It is believed that John was a very old man when he penned the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We know from this book that he had been banished into exile upon a little island in the Aegean Sea called the Isle of Patmos. And because of it being a place of exile, we would not have to think too deeply to appreciate that there were probably all sorts of characters who had been placed on that island—perhaps criminals of different kinds, maybe what we now call political dissidents, people who didn’t like the way the government was being run, and so on.
So, here is an old man separated from the church that he helped found and loves deeply, and he is forced to spend the rest of his days sitting on the island of Patmos just waiting for God to take him home. Then one day God appears to him in a vision and John sees the glory and the majesty of the God that he has worshiped for most of his lifetime.
In chapter 4 he describes the early part of this vision and it says, “After these things [the letters that were addressed to the seven churches of Asia Minor], I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2 ESV).
Suddenly John sees an open door. An open door is symbolic of an invitation to go on in—an open door into heaven. It is an immense contrast between the reality of the island on which he’d been banished and the glorious sight that he is beginning to perceive through the open door. It’s the difference between the visible reality where you and I live, where the rubber meets the road, where the bills are hard to meet, where inflation runs high, and what I would call the invisible “real” reality of the world where God dwells and where all is well.
You and I, as we go through every day of our lives, are faced with the choice: am I going to be influenced or controlled by the visible reality that I see or am I going to live my life and march to the tune of a different drummer—the invisible reality where God is all and in all. That is a very important distinction and is the choice that you and I have to make constantly. We know because of the penned histories of the world, that the things that we visibly see now are not going to survive. We understand that. We know that houses fall down. We know that the great civilizations the world has seen have crumbled into the dust of the earth, and that visible things are not noted for their survival period. However, the invisible things of God are the only things that are permanent and real; they are the substance of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
When you praise God, you are saying that you value the invisible real world more than you do this visible world that you seem to be struggling through. Focusing on the reality of eternal things will redirect your thoughts from the problems of day-to-day living and meeting the bills and the budgets and everything else, to the reality that eternal things will always continue because you are living out God’s great eternal plan. When you say “Hallelujah,” that’s what it’s going to do for you! Visible situations will then begin to change because your mind is fixed on God’s reality, and not on things that just appear to be real.
John wrote, “At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne” (verse 2). Whenever you see a throne you think of authority, of rule, of control. I think this is a picture to us of looking through that door into heaven and recognizing that God is in control. And because I believe that and believe it with every bit of my being, I can say, “Hallelujah, praise the Lord. God is still in control.”
The Mirror Bible renders verse 2 this way: “So here I am, rapt up in the unrestricted space of spirit ecstasy. As the vision opens I see the throne already in place as the first thing in heaven. Then I beheld One seated upon the throne.” There is a wonderful old Christian song that says “God Is Still On The Throne.” It was not an empty throne when John looked through the door into heaven. It was a throne that had someone sitting on it. God is still on the throne and He will remember His own. One sat on that particular throne. Heaven has everything under control. If I really believe that then I can shout “Hallelujah!”
Can you see where I’m coming from? There’s a lot of Christian teaching about praise and it all seems to suggest that if you just say thank you God for something or other it will come to pass. But we need to get it from the right perspective. The foundation for praise is the fact that God is still on the throne. That’s my foundation for praise. The fact that God is in control allows me to say “Hallelujah.”
I am not just mouthing the words. Those words represent an attitude by which I direct and live out my life. I live out my life on the basis of the fact that God knows what He’s doing. He is in charge. When I know God is in control then I know that God and I are a majority.
As John continues describing what he sees, we learn that around the main throne were four living creatures and twenty-four elders. “(6)And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures… (8)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!’”
The sole task of the four living creatures is to engage in perpetual praise of God. The whole atmosphere of heaven is a group of living creatures, praising God—it is very important to get that concept. This is the principle by which heaven runs. Heaven is always praising God. Heaven is saying “Hallelujah.”
As I apply the principles God has laid down in the Word, then I will bring some small, minor matter to a successful conclusion because I can see the greater plan of what God is about. I can see that He has nothing but health, wealth, and happiness for me. And if they don’t come one way, then “hallelujah” they are going to come another way, but they are going to come.
From the book “Hallelujah!” by Peter Wade.