As I am away this week it is a joy to share with you a week of Devotions from Pete Campbell.
Throne Perspective: A seven-day devotional on Revelation 4-5
I remember hearing someone preach who I consider to be a Christian leader of extraordinary faithfulness, perseverance, and world-wide influence. In a throwaway remark, he said that when he gets discouraged, he goes and meditates on Revelation 4-5 for three or four hours at a time. I remember being impressed, thinking ‘Woah, what kind of spiritual nourishment must be in those chapters!’
For the next seven days, we will be steadily and simply working our way through these chapters of the book of Revelation. I don’t propose you spend three or four hours a day on them (!), but I hope you’ll be able to reflect prayerfully on the truths we uncover.
The great theme of these chapters is that human history is an outworking of God’s purposes of judgement and redemption that have begun to be fulfilled through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are full of comfort for the believer and build on the promise given in chapter 3, ‘The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne’ (Revelation 3:21). We will see the throne of the Father and the victory of Jesus assuring us of our final victory if we have believed in him.
It is my prayer that, like the leader who found such comfort and help in these chapters, you will find these chapters enormously encouraging giving clarity of perspective. For the believer they are a tonic, and if you are yet to come to whole-hearted faith in Jesus Christ, I pray that you will find the picture of Jesus in these chapters too compelling to stay away from. Let us begin.
Day 1: ‘Come up here…’
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
My dad was a telephone engineer and he told me once of being given special access to fix the phone lines in a military base. To do so he had to pass through a control room full of top military personnel all standing around a large map. He was given privileged access to a room of power and control, a place where ordinary folk rarely go. So too is the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, in these verses. However, he’s not there to fix something because nothing is broken!
After receiving the letters to the seven churches in the first chapters, John, just like the prophet Ezekiel before him (Ezekiel 1:1) amazingly sees a door open in heaven! He is invited by the voice of the risen Lord Jesus (Rev. 1:10, 12) to be shown ‘what might take place after this’. He is enabled by the Spirit to see eternal realities beyond what he can physically see on the island of Patmos.
He is ushered into the spiritual, timeless dimension of God’s heavenly council, the third heaven, and what he sees is the true heavenly temple of which the Old Testament temple was only a picture of. Using Old Testament symbols and prophecy he goes on to explain the unchanging eternal realities that lie behind the struggles of the church age. We are to be grateful John was beckoned up there to see what he did, because it explains to us what is taking place behind the scenes of human history. Let his vision capture our imaginations and hearts, to learn to view the struggles and trials of the church from a heavenly perspective.
The voice of Jesus saying, ‘Come up here’, is an unique experience for John, an apostle given special revelation of the throne room of God for the encouragement of the church. Yet, in a secondary sense, that trumpet-like voice saying ‘Come up here’ is for you and me! Through John’s words we have privileged access to this vision of the throne room of God, so we can view history in the way heaven views history, and value what heaven values.
There is a hill not far from where I live that gives me a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Most of my time is spent down in the valley, but I relish getting up high and getting the breath taking, wide-lens perspective.
Are you feeling hemmed in by the struggles and trials of living for Christ in our broken world? Do you lack perspective? Do you need to value what heaven values? Hear his words today saying, ‘Come up here’. Ask the Lord that as you read and meditate on these chapters, you would see the breath taking, wide lens perspective on history.
Pray: Father, at times I get so hemmed in by my circumstances, by my struggles, by events taking place around me, that I lack heavenly perspective. Please teach me to value what you value and show more of yourself to me as I read these great chapters from your word. Amen.
“Rise with me – my soul in triumph
Mounts to see the Prince of kings:
Draw with me the flood which issues
From the boundless heavenly springs.
There together let us wonder,
Gaze upon the Lamb that died;
Bow before the Victor reigning,
Glory in the flowing tide.”
Pete Campbell, Capel Fron, Penrhyndeudraeth