The Throne Room of Heaven

by Mike Ratliff

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
(Revelation 4:11 ESV)

The natural mindset is that we thank God and praise him when he has greatly blessed us or delivered us or comforted us in some way, but a study of the Psalms or Romans 8, for example, shows us that Christians worship their God from grateful hearts even in the midst of fiery trials. While the world sees that as a paradox, we who are in Christ know from what we have been saved. Sadly, in our time, there are so many who call themselves Christians who are ignorant of the propitiatory sacrifice deliberately made by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in order that all who would believe and obey the gospel would be justified by grace alone through faith alone as God’s gift alone. God has imputed the righteousness of his Son to all those he has justified just as he imputed their unrighteousness to his account as he hung on that cross paying the penalty for their sins. This knowledge and the power given to believers as they abide in their Lord enables them to have this paradoxical world-view that the “world” cannot understand nor will it ever understand this side of Judgment Day. 

Occasionally God has to remind me of fragility of this life. We often think this life is “it” and, especially when younger, believe we will live forever. This was shot down for me in late 1970’s when I developed a seizure disorder and this caused my medical discharge from the U.S. Navy. A few years after that I decided to overcome it by becoming the healthiest, most fit person I could be. I became a long distance runner. I also played tennis and racquetball. I was pretty close to being in the physical shape I was in prior to going into Boot Camp in 1973. However, injuries would come at the most inopportune times. I would be almost ready to run in a big race and then I would get a knee injury or foot injury. Something always kept me from reaching that level of “physical perfection” I sought for. I finally gave it up so I could get my Degree after I married. The Degree enabled me to get a better job and so support my family, but the physical fitness went away.

I had comebacks over the years, but something always happened to remind me of the fragility of these bodies. When I was about 46 or so I was drafted by our company to run in the Corporate Challenge in two races, the 1 Mile and the 5K in OKC. I had about a year to prepare and I did so. I did pretty well for my age group, but as soon as those races were over, I started having knee and foot problems again.

In 2009 my seizure disorder returned, which had been dormant since 1976. It has radically changed my life and here I am almost at 61 with other aches and pains and wonder what’s next.

I have a nephew named Travis, my sister’s son, who is about 33 or 34. He had a brain tumor about 4 years ago. They discovered this after he began to have seizures. The surgeons removed the tumor and put him on radiation and he got a clean bill of health in June of this year. However, just a few weeks ago he began to have headaches and seizure-like symptoms again. On his Facebook page today he told us that his surgeon has determined that he has a new tumor in one of his frontal lobes and it is very aggressive. It’s in an area that they can get to easily, but they will probably have to remove that part of the brain where the tumor is to get it out. The reason he is having the seizure issues is that the tumor is wrapped around a major blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain so they have to get it out. This is heartbreaking. He is married with two little kids. He was recovering so well and now here we go again. Why Lord, why?

As one who is firmly convinced in the sovereignty of God and that his ways are always right and good, I have to look at these things in our lives through that lens. Therefore, I am going to close this post by asking all who read it to pray for my nephew Travis and his family, but also that God will be glorified in and through all of this because he is indeed worthy.

         After this 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.” 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, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four 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 before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

         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!”

         And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

         “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
                  to receive glory and honor and power,
         for you created all things,
                  and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4 ESV) 

The chorus of four living creatures swells as the twenty-four elders fall down and cast their crowns before the throne, offering worship and expressing submission to God’s authority. The elders extol God as worthy of threefold tribute (glory, honor, power) because he exerts his sovereign will in creating and sustaining all things. God receives “power,” not in the sense that an omnipotent being can become stronger, but in the sense that the strength of his creatures is used to honor him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

15 thoughts on “The Throne Room of Heaven

  1. Certainly our prayers to our Savior Jesus; who sits on the throne of grace, will go forth for Travis. Our full confidence is in His sovereignty, as our loving Shepherd holds His precious sheep in His mighty hands. May Jesus bring strength and peace to all of you who love Travis dearly.. asking all in Jesus’ name, amen.

  2. Mike,
    This is from A.W. Pink concerning the love of God…
    ‘Here then is abundant cause for trust and patience under Divine affliction. Christ was beloved of the Father, yet He was not exempted from poverty, disgrace, and persecution. He hungered and thirsted. Thus, it was not incompatible with God’s love for Christ when He permitted men to spit upon and smite Him. Then let no Christian call into question God’s love when he is brought under painful afflictions and trials. God did not enrich Christ on earth with temporal prosperity, for “He had not where to lay His head.” But He did give Him the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). Learn then that spiritual blessings are the principal gifts of Divine love.’

    Will go before His throne concerning your nephew…

    Lyn

  3. Praying for Travis and his family, Mike …for you and yours..That the Lord may keep you all in His rest, and peace in the midst of these trials..

  4. Thank you for the thought pondering post.

    I AM so very amazed (NOT) when things are going well for me and I thank the Lord but when things are NOT going well and in the midst of it all I lift up my hands with tears in my eyes and thank HIM because he gives us MORE grace. I moved from being thankful for things and circumstances and is blessings and all but now I’m thanking the Lord for who HE is and finding my greatest JOY truly is “Christ in me the hope of glory”..It’s the greatest freedom knowing that our joy, our peace, our hope are not determined by this fickle world.

    NOTHING can take our hope away. Though our bodies fall apart our strength is in our GOD. Our strong tower and refuge..His ways are way above ours

    My next door neighbor has a tumor in his brain also. He and his wife are a sweet Christian couple. I’ve prayed for them. He has lived a year longer than was expected-praise the Lord. But right now he’s having seizures and I don’t think he will be here much longer.. I’ve prayed that the Lord would grant them another year. I just can’t bear the thought of his wife being alone. They are probably in their 70′s.

    very precious post Mike and thank you for sharing your struggles in hopes that someone might be encouraged for God’s glory

  5. We do need to be reminded that this age – and the earth in its present, sin-sick form – is not our home. We love our flesh too dearly, knowing it must die before it can be raised up on the last day. Life here is dear, as a gift from God and something to be cherished. But everlasting life with Christ is what we were re-born for and must keep our focus on.

    May the Lord hold your nephew and be his strength and provision in these trying times.

  6. Amen, the world will never understand how God takes the weak and awful base things in our lives and makes us strong. They will never understand that we set all our affections on Christ. We are but tenuous blades of grass and when God shows us our frailty through failures, illnesses and inefficiencies, we finally come to that point of letting go and accepting what he wants to give us. In and through it all we gain CHRIST. We come to know HIM. It’s hard to let go of things we’ve thought brought us meaning and have lost our identity in. I’ve seen men lose their whole identity in their jobs or their skills in a sport etc. Then something happens and it’s all gone and they don’t wanna live. Most of these people don’t know Jesus.
    People who don’t know Christ and yet profess to know him when adversities come and all the props are knocked out they don’t have Jesus and so they fall away. This is the true acid test. All those health and wealth people are building their whole lives on quick sand…. I hate what they do but at the same time there is this compassion

    Take up the Cross of Jesus. The walk has been hard and almost unbearable at times. But Jesus is with me through it all. When I cannot grab a hold of life to make sense of it all, I am reminded of who my heavenly Father really is-Psalm 90 He really is in complete control. His peace and HIS joy are deep within me when I fix my eyes on Jesus. I have Him as my Confidence that can never be taken away because Jesus is the Anchor of my soul. Though I am constantly changing, He is my Solid Rock. I have to dwell on the Almighty to have assurance of His Security

  7. sorry mike but I had to add this apt verse. I’m very passionate about this subject since I’ve gone through much pain throughout my life

    “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”–Psalm 73:21-26

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