Sometimes it’s something I never really noticed or seen before that grabs my attention during my morning readings. But often my morning meal is like sitting down again with an old friend. What captures my imagination has done so in the past. What sets the awe-o-meter off has set it off, again and again, before. Such is the case this morning as I enter heaven through Revelation 4. And again I notice that while what is seen is almost inexpressible, what is heard is inescapable.
I know you shouldn’t read Revelation literally, but what if Revelation 4:8 is literal? (Isaiah 6 makes me think it could be.)
If it is, then there is no silence in heaven.
Instead, in glory there is a never-ending, audible rhythm. One which I take note of at least once a year when I “come up” with John and behold again “what must take place.” I’ve noted it before. By faith, I’ve heard it before. And, as my mind tries to process it, I’ve written on it before.
Sharing some thoughts from 2011 . . .
We’ve all heard them. You hear them coming . . . you literally feel them if they are idling next to you . . . and you hear them going. I’m talking about those vehicles that have some humungous sound system in them which pumps out a drum-thumpin’, bass-driven beat. You can’t exactly make out any words . . . you’re not really sure that there’s any music attached to it . . . but the rhythm . . . oh, you are so aware of the rhythm. Boom, boom, boom . . . endlessly . . . boom, boom, boom . . . often annoyingly . . . boom, boom, boom. But guess what, I’m wondering if from now on, it might be, for me, boom, boom, boom . . . prophetically. You see, they came to mind as I read this morning about the rhythm of heaven.
“At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne . . . And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!'”
(Revelation 4:2-3a, 6b-8 ESV)
Oh, how I love getting to the point in Revelation where I vicariously, through John, see the door open to heaven and the Spirit inviting me to “Come up here” (4:1). When I get to the point where, by God’s word, through the Spirit’s illumination, with some sanctified imagination, I tip toe around paradise “taking in the sights.” Talk about, “Behold, your God!”
And this morning, I’m reminded that it’s not just what I will see . . . but what I will hear. That there is a rhythm of heaven . . . a back beat that will throb through that place where God’s throne is set up . . . a reverberating echo that will provide a backdrop for all that goes on for all eternity. And it won’t be some muffled “boom, boom, boom” . . . no . . . it will peal with the clarity of the grandest bells, “Holy, holy, holy!”
I may not understand a lot about these four living creatures . . . but that they are created angels is apparent . . . and that they’ve been doing their a cappella thing for quite awhile, I get (cp. Isa. 6:1-3). And, what I also understand about them is that they have been given a “repeating tag line” to declare before the throne for eternity. I imagine it as a song . . . a song that they sing day and night . . . a truth that captures the essence of Him who sits on the throne . . . a declaration that they never cease saying. It is the rhythm of heaven . . . “Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Think about it . . . it never stops. The nearer you get to the throne, the louder it gets. And unlike my friends with their boom-boxes-on-wheels, this soul-stirring beat will never get annoying . . . this throbbing sentiment will never get old . . . these pulsating words will always be fresh . . . “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”
This morning, I hear the rhythm of heaven by faith. Through the Christ-conforming work of the Spirit in me, my ears are becoming more attuned to the heartbeat that emanates from before the throne of God. The old, old, song continues to beat with a new, new freshness as I grow in appreciation of the nature of God–thrice holy . . . residing in unapproachable love . . . yet accessible by His grace and through the cross of His Son. He who was . . . and is . . . and is to come . . .
Oh yes! He is to come! The distant booming of the angel’s 24/7 back beat gets louder as the day approaches. The theme becomes grander the longer we serve Him in anticipation of that day when we too hear the Spirit say, “Come on up!”
“Holy, holy, holy” . . . can you hear the rhythm of heaven?
No silence in heaven. Always a rhythm.
Heard by His grace. Declared for His glory.