By Pastor David Goode
Let's travel back in time to the year AD 95. We exit our time machine just 16 years after Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted and buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and 20 years after construction began on the famous Coliseum in Rome.
We look around and discover we are on a tiny windswept island lying off the coast of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea. After doing a scan of the landscape, we suddenly realize we are on the island of Patmos.
Our scan of the island reveals that we are not alone. Nearby stands the beloved apostle John. According to tradition, the Roman Emperor Domitian banished John to this lonely place because he preached the word of God and gave his testimony of Jesus.
There is something very interesting happening. Let's enter into John's supernatural vision as we pick up the action sequences in Revelation 4:1. John says, "After this (meaning after the revelation of the messages to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3) I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had heard first speaking to me like a trumpet said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' " By invitation from the voice of Christ, sounding like a trumpet, John is transported through an open door into heaven.
By following the events of John's vision in scripture, we can enter into the virtual reality of the story as it happens.
Revelation 4:2 says, "At once, I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it." When John says, "I was in the Spirit," it means that John's body remains on the earth, but his soul and spirit are transported into heaven where he sees God the Father sitting on the throne. John is permitted to see into an invisible dimension known as the "third heaven." He is translated in miraculous fashion through the open door into the "Supernatural Control Center" of the universe. From this invisible dimension, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, governs the visible affairs of mankind and all of creation!
Revelation 4:3a says, "And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance." Because of the extreme unapproachable brightness of his glory, John cannot describe the One on the throne as He actually is, so he attempts to describe His appearance.
The jasper-like appearance that John describes is evidently that of a diamond, not what we identify as jasper today. Sardius, also known as carelian, is the ruby that was used in the breastplate of the Jewish High Priest. John sees what he attempts to describe as sardius and diamonds that capture light and reflect it in brilliant displays of colors launching in all directions.
Revelation 4:3b says, "A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne." Emerald is a rare green variety of beryl, valued as a gem. This rainbow around the throne is apparently the shape of a rainbow rather than the color of one since this one is emerald. This 360-degree rainbow completely encircles the throne, perhaps resembling a halo. It evidently symbolizes God's mercy that surrounds His rule.
For example, Genesis 9:8-17 shows God's mercy when he makes a covenant with Noah. He promises never again to send a flood to destroy all life. As a reminder of that covenant, God places a rainbow in the heavens.
The prophet Ezekiel served as a "street preacher" to the Jewish exiles in Babylon for 22 years circa 593 BC. He saw a windstorm coming out of the north, an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. In Ezekiel 1:26-28, the prophet described what looked like a throne, sky-blue like a sapphire, and high above the throne was a figure like that of a man. From the waist up, He looked like burnished bronze and from the waist down, like a blazing fire. Brilliant light surrounded Him, like the appearance of a rainbow, in the clouds on a rainy day. This was the radiance
(Glory) of God.
You may be thinking, 'This sounds a lot like what the apostle John was describing in the book of Revelation. They were both seeing into the invisible realm of heaven.'
People are claiming to be caught up into the third heaven in visions even today! Do you believe this is possible? Send an e-mail and weigh in on this interesting topic.
With the prices of food going up weekly, we want to let you know about our outreach food ministry. We have bakery items available at each Sunday Service. In addition, we offer free gift cards for food and other items for those in need. The only requirement is to attend our worship service. Free piano and keyboard classes are ongoing.
Pastor David Goode is the senior pastor at Heart of Worship Ministries, which meets on Sundays at 3 p.m. in the arts and crafts room at the Port St. Lucie Community Center, 2195 Airoso Blvd., across from City Hall. Column reviewed by Nance Cox.
For more information, or prayer, call (772) 408-8218 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org