The other night I heard my wife call down the steps to my son and I, “Did you see that sky?” She was calling our attention to a beautiful sunset, with a thin band of clouds filtering and diffusing an indescribable array of color. It was so striking we even got in the car and went for a drive to take it all in. While I am never short of words, just ask my wife, I would be hard pressed to describe the colors and beauty of the Sunset to you. Often our efforts to describe sights such as this leave us saying “Word’s don’t do it justice you just have to see it.”
St. John suffered from the same thing when he was taken by the Spirit of Christ into the very presence of Heaven. While he wrote lots of words he was just reaching beyond the grasp of human language to describe what he saw. He spends a lot of time describing in his Revelation the great battle, and encouraging the saints with the sure reminder of victory in Christ. In His description of the scene of heaven I can almost hear him struggles as he grasp for words to describe what he sees.
Here are a few of the words John uses to describe heaven…
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes–who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 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 spread his tent over them. 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:9-17 (NIV)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV)
I heard Pastor Ken Klause, speaker of The Lutheran Hour share a great insight into John’s description. “there is a problem with what John recorded. You see, John was a human being like you and me. His thoughts are human thoughts and the words describing heaven are human words. And that’s where the problem comes in. John was describing a Divine place with words that simply didn’t do justice to all he had seen. In fact, John found it easier to describe what he didn’t see. “ (http://www.lutheranhour.org/sermon.asp?articleid=15615)
- no scorching heat
- no thirst
- no tears
- no death
- no mourning
- no crying
- no pain
I can’t wait to see what John saw. I can’t wait to step into the beauty and splendor of Heaven, and for my senses to take in all that surrounds us. What an indescribable moment that will be. Words will not do it justice!
I pray that you long for that day by Faith in the Son of God, Jesus the spotless lamb of God who was given to suffer, die and rise that you by faith may have life in His name!