One insight:

  1. As I read these chapters, I’m amazed at the glory that surrounds God in heaven, at the splendor that is impossible to describe with words. As John paints the word-picture as best he can, it’s a wonder to sit and watch, let my mind gaze on the imagery. There is something peaceful and frightening all at the same time. Beautiful music accented by peals of thunder, a symphony matched by nothing we’ve ever seen on earth. Bigger than IMAX, fuller than surround-sound, richer than anything possible — the throne of the Almighty. Pause. Be amazed. Bask in the moment.

    It’s so appropriate to read Revelation during the Christmas season. The morning devotion today reflected on Isaiah 11, The Stump of Jesse. As I read, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5), I’m taken to a room in Jerusalem where generations of our Jewish forefathers longed for the day when Isaiah’s prophecy would be seen in the flesh. Sadly, most didn’t believe it was happening when it was actually revealed, but we have the great advantage of history, of hindsight. With that perspective, we read these revelations with great anticipation, a Christmas beyond Christmases.

    Revelation 5:8, “they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people” spoke to me this morning: “the prayers of God’s people.” So many times we struggle to understand what God is doing, why he ignores our prayers. Childish, I know, but it does feel like that at times (if we can be totally honest). Yet here we are at the end of times and we have this assurance, “they were holding…the prayers of God’s people.” Lord, you are most gracious and kind, even when I don’t understand what you’re doing. Thank you for this assurance.

    So they sang a “new song” (5:9). This new song was joined in by “many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” (5:11). The heavenly hosts sang this new song, then “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them” (5:13) professed that Jesus Christ is Lord, “to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” (5:13). And the response: Amen. Enough said.

    Lord my tiny mind cannot grasp this vision, but my heart is moved to tears. So much of me wants to see this revelation today, not selfishly, rather for the world to finally realize the words spoken, the sermons preached, the lives martyred were all for your glory. No more pain and suffering to be sure, but more significant, we finally get to see you and the debate is over. Thank you for these few moments of peering into the future. Help me live today as you would desire, as your will would guide me. Amen.

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