Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Don't Have to Imagine

Revelation 4:9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

9 Καὶ ὅταν δώσουσιν τὰ ζῷα δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ εὐχαριστίαν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τῷ θρόνῳ τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, 10  πεσοῦνται οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι ἐνώπιον τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων καὶ βαλοῦσιν τοὺς στεφάνους αὐτῶν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου λέγοντες· 11  ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν.

This chapter has to be one of the greatest doxological chapters in all of Scripture.  As you read about these τὰ ζῷα or living ones, you can't help but think of the living creatures in Isaiah 6.  It seems that these have a similar role in that their whole existence is dedicated to praising the glory of the Lord.  What a job!

Earlier in the chapter we saw 24 elders on thrones around the main throne.  They have gold crowns on their heads, so they are clearly not just random people.  The gold crowns symbolize authority.  What do they do when they are before the throne?  βαλοῦσιν τοὺς στεφάνους αὐτῶν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου.  They recognize that they are not God and, therefore, need to bow before the throne.

There was a song a few years ago called "I Can Only Imagine."  It's pretty catchy and became a hit on stations like K-Love.  It even got covered by at least one country singer.  In the chorus the singer wonders what he will do when he gets to heaven and is surrounded by God's glory.  Will he dance?  Will he in awe be still?  Will he stand in His presence?  Will he fall to his knees?  Will he sing hallelujah?  Will he even be able to speak at all?  He can only imagine how he will react.

I can only imagine that the writer of that song never read Revelation 4, Isaiah 6, or many other passages where someone has a theophany.  It's pretty clear what happens when we're in the presence of the divine.  We fall down and worship.  There can be no other reaction.

Now you may think that is fine for the future, but what about right now?  We're not standing in the physical presence of the Lord in the sense described here or in Isaiah 6.  Yet if we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ we have come as close to this as we can while here on earth.  To suggest that we can have any reaction besides worship is preposterous.  To call Jesus one's Savior and not Lord is a contradiction in terms.  To say that is to say that we do not understand who Jesus is.

No comments: