Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Eternal Praise

Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

8 καὶ τὰ τέσσαρα ζῷα, ἓν καθ᾽ ἓν αὐτῶν ἔχων ἀνὰ πτέρυγας ἕξ, κυκλόθεν καὶ ἔσωθεν γέμουσιν ὀφθαλμῶν, καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς λέγοντες· ἅγιος ἅγιος ἅγιος κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος.

When I read this I immediately think of Isaiah 6:3. I am fairly certain that this describes the same thing. Apparently God created beings whose sole purpose is to spend eternity worshiping Him. Not that here they are seen in worship of Christ. How can we be sure that it is Christ? Verse 11 tells us:  for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. This should remind you of Colossians 1:16 where we see that everything was created by Christ and for Christ.

So what do we make of this? There are some who consider this to be a very boring picture of heaven. Basically, these are the folks who want for heaven to be like a really ideal version of earth. Imagine your best day ever. Now multiply that for eternity. For some that may be an eternity of eating chicken wings while watching your favorite team win the Super Bowl. For others that may be an eternity of hiking in perfect weather and finding an idyllic scene with a waterfall. These sound great, don't they?

The problem is that they all fall short. I maintain that the greatest days we have here on earth are made greater because they are not eternal. It's no fun to see your team win the big game every year unless they lose periodically. Being trapped in a cubicle farm under artificial light during the week makes that hike in the woods that much nicer. There needs to be tension before there can be release. Read any good story and you will see that. 

Why are we like that? Everything goes back to Genesis 3. Thanks to the Fall we live under tension all the time. Our nature is now such that we need the bad to enjoy the good. But heaven won't be like that. Heaven will be ideal all the time. 

What does that look like? Unceasing worship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We will be in the presence of God. And as we come into the presence of God the pressing cares of this world will fade away. As humans we read this passage and think that these seraphim got a bad deal. They remind us of the animatronic show at Chuck E Cheese that can do nothing but sound like a broken record. But what we don't realize in our fallen state is that they have the best job imaginable. They get to exist in the presence of the Lord and worship Him as He deserves.

If that still sounds boring to you, please let me know. We need to talk about who God is.

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