking just to Jesus—for we see in verse 29 that the people who stood by and heard it thought it had thundered. But others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
So, what was it about this audible voice of God that caused some to think it was just normal thunder and others thought it was angel? Well, it had nothing to do with the audible voice; it had to do with the ears of the people present. So, what this shows us that what we perceive is based on what we have ears to hear. So, if we are predominately carnal, we might take something that is spiritual and only perceive it carnally. For example, the Bible teaches us that oftentimes we entertain angels unaware, but that doesn’t mean we have to be unaware. It’s just that we get swept along with the physical, natural, and carnal things of this world and our spiritual ears and eyes are not open to hearing and perceiving the spiritual things that are going on around us.
I’ll give you a great example of this: you can have two different people attend a worship service, and one person experiences the presence of God and are on their knees weeping before Him, but the other person is bored, twiddling their thumbs, and experiences nothing. How is that possible? It shows us that it’s not just on the ministers to usher us into the presence of God. We have to enter in ourselves.
Now, sure, there are times when His manifest presence is so obvious that just about everyone in the room will experience it, but this is not the common experience. Most of the times we are not going to be overwhelmed with His presence to where He is breaking through all the things we bring to church with us. We must press in and give Him our undivided attention and all of our hearts. This is when we will be the ones who perceive His presence and can experience the supernatural.
Another good example is with the preaching in church: I have ministered many times to large groups of people and while the majority of them are like— “Eh, that was alright. I enjoyed that.”—and then they go on their way never letting that truth impact them, there are others who come to me saying, “That changed my life! It was awesome! I’ll never be the same.” Both of these examples of people heard the same message, and one is changed forever, and the other is no different. What’s the difference? The hearts of the people.
Now skipping ahead to verses 37-41, we see John addressing this very thing:
We are told that although Jesus had done so many signs before the people, they still did not believe in Him. And the reason why is because they couldn’t—for Isaiah said prophetically, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” Then John goes on to say in verse 41, “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.”
SEEING THE LORD HIGH & LIFTED UP
So, I want us to go back where Isaiah saw His glory—because I believe it shows us how one’s eyes can be opened and how their hearts can understand: In Isaiah chapter 6, we have Isaiah’s testimony of his experience where He saw the Lord’s glory similarly to how the apostle John saw it in Revelation.
In Isaiah 6:1-4, we read: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.”
Notice how this sounds very similar to John’s Revelation: He saw the Lord sitting on His throne and he saw angelic being who were also singing similar praises to God saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.”
Now that last phrase is interesting—because is the whole earth really filled with His glory? To the natural eye, it doesn’t seem to be because we see the curse, sin and death filling the earth. But again, it depends on what perspective we are viewing the earth from. If we look at the earth from an earthly perspective, we will tend to only see negative things. But if we look at it from heaven’s perspective, we can see the glory of God filling the earth! Hallelujah!
And guess what this experience did? It made him very aware of his own unrighteousness and inadequacies.
Verses 5-7 tell us the following— “So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’”
So, can you guess why the Lord’s people were hearing but not truly understanding, why they were seeing, but not really perceiving? It was because they had not had Isaiah’s experience.
You see, when you and I see the Lord high and lifted up, it will change our perspective. Then we will be able to truly hear His voice. Then we will be able to truly see what we need to perceive. It is these spiritual experiences that make things we read in the Bible true in our hearts.
But, again, it was seeing the Lord high and lifted up which changed Isaiah’s perspective on things. And I believe that when we choose to enter that open door of heaven and begin seeing things from a heavenly perspective, we will see things like Isaiah did—the glory of the Lord filling the earth and our need to no longer fall short of that glory.
As Jesus also said in John 12:31-32, if He be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself. Now I believe these verses have multiple meanings. I believe it means that people will come when He is exalted. I also believe it means that when He was lifted up on that Cross, that He drew all sin and the judgment for that sin upon Himself.
But this is the point that I believe the Holy Spirit wants emphasized today—when we lift up and exalt Jesus on this earth through magnifying His Lordship and celebrating His salvation, all of heaven is drawn to that. He is the King of God’s kingdom and whenever and wherever the King is praised, heaven will be there to participate. Oh, glory to God!
Church, it is all about the Lamb. He is the Theme of heaven. He is the Song of heaven. He is the only Way to heaven. It’s all about Him. Jesus alone is worthy!