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Revelation blog post 15: indescribable

February 11, 2015

Revelation 4:1-3

Been reading this chapter so it feels appropriate to hook this up with my blog of chapters 1 to 3.

Have been reading this in the context of worship and indeed often found this inspirational to read in worship times public and private, because it is all about worship.

John has taken dictation of the letters to the 7 Asian churches. There’s been good news and bad, a real mixed bag. But God’s Spirit has spoken and the right response is to hear. And act.

So now back to John. After sharing what he saw in chapter 1, and what he heard in chapters 2 and 3, he now returns to what he can see with his eyes.

But what he sees first is very simple, everyday stuff. He sees a door. No huge vision. Just a door. Perhaps this echoes the letter written to the Philadelphians “I have set before you an open door”. This door is certainly open.

This is not a stairway to heaven. There is no climbing and effort to be made. This is just a door to be walked through into heaven.

This reminds me that heaven is not far away it is always near. Tom Wright underlines this in his book Simply Christian. His view suggests that heaven is always near. It is not a distant geographical place but sometimes heaven and earth collide and interlock.

John just had to step through the door to be in heaven. The place where God is. Welcomed in to a place of worship.

To worship God in heaven or on earth is open to all of us. No working on our part. Rather we accept the work of Jesus for us.

It is Jesus who calls him. With that voice like a trumpet. “Come up here and I’ll show you what is going to happen”

John’s environment is immediately changed. He steps from earth into heaven and immediately he was in the Spirit. Just as he described himself in chapter 1. To witness worship, to be part of worship is not a dry human thing. God’s Holy Spirit is working. You can be a spectator but John was touched by the Spirit and enjoyed a vision of heaven itself, with worship at its centre.

What he immediately sees cannot be adequately described. There is someone on a throne. As we read on we can only take this to be God the Father. So what does God look like? Come on John you’ve seen him! John does nothing to describe him he can only describe by reference to jewels. Jasper, ruby and emerald. There is beauty here, a rainbow, but a face, or bodily form? In what way is humankind made in God’s image.

We come up with a God who is indescribable. But then would we expect anything else with what little we know of the God of our creation, the one and only God?

Little more than a glimpse of God, but God is firmly at the centre of everything that is about to happen.

So do you recognise that God is near to worship? You and I need to do that.

And do we think we can adequately describe him? Of course not. He is above all that and deserves ultimate worship.

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