March 26, 2012
By: John Barnett
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As we open to II Peter 3, think about the greatest day of our lives. That will be the day we each get to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ—and kneel in front of the One who loved us so much that He came and took our sins upon Himself, died in our place on the Cross, and freely gave us His forgiveness, cleansing, and salvation.
Just think of what a moment that will be! An instant after our last breath, to be taken by the hand of Jesus, as He leads us past the marshaled ranks of the angels, along the golden boulevards of glory, up past the cherubim and the seraphim, up, up to the throne of God Himself; and then to hear the Lord Jesus call you by your name and present you in person as His well beloved!
Then to hear the Father say, "Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Just think of it, a robe of white, bright as the day, pure as the light! When the Lord Jesus was transfigured on the mount, something happened not only to His countenance, something happened also to His clothes. His raiment became white as the light.
What a reward for faithfulness, to have a robe like that draped around the shoulders and to be invited to walk the shining ways of glory in light transfigured clothes.
The greatest, richest, most powerful of all of history on this planet were not arrayed like one of these. Just think of that!
If we really think about that moment long enough, we realize that all that matters is one thing--what happens at that moment when we stand before Jesus Christ .
Peter who had followed Jesus since he was a young fisherman must have thought for a long time about that moment. At the end of his life we can still hear the voice of that wizened old fisherman, with a glowing heart of hope and joy--named Peter. He is speaking to us by the power of God’s Spirit.
2 Peter 3:10-11 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,"
In the not too distant future, God is going to invade His world. Last time He did it disguised as a baby, and He died a sacrificial death for the sin of the world. This time He is not going to hide. That invasion is called Christ's Second Coming. At Christ's return everyone will be seen for what they really were.
“When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage the play is over.
God is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you're on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else--something it never entered your head to conceive--comes crashing in; something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?
For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side.
There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it's become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not.
Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it."
But, for believers that exposure to that revelation of what we really were takes place earlier.
Kneeling Before Jesus
We are at the second big event on God’s Prophetic Calendar. It is called Christ's Judgment Seat or Bema Seat. Are you ready? Our future is all about little choices we make that reveal what we really are in the sight of God.
To help us all get ready Paul gave us a powerful reminder in Romans. Please open with me to Romans 14:10b-12 and stand as we listen to God's Word:
“. . . For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
What will matter when you stand alone right in front of Jesus? What do you wish to have in your hands to give to the One who loved you and gave Himself for you? What ever that is – that is what we need to live for TODAY!
Today will you come with me to that Throne? Will you let the Holy Scriptures transport you out of this world and into God’s?
What Will it Be Like At the Throne?
Watch with me as God pulls back the veil. Through John’s eyes in Revelation we see Heaven as he seems to rise on the wings of angels to get his guided tour of Heaven. His inspired words portray for us a scene of angels—hundreds of millions of angels—“ten thousand times ten thousand”—all clustered about the smooth crystal sea that reflects awesome images from its mirror like surface. Our senses are besieged by so many different sensations. The colors of the materials surrounding God’s Throne are beyond description.
First, ANGELS capture our attention.
These countless white robed angels standing like living walls of pure white robes rising in circular rings reflecting the light of God. They rise and fall to the sounds of the four creatures crisscrossing the expanse on the four corners of the Throne. They move as one – falling down on their faces as they speak the wonders of God’s Glory.
Revelation 5:11-12 /"Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 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!” "
Next, the FLOOR if it can be called that, is an ocean of completely clear and reflective glass.
In this crystal sea we can see all the colors, lights and objects are reflected and amplified.
Revelation 4:5 "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.”
The traditional description of the rainbow is that it is made up of seven colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Actually, the rainbow is a whole continuum of colors from red to violet and even beyond the colors that the eye can see.
A cool, emerald-green hue dominates the multi-colored rainbow surrounding God’s throne; the city that surrounds us has thick walls of sparkling diamonds. To get the sensation hold up your diamond ring to a light and look through the stone and see dazzling flashes of light. Multiply that by diamonds large enough to built walls out of and then an entire city that is over 1500 miles high…looking down beneath your feet you see gold that is transparent so the overpowering radiance of God’s glory can refract and glisten through the entire city; everything is made of gems of such beautiful colors that they send forth the light of God’s glory.
These are the colors of Heaven, the colors God has chosen to surround Himself with – His Glory reflected in all these hues: sky-blue stones with translucent, colored stripes; parallel layers of red and white; orange-red to brownish-red to blood-red; a transparent, yellowish gold; light blue aquamarine; yellowish-green; apple-green gold-tinted green; deep blue; shining violet; and intense purple.
Then we see, central to Heaven is the THRONE OF GOD.
Completely encircled by the emerald green rainbow that is over, around and beneath the Throne – we are overwhelmed by the massive rumble of power, as endless peals of thunder and flashes of lightning seem to radiate outward from within.
Listening carefully we hear with John the loud voices like roaring waterfalls rolling past the seven blazing pillars of flame that burn in a circle around God’s Throne. An exiled Jewish prophet named Daniel writes these words in Daniel 7:9-10:
“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. . . ”
Then the BURNING ONES, that is what seraphim means, capture our focus. These Four Living Creatures always face the Throne of God:
As our eyes turn to follow the four glistening living beings each with four distinct faces – lion, calf, man, eagle – and completely covered with eyes as they move like flashes of light with fire passing between them, gliding through the expanse around the Ancient of Days in theocentric orbit always facing the Almighty One.
Isaiah 6:1-7" 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. 2 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. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 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.” 6 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. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
Then we see a CIRCLE just beyond the burning pillars of fire, and the four living creatures that surround God’s Throne--made up of 24 SMALL THRONES seated with white robed celestial men.
Revelation 4:4: “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.”
Revelation 5:8, 14 “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”
Each man holds a harp, wears a crown, and holds a golden bowl. These golden bowls contain the worship offered by God’s saints on Earth. And repeatedly we see those twenty-four elders fall on their faces pouring out to the Lord, the collected worship of the saints as the hosts of Heaven loudly chant the Glory of God. With the mighty sound of seraph wings we hear the voices, thunders, and sounds of the entire Universe blending into one crystal clear affirmation:
Holy, holy, holy Is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:8)
Now as we watch, 24 ELDERS rise and fall, under the awesome expanse of space over the Throne that sparkles like pure on the crystal blue pavement as it is called in Exodus.
Finally, at a special moment every angel and every elder and every saint fall prostrate before him—those four great angels, those twenty-four elders, the hundreds of millions around the sea—and most of all, us! And we all join together to sing with them:
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! (5:12)
Do you see now why, at the end of his life, the great Reformer and servant of the Lord, Martin Luther shared what kept him going through such lifelong adversity and hardships? He understood the wonder of the moment that he would get to stand and then kneel at Christ's Throne. That’s why he said he lived by this simple truth:
"I have but two dates on my calendar today and the day of the judgment seat of Christ!"
In other words he lived each day like he was on his way to explain what he did with his life to the One who gave him life – Jesus Christ.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest minds ever produced in an American had this as his constant plan:
“Resolved, never to do anything I would not want to be found doing--by Christ, at His Return.”
Are you ready today to appear before Christ's Throne?
When we take pilgrims to Greece, the most moving spot of all is in the city of Ancient Corinth. I have seen travelers who were just tourists the whole trip until they reached that spot. And there beneath the raised stone platform called in Greek the bema suddenly the awesomeness of the moment overtakes them and they see themselves at a future day standing at Christ's Throne. Often tears, often deep silence – and always reverence fills each one as the scene unfolds before their eyes.
Are you ready?
What will matter when you stand alone right in front of Jesus?
What do you wish to have in your hands to give to the One who loved you and gave Himself for you?
What ever that is – that is what we need to live for TODAY!