Two Natures: H.C. Question 48

If his humanity is not present wherever his divinity is, then aren’t the two natures of Christ separated from each other?

Jeremiah 23:23-24 – “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Acts 7:48-49 – “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.  What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.  Or where will my resting place be?

Isaiah 66:1 – This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.  Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be?

John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:13 – No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

Colossians 2:9 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Revelation 4 – The Throne Room

Read Revelation 4

Image Credit: "Word of God"

Image Credit: “Word of God

John’s revelation and the bulk of what we often think about when we reference this book begins in chapter four.  After writing the letters to the churches from Jesus he looks and sees an open door and then is brought into the dwelling place of God.  One of the essential and non-shared characteristics of God is immortality, His eternal nature.  God stands outside of time, something we cannot comprehend.  He sees all of history in a glance.

Some have taken verses 1 and 2 as a particular reference to a theological concept known as the “rapture.”  This is an idea that God is going to take away all Christians from the earth at a particular point in time before the time of the “tribulation.”  Rapture theology, part of a doctrine known as “dispensational pre-millennialism” is fairly popular in the U.S., but has little bearing in the church universal, being only 150-200 years old.  It takes several disjointed verses throughout Scripture and pieces together an idea that is all about escaping the trials of this world.  I would put this on the same level as thinking that we know everything about a person based on 4 or 5 tweets or social media posts.  When we look at the greater arc of Scripture we see God’s intentional work to redeem and restore the world and creation from the damage of sin.  At the end of Revelation (spoiler alert) John sees a “new heaven and a new earth” and sees a “new Jerusalem” coming down to earth.  The “dwelling of God” will be with humans… not the other way around.

Image Credit: "DWELLING in the Word"

Image Credit: “DWELLING in the Word

John then turns to the vision of God that he sees, being in God’s dwelling place.  These images are quite abstract at times, perhaps even a little scary.  We can marvel at their magnificence while puzzling at their obscurity all at once.  However, like John’s vision of Jesus, all of these things are steeped in Scripture and have a rich wealth of meaning and splendor.  In fact, all of it is reflective of other points in Scripture where God has revealed Himself through visions and descriptions.  Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel all have visions of God on the throne, Isaiah 6 being the most well-known of the three.

The gemstones that John sees here reflect a brilliant image of God who, as Paul writes, dwells in unapproachable light.  Seeing the rainbow too is a very vivid and familiar symbol of God and His promises.

He then references 24 thrones and twenty-four elders around God’s throne.  Scripture references the number 12 many times in both the Old and New Testaments, referring to the tribes of Israel and, not at all by accident, the disciples of Jesus.  These 24 thrones and elders represent, then, the whole of the people of God all worshipping God along with the four creatures.  These creatures are quite similar to the creatures Ezekiel saw in His encounter with God and have six wings, like the seraphim of Isaiah’s vision as well.  These Seraphim, a particular type of angel, are around the throne of God always worshipping God.  Their “everywhere eyes” are also seen in Ezekiel’s vision, reflective of God’s “everywhere” vision; nothing goes unnoticed or escapes their vision.

Something that always seems to accompany the “theophany” of God, that is the revelation, experience, and appearance of God is that of lightning and thunder, reminiscent of God’s appearance on mount Sinai to His people.

A sea of crystal is an interesting image.  Throughout Scripture, the sea and the ocean often represent chaos.  They were present before God created the world, Scripture says, and it was from this chaos that God created everything.  Yet here, the sea is of glass, crystal.  It’s no longer dark, as in Genesis, and would be quite still if it was glass (like a pond on a calm morning).  Perhaps this is representative of God’s power over the chaos.  It could also be representative of the bowl for cleansing in the Temple and the true purity that is present in God’s dwelling place.

The main theme of this chapter is the worship that takes place.  Each of the beings and all that is represented here have a place in the dwelling of God, high and exalted in His presence, and yet all are bowing down to God, laying their crowns and all that they have before Him always and forever.