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From the editor: "And, behold, a throne" (Rev 4.2)

J Grant

The careful observer of events cannot fail to conclude that governments are struggling to control world-wide forces more powerful than they have ever faced in the past. The parlous state of the global financial markets, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the threat of terrorism, the instability of political systems, and the increasing dissatisfaction of the masses with those who rule has created seemingly insurmountable problems. This, combined with the decrease in moral standards and the lack of respect for authority of any kind, has brought about what government spokesmen claim to be "uncharted waters". The believer notes other movements. The growing disrespect for the Word of God and the rising opposition to the gospel add to the confusion. Many Christians are raising their voices to heaven and, using the words of Habakkuk, cry, "How long?" (1.2).

But believers need not be ignorant of what lies ahead for this world that is in rebellion against heaven. When the Adversary suggests to us that the Scriptures are no longer relevant today, that they have been proven to be faulty, the answer is to turn to the Word of God itself and see what He has revealed. In the book of Revelation John sees a door open in heaven and he is invited to "Come up hither" (4.1). What does he first view there? Is there anxiety about what is taking place on earth? Are there emergency meetings to determine what course of action should be taken to control an unruly world? Are new programmes being introduced to cope with unforeseen difficulties? No!

What John first views is not even the glory of heaven, but "a throne…set in heaven" (4.2). Far above the changing tides of history and the storms of human evil there stands a throne, solid, resolute, undisturbed, unchanging, and all powerful. This is the throne of God, and the words of the chorus still run true, "God is still on the throne". No rebel will challenge with success the One who sits on that throne, nor will pretenders achieve their goals by raising their standards against Him. The Adversary has attempted, and, as Revelation reveals, will yet attempt to cast Him down, but still He will sit, unconquerable, immovable, with undiminished strength and uninterrupted serenity.

He holds in His right hand a book, "written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" (5.1) - the title deeds of earth. The opening of these seals will bring upon earth the wrath of God, righteous judgment due to man’s rebellion against Him, the prelude to His world-wide triumph. The question is, "Who is worthy to open the book and loose the seals?". Only one can do this, "The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David". He who is seen as "a Lamb as it had been slain" alone has the right and He takes the book from Him who sits on the throne. He who had been slain but is alive claims His inheritance.

For long Satan has sought to steal this from its rightful owner. Around us we see the result of his efforts to wrest this world and all creation from God, against whom he has risen in rebellion. Sin, bloodshed, disease, death, fear and terror, anguish and pain are the results of his foul career. But now the time has come for the Lamb to assert His rights and claim back what is His. As He takes the book heaven is filled with the notes of the "new song", "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain". Satan and his cohorts will be unable to stand before the power of the Lamb. Their doom awaits them; they cannot escape; heaven is filled with praise!

All this will take place after the Church has been raptured. Let us not, therefore, lose heart. The attempts of the devil to discourage saints, his efforts to keep men and women away from interest in the gospel, his ploys to cool the ardour of those who serve the Lord must not cause us to abandon His work. The throne "set in heaven" reminds us of the One of regal dignity, with the right to executive authority, in whom alone there is absolute security. With such a God, let us look up. He is still in control, working everything out according to the counsel of His will. He who sits on the throne set in heaven will never be usurped.


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