Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, begins with the twenty-second verse of the first chapter and continues through to the tenth and final verse of the second chapter. This particular passage of Scriptures continues the visions of God which Ezekiel saw by the river Chebar as he sat among the captives in the midst of Babylon. There by the river Chebar in the midst of Babylon—as Ezekiel the priest say among the captives who had been carried away from the land of their inheritance—the heavens were opened before him, and he saw visions of God. As you take the time to consider the text and language that is contained within the first chapter alone, you will find that the heavens of the Lord were opened before and open unto Ezekiel within and from the place of captivity. The heavens were opened before Ezekiel the priest, and it was as a result of the heavens being opened that Ezekiel saw visions of God. With the heavens being opened before Ezekiel there in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, the hand of the Lord was upon him—a reality which I find to be absolutely astounding. When you progress through the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will find example after example and account after account of the hand of the Lord being upon the priest turned prophet. Not only was the hand of the Lord upon this priest turned prophet, but you will also find the Spirit of the Lord laying hold of Ezekiel and leading him within the visions of God. It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand the importance of the hand of the Lord, as well as the presence and person of the Spirit of the Lord. When speaking of the heavens being opened, as well as visions of God, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize the direct connection between an open heaven and visions of God, as well as the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord. I am firmly and powerfully convinced that there can be no visions God without and apart from the heavens being opened. Visions of God can only be manifested and experienced when the Lord chooses to open the heavens and effectively rend the expanse that exists between the natural and spiritual realms. This is what is absolutely incredible about the words “the heavens were opened,” for it literally means the Lord rent the expanse and divide that existed between the natural realm and the supernatural and spiritual realms. Ezekiel—this priest turned prophet—was one of the only individuals in the entire Old Testament who witnessed and experienced the heavens opened before him, as the Lord removed the veil that existed between the two expanses.
LIVING BENEATH AN OPEN HEAVEN! LIVING BENEATH THE HEAVENS BEING OPENED! The more I consider the reality of the heavens being opened unto and before Ezekiel, the more I am completely and totally consumed with the concept of living beneath—and perhaps even living before—an open heaven. Living beneath an open heaven suggests that the veil is continually and perpetually removed, and we are able to experience and encounter visions of God. In all reality, I am convinced that one of the greatest places to live is beneath an open heaven, for it’s in that place where the veil is removed, and we are able to see everything the Lord desires to reveal and show us. Pause for a moment and consider what it would be like to live beneath and live before an open heaven—living in that place where the veil between the natural and the supernatural is removed. Consider what it would be like to be able to continually abide in that place where you regularly and routinely experienced visions of God. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the apostle Paul which are recorded in the third chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthian congregation. “Now that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Butt if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excellent has. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:5-18).
There is an account which is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew that describes an encounter Peter, James and John had with the Christ. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And when t he disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only” (Matthew 17:1-8). This particular passage in the New Testament gospel according to Matthew is quite remarkable, for these three disciples—Peter, James and John—experienced an encounter with Jesus unlike anyone else had experienced. Earlier in the New Testament book of Matthew we read how Jesus emerged from the waters of the river Jordan, and how as soon as He came forth from the waters, a voice spoke from heaven saying, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and the Spirit descending upon Him as a dove. This would be a second time when the voice of the Father would speak from heaven and not only speak of the identity of the Son, and the relationship of the Son with the Father, but also of the Father’s delight and pleasure in the Son. Oh, we dare not and cannot afford to miss this reality, for the words of the Father not only speak of intimacy and identity—“this is my beloved Son”—but they also speak of delight and pleasure, as the Father declared “in whom I am well pleased.” On two separate occasions—one in a river and another on a mountain—Jesus encountered the voice of the Father expressing intimacy with and delight in His Son who was with Him from the beginning. It’s actually quite remarkable that Jesus experienced the voice of the Father in the midst of the river, but He also experienced it on top of a mountain. On the one occasion Jesus had yet to associate Himself with the disciples, and came out of the waters of the river Jordan to fulfill all righteousness. On the other occasion, Jesus had gone up into and upon a mountain with His three closest companions, and it was there atop the mountain with these three disciples Jesus once more heard the voice of His Father in heaven speaking of and declaring His delight and pleasure in Him, as well as a declaration and expression of intimacy and identity. The fact that the Father spoke of Jesus as “my beloved Son” not only speaks of His identity with the Father—“my Son”—but also of intimacy—“beloved.”
On at least two occasions Jesus experienced the heavens being opened before Him, and on the one occasion the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father spoke clearly and audibly to Him. On the other occasion, the Spirit did not and would not descend, but Jesus found Himself standing with Moses and Elijah atop a mountain. It’s actually interesting that Jesus was there atop the mountain with these two men, for these two men each had their own experience and encounter with the Lord atop the mountain. You will recall that Moses experienced an encounter with the Lord on two separate occasions, yet both were in the very same place. Prior to leaving his father-in-law Jethro and his sheep in Midian, Moses experienced the presence and voice of the Lord in the midst of the burning bush which burned, yet was not consumed. On another occasion, Moses would experience the voice and presence of the Lord at the very same mountain—this time he did not lead sheep to that mountain, but he led more than three million children of Israel before and unto it. It was there atop the mountain that Moses would spend forty days and forty nights in the presence of the Lord, speaking with Him, hearing His voice, and receiving His revelation. It would be there atop the mountain that Moses would not only receive the code of the Law, but he would also receive the pattern of the Tabernacle. It was there atop the mountain in the presence of the Lord where Moses would receive the revelation that would define how the children of Israel walked before the Lord, and how the children of the Lord would worship the Lord. It was through and according to the law they would learn and understand how to walk before the Lord, and it was through and according to the pattern of the Tabernacle they would learn and understand how to worship the Lord. Moses would experience the voice and presence of the Lord atop the mountain of God in the wilderness, and it would be there he would receive both the law of the Lord, as well as the Tabernacle of the Lord. Elijah on the other hand found himself at the very same mountain—except Elijah’s experience did not have the same set of circumstances. It was the Lord of hosts who led Elijah to the mountain of God in the wilderness, for it would be there Elijah would experience the fire, the wind and an earthquake, yet the Lord was not present in any of them. It wouldn’t be until Elijah heard the still small voice that He recognized the presence of the Lord in the midst of the voice. Jesus Christ found Himself talking with Moses and Elijah atop another mountain—Moses which represented the law, and Elijah which represented the prophets. It was there atop the mountain where the law and the prophets found themselves in the presence of Jesus the Christ, and it was there in the presence of Jesus where the voice of Father called Peter, James and John to listen to the voice, the words and the message of His Son.
Peter, James and John experienced the veil between the natural and the supernatural and spiritual realm being removed, as they not only saw Christ transfigured before them, but they also saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. It was there atop the mountain when these three disciples would experience the Father pulling back and removing but a portion of the veil that existed before and surrounded the Christ as He took on the form of human flesh and walked among men. It was there in that place where they would not only see Christ transfigured before them, but they also heard the voice of the Father expressing His delight and pleasure in the Son, as well as His instruction for them to listen to the voice of His Son. I find it to absolutely incredible to think of what it would be like to live beneath and live before an open heaven, as the Lord removes and parts the veil that separates the natural realm from the supernatural and spiritual realm. There in the place of an open heaven, visions of God are released and experienced, as men and women encounter the true and living God. What’s worth noting about the text that is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel is that not only do we find the hand of the Lord, but we also find the person and presence of the Spirit of the Lord. We cannot afford to miss this, for I believe that if we are going to have a discussion about visions of God and the heavens being opened, we must understand the importance of the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord. I would dare say that it is absolutely impossible to truly experience and encounter visions of God without and apart from both the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord, for it is both the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord that leads us within and leads us through visions of God. It’s not enough to speak of the heavens being opened and visions of God, for until and unless we are led by the Spirit of the Lord, such experienced and encounters may not have the same impact and affect within and upon our lives. In fact, I would dare say that the only way to successfully navigate these encounters beneath and before the heavens being opened, and visions of God is according to the hand and Spirit of the Lord. Consider the fact that when the disciples heard the voice of the Father speaking, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. What we read next helps illustrate this reality of the hand of the Lord all the more, for we read “and Jesus came and touched them.” It was this touch of Jesus upon their physical bodies that helped them navigate the encounter they had just had with the transfigured Christ and the voice of the Father.
There is an account in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel that helps illustrate this reality all the more, for within the book of Daniel we read of an encounter he had with one between the banks of Ulai. “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (Daniel 8:15-19). There is yet another passage that is contained within the prophetic book of Daniel that continues this line of thought—except what we read in this passage does not speak of Daniel’s encounter with the angel Gabriel, but with One who was completely different. “And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision: but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words wer eheard, and I am come for thy words” (Daniel 10:112).
If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament book of the Revelation, you will discover another example of an encounter with the Lord, and the hand of the Lord upon us. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw the seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at His feet dead. And he laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that lieveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which you sawest in my right hand, and the seven gold candlesticks. The seven stars the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:12-20). The apostle John found Himself looking upon not only the risen Christ, but the now exalted and glorified Christ, for the Christ whom he saw while on the isle of Patmos was the Christ who had ascended to the right hand of the Father and sat down. For the second time the apostle John experience the hand of the Lord upon him, for he first experienced the hand of the Lord upon him when he saw the transfigured Christ atop the mountain along with Peter and James. Now, the apostle John saw not the transfigured Christ, but saw the glorified and exalted Christ—Christ in all His glory, all His majesty, and all His splendor. IT’s worth noting that John saw Jesus Christ in essentially four distinct dimension. John of course saw the physical person of Jesus the Christ as the Word had taken upon Himself and had become flesh. John was one of the twelve disciples, and therefore spent three and a half years with the actual person of Jesus Christ. While walking with Jesus as one of His followers, John would see the transfigured Christ, as His appearance was altered atop the mountain the presence and shadow of a cloud. Later on the apostle John would see the risen Christ, asChrist appeared to the disciples while they were hiding and concealing themselves in an upper room. Now on the isle of Patmos, John would see Christ in a completely different light and in a completely different manner. John saw Christ as the Word made flesh! John saw the transfigured Christ atop the mountain. John saw the crucified Christ as He hung there upon the cross suspended between earth and heaven. John saw the risen Christ after Christ had risen from the dead and appeared unto them in their midst. Finally, John would see the exalted and glorified Christ who was seated at the right hand of the Father. It was this final image of Christ that is perhaps the most important, for this is how we were ultimately created to look upon and behold Christ. We were created to look upon and behold Christ as He was truly meant to be seen—in His glory, in His splendor, in His majesty, in His power, In His strength.
Perhaps one of the realities that is so intriguing about the New Testament book of the Revelation is that the apostle John not only saw Christ as He we truly was, and as He was always intended to be seen, but he also saw the throne of God in heaven. The apostle John was one of only three men in all of Scripture who received a vision of the throne of God in heaven—the other two were Isaiah and Ezekiel. Consider if you will the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ—“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship. Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worth, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:1-11).
This isn’t the only passage in the Ntew Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ where the apostle John saw a vision of the throne of God which stands in heaven. In the very next chapter we read of a second image and vision of the throne of God which was present in the midst of heaven. “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a brook written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I behold, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:1-14).
One thing I so love and appreciate about the apostle John and what we read in the New Testament book of the Revelation is that the apostle didn’t just experience an encounter with Christ, but he also experienced a vision of the throne of God. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that within the first five books of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ the apostle John not only encountered the risen, exalted and glorified Christ, but he also saw a vision of the throne of heaven. What’s more, is that he saw a vision of the One who sat upon the throne of heaven, and even the scene which takes place before and around the throne of God. It is very important that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for this is ultimately what we were created for. We were created to look upon and behold Christ as He was truly meant to be seen, and as He was truly meant to be viewed. We weren’t intended on looking upon and beholding Christ through a glass darkly, or even through a veil, but are to look upon and behold Him in all His beauty, in all His splendor, in all His glory, in all His strength, in all His power and might. It’s worth noting that before the apostle John saw a vision of the throne of heaven, he first saw and encountered the risen and exalted Christ in all His glory. There is tremendous truth and significance in this, for the only way to come near to, and the only way to approach the throne of God is through the person of His Son, Jesus who is the Christ and the Messiah. The apostle John saw the transfigured Christ, saw the crucified Christ, saw the risen Christ, and ultimately saw the exalted Christ. Once the apostle John had experienced Christ in each of these dimensions—transfiguration, death, resurrection and ascension—he would then be granted a vision of the throne of God. YOU WERE CREATED TO BEHOLD THE CHRIST AND WORSHIP BEFORE THE THRONE! If there is one thing the prophetic book of the Revelation reveals, it’s that we were created to behold the Christ and worship before the throne of God in heaven. Tell me—are you truly living according to your full potential and what you were created to live for? Are you living according to and after the manner in and for which you were created? If you were created to look and upon and behold Christ, and worship before the throne of God in heaven, why on earth [no pun intended] would you choose to live any other way? Why would you look upon and behold anything else in, of and from this earth if you were created to look upon and behold the risen and exalted Christ? Why would you choose to worship before any of the false gods and images of this generation and age if you were created to worship before the throne of God in heaven? I have long and often been convinced that one of the single greatest needs we have in our lives is to experience fresh vision(s) of the throne of God, and fresh vision(s) of Jesus Christ.
There were three men in Scripture who each experienced visions of the throne of God in heaven—one of which has already been mentioned with its corresponding text. The second individual to experience a vision of the throne of God in heaven was the prophet Isaiah, and this encounter is recorded for us in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name—“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of Him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And He said, Go, and tell this people” (Isaiah 6:1-9). The second individual to experience and encounter a vision of the throne of God is the prophet Ezekiel, and the account of this experience is found in the first chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name—“”And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the flour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:22-28).
I believe with everything inside of me that the prophetic word for this particular moment is the declaration that we were created to behold the Christ—to look upon and gaze upon His beauty. We were created to worship before the throne of God in heaven, and before the One who is seated upon that throne. Isaiah, Ezekiel and John each saw visions of the throne of God in heaven, while Joshua, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and the apostle John all saw visions of Christ in His glory, in His majesty and in His splendor. For Joshua, he saw the angel of the Lord who commanded the entire host of heaven, and was leading the host of heaven in direct connection and partnership with the children of Israel. The more I read and study these passages, the more I am convinced that we must make it our firm and resolute resolve to constantly and continuously look upon and behold the Christ. I am reminded of the words of the apostle John in the first chapter of his first epistle—“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands hand handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4). I am also reminded of the words of the apostle Peter in the first chapter of his second epistle concerning his experience with the Christ—“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:16-21). YOU WERE CREATED TO HEAR! YOU WERE CREATED TO LOOK UPON! YOU WERE CALLED TO HANDLE! YOU WERE CREATED TO BEHOLD! Oh that we would make it our single ambition, our single desire, our single passion to behold Christ in all His beauty, and to worship before the throne of God in heaven. I leave you with these words which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms—“”How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longer, yea, even faintest for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cried out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God” (Psalm 84:1-3). “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble he shall Hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me upon a rock” (Psalm 27:4-5).