Have you ever thought about how you can prepare for Heaven? Life is short and eternity is long. What can you do now to anticipate the afterlife?
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us today, because we’re discussing the invisible world. Now if you’ve been with us before, you know that we talked about the dark side of the invisible world—the occult. We’ve also spoken about angels. And as a matter of fact, last time we looked through a keyhole, so to speak, and actually saw what was happening in the invisible world between Satan and God, and God’s people represented by the high priest Joshua.
Today we’re even going to get a more interesting look at heaven. When I was a boy growing up on a farm, somehow my parents got ahold of a book—I don’t know how they got it—entitled “My Visit to Heaven.” I remember reading it as a boy. And this woman talked about going to heaven, and on the way, she met demons and so forth; and it made me very afraid. But it was a glorious study of heaven. Not sure, however, whether or not it was authentic.
There are plenty of books out there about people who have near-death experiences who think that they’ve gone to heaven and come back, but all of those are unreliable. How much better it is to hear it from a man who actually had this vision—not a near-death vision, but a vision given to him by God—that helps us get a glimpse of what heaven is like.
Now before I read any of these verses, I need to tell you that when John was transported there and the gate of heaven, the door was opened and he was able to look in, he saw things he could not describe, because there were no words for them. So repeatedly he uses words “like unto.” “It was like this.” “It was… had the appearance of this and that.” Because there are no words. I mean, what he saw didn’t have words, but he tried to describe it for us.
Fourth chapter of the book of Revelation, the door opens, and he’s asked to come up and to see heaven. “At once I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian”—that’s a certain kind of stone and color—“And around the throne, there was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” Notice, “the appearance of.” It wasn’t an emerald, but it had the appearance—the appearance of an emerald. “And around the throne were 24 thrones; and seated on the thrones were 24 elders clothed in white garments with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder…” And he goes on to describe it, and I encourage you to read it on your own.
But here’s the point I want to make. You have one throne, and around it, there are 24 other thrones—people. And I think that those represent the 12 tribes of Israel, the converted people in the Old Testament, and then the 12 apostles. You have Israel and the Church. 24 elders. And then closer to the throne, however, than the elders, we learn in the next chapter, is the Lamb. The Lamb is right next to the throne.
And the Lamb looks as one who had been slain. By the way, it’s the only indication in heaven that we will have of the cross of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, who looked as if He had been slain. And we know that on earth He was slain. He’s right next to the throne. That’s why the Bible speaks about the throne of God and the Lamb.
But the 24 elders. They actually leave their thrones. And we know that because they fall down, as you read the rest of the chapter, and they end up worshiping God. Those of course, representing us. Let me ask you today. Are you willing to leave your throne and just fall down and worship the one who is on THE throne, the eternal throne of God? That’s what these elders do, and they give praise to God because He is the one who created all things and for His pleasure. I love that translation, “For His pleasure they are and they were created.”
My friend today, let me tell you that there is not room in your heart or mine for two thrones. We can say to ourselves, “I will sit on my throne and this is my territory.” But let me ask you something today. Are you willing to leave that throne and recognize only one throne, and that is the throne of Almighty God, and fall down and worship? That would be a good way to prepare for heaven. Because in heaven, it is all about God, and we get to enjoy Him forever.
I’ll tell you, the invisible world someday is going to be very visible, and we’re going to be there in heaven rejoicing, giving praise to God for all of eternity. So let me remind you of what I frequently say: life is short, eternity is long; prepare for heaven by falling down and worshiping the One on THE throne. Thanks for joining us, and I hope that today you indeed go with God.