Saturday, April 13, 2024

John’s Vision Of Heaven

The Bah Faith And The Two Messianic Figures

Rev. C. L. Franklin – John’s Vision of a New Heaven

The religion that directly follows Islam is the Baháí Faith. It is the latest of the divine world religions according to its followerswho also claim that its appearance brings to fulfilment of the promises and expectations of the previous religious dispensations.

Of all the religions of the world, the one with the most comprehensive interpretation of the prophecies of the Book of Revelation is the Baháí Faith. This can be verified in its as well as in the non-authoritative publications of its followers.

Lets now see how Baháís would interpret some of the relevant terms and symbols in Johns Revelation.

What The Vision Means

Clothed… The raiment of Jesus in the vision represents mainly the power of his righteousness. The robe down to his feet represents that he is fully clothed in righteousness.

Because of his perfection Jesus was able to be the sacrifice for our sins. The golden girdle across his breast is like the “breastplate of righteousness” inEphesians 6:14.

Head… The head and hair were white like wool or snow. This is again a symbol of the purity of God in whom “there is no darkness at all” .

In Daniel’s vision, “the Ancient of Days” appeared in the same way: “His vesture was white like snow, and the hair of his head was like pure wool” .

Eyes… The eyes like a flame of fire represent the wisdom and knowledge of Christ. “There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are open and naked to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” .

Fire represents judgment. Jesus not only sees all, but he forms a judgment of what he sees. The messages to the seven churches show that Jesus knows their deeds and circumstances and judges them.

Feet… The feet of Jesus are like shining or glowing bronze refined in a furnace. This reminds us of the saying, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” .

Voice… The voice of Jesus is like the sound of many waters, perhaps of a great waterfall or the mighty ocean waves. This voice is heard again in…

We “have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way…” .

Those Who Come From The Earth

You bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.Revelation 5:9, 10.

Just as Jesus was resurrected from earth to life in heaven, others will be too. Jesus said to his faithful apostles: I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, . . . I will come again and will receive you home to myself, so that where I am you also may be.John 14:2, 3.

Those who go to heaven go there for a purpose. Along with Jesus, they will make up a Kingdom government that will eventually rule over the inhabitants of all the earth and bring blessings to them. This is the Kingdom that Jesus told his followers to pray for in the model prayer: Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.Matthew 6:9, 10.

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The Heaven Of The Apocalypse

Heaven seems to be the setting for many scenes depicted in Johns vision. But why would the vision of John encompass events in heaven when the Parousia the theme of the Book of Revelationis all about events on earth?

An explanation for this anomaly can be gleaned from the writings of Baháulláh. It argues that the term heaven, when used in religious prophecy, does not necessarily refer to the Abode of God and the afterlife habitation of the Prophets and holy souls of the past.

Heaven, as the setting for many of the scenes of the Apocalypse, can best be understood as a representation of religion or a religious cause. The entities John sees in heaven then become the players and actors, the protagonists and antagonists, in the unfolding of a new religious cause.

The heaven of John’s Apocalypse is not a reference to the afterlife realm but a metaphor for a religious cause.

Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay

The One On The Throne

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To Baháís, the God seated on the throne in heaven is none other than the second of the Twin Founders of their faith. He is Baháulláh, described by his followers as the Manifestation of God for today and the Promised One of all religions. Although Baháulláh unambiguously asserts that he is only a Messenger from God and not the Supreme Godhead Himself, and although he makes it clear that God is only one and unknowable, he nevertheless takes on the titles of God and the Father in a few of his writings. Here are a couple of examples:

O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple: Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the Ancient of Days.

Lo! The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled!

The employment by Baháulláh of such seemingly sacrilegious language is only meant to underline his claim to speak with the voice of God and to communicate by the authority of God, and not by his own volition.

Part of the vast gardens surrounding the Shrine of Baháulláh in ‘Akká, near Haifa, Israel, where the Founder of the Baháí Faith is buried

Image by Olivenhain from Pixabay

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Significance Of The Seven Stars

John tells us in Revelation 1:20 that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches

In the New Testament, the Greek word for angels is not only used for heavenly angels, but also used for human messengers, such as John the Baptist /Matthew#11:10″ rel=”nofollow”> Matthew 11:10,,Luke 7:27). Merrill Unger is of the opinion that human messengers is the meaning of the stars. In commenting on this verse, C.I. Scofield states: “The natural explanation of the “messengers” is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle … but they figure any who bear God’s messages to a church.”

Several New Testament scholars believe that the angels are not human messengers. Isbon Beckwith says they represent the churches “ideal conception of its immanent spirit”. Henry Barclay Swete refers to the angels as the “prevailing spirit” of the church.

Austin Farrer, on the other hand, takes them to be the seven classical planets, and interprets the vision as representing Christ’s lordship over time.

Christ Appears To Johnrevelation : 12

The Revelation of Christ > The Prologue > The Vision of Christ > His appearance

The first vision which John is given is, appropriately, a vision of the risen and glorified Christ who now lives in heaven .

The vision shows us that Jesus Christ is still able to be present among his people on earth, because he is seen walking among the seven golden lampstands which represent his churches.

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The Seven Spirits Of God

God does not have seven Spirits as such. He only has a Spirit that pervades all things. So, what are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth ?

In a sense, they refer to the Spirit animating the seven earlier world religions that the Baháí Faith recognises as authentic and independent. These seven have contributed to the spiritual and material advancement of humanity over the ages and were existing in some form or other when the Baháí Faith had its inception.

The religions in question are Sabeanism , Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Baháís will consider all other religious movements of the contemporary world as either offshoots, sects, or denominations of the above, or as mere religious or moral philosophiesif not cults or other obscure religious groups.

The Baha’i Faith recognises the Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism as authentic world religions.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Connection With The Rest Of The Book

John’s Vision of a New Heaven

Some of the language used in Revelation 1 is also used in Revelation 19 to describe the Rider on the White Horse. In both places, he has a sword coming out of his mouth and has “eyes like blazing fire” . The sword proceeding from Jesusâ mouth describes the counterintuitive way God’s messiah conquers: by the word of God.

The Son of Man is portrayed as walking among seven lampstands, which represent the seven churches of Asia . In Revelation 1:11, he says, “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches”. Chapters 2 and 3 report the content of the letters written to the angels of the seven churches. Throughout the letters he is identified in terms of the vision, such as “him who has the sharp, double-edged sword” .

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Angels Minister To God

I kept watching until thrones were set in place and the Ancient of Days sat down. . . . A thousand thousands kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.Daniel 7:9, 10.

In this vision of heaven, Daniel saw not just one angel but multitudes. What an awe-inspiring vision that must have been! Angels are glorious spirit persons, intelligent and powerful. Their ranks include seraphs and cherubs. The Bible mentions angels more than 250 times.

Angels are not former humans who had lived on earth. God created angels long before mans appearance. At the founding of the earth, the angels were on hand to observe and to shout in applause.Job 38:4-7.

One way faithful angels minister to God is by being involved in the most important work being done on earth todaythe proclamation of the good news of Gods Kingdom. Their involvement in this work was revealed in a vision to the apostle John, who wrote: I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people. Though angels do not speak to people today as they did on occasion in times past, they do help guide those preaching the good news to honesthearted ones.

The Lamb Of The Apocalypse

To begin with, Baháís believe the Lamb of the Book of Revelation to be none other than the first of the Twin Founders of their faith. This is a reference to the Báb, Manifestation of God and Forerunner of Baháulláh. Barely six years into his ministry, precisely in 1850, he suffered a violent death at the hands of his enemies. He was executed by firing squad by order of the government of his native Persia at the instigation of the Shia Muslim religious leaders.

His name, the Báb, is in fact a title . It is Arabic and translates as the “door” or “gate”. The significance of such a name will become apparent later on in this article.

Shrine of the Báb on the slopes of Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel, where the mortal remains of the Báb are buried after his execution in Persia

Image by Be Good from Pixabay

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Visions Of Those In The Invisible Heavens

The Bible presents a number of fascinating visions that permit us to peer, as it were, into the invisible heavenly realm. We invite you to take a careful look at them. Although not everything described in the visions is to be taken literally, the visions can help you not only to visualize those who dwell in the spirit realm but also to understand how they can affect you.

Jehovah Is The Supreme One

saint johns vision of heaven giclee print robert forrest art com

A throne was in its position in heaven, and someone was seated on the throne. And the One seated had the appearance of a jasper stone and a sardius stone, and all around the throne was a rainbow like an emerald in appearance.Revelation 4:2, 3.

There was a brilliance all around him like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. That was how the surrounding brilliant light appeared. It was like the appearance of the glory of Jehovah.Ezekiel 1:27, 28.

These visions, given to the apostle John and the prophet Ezekiel, depict the splendor of the Most High God, Jehovah, with things we can readily envisiondazzling gemstones, a rainbow, and the majesty of a throne. They tell us that Jehovahs presence is one of awe-inspiring beauty, pleasantness, and serenity.

These depictions of God harmonize with the words of the psalmist who wrote: Jehovah is great and most worthy of praise. He is more awe-inspiring than all other gods. All the gods of the peoples are worthless gods, but Jehovah is the one who made the heavens. In his presence are majesty and splendor strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.Psalm 96:4-6.

Though Jehovah is the Supreme One, he invites us to approach him in prayer and assures us that he listens to us. God loves and cares for us so much that the apostle John could truthfully write: God is love.1 John 4:8.

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The Throne Of God: Understand Johns Throne Room Experience: Revelation 4

We are going to be examining today a powerful passage of scripture that gives deep insight into the throne of God. We have been in Revelation 4 and have just studied about how John as a member of the church of Jesus Christ was caught away up into the very throne room of God. In this chapter, John describes what he saw and experienced there. Revelation 4:1 says, Immediately I was in the Spirit and behold, a throne set in heaven It is interesting that the first thing John comments on is the throne. It is from thrones and those who sit on them that power and authority flow.

I want to see that throne. I believe that one day when the rapture occurs, we also will be able to experience this incredible place. The only way we would ever be allowed access to such a place is because we are covered in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. John was caught up to a place that was a real place. There were objects, there was atmosphere. There were other types of beings there. And so that leads to the following question: Where is the throne room of heaven?

In order to answer that question, we must understand that the bible speaks of three heavens:

There is the following:

  • 1st heaven: the atmosphere around the earth
  • 2nd heaven: the universe or outer space

This would encompass all of the planets and stars, and the sun and the moon. This would be considered as the 2nd heaven.

  • 3rd heaven: the realm in which God has his throne.

The Two Protagonists Of The Apocalypse

In my previous articles on John’s Book of Revelation, we encounter two Messianic figures ingeniously camouflaged under the symbolism of a Being on a throne in heaven and a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The One on the throne is highly exalted and, while appearing in the station of God Almighty, turns out, in fact, to be the promised Christ of the end times. The other looks more like the Jesus known to Christians, but he is in a subordinate role in respect of the former.

This leaves us with a dilemma. Are two Messiahs expected at the end times? If so, why did Jesus not say so clearly while making his predictions of the end times? But if not, why is Johns Revelation pointing to that prospect?

The answers to these intriguing questions are the subject of this article. And where else can one go for answers to the above questions if not to the Abrahamic faithsto review their relevant prophecies, traditions, expectations, and claims?

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Bible Accent: The Book Of Revelation

The Book of Revelation is not easy to understand because it is not a narrative like the Gospels, and it is not a letter of explanation like some of those written by St. Paul. It is filled with images and visions, such as we might see in a dream. Some biblical scholars believe this book was deliberately written to be a hidden message to the Christians who were being persecuted so they would not give up. John himself was imprisoned on the island of Patmos when he wrote it. Because of the way the book was written, it has been interpreted in many ways. There have been arguments over the meaning of particular passages. What most scholars agree on is that in the end Jesus triumphs over evil, rescues his people and creates a new heaven and a new earth. The last chapter ends when Jesus announces, Yes, I am coming soon.

John Wrote About Heaven Parents Connect Page

Vision of Heaven and Hell by John Bunyan days inside the Holy City

Every lesson from Gods Unfolding Story for Older Preschoolers includes a Parents Connect page to help parents or guardians reinforce the lesson at home during the week following the lesson. This is the John Wrote About Heaven Parents Connect Page . Click on the Get Activity button below to view and/or download the lesson PDF.

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Johns View Into Heaven

Have you ever pictured heaven in your mind, wondering what it might look like? We get a glimpse of heaven from John in Revelation 4:

The Throne in Heaven1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.

This just begins the symbolism in Revelation 4. The picture shows what a marvelous and mysterious place heaven seems to be. To fully understand what John is describing we need to understand two things:

1. Heaven is far outside of our realm of human experience. Just as we cant understand the mind of God, neither can we really describe something that is so far outside our senses, language and experience. So John uses the term like often in his descriptions. Hes trying to give us a picture using words and images we can understand.

2. Once again Johns symbolism can be more fully understood within the context of the whole Bible. Some of the words and symbols used are references to other scripture. Well dig into these as we progress the rest of the way through Revelation.

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.

Shalom, Art Alive in the Word

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