What the Reign of God Looks Like

Lampstands, No. 10

Many times we see the world and our lives in it like the traveler lost on the airport tarmac: the chaos on the ground doesn’t encourage him that there will be order in the air.

This is why God gives us a picture of the throne room in Revelation 4 and 5. He wants us to see things from a better vantage point. He wants us to see things from a heavenly perspective.

Here, in the throne room, events on the cosmic stage are no less chaotic, disturbing, and frightening, but in the presence of the throne and the one who occupies it, no one appears anxious.

God’s Reign is Trinitarian

There is no anxiety in heaven because God reigns. This is, after all, what the throne represents. But it is not merely God who reigns; it is the trinitarian God. The Father is not named, but described as the “one seated on the throne” (4:2). The Spirit is pictured as “seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God” (4:5). And the Son appears as the one worthy to open the scroll of human destiny, the “Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (5:6).

The three persons of the one God work together to effect a reign that is comprehensive and worthy of worship.

God’s Reign is Comprehensive

We find in the throne room that the twenty-four elders, four strange creatures, and “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands” of ordinary (!) angels all join in the heavenly chorus to worship God.

The strange creatures, bearing the images of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle, represent realms outside the heavenlies, including everything in the natural and human worlds.

Thus God’s reign affects every aspect of the created order: angels, inanimate objects, sub-human creatures, and mankind.

God’s Reign is Worthy

Revelation reports for us how God is praised. He is holy. His is powerful. He is eternal. He creates and sustains all things. He redeems. He is worthy of all praise and worship, regardless of what difficulties, disease, disaster, or even death we face on earth as we await the return of Jesus Christ.

Because the throne room scene sits between the letters to the churches and the description of God’s judgment on evil and his salvation of his people, we can conclude that an accurate view of the worthiness of God’s reign is crucial to remain faithful to Jesus Christ in midst of persecution.

Have you abandoned your first love? Contemplate the reign of God, and worship.

Are you suffering or are you about to suffer? Contemplate the reign of God, and worship.

Do you tolerate false teaching? Do you tolerate compromise and immorality? Are you dead? Do you need to hold fast? Are you lukewarm?

Contemplate the reign of God, and worship.


Audio:

Theme:

Because God reigns completely, we can worship confidently.

Outline:

  • We worship because God’s reign is trinitarian
  • We worship because God’s reign is comprehensive
  • We worship because God’s reign is worthy
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