My study of the book of Revelation has taught me many amazing things. One of them is the place of giving thanks that we see in heaven. In chapter 7, the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures, those who are surrounding the throne of God, sing:
Blessing and glory and wisdom and
and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and ever!
This is a climactic moment in the book, a glorious seven-fold hymn lifted to God. When they sing blessing, it is a sign of praise. When they sing glory, they are referring to the personal splendor of the Lord. When they sing wisdom, it is a recognition of God’s intellect. When they sing honor, it is an expression of the great esteem they have for God. When they sing power, it is a submission to the authority of the Lord. When they sing might, it is a recognition that all strength and empowerment flows from the one seated on the throne.
And when they sing thanksgiving? What do they mean when they sing that thanks must be given to our God forever and ever? This is the central term in the hymn, the climax of the climax. The thing that amazes me most here is the idea that the citizens of heaven are still involved in giving thanks to God. It does not stop when we get to heaven. There is a well-known coach who has a motto, “Win Forever.” Isn’t that the theme of Revelation: we win, we win forever. And part of that is we give thanks, we never stop giving thanks?
During the senseless Thirty Years War of Europe, Martin Rinkart was the pastor of a church in Eilenberg, Germany. The war brought the all horrors mentioned in the Seven Seals of Revelation: Casualties from battle, Plague, Famine, and Death. In 1636, Pastor Rinkart was the only minister left alive in his town. He buried 5,000 people that year, an average of 15 per day. And yet is was during this year that Martin Rinkart sat down and wrote a table grace for his children:
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.
You may not feel very thankful today. You may have personal issues weighing you down. (I had a man tell me recently, Mark, when I go home to my apartment, it’s hell.) Maybe you really feel you need a Day to Vent more than a Day to Give Thanks. Don’t give in to that darkness. You are not marked by the Beast. You are sealed by the Blood of the Lamb. You are a Child of the King, an Heir to the Promises of God, a Sinner Saved by Grace. And may we cry out together:
Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Nebraska Christian College