Darkest Before Dawn

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I have written a long article ready for publication titled ‘The Dark Night of our Nation’s Soul’ which was drawn from Isaiah 59. However, the Holy Spirit has arrested me and directed me to rethink when and if I should publish it. My aim was to focus on the light of Revival as the only viable solution to our nation’s woes. This conviction has not changed, but there is another way I can express it other than bemoaning the darkness. For instance, the next chapter in Isaiah is, of course, chapter 60 and this starts with the gloriously well-known passage:

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,

and his glory will be seen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1-2 ESV


What is very noticeable about this statement by Isaiah is that the first verse is in the present tense while the rest of the passage is in the future tense. Your light has come… glory has risen upon you… darkness shall cover… glory will be seen.

Chapter 59 presents Israel as living in deep moral and material darkness yet in his next breath the prophet tells them that God’s light has already risen upon them. They are like a man standing in the deepest darkness who is unaware that behind him a light is already shining. He cannot see the light because it is behind him and the shadows before him are very dark. This was Israel’s condition, and it is our current condition.

Before us and around us we see and sense darkness, but perhaps we need to turn around in order to see the light.

The Light Behind Us

In our church service this Sunday, we sang a song with the chorus lines. ‘And all my life you have been faithful. And all my life you have been so, so good…’ As I sang these words, I was praying silently, “It is true Lord. You have been so good and faithful to me. Thank you Jesus”.  Of course, there have been hard parts in my personal history with all the pain, confusion, and sadness that is a part of life. However, when I think back, I can see that God’s goodness, grace and mercy has always shone brightly. (I wrote my personal testimony HERE if you would like to read it) The problem is that sometimes, like these present days, our eyes get blinded by the darkness and cannot see the light behind us. This of course is an illusion, because darkness is just the perceived absence of light and cannot blind us. However, we can’t see too well in the darkness unless we turn around and catch the glimmers of light reflecting off our past realities and our current circumstances.

The Light Around Us

The light of the Lord is a spiritual and not a physical light. It shines from a dimension beyond the perception of the six normal senses. This spiritual light enters our worlds through many windows such as the scriptures, the inner spirit, and fellow disciples of Jesus.

If we stop searching for the light in the scriptures, then we are turning our backs on the light. If we cease seeking for the light within our spirits, then darkness dominates our spiritual vision. In addition, when we sever contact with other spirit-filled believers, then we isolate ourselves from the light that shines through the windows of their souls.

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a brutal thing in so many ways and has isolated each of us in into our own small corners. Do you remember that children’s song from Sunday-school days about our small corners? ‘Jesus bids us shine, with a clear, pure light. Like a little candle burning in the night. In this world of darkness, so we must shine, you in your small corner, and I in mine’. Well, to benefit by the light that we each bear, we need to connect, and this is one of the reasons that the gatherings of the church are so important. If I had not been at the church service on Sunday I would not have sung of God’s faithful goodness towards me, I would not have heard others testifying to this, and I would most likely not have seen the light around me.

‘For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 4:6) 
The Light Before Us

There are two ways in which the light is before us, past and a future tense. Isaiah probably had no idea that he was not only encouraging Israel, but also prophesying the coming of the Messiah. Speaking of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John wrote that ‘in him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.‘ (John 1:4-5) Jesus is the light of the world, both 2000 years ago when he walked on Earth, and now. Every person who is born again of the Spirit is a light bearer and a member of what Paul described as the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:12); we are fellow sons and daughters of the Light (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

In another sense, the light is still before us on the timeline of the ages. In Revelation 21:23 John uses the analogy of a city to describe Heaven, and writes that it ‘does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp’. However, the same book of Revelation hints strongly at a foretaste of the light of heaven in a last and greatest spiritual revival.

However, we only have to read the bible and consider church history to see that God sends the light of revival in the darkest times. Our present time is very dark – (and not just from load-shedding) both in South Africa and the world at large, and so should we not expect God to send revival?

Jesus Revival

In the yet to be published article I referred to earlier, I gave revival as the only truly foreseeable positive scenario for the future of South Africa. However, we cannot generate true revival no matter how much we declare it, structure for it, or pretend that it is already here. Revival is a sovereign act of God, preceded only by prayer. A few years ago I wrote a series on Revival and you can read it by following the links listed HERE or you can purchase the book in its entirety it from Amazon HERE. I urge you to do this because our need for revival is critical and urgent and we need to be asking God to send it ASAP!

Light Upon Light Upon Light

So, within our current darkness, we have past, present, and future light. We have the light of Jesus who was and is the very light of the world; we have the light of our remembrance of the light of the Lord in our own lives; we have the light of fellow light-bearers all around us, and we have the great light of future revival and ultimate heaven. This is why Paul can write:

‘For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.

This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,

Rise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you.”‘

Ephesians 5:8-14

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TruthTalks: The Tri-unity of God

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

Last week, in THIS post, Dr Christopher Peppler wrote about the Tri-unity of God. He uses the example of a light wave as one way to explain this principle. Listen to the TruthTalks podcast to gain insights into the Trinity, and please remember to like, subscribe and pass this on to those who would benefit from hearing it.

Stay safe. All the best, Admin

P.S. If Dr. Peppler sounds a little hoarse or gravelly, don’t worry, he is well, just ultra-diligent in recording this TruthTalks podcast at 4 am or so… I don’t think he understands the concept of retirement *grin*.

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Before the Lamp of God Goes Out

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The title ‘Before the Lamp of God Goes Out’ sounds a little strange but its meaning will become clear. This article is a message not only for disciples of the Lord Jesus but also to any non-believer who might read it. It is an important and urgent message, but before you get to the kernel of it, you will need to peel the husk a little.

This article is a bit longer than my normal posts, so for those who prefer to listen rather than read, just a reminder that there will be a TruthTalks post in podcast & audio format on this subject next week.

The other day someone phoned me to ask about 1 Samuel 3:3, which uses the words ‘the lamp of God had not yet gone out.’ I explained what that phrase probably means, but before I elaborate let me first put it into the context of the fuller passage:

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”’ (1 Samuel 3:1-5)

The Tabernacle at Shiloh

Samuel’s mother Hannah had accompanied her husband to Shiloh every year to offer sacrifices to God at the Tabernacle. She was barren and prayed earnestly that Yahweh would grant her a child. One year she prayed in great anguish and told The Lord that if he granted her a son then she would dedicate his life to serve in the Tabernacle. Hannah soon fell pregnant and when her son was born, she named him Samuel, which sounds like the Hebrew for ‘heard of God’. Once she had weaned the baby, she took him up to Shiloh and presented him to the priest and when he had grown into a healthy boy, he served as Eli’s assistant.

The Lamp of God

Some commentators teach that the priests kept the lamp of God in the Tabernacle burning 24/7. However, this would make a nonsense of the words ‘the lamp of God had not yet gone out.’  In the original divine instructions concerning this (Exodus 27:20-21), it is clear enough that the lamps were to be kept alight from evening until the next morning through the hours of darkness. There must have been sufficient light entering that part of the Tabernacle during the day for the priests to conduct their duties, so there is a deeper meaning here. The Tabernacle contained several significant furnishings, one of which was a seven-armed golden lampstand called the Menorah. The meaning of this Hebrew word is ‘bearer of light’ and it translators sometimes referred to it as the Lamp of God. Over the centuries, both Jews and Christians have debated its symbolic meaning. To the Jew, it stands for the Light of God’s truth and glory through them as a covenant people. They refer back to the prophet’s words in Isaiah 60:1-3 and 42:6 where Almighty God proclaimed that Israel would be a light to the Gentile nations. Some, more mystical Jewish scholars also believe that the Menorah is a representation of the primordial Tree of Life. Christian theologians accept the Jewish interpretations to a point but go on to show that the light of truth and glory came into the world through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus certainly believed this for he declared boldly, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). I want to comment on this and other things Jesus said about himself, but first I need to elaborate a little more on the 1 Samuel 3:1-5 text.

The Word of the Lord

Moses had died about 300 years before Samuel heard the voice of God and the first of the great prophets, Elijah only came on the scene 190 years or so after that. Between Moses and Elijah, a period of approximately 450 years, the word of the Lord was indeed rare. Then from the time of Elijah onwards, many prophets brought the words of God to the people of Israel, but there was divine silence once again between the last of them and the birth of Jesus of Nazareth 400 years later. In its opening verses, the book of Hebrews describes how that silence was broken: ‘In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:1-3).

The Living Word

In a general sense, the bible constitutes the Word of God, but more specifically, that ascription belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1-5, 10-14 express this glorious truth this way:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’.

This Lamp of God, this Light of the World, this Jesus of Nazareth had much to say both about his mission and people’s responses to him and I want to highlight a few of his pronouncements.

The Light of the World

John 8:12 records Jesus as saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” He did not say that he had just come to bring light or to teach about the light; he said that he was the light. He went on to claim that those who followed him as his disciples would ‘have’ the light of life and would never walk in darkness. Mark 5:14 confirms this where it records Jesus as saying, “you are the light of the world.”

This is of the greatest importance. The Lord Jesus presented himself as the light and as the only saviour. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He then went on to claim categorically, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is the only source of eternal light and life and the only means to it. No other person, nor any philosophy, religion or teaching can substitute for him.


Just as the priests of old tended to the lamp of God in the tabernacle, so we are to keep it alight in the world.  However, to be light-bearers in this dark world, we need to be one with the source of light, Jesus Christ. And for this to happen we need first to be ‘born again’ of his Spirit. This is why he told Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (and he) cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).

Something else that Jesus said to his disciples was, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:35-36). This applied to his very first followers, but it also applies to us today. Jesus has continued to be present in the world in and through his church. Spiritually unregenerate men and women have access to him. Additionally, whether they acknowledge it or not, it is his light that illuminates their world. But what if the time was soon coming when his church, his Spirit, his presence was no longer in the world? What if, in this sense, the Lamp of God went out?

Spiritual Darkness

This eventuality is a biblical certainty and the rapture of believers in the end-time is something most professing Christians believe. Jesus referred to it in Matthew 24:31 and Paul wrote about it in 1 Thessalonians 4:5-18 and other places. So it is not a matter of if but of when. When the Lamp of God goes out in the world there will be nothing to dispel the darkness and no way for those remaining in the world to find the light!

Jesus also said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5). So here is the kernel of what I have to say:

The world is a very dark place and is growing exponentially darker. I know that our parents and grandparents observed the darkness of their time and believed that the end of all things must be near, yet the world went on as it was. However, this current COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest in an accelerating series of events that seem to be leading inexorably to a dark conclusion… and we haven’t even seen the worst yet. I am not just talking of health, economics, politics, and war; I speak also of moral, ethical, and spiritual catastrophe. The ‘night is coming’ yet we, who know Jesus, still have the ‘light of life’!

Light Dispels Darkness

In broad terms, the typical secular person tries to drive back the darkness with social, political, and economic reform. The socialist perceives darkness as a product of nationalistic oppression and seeks to eradicate it. The academic sees the darkness as a product of ignorance and tries to remedy this with education. The religious person tries to displace it with rite, ritual, and dogma, an equally stygian form of darkness. Not one of these recognises the darkness for what it is and not one has the counter to it. Spiritual darkness is the absence of spiritual light and Jesus Christ is the only one who can dispel it by his presence.

So, what can we do at this time when the clock of destiny lies at 10 seconds to midnight? The answer must surely be that those who are children of the light need to proclaim the light in every way possible. Those who know Jesus need to introduce others to him as a matter of urgent priority. Will this prevent the end of which Jesus and the biblical prophets and teaches spoke? No. It may push the peak of the curve a little along the timeline, much like a Coronavirus lockdown.

Nevertheless, unlike the dire pandemics that are set to sweep the globe, there is a better world coming for those who believe.
For those who die in the Lord there awaits an eternity in his presence. And for those who are still alive when the end comes there awaits his glorious appearance and catching up into heaven with him. But for those who still embrace the darkness, there is only an even deeper eternal night ahead.

Not All are Evangelists

I am not saying that we should all evangelise and do nothing else. Part of being light-bearers is to shed light in word and deed. Ephesians 5:8-9 does not end with the words, ‘for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord’, but continues, ‘live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)’.  Providing for the hungry, homeless, distressed and lonely are all ways of shining the light. However, these good deeds are as palliative as pain medications for a terminally ill patient. The only ‘cure’ for spiritual darkness is radical soul-surgery – death to the old and rebirth of the spirit. And this comes only through a regenerative encounter with Jesus Christ.

I am also not suggesting that we should all abandon our abilities and influence to become evangelists. God calls only some to be Evangelists, but we are all called to be witnesses and we all have abilities and influence. We influence our family, business, our social media network, and so on. We also have abilities that can be both the means and arena for witnessing.

Now, in this age of darkness, is our time to shine out Jesus in the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.

The Need for Revival

I, and many others, have been praying for and writing about Revival for several years and we should continue to ask God to send a Holy Spirit, Jesus-centred revival upon our nations. When God sends revival upon his church then Christians come alive, start to witness with passion, and through them, many people come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Some call this inspired outreach ‘preaching the Gospel’, and others call it ‘evangelising’, but I call it witnessing to the reality of who Jesus is and how to be born again of his Spirit.

And the way to witness is not to preach at people, or bash them with biblical texts, or swamp them with religiosity or pseudo-spirituality. The way to witness is to give testimony through lifestyle, words, and acts of compassion to a personal, real, and eternal relationship with Jesus.
Moreover, if this witness is to affect the eternal destinies of others, then it must be both inbreathed by the Holy Spirit and accompanied by a bible-based articulation of how to experience a spiritual rebirth. That’s it and that is all of it. Over the years, people have sometimes asked me why our church is so Jesus-centred or why he is at the core of almost every sermon I preach and book or article I write. It is because an enduring relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters most. That’s it and that is all of it.

The Kernel in the Husk

However, there is just so much more I want to write but I have probably already taxed the patience of most people with a long article like this. But (and there is always a “but” isn’t there) I need to conclude by transcribing what I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to write before dawn one morning recently. I will try to keep it as close as I can to how I jotted it down.

We are not going to help those living in darkness by threat, coercion, or religious argument, but by shining light. When light is present then darkness ceases to exist so when light advances then darkness retreats. There is but one true light. It is not science, politics, or religion; it is Jesus Christ. And all those born again of the Spirit are light-bearers.

It is a great responsibility and entrustment to be light-bearers, but it is what God expects us to be. Those who know Jesus are children of the light and he is the light. The light of Jesus does not consist of what he taught or modelled, for these are the emanations of his light. He, in himself, is the light, the source of the radiance that proceeds from him.

The light we shine into the darkness is the light of the Spirit of Christ within us that points like a neon arrow to the person of Jesus himself. To shine the light we reveal Jesus by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. To be light in the darkness we do not need to be able to answer all questions or provide solutions to every problem posed; we just need to know Jesus, be filled with the Spirit, and live out our destinies as children of the light.

However, the problem is that most people will not understand or receive this truth. When Jesus came into the world 2,000 years ago, he shone in the darkness but the darkness neither understood nor received him. When we speak today of being the light, people still will not understand. It sounds ridiculous to them and annoys them. Most people want to be given a material way through their darkness and cannot conceive of someone, even Jesus, being the light or others being his light-bearers. It strikes them as pathetically impractical, super-spiritual or even a little daft.

Yet, it is our calling and privilege to present the truth in whatever way we can. When Jesus walked this earth most rejected him and what he said, yet ‘to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’. For every one hundred who hear and reject, there will be perhaps 30 who hear and believe.

Shiloh Revisited

There is a bright gem glowing in the heart of the 1 Samuel 3 passage with which I started this article. The place where Eli trained Samuel to tend the Lamp of God was called ‘Shiloh’. This word has its origin in the great messianic prophecy of Genesis 49:10. It points like an illuminated sign to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

So, to my fellow children of light, I repeat the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn’ (Isaiah 60:1-3).

To those who do not yet know Jesus as Messiah and Light of Life I plead with all urgency, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14).

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

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A Psalm Today Keeps the Blues Away

Top ImageWhile the adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is unproven, the adaptation ‘a psalm today keeps the blues away’ is true. We in South Africa are deep into a 21 day COVID-19 lock-down and, despite our best intentions, it is hard not to feel a little down and ‘blue’. It is at times like this that some of the Psalms of the bible take on fresh meaning for us, especially Psalms like 23, 91 and 27.

Psalm 23

There can’t be many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who have never heard all or parts of Psalm 23. It is probably the most popular scripture reading at funerals and it’s also sung in many forms and at many times.

In the context of our current time of crisis, read again what King David wrote all those years ago: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…’
This is not necessarily a promise of immunity, but it is a strong statement of confidence in God. I will not fear – why? – for God is with me.

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is perhaps less quoted than Psalm 23, but what an uplifting composition, usually attributed to Moses. Its opening verse is just glorious:

‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of El Shaddai.’
The basic meaning of ‘El-Shaddai’ is ‘God Almighty’, but over the years bible scholars have attributed several shades of meaning to it, such as: ‘the all-sufficient one’, the one who is strong while we are weak and whose grace is sufficient for us. Remember that when Paul asked God to remove his affliction from him, the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In ‘younger’ days as a Christian, I used to love singing the song made famous by Amy Grant. Why don’t you listen to it now by clicking HERE – let its words speak deeply to your soul.

But Psalm 91 doesn’t end at verse one. The very next verse is a powerful affirmation which if we believe and speak will surely dispel fear and melancholy:

‘I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Verses 9-11 and 14 then set out a conditional promise:

If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge —  then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name”.

At another time I would write about the problems associated with when and to what extent we can personally appropriate promises like this. However, in this time of world, national, and personal crisis it is more important to simply ask the Holy Spirit to speak from this Psalm deeply into our hearts.

Psalm 27

A great way to conclude a short article such as this is to direct you to some of the words in Psalm 27.

Verse 1:  The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life —  of whom shall I be afraid?

Verse 5: For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Verses 13-14: I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

May the Lord bless us and keep us.

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The Throne in Heaven


‘At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it’. So starts the second part of the book of Revelation.

Chapter Two is complex and multidimensional, but it is a WONDERFUL disclosure of what and who occupies the center of everything. I need three posts to do even reasonable justice to this layered revelation. In this post I will disclose some important truths that emerge from the chapter; in my second post I will write about the model and the reality imbedded in the text; and in my third post I will reveal something that few of you will have heard of before – unless you have read my book ‘Revelation in the Stars’ 🙂

How are we supposed to comprehend multidimensional space and time when we have only experienced the four dimensions of length, breadth, depth, and time? In truth we can’t, we have no frames of reference or words to describe what is beyond both our experience and our intellectual capability. This is why Revelation is presented to us in picture-language that draws on known imagery and established modes of thought.

God dwells in multidimensional timelessness and we are creatures of only three dimensions of space, locked into a one way progression of time. For this reason we cannot ‘ascend’ to higher dimensions by our own choice or ability; God must summons and enable us. This is where all forms of religion and humanistic spirituality fail miserably because humans cannot build a ‘ladder’ of any sort that reaches heaven. John records this process: ‘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.”’ (Revelation 4:1)

John is shown that at the centre of the creation is a reality presented to him as a throne… with someone sitting on it!

John then continues with the words, ‘At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.’ (Revelation 4:2) The universe, in all its dimensions, is not a sea of chaos or a mindless cosmic machine. It is an ordered creation, centred on the one who created it. This is a key truth that forms a pivotal reference for all of Revelation. No matter how many strange, bizarre, and even frightening pictures emerge as we read through the book, we must always remember who is at the centre of it all, calm, unassailable and supreme… Almighty God.

Now, look at how John describes what he is given to see of God himself: ‘And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne’. (Revelation 4:3) There is much debate in the commentaries about what these ancient gemstones were and what they represent. Jasper is usually opaque but a rare ancient form of it (iapis)  was a transparent purple-blue much like the modern Sapphire. Carnelians range from opaque orange to transparent red (ancient Sardine). Emeralds of course are green. Pure white light refracts into red, blue, and green, colours known as Additive Primaries and white light shining through these gemstones would produce these three brilliant colours. 1 John 1:5 records that ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’. So, what we have here in Revelation 4 is a graphic depiction of an aspect of the glorious luminary who occupies the centre of all things.

truth-is-the-word-revelations-email-25-body-pic2Things get even more fascinating when we consider the nature of light. Scientists have long been baffled by what they refer to as the wave-particle duality of light – Light is simultaneously a stream of particles and a wave. This is incomprehensible to us but it does shed some ‘light’ on an aspect of the nature of God. Incidentally light is usually categorised as visible, infrared, and ultra violet – just as we have traditionally categorised God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The response to the citizens of heaven to the presence of God in their midst is recorded in Revelation 4:8, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Three sets of three: ‘Holy, holy, holy… Lord, God, Almighty…. Who was, who is, who is to come’). And when we contemplate this extraordinary depiction of God in further on in Revelation we too must surely echo the worship expressed in these wonderful tri-form words!

It is hard to conceive that there are even further levels of revelation in this complex chapter… but there are, and in my next post I will write about the second of three dimensions of meaning.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.