The Lamb is the Lord, part 6: The Throne at the Centre of Everything

Art is by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. To order art prints visit her “Revelation Illustrated” site,

An artist’s depiction of the scene in Revelation 4:1-11.

What do you see?

Tim Chester asks, “Turn on the television or open a newspaper and what do you see? . . . . How would you describe what you see in our world?”[1] When believers in those seven churches in Asia looked around them, what did they see? Tim Chester tells us: “this is what they saw: the power and pomp of the Roman Empire. . . . . They heard stories of war and slaughter followed by famine and disease. If they had had eyes to see, they may also have seen injustice and murder. They could “enjoy” the blood of gladiatorial combat. . . . .”[1]

But now, in Revelation 4 Jesus directs those first-century believers’ gaze, and our gaze, to an altogether different vision. He takes us into the courts of heaven, to the very throne-room of Almighty God.

It is in the light of this sublime, magnificent, overwhelming vision that God wanted those first-century believers to see everything else. It is in the light of this vision that He wants us to view everything around us.

A door open in Heaven

After Jesus dictates the messages to the angels of the seven churches, John writes, “I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’” (4:1). John, in the Spirit, saw “a throne . . . in heaven, with one seated on the throne” (4:2). In a vision, Jesus―whose voice it was―summoned John “to the control room at Supreme Headquarters. . . . . ”[2] This is no less than Supreme Headquarters of the Universe. It is the heavenly throne-room of the Lord God Almighty, the “council chamber of the King of Kings”.[3]

Why does Jesus show us this vision here at this point in the book?

As we journey through Revelation, we’ll see great judgments―war, famine and death, demonic oppression, terrifying signs in the heavens, and destruction and disaster on earth. We’ll encounter terrifying beasts, a gaudy, drunken prostitute, and unclean demonic spirits like frogs. Most grievous of all, we see God’s faithful people “who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” (Revelation 6:9).

But before we see these things, we see this vision. God wants us to see everything in this book, everything in our troubled world, everything in these unsettled and uncertain times, everything in our own lives, in the light of the fact that God is on the Throne, reigning supreme over Heaven and Earth. One writer comments, “From Revelation 4:1 and following we will be seeing everything from the perspective of the throne.” [4]

The One seated on the Throne

God is called “one seated on the throne”. This name (with variations) occurs 12 times in Revelation. It’s the name of God most frequently used in this book.

And notice how God’s throne is the focus of everthing that John sees: “round the throne” is a rainbow (4:3); “round the throne” are 24 thrones on which 24 elders sit (4:4); “from the throne” come lightning and thunder (4:5); “before the throne” are seven burning torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God (4:5); “before the throne” is a glassy sea (4:6); “round the throne, on each side of the throne” are four living creatures (4:6). And when these creatures praise God, the elders worship God and cast their crowns “before the throne” (4:10).

John says that God had “the appearance of jasper and carnelian” (4:3). These two stones together reflect God’s radiant, majestic glory.

The rainbow

Around God’s throne, John sees “a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald” (4:3). This rainbow added its own vibrant colour to the vision of God’s throne-room. But this “rainbow” may well recall the rainbow that God appointed to be a sign of His covenant with Noah and his descendants (Genesis 6:18, 9:8-9), and with “every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:16). God said, “I establish my covenant with you, that . . . never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11). Devastating floods and other natural disasters have continued to this day. But God promised that there would never be another flood that would destroy the entire world. The rainbow was the sign of that covenant promise.

That promise is still in place.

In the chapters that follow, we’ll see God bringing His righteous judgments upon this ungodly world. But in the midst of His judgment, God is merciful. He will not send another flood to destroy the Earth. He will wait as long as He can, to give many, many people opportunity to repent and receive salvation. The apostle Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

Echoes of Sinai

In 4:5 we read “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder”. This recalls the dramatic scenes at Mount Sinai described in Exodus 19:16–24 and 20:18-21. We read this: “On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. . . . . Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.” God Himself had come down to earth: the mountain trembled, a storm raged―our holy and all-powerful God was manifesting His presence. The lightning and thunder here in 4:5 depict the awesome power of the presence of our holy God.

Later in Revelation, we’ll see three sets of judgments unleashed―a set initiated by the opening of the seals on the scroll, then a set announced by trumpets, and, thirdly, a set poured out from bowls. Each of these three sets ends with a great storm that mirrors, with increasing intensity, the storm described here in 4:5. And that’s very significant, as we’ll see.

“Seven torches of fire”

In 1:4 we read about “the seven spirits who are before [God’s] throne”. These are later called “the seven spirits of God” (3:1, 4:5, 5:6). This is a name of the Holy Spirit. It can also be translated “the sevenfold Spirit of God”. Here “the seven spirits of God” appear as “seven torches of fire” (4:5) burning before God’s throne. This echoes what Zechariah saw: “a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, . . . ” (Zechariah 4:2). Later, Zechariah is told that “these seven” (presumably the lamps) “are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10). God’s presence ranges through the Earth. And where God is present, He is there to rule. And that’s a key to what we’ll see as we travel through Revelation.

A crystal sea

In front of God’s throne “there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal” (4:6). What does the sea symbolise? One of the things that it can symbolise in the Bible is evil and chaos. Psalm 65:7 tells us that God “stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples” . So this calm, glassy sea may well represent God’s sovereign authority that stills all the forces of evil and chaos. It may also simply depict God’s awesome, transcendent holiness.

Twenty-four elders

Around God’s throne “were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads” (4:4). Who are these elders? There are (as with many things in Revelation!) a number of views. Perhaps the most likely view is that they’re angels who represent God’s people.

Many people think they represent the twelve tribes of Israel together with the twelve apostles. The new Jerusalem is, in fact, inscribed with both the names of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles, as we shall see. However, one writer comments: “throughout the New Testament, including in Revelation, Jews and Gentiles together form one single, united people of God, not a people in two halves . . . .”[5] So who might these elders be?

The clue seems to be the number 24. And, as so often, we need to go back to the Old Testament to find out more. There we read how King David organised the priests into 24 divisions (1 Chronicles 24:1-19), and the Temple musicians and gatekeepers likewise (1 Chronicles 25:1-31, 26:12-19). And it’s these 24 divisions that seem to supply the background for these 24 elders. These elders seem to act as priests in serving and worshipping God in the heavenly Temple John sees here. And these elders sit on thrones, indicating a royal status. Jesus has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (1:6). It may well be that these elders represent us, God’s people, in our priestly and royal roles.

Four living creatures

John sees, right next to the throne, and around it, “four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight” (4:6-7). Each living creature has six wings (4:8).

What are these remarkable creatures? Again, we need to go back to the Old Testament for clues.

 Ezekiel sees creatures like these (1:4-28, 10:1-22). They’re called “living creatures“ in 1:4-28 and “cherubim” in 10:1-22, but Ezekiel tells us that the living creatures are the cherubim (10:15,20). So it seems certain that these ”living creatures” in Revelation are the “cherubim”.

 Cherubim first appear in Genesis 3 ”at the east of the garden of Eden” (Genesis 3:24).

 There were cherubim in the Tabernacle and Temple. For example, they were on the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place (Exodus 25:17-22).

The first two “living creatures” are, respectively, like a lion and an ox; the third has the face of a man, and the fourth is like a flying eagle. One writer comments, “The eagle, the most majestic of birds, is over the air. The lion, the fiercest of wild animals, is over the wilderness. The ox, the strongest of the domesticated animals, is over cultivated land. The man, ruler over the animals, is over creation.” [6]

What do these living creatures symbolise? Perhaps the most common view is that, together, they represent all of creation. This is supported by the fact there’s four of them―as we’ll see later in this series, the number ‘four’ is the number of the creation. So they may represent all creation―including humans―in the presence of God the Creator. They “never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8). If these living creatures do represent creation, then they picture humans―specifically, God’s people―leading all creation in praising God.

But there’s another view that seems very possible. Perhaps they represent God’s people, but in a different way from the elders. Why might this be?

 Ezekiel gives us the most detailed description of them. He tells us that “they had a human likeness” (Ezekiel 1:5). This suggests they’re more like humans than like any of the other three animals.

 In every place where we read about them in the Bible, they’re close to God, or to His dwelling place. For example, here in Revelation, they’re “around the throne, on each side of the throne” (4:6)―they’re even closer to the throne than the elders! There can be no doubt that, of all the creatures God has created, God’s people are the ones who enjoy the closest relationship to Him. God indwells His people; they are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:19-22).

But why would we be given more than one picture of God’s people? Because there’s so much to see about them! Think of how many pictures of God’s people there are in the New Testament. God piles picture upon picture to reveal the wonder and glory of who we are as God’s people in Christ!

These four creatures are called “living creatures”. That name suggests that they picture God’s people as those who have life―spiritual life, new life in Christ. For example, Paul wrote, “God, . . . even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . .” (Ephesians 2:4–5).

Why are three of these living creatures here in Revelation like animals? Perhaps each of these powerful animals―the majestic lion, the strong, hardworking ox, and the soaring eagle in flight―symbolises an aspect of our new life in Christ. After all, Jesus Himself is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5). So it’s no surprise that God might use each of these three animals to show us something about His people.

And the living creatures are “full of eyes” (4:6,8)―perhaps symbolising spiritual sight and understanding.

If the living creatures do indeed picture God’s people as those who have new life in Christ, then the elders complement this picture. They picture God’s people in their ministry as priests and kings.

“Worthy are You . . . to receive glory!”

Day and night, in a glorious, ceaseless symphony of praise, the cherubim say, ”Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (4:8). And whenever these cherubim glorify God, so do the 24 elders. They “fall down before him who is seated on the throne” and worship Him. Casting their crowns before Him, they say, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’” (Revelation 4:9–11). This is the first of seven scenes of heavenly worship in Revelation.

FOOTNOTES [1] Quoted from Revelation for You by Tim Chester, page 49. Published by The Good Book Company, Epsom, UK, in 2019. [2] Quoted from The Revelation of St. John the Divine (Black’s New Testament Commentaries) by G.B. Caird, page 60. Published by Hendrickson Publishers Inc. Peabody, Massachusetts; first published by A. and C. Black (Publishers) Ltd., London, England in 1966. [3] Quoted from The Triumph of the Lamb: a Commentary on Revelation by Dennis E. Johnson, page 97. Published by P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, in 2001. [4] Quoted from Discipleship on the Edge: an Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelation, by Darrell W. Johnson, page 126. [5] Quoted from Revelation (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) , by Ian Paul, page 123. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, and Inter-Varsity Press, London, England, in 2018. [6] Quoted from Lions, Locusts, and the Lamb: Interpreting Key Images in the Book of Revelation by Michael Kuykendall, page 34. Published by Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon, in 2019.

CREDITS Text copyright © 2023 Robert Gordon Betts All Scripture citations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, published by HarperCollins Publishers © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Lamb is the Lord, part 3: Truths for our Journey

Three foundational truths

We begin our journey through the Book of Revelation.

Every hiker who sets out on a trek must be properly equipped. They need warm, weatherproof clothes, sturdy comfortable boots, adequate food and drink, and a compass. Without these, they face disaster.

In a similar way, the first chapter of Revelation equips us for our journey through this book, and for our journey through life. It does so by giving us three foundational truths:

 Who God is. We’re given the most amazing depiction of the Triune God. It especially focuses on Jesus Christ―for example, the magnificent vision of Him in 1:12-16.

 What God does. We see all that God in Christ has done for us, all He’s doing for us now, and the glorious destiny He has in store for us.

 Who we are. We see our new identity in Christ.

These are foundational truths. Accordingly, we see them right here in the first chapter of the book. God wants these truths to sink deep into our minds and hearts. They’ll strengthen us to endure tribulation and trial. They’ll shield us from Satan’s lies. They’ll protect us from compromise with the world around us.

Who God is

In 1:4-5, we read, “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.”

And in 1:8 we read, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Here in these verses we see who the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are:

 God the Father is described as “him who is and who was and who is to come” (1:4 repeated in 1:8). This echoes what we read in Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. . . . ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I AM has sent me to you.”’” Through this Name “I AM” God revealed Himself as the living, personal God Who is present with His people and actively working to save and bless them. We might translate this Name “I am He Who is here for you”. He is with us, watching over us, enabling us to stand firm for Him through all the tribulation and trials we may experience in this world. Notice, too, that it says, not “. . . who will be” as we might have expected, but “. . . who is to come”. Here is the heartbeat of Revelation: God is coming! He’s bringing His plan of redemption to completion. He will come to save and to judge.

 And God is “the Alpha and the Omega” (1:8). Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; omega is the last. God was before all things, and He created all things. He governs all history, and He’ll complete His wonderful plan of redemption for us and our world―as we see in Revelation 21:1-22:5.

 The Holy Spirit is referred to as “the seven spirits who are before” God’s throne. This phrase “the seven spirits” can also be translated as “the sevenfold Spirit”. The number ‘seven’ is a symbol of completion or perfection. And it seems to focus specially on what God is doing in this world (we’ll see why this is later in this series). All that we see God doing here in the Book of Revelation―redeeming His people and restoring His creation―is through the Holy Spirit.

 Jesus is ”the faithful witness” (picking up the theme of witness, which we mentioned earlier).

 And Jesus is “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5): He’s the first to rise from the dead (see also Acts 26:23 and Colossians 1:18). His resurrection demonstrates His complete victory over Satan and all the forces of evil, and over death. And we’re assured of our own victory. Later in the book, we’ll read about God’s people suffering, even being killed. But death is no defeat for us. Jesus’s resurrection guarantees that we will be resurrected from death (1 Corinthians 15:20)!

 Finally, Jesus is “the ruler of kings on earth” (1:5). Jesus is the Lord. That’s the key message of the whole book, as we’ll see.

What God does

In 1:5 we read that Jesus “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood“. On the Cross, Jesus endured the penalty for our sins. Our penalty is paid; and God has forgiven us! And Jesus has released us from bondage to sin; we believers are no longer slaves to sin.

And Jesus has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (1:6). One commentator translates this as: “he has made us sharers in his royal rule, and priests to minister to His God and Father”.[1]

Who we are

As ”sharers in” Jesus’s “royal rule”, and as “priests”, Jesus has given us a completely new identity.

 As priests, we worship and serve Him.

 And we share in His royal dominion. Christ is seated “in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, . . . .” (Ephesians 1:20-21, see also 1 Peter 3:22). We’re seated there with Him (Ephesians 2:6). So we share His dominion. As we read Revelation, we’ll see God’s people suffering, even being killed. But, in fact, we share His dominion over all the forces of evil that seek to harm and kill us! We need to remember this as we continue reading through this book.

A vision of Jesus

John writes, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, . . . .’” (1:10-11). He turns to see whose voice it is. He sees Jesus.

John was one of Jesus’s disciples. He saw a foretaste of Jesus’s glory at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8 and parallels). And he saw the resurrected Lord. But now he sees Jesus as he had never seen Him before. He sees Jesus in all His exalted glory. John tells us: “I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” (1:12–18).

Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to His Father in Heaven. He’s now seated at His Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33)―the place of supreme authority. That’s how we see Jesus in this vision.

This is the very first vision we see in Revelation. Before anything else we read in this book, Jesus wants us to see Himself as He is. He wants us to see Him in His exalted glory at His Father’s right hand. Everything else we read in Revelation needs to be read in the light of this glorious vision of Christ.

Jesus appears to John here in symbolic form. The vision doesn’t reveal what He literally looks like; it reveals His identity and His character.

What does this vision show us about Jesus? We see Him here both in His divinity and His humanity. We see Him here as the Divine Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. And at the same time, we see Him here as a Man―the Messiah who came to save God’s people, to judge and destroy evil, and to establish God’s Kingdom.

It’s important to realise that Jesus, the Son of God, is still incarnate. He became incarnate at His conception in Mary’s body. He’ll remain incarnate for all eternity. Jesus Christ is, and will always be, fully Human and fully Divine. What an amazing truth: God has united Himself to our human race for ever in the Person of Jesus Christ!

Most aspects of this vision of Jesus reflect Old Testament visions of God as recorded in Ezekiel 1:25-28 and Daniel 7:9-10, of the pre-incarnate Christ in Daniel 7:13-14, and of what was likely the pre-incarnate Christ in Daniel 10:5-6.

 Jesus is “one like a son of man” (1:13). This echoes Ezekiel 1:26, Daniel 7:13 and 10:5. In Daniel 7:13-14 we read: “behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, . . . .” The “one like a son of man” is a human. But He’s not simply a man. He’s the true Man―the perfect Man, the Man who is worthy to receive “dominion and glory and a kingdom”.[2] At His ascension He received everlasting dominion over all people. And He comes “with the clouds of heaven”, which symbolise the presence and power of God. The Man Jesus Christ is also divine.

 Jesus is “clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest” (1:13). This reflects Daniel 10:5. These garments may well be priestly attire. The High Priest wore a robe (Exodus 28:31–35). And Jesus is among “seven golden lampstands” (1:12-13); lampstands were part of the furnishings of the Tabernacle and Temple. They were tended by the priests. So it seems we’re seeing Jesus as our great High Priest, tending the lampstands―in other words, tending His churches. Long robes and sashes across the chest were also worn by dignitaries and rulers. Perhaps these garments picture Jesus as our great High Priest and also as our King.

 “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow” (1:14). This links back to the vision of God that Daniel saw. The hair of “the Ancient of Days” was ”like pure wool” (Daniel 7:9). Jesus’s hair is described in the same way as that of “the Ancient of Days”, who is the Father. John sees Jesus, the divine Son of God, sharing one of the attributes of the Father. The white colour of His hair suggests purity. It also suggests someone of great age―and hence great wisdom and dignity.

 Jesus’s “eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace” (1:14-15). This description reflects Ezekiel 1:27-28, Daniel 7:9-10 and 10:6. The image of the burning eyes shows Jesus’s divine insight. But, this also includes His judgment. His “feet” of “burnished bronze, refined in a furnace” symbolise Christ’s mighty strength and His purity.

 Jesus’s “voice was like the roar of many waters” (1:15). This reflects Ezekiel 1:23 and Daniel 10:6. It pictures the awesome power of His voice.

 Jesus holds “seven stars” in His right hand (1:16). In Revelation 1:20, we learn that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches”. We’ll explore who these angels are later in this series.

 From Jesus’s mouth “came a sharp two-edged sword” (1:16; it also echoes Isaiah 49:2). This image pictures Jesus’s word. His word is like a sharp sword: by His word He pronounces and carries out righteous judgment on the nations (19:15), and on false teaching and immorality within His churches (2:12,16).

 Jesus’s “face was like the sun shining in full strength” (1:16). This reflects Ezekiel 1:27-28, and Daniel 10:6, and pictures the glory of our exalted Lord. The image recalls Jesus’s transfiguration, when “his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). In Isaiah 60:19 we read, “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” Again, an Old Testament image of God is applied to the exalted Christ. And in 21:23 we read that New Jerusalem “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23, see also 22:5).

John falls “at his feet as though dead” (1:17). But Jesus lays His right hand on him and says, “Fear not” . Then He says: “I am the first and the last . . . .” (1:17). Christ is the One through Whom all things are created (Hebrews 1:2) and Who is sovereign over history. He says that He’s ”the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (1:18). He’s our Resurrected Lord who lives for ever.

And Jesus tells John, “I have the keys of Death and Hades” (1:18). ‘Hades’ is the realm of the dead. Christ has “the keys” over Death and Hades. In other words, He has power and authority over death.

In the next part, we’ll begin looking at Jesus’s messages to the seven churches of Asia in 2:1-3:22.

FOOTNOTES [1] Quoted from The Revelation of Saint John (Black’s New Testament Commentary), by Ian Boxall, page 33. Published jointly by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, and Continuum International Publishing Group, London, England, in 2006. [2] See The Preacher’s Commentary: Daniel, by Sinclair B. Ferguson, pages 144-145. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1988.

CREDITS Text copyright © 2023 Robert Gordon Betts Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture citations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, published by HarperCollins Publishers © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture citations marked ‘NIV’ are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version (Anglicised edition) Copyright ©1979,1984, 2011 by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). UK trademark number 1448790.

‘The Good God’ by Michael Reeves

The Good God, Michael Reeves, Trinity, God, Theology

The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son, And Spirit by Michael Reeves. First published in March 2012 by Paternoster through Authentic Media, Milton Keynes, UK. ISBN 1842277448 (paperback); 178078029X (Ebook). 144 pages; also available in electronic versions. Also published under the title: Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, first published in July 2012 by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, USA. ISBN 0-8308-3983-6 (paperback); also available in electronic versions.

This wonderful little book (only around 120 pages long) transformed my (admittedly at the time rather minimal) understanding of the Trinity. But this book didn’t merely speak to me – it sang! It’s difficult to imagine that a book on the Trinity could do that, but it did.

The Trinity isn’t a doctrine to file away on the dusty shelves of our theological storeroom. It’s pivotal to our Christian faith. No wonder the ancient Church Fathers fought so long and hard to understand and teach this doctrine. The fact that God is Triune is undergirds all that God is – His love, His grace, His holiness, His beauty and glory. It motivates all that He does – creating, redeeming, sustaining and ultimately glorifying this world. Being Triune means that He is a God Who has given everything to save you and me. It’s foundational to our relationship with Him.

Dr Reeves writes, “. . . it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beau¬ty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God.” . . . . In fact, we will see that the triune nature of this God affects everything from how we listen to music to how we pray: it makes for happier marriages, warmer dealings with others, better church life; it gives Christians assurance, shapes holiness, and transforms the very way we look at the world around us. No exaggeration: the knowledge of this God turns lives around.”

Andrew Wilson reviews the book HERE. He writes: “Mike Reeves’ book The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit is not just the best book on the trinity I have ever read. . . . . I wouldn’t even say it was merely the best book on God I have ever read. . . . there are lots of books on God out there, I’ve read a number of them, and some are exceptionally helpful. For me, though, The Good God is the best Christian book on anything I have ever read.” He comments “The beauty of The Good God is that it’s searchingly deep, rich, theologically profound and provocative, at the same time as being witty, creative, amusing, readable and short . . . .”

Only after reading this book did I understand how utterly essential the doctrine of the Trinity is. Read this book, enjoy it, and delight in God more fully through the truths that Michael Reeves unlocks for us.

The publishers’ descriptions are online HERE and HERE.

Michael Reeves (Ph.D., King’s College, University of London) was until recently the Theological Advisor for the UCCF (Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) – an organisation that supports student Christian Unions and mission among students. He was previously an associate minister at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. He is currently the Theologian-at-Large, at Wales Evangelical School of Theology, UK. He is also the author of The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation; On Giants’ Shoulders: Introducing Great Theologians – From Luther to Barth and The Breeze of the Centuries: Introducing Great Theologians – From the Apostolic Fathers to Aquinas.