6. Holy, Holy, Holy: Revelation
A fresh vision of God’s glory sustains us with hope as we journey home
And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
“This is the way things will be forever.” The Nazis wanted their occupied cities in the second world war to believe this message, to accept defeat. For those suffering under Nazi rule, what happens when hope for the future is lost? Resistance feels useless. Why fight back…why persevere if things will never get better?
In the same fashion, followers of Christ need hope as they wait for His return. Christ will one day fully establish his reign in victory, but as the battle presses on today, Christians need a reason to continue fighting. This much-needed hope is what we encounter in the book of Revelation!
Revelation is a book full of symbolic visions given to its author John, and their messages reveal the final outcome of history. These visions proclaim to struggling Christians:
“This is not the way things will be forever.
Stay with it. You won’t regret faithfulness.”
The message of Revelation was originally delivered to 7 specific churches. As they faced cultural pressures, persecution, and temptations, the question was: will they choose compromise or faithfulness?
John’s series of visions begin in the throne room of God. John describes creatures representing all of creation and every human nation worshiping and giving honor to God, singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” In God’s hand is a sealed scroll containing the message about how God’s kingdom will come to be on Earth as it is heaven. But only one person can open the scroll: the Messianic King, Jesus himself.
When John turns to see this king, he sees a sacrificed, bloody lamb, an image that reveals the inauguration of God’s kingdom through Christ crucified. As God and the lamb are worshiped, the lamb begins to open the scroll.
The scroll speaks to this present age. It acknowledges the brokenness present in this world and the destructive nature of Satan. Before Christ’s return, Satan works to inspire hatred and persecution of Jesus’ people on Earth. Christ’s enemies likewise exalt themselves and demand worship and allegiance from God’s people.
But in this time, Christians are called to live like the slain lamb, bearing witness to the truth by suffering and even dying in love for their enemies. They are called to resist compromise and hold fast to their allegiance to the lamb. God’s kingdom is coming.
John describes a last battle, where Jesus rides in on white horse, returning to deal with evil and to vindicate his followers. Jesus defeats his enemies and gives them what they want: to exist for eternity by themselves and for themselves. Jesus puts away all evil for good, that it might never again corrupt God’s creation.
Lastly, after the battle, John describes a vision of a wedding ceremony: Jesus and his people are joined in marriage. Heaven and Earth are united, and God makes all things new! In the new heavens and earth, God dwells with his people, his presence permeating every square inch of the new creation. God’s people are healed and restored to glorious wholeness. All people and cultures are united in peace with one another. Humanity rules the new creation as they brightly reflect God’s image. And God’s people spend eternity worshiping him, their souls enveloped in supreme joy, rest and satisfaction as they behold God’s glory.
The purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story, is worship. We will one day see God face to face, fully beholding his glory, and our hearts will respond in adoration to their fullest capacities. Worshiping God is what we were created for, and our hearts will sing on and on for eternity, going deeper into everlasting joy.
Revelation gives us a fresh vision of God’s glory, both to reawaken our appetite for God and to sustain us along our journey home. In this book, we encounter the God…
Who gave himself in sacrificial love to save his people;
Who conquered evil and death;
Who strengthens his people in their trials;
Who will one day destroy evil and its effects for good;
Who will restore his people and his creation to perfect wholeness;
And who is holding an unspeakably glorious existence for us.
He is worthy of all our devotion and worship.
RESPOND: Take a moment to ask God to show you his glory, that you might be strengthened to live faithfully and devotedly to him.