Through the lens of understanding in Biblical times, informed somewhat by Roman and Greek thought, the idea settled that “heaven” was actually three “layers.” The first layer was the atmosphere around us; the blue sky we can see with our eyes. The second layer was beyond that, which was the home of the stars, constellations and sun and moon.
The third layer however, was unseeable, unknowable and uninhabitable, at least by human beings. It was the place of God’s abode… the home of heaven. We would also add, due to the explorations of modern space technology that the “second” heaven (planets and stars and sun and galaxies) was immeasurable, at least by our instruments.
So when Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 12, that he had been caught up, either literally or in a vision, he didn’t know which, into the “third heaven,” he was not saying he took a voyage into outer space. He was transported to the throne room of Heaven itself and there was told things he was never to talk about… never to reveal.
But when John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos, was caught up into Heaven in the spirit, he came back with a report that was to be written down and shared with everyone. We call that report The Book of Revelation.
In this “book of revealing,” John saw Heaven’s throne before him with his own eyes. Revelation 4 and 5 describe in great detail the attendants and worshipers around the throne as well as the One in the center of it all… the Lamb who was slain.
From the Bible’s last book, we learn some things about heaven that are important to remember.
First, we learn that “the Lamb is (already and always) on His throne.” We and Heaven itself worship the One who was and is and is to come. He is eternally enthroned and the worship has been ongoing.
Second, since He is on His throne nothing escapes His notice and care… even the tears He will PERSONALLY wipe from our eyes.
Third, as our Lamb and reconciler, our presence in Heaven is insured because His sacrifice has been received and is pleasing to the Father. His place securely on the throne GUARANTEES His followers access to the eternal throne room.
Fourth, there is only ONE on the throne… not three. Sometimes our ideas of God and Trinity get a little confused. There will not be an old man, “The Father” sitting on the throne next to His good looking Son with some strange “holy smoke” (as one child put it) circling around (the Holy Spirit). That is a wrong picture. There is one on the throne… the Lamb who was slain.
He is the centerpiece of Heaven… the honored focus… the Sovereign occupant of who holds salvation in His hand.
He alone is worthy. And it will take eternity to tell Him that!
FOR MEMORIZATION: “And they were crying in a loud voice, `Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and glory and honor and praise.” Revelation 5:12
FOR REFLECTION: How have you told the Lamb today that He is the most worthy of all?