We are going to continue to think about this wonderful key that God has given us, to drive the devil out and to create a throne for God in our hearts and in our homes. That is the key of praising God.
In the book of Revelation, which is the last book of the Bible, we have more glimpses of heaven given to us than in any other book in the whole Bible. Now it is very sad that many believers don’t read the book of Revelation. The devil doesn’t like you to read it because it is the book, in which you read about the devil’s final destiny of being cast into the lake of fire. The devil certainly does not want you to read about his defeat and his being cast out. But I would encourage you, if you have never done it so far, to really seriously read and meditate on the book of Revelation.
In that book we have many sevens. It speaks about seven lamps, seven thunders, seven trumpets and many sevens like that. One of those seven’s which is not mentioned as seven, but which is hidden throughout the whole book are the seven glimpses of heaven. If you have the patience to meditate on these seven glimpses of heaven, you will see that, in every one of these places, they are praising God. I just want to show you those passages very briefly.
First of all, in Revelation 4:8-11, the last four verses of Revelation 4, you find that they are praising God and singing, ‘Thou are Worthy’ and they cast their crowns before Him. Secondly, again in Chapter 5:8-14, you find the elders and the living creatures and the angels – millions and millions of angels singing with a loud voice. Notice that they don’t say it softly. Verse 12 says, ‘‘With a loud voice they praise God and praise the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.’’ Thirdly, we see another example in chapter 7: 9-12. This is the great multitude of people who have been born again, cleansed in the blood of Jesus Christ, who are standing and then again, it says in verse 10, they cry out with a loud voice to Him who sits on the throne, saying, our salvation is due to God and all the angels also join in that, and they fall down before the throne and worship God, saying, Amen, Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power be to God. And then the fourth sight of heaven, we find in chapter 11:15-18. There we find loud voices in heaven again saying, the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and we give thanks Oh Lord because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. Then we see a fifth picture in chapter 14: 1-4 where we see 144,000 standing with the Lamb on mount Zion and also singing this new song. The sixth glimpse of heaven is chapter 15:1-4 where we see a sea of glass, and those who overcome standing there and with the harps of God. They were singing the Song of Moses and of the Lamb, saying, great and marvellous are Your works, Oh Lord. Then the last glimpse of heaven is in chapter 19:1-6 where there is a loud voice again of a great multitude singing, Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory and Power belong to our God, and Babylon has been judged. And the second time, they said, Hallelujah, give praise to our God. In verse 6 we read, ‘This voice of the great multitude was like the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty peels of thunder.’
Have you got a little picture of heaven now? What does this heaven and the praise sound like – like thunder? There is not a single angel there, sitting depressed and gloomy or complaining about something, or scared, wondering, what is going to happen to the world next. No, nobody is scared; they are praising God with all of their heart, because they know that God is on the throne. They praise God for His sovereignty, His holiness, His judgment. There is not a single long-faced, gloomy angel anywhere in heaven. You will only find them in hell, not heaven. And the more you are long-faced and gloomy, the more you bring the spirit of hell into your lives. And the more you are cheerful and happy, acknowledging that God is on the throne, in your heart, in your home, in your Church, and in heaven, the more you bring the spirit of Heaven into your life.
So we see here again and again, in these glimpses of heaven, that people shout Hallelujah and Amen. It is meaningful praise, because they say Hallelujah, because God has done this, or because God is sovereign. They worship the God in the beauty of holiness. Now the Holy Spirit has come from heaven into our hearts, to produce within our hearts, the atmosphere of heaven. He has come into our homes to produce the atmosphere of heaven in our homes. He comes to our Churches to produce the atmosphere of Heaven in our Churches. What should it be? It should be an atmosphere of praise.
Now you may say, well, when I get to heaven, I will start praising the Lord. Well, why has the Holy Spirit come then? He has come to prepare us for heaven. He has come to teach us the language of heaven before we reach there. Now, for example, if you have decided that you are going to migrate to, say, France and live in France for the rest of your life, what would you do before you go to France? One thing you would certainly do is learn French, the language of France. You won’t wait till you go there. You will like to learn it before you go there. And you know what the language of heaven is? It is the language of praise. It is good for us to learn it now, before we go to heaven.
It is a language in which there is no grumbling, no complaining, no murmuring concerning anything. It is a language of continuous praise. Let’s learn that language now, before we go. We are told in Revelation 14, one of the passages that we looked at, that there were 144,000 people who sang a new song before the throne. ‘‘And no one else could learn that song except these people, and they learnt it while they were on Earth’’ (Rev. 14:3). Now what is this new song that these 144,000 people were singing? We already saw in Revelation 4 and 5 that the new song is the song of praise and it is a song to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the old song then, if this is the new song?
Well, the old song is the song that everybody sings on earth. The song of grumbling, complaining against people and circumstances; 1st verse, 2nd verse, 3rd verse; all verses of the old song is the same; somebody or the other has done something and something or the other has gone wrong. Every day they are singing that same song, verse after verse after verse. This has only got one thing; everything is going the bad way and this person is bad and the other person is bad and this person is evil and somebody else has treated me badly and somebody else has cheated me and the circumstances are so bad and it is a time of financial difficulty; it is the same old thing in every single verse.
It is the old song, but in the midst of such a world, where everybody is singing that old song, do you know that God wants from you, if you have given your life for Christ? God wants you to learn this new song and that is the song of praising Him. Don’t wait till you get to heaven. Learn the language now where you say, ‘Lord, I know You are on the throne,’ and if you are willing, as we saw in one of earlier study, to die with Jesus.
We complain because we don’t have our own ways. Everything doesn’t work out according to our plans, but they are working out according to God’ plan. God is on the throne and you are not, that is good. If we were on the throne, we would mess up everything in our lives. Since God is on the throne, He makes everything for good. So when people praise God, in Heaven, they are praising God because they believe in His sovereignty. And if we believe in the sovereignty of God, that, God Almighty is ruling this universe, we would also give thanks in everything.
I am going to show you three passages in scriptures, from the New Testament, about what we are to give thanks for. Now this is not found in the Old Testament because they did not have the Holy Spirit. You see in the Old Testament, they came together may be on Saturdays in the Temple to praise God, and then they go back home for six days of grumbling and complaining and then come back again on next Saturday morning to praise God in the Temple. Now, that is how many Christians live today. They come on Sunday morning to the church meeting and to praise and thank God, and go back home to six days of grumbling and complaining and then come back again the next Sunday morning to praise God. That is an Old Testament life. Well, it is better than nothing, but it is hypocritical. It is saying something which is not true in the rest of our life.
But, in the New Testament, we are told to give thanks always, not just sometimes. First of all, let me show you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, where it says, ‘‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.’’ So tell me, after reading that verse, how many things should you thank God for? – Everything. How can you give thanks for everything when some of those things don’t appear to be very good for you? Because you believe in Romans 8:28 that, even though that is evil, God makes it work for your good. Romans 8:28 is like a filter. Now, some of you may have seen ‘Aqua Guard Filter’ which filters the water that comes through the pipeline and, at the end of that system, you get a clean glass of water. That is a water filter with ultra violet rays and candle that removes germs and bacteria. You can put any amount of dirty water through that and what you get through at the end, is clean water. Romans 8:28 is like that clean water – everything works for good. That is why we give thanks in everything.
The second verse in Ephesians 5 where it says, verse is Ephesians 5:20 where it says, ‘‘Give thanks for everything, always, for all things’’ (Eph. 5:20). That means all the time and for every single thing, we should give thanks. And the last verse is in 1Timothy 2:1 where it says that we are to give thanks for all men. Can you understand it now? – In every situation, for everything, at all times, and for all men.
Now when you learn to do that, you learn the new song and you can learn it only on earth. Why? Because in heaven you don’t have difficult situations, you don’t have difficult people, you don’t face problems, you don’t face trials. So, it is only here on earth that we can learn this wonderful new song – to learn to praise God in every type of situation, with every type of person. Say, ‘Lord you are on the throne. Things may be difficult for me, maybe hard even, but you are on the throne.’ Let me encourage you, dear friend, to learn this song of praise, now.
This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen. You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.