Have you heard a story about who gets into heaven? The amusing ones frequently play on the idea of seeing an unexpected person in heaven.
The people who first read the Revelation of John were being persecuted by those in power. Those early Christians, mostly recently converted Jews, may have been longing for the Lion of Judah to be the only one who could occupy the throne of God and save them from their earthly enemies. A lion is a powerful animal that people feared, a destroyer of docile sheep. Earlier in the 5th chapter of Revelation, John was told to stop weeping and behold the Lion of Judah. Instead a fierce strong lion God showed John the Lamb, recently slain, as the only one able to take the scroll and hence authority to sit upon the throne. Can you imagine the shock of those early Christians on hearing of a meek and powerless lamb as the most exalted in heaven?
John described God’s throne room beginning first with those whose presence was expected: the twenty-four elders representing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Next he includes saints from every tribe, but not merely those with expected backgrounds, but from every language. He sees the expected angels and thousands of thousands of living creatures. And finally every creature in heaven and on earth and below the earth. Yes, EVERY creature, thus one might logically conclude every person, as we too are creatures on the earth. Even the ones you might not expect are in the throne room of God.
I will have more to say about Revelation 5:8-14 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 5th.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
A Tip for Parents
A fish has long been a Christian sign. The letters of the Greek word for fish have been used as the first letters of a statement of faith. Those words translate to: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.
This Sunday we will celebrate communion with small bites of bread and sips of juice. For me, these flakes remind me of fish food, and if they help us remember Jesus, they are.