Before the Throne
At some point during tonight's Academy Awards (The Oscars) which celebrates cinematic achievements in the film industry, there will be statements made about the power of story in film. Stories are able to transport us into another world, they shape attitudes, they can make us happy or sad, they move us at a deep level of our being. And that's why we love stories.
And that brings me to God's story. God's story is transformative, it has the power to shape attitudes, instill values, it moves us at the deepest levels. But God's story instead of transporting us to a place of fantasy (filled with actors and props), has the power to transport us into a God-centered and wonderful kingdom reality. This is especially true of the book of Revelation written during a time of intense persecution against Christians. Revelation is a strange book to us, filled with symbols and apocalyptic language.
But Revelation was written to encourage first-century believers, to let them know that Christ is the ultimate victor! God is saying that believers are in the right story. Some believers were living in a world of fear, of murderous terror, they were being scattered and separated from family members, and felt pressured to bow the knee and repeat the mantra, ''Caesar Is Lord!'' In a time when some believers were giving up and giving in to get along, God encouraged his people to not give up or give in, but to look up, for God was still on his throne and Caesar's throne and Rome's power looked pretty shabby and temporary in comparison to God's power and glory and eternal plan.
Revelation chapters 4-5 go together and portray a series of visions that John was given of the throne in heaven and the worship of God by all creation. Just previous to our passage of Scripture, all attention is given to a scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne (5:1). The scroll has writing on both sides and it is sealed wi ...
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