God on his throne
What do the words “uncertain” and “unprecedented” have in common? Well, aside from being two of the most frequently used words these days, they both begin with the prefix “un” which means “not.” And right now, the world is longing for anything that doesn’t need that prefix in front of those two words. We thirst for certainty. We’re searching for something that has preceded us and will continue after us. Yet the things of this world continue to fall pitifully short.
But even now, as everything feels uncertain and unprecedented, there is at least one thing that’s not: God on His throne. He has been on His throne forever. He is on His throne at this very moment. He will be on His throne forever.
The certainty and precedence the world needs can be found all throughout the Bible, and we see it especially laid out before us in the passage from Pastor Steve’s sermon this week.
The Certainty of God on His Throne
The passage we’ll be focusing on is Revelation 4:1–5:14. In this, John transitions from recording the letters from Jesus to the churches in Asia Minor to now describing a vision that he receives from God.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.”
In this vision, before John sees everything else that is to come, he first sees God sitting on the throne. God is about to reveal to John that the world will eventually be shaken in unimaginable ways through the tribulation. But before all of that, John sees the reality that helps make sense of the chaos to come; this reality is that God is ruling sovereignly from the throne of Heaven. There is no sense of panic in the throne room because when God is on the throne, everything is under His control. Evil still exists and bad things still happen, but they do not and will not and cannot happen outside of the sovereign control of God.
What could be more comforting than that right now? It feels as though our world is being shaken every few hours. If you turn away from the news for a little while, you never know what you might find the next time you check. Again, this is certainly a time of uncertainty, but even as God is pained over the brokenness and pain taking place, He is not worried. We can be certain that even in the midst of COVID-19, God is on His throne.
The Precedence of God on His Throne
The precedence of God, the fact that He has been on His throne since before the creation of the world, does not come up as an after thought of this passage. It appears twice in the worship of the angels and the 24 elders surrounding the throne in Revelation 4:8–11.
“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.’
And when the living creatures give glory and 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 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.’”
Here we see God’s existence before all things is not a dull subpoint of theology. It is a truth so beautiful and incredible that it’s repeated again and again in the worship of Heaven! God is the Creator of the universe. He existed before anything or anyone else. That should amaze us and cause us to worship Him as well!
God’s precedence also gives us an anchor in the uncertain waters because of how it points us to the sovereignty and power of God. We serve a God that spoke all things into existence. He is not dependent on anything else, and since this is the case, we can have peace knowing that no matter what happens, it doesn’t happen outside the control of our mighty God.
God’s ways may still confuse us, and we may rarely understand what is going on in the world, but that’s okay. We don’t have to. We don’t have to know or understand the big picture because we know and understand God does. God is on His throne and in that knowledge, we can rest. That’s all the certainty and precedence we need.