There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known.
It helps, when watching the news, to remember this. All the squabbling, all the bickering, all the foolishness–all the suffering and every disaster–the things and priorities and passions of the world–these are not eternal. They’re not the endgame. These are “the first things,” and they’ll all pass away.
There is a higher throne.
There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from every tongue
Will one day stand.
There Is a Higher Throne: words by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Copyright 2003 Thankyou Music.
This is a hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty, based on the apostle John’s visions in the book of Revelation:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
The song looks forward to that day, when we stand before the throne:
Before the Son we’ll stand,
Made faultless through the Lamb.
Believing hearts find promised grace;
“For You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
And in the chorus, we echo the song of the angels and the elders and all living things:
Hear heaven’s voices sing!
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies;
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, power,
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God, our King, who reigns on high
The second verse tells of the home we have waiting for us:
And there we’ll find our home;
Our life before the throne.
We’ll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King;
We’ll reign with Him.
And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
This is my favorite line in the song: the Lamb becomes our Shepherd King. The one who gave Himself to be our Lamb, the one who was led to the slaughter, the one who was our sacrifice–reigns eternally as King. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.
When we gather to worship, we’re coming before that same throne. We’re joining in the song of the saints and angels around the throne of God. As it is in heaven, so it is on earth–and that’s the theme of our music this week: all of creation, things on the earth, in the sea, in the skies, as well as the angels in heaven, joining together in His praises.
Worship, honor, glory, blessing, Lord, we offer unto Thee.
Young and old, Thy praise expressing, in glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in heaven adore Thee; we would bow before Thy throne.
As Thine angels serve before Thee, so on earth Thy will be done.
Praise the Lord! Ye Heavens, Adore Him: words by Edward Osler.
From All That Dwell Below the Skies is a short hymn because it’s a paraphrase of a short psalm! Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the Bible–just two verses.
Praise the Lord, all nations;
Laud Him, all peoples!
For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord is everlasting.
Praise the Lord!
Here are all those nations back again!
From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung
Through every land by every tongue.
Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word;
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore
Till suns shall rise and set no more.
From All That Dwell Below the Skies: words by Isaac Watts.
And when we sing Holy, Holy, Holy, we’re actually joining the song of heaven, singing the same words that John tells us are sung day and night around the throne: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come (Revelation 4:8).
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who wert, and art, and evermore shall be.
Holy, Holy, Holy: words by Reginald Heber.
Earthly nations will never get along. Our nation will never get along. We’re a nation and a world full of fallen people–until we stand before the Lamb, made spotless through His blood. His throne is higher than any of this world.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”