Recently I was brought into contact with a most delightful book entitled, Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Todd Burpo).
The book has sold more than 4 million copies since it came out last November. People are fascinated over the recollections of a boy who had a near-death experience that gave him the opportunity to see some amazing sights in heaven, including seeing the smile on Jesus’ face while he sat on his lap.
There is another story I love to read, this one about a grown man who has the opportunity to see into heaven through a door standing open.
This story is in the book of Revelation, which is written by the Apostle John while he was on the Isle of Patmos (c. 95 A.D.). The scene in Revelation 4 is focused upon a throne, which belongs to the Lord God Almighty. As one reads this story, pay close attention to how everything is being described in relation to the throne. The reason is because everything receives its directions and authority from the One who sits on the throne.
As John looks at the throne, he sees someone sitting on it (v. 2). The one sitting on the throne has the brilliance of gemstones – jasper and carnelian (v. 3). We learn that the glow of an emerald encircles the throne like a rainbow (v. 3). Twenty-four smaller thrones surround the throne, and 24 elders sit on these thrones. The 24 elders are dressed in white and have gold crowns on their heads (v. 4).
From the throne come flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder (v. 5). In front of the throne are seven lamp stands with burning flames, which represent the seven spirits of God (i.e., Holy Spirit) (v. 5). Further out in front of the throne is a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal (v. 6).
In the center and around the throne are four living beings, each covered with eyes front and back (v. 6). The first of the living beings has the form of a lion; the second looks like an ox; the third has the appearance of a man; and the fourth has the form of an eagle with its wings spread out to fly (v. 7).
Each of the living beings has six wings, and their wings are covered with eyes – inside and out. Day after day and night after night the four living beings worship God by saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty – The one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne, the 24 elders take off their crowns and fall down and worship him by saying:
“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”
Melvin Woodard is senior pastor of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church. Write him at New Salem MBC, 3315 W. 36th St., Indianapolis, IN 46228.