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I can only imagine

What do you think heaven is like? 


Heaven is all that warms the heart and inspires the soul.  It is our home of all homes.  It is where we will know and be known in ways we never have been before.  It is where God is in a way that He is not here and now.  It is where we are meant to be.


Heaven is all that and more but we also need to think of it in present terms as well.


The fourth chapter of Revelation relates to us a scene from heaven – and what a scene it is!  There is a throne with “someone sitting on it.”  There is a glass-like sea, four creatures, twenty-four elders, a rainbow, thunder, lightning, and seven lamps – got all that?  Everything that is spoken of is described in relationship to the throne and the One who sits on it – that is central to everything. 


The twenty-four elders are seated on twenty-four thrones with golden crowns on their heads.  These are elders.  Both the Old and New Testaments know of them.  They are the wise and the experienced. They are those who have been around.  Their counsel is to be sought and heeded. 


The four creatures around the throne speak of the One who inhabits the throne.  They have eyes all over (v. 6,8).  They see everything!They say of the One on the throne:


"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was,

 and is, and is to come."


The response of the elders is to take off their crowns and lay them before the throne.  They are wise men indeed!  They don’t really need the message of the four creatures that God is incomparable but when they hear it, it’s as if they looked around at one another and asked, “Why wearing these crowns?”  Why would we want to rule when there is Someone far wiser, far more righteous, and more merciful?”  So they get off their thrones, get on their knees, and lay down their crowns before Him.


That is where heaven begins. 


The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.  In response, Jesus told them to remember God’s holiness (“Hallowed be Your name”).  Then they were to pray for the rule of God (“Your kingdom come”).  The sequence is the same as in Revelation 4: recognition of God’s transcendence and submission to His rule.   

That is how the kingdom of heaven continues. 


Make no mistake about it, heaven ends outside this life but it begins inside our life – or it doesn’t begin at all.  The world that will be can be now.   


"From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near," (Matthew 4:17).

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