John, in the Spirit, taken up into heaven, must be in overload mode. He has seen the throne and the radiance of God emanating from it. He has heard the thunderous rhythm of heaven pound out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty.” He has beheld the Lamb in the midst of the throne, as though He had been slain, and yet revealed in power as the Lion of the tribe of Judah . . . the one worthy to take the scroll from the Father’s hand and open it’s seals. And then he is shown a great multitude (7:9-17). A great multitude who are about to taste living water in heaven.
The Spirit fills John’s mind with some stats on this multitude. More than can be numbered . . . from every nation . . . from all tribes and peoples and languages. And John sees them all standing before the throne . . . all clothed in white robes . . . all with palm branches in their hands (note to self, there are palms in heaven). And they are crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
These are those who have come out of the great tribulation . . . some martyred for their faith . . . some passing through death’s dark vale as the seals of judgment are opened upon the earth. But all having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” . . . all are before the throne of God . . . all are experiencing the dynamics of heaven.
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:15-17 ESV).
Ok . . . try processing that. They serve God, day and night, in His temple. Is that “just” serving with worship or is there other “work” to be done in the temple of heaven?
And, though they are a great multitude stretched before the throne, yet God’s presence shelters them. They are before Him and at that same time He envelopes them. And in that sheltering, hunger and thirst are forever satisfied and the sun has been replaced with a light absent of scorching heart. Kind of amazing.
But then, get this, in heaven they are led by a shepherd to springs of living water . . . by the Lamb Himself. That which they knew by faith on earth will be their reality in heaven . . . being led, face to face, by the Good Shepherd. The same Good Shepherd they knew on earth through the presence of His Blessed Spirit, will stand before them as they gather around the throne and He will say, Follow Me . . . let Me show you something . . . let Me give you something to taste.
And He takes them to springs of living water. The living water which He offered to all who would receive Him on earth (John 4:10-14). The living water which had flowed out of the hearts of those who had, by grace, determined to walk by faith. The living water identified by Jesus as the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity (John 7:38-39). The Lamb shepherds His people to taste this living water . . . to encounter, it seems, the Spirit who had indwelt them and sealed them. And now, in heaven, they would know Him in a way that they could never have known Him on earth.
And I so often think of what it will be like to stand before the throne and the emanating majesty of the Father. And of what it will be like to behold the face of Jesus, the Lamb in the midst. But if I am going to be with God in heaven, won’t that mean I will be with the Triune God? I’m thinkin’. And it looks like my encounter with the Spirit will be to drink of Him as heaven’s living water.
What will He feel like as He touches my lips? What will He taste like as enters me as a fount?
O’ what will it be like to encounter the Spirit in heaven? I can only imagine.