Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come, (Rev. 4:8).
The book of Revelation is without a doubt the wildest book in all of the Bible. It contains the account of an amazing experience the Apostle John had near the end of his life. Part of the experience involved being taken in some kind of ecstatic state and allowed to see what most of the time remains unseen to the rest of us. Today's text is taken from his vision of the throne of God in heaven and the beings which surround that throne. The specific words are spoken by four beings that are simply identified as "living creatures". In other parts of the Bible they are identified as seraphim and cherubim. Their words remind us of three characteristics of the Lord God Almighty.
He was: if God exists (which He does) then he has always existed. He was before anything else that is existed. He is eternal. He created all that exists. During this time of year, we celebrate the nearly incomprehensible fact that also entered into the physical universe he created in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived. Jesus died. And Jesus rose again. Along with the Father, and the Spirit, he was.
He is: if it is amazing that he was, it is even more amazing that he is. Again, if God exists (and He does) he has to continue to exist in the present constructs of time and space as well as outside those constructs. Francis Schaeffer used to refer to him as "the God who exists" - present tense. One of the most important facts about the resurrection of Jesus is that he is not a dead religious leader like the founders of every other world religion. He is alive. He is. Because he is, he has the ability to enter into our daily lives and create a little divine intervention on a personal level. Right now...as I write...and when you read...Jesus is present. I'm expecting him to "meddle" with me today. How cool is that!
He is to come: Because God exists (and you know He does), and because he created the angelic realm and humanity with free will, he needs to come again. The world is not the way it is supposed to be. Everything is wacky. I'm wacky. You're wacky. And the wackiest of all are those deluded individuals that don't think they are wacky. It is a wacky world filled with wacky people who do wacky things. But that is not how the story will end. He is to come. I hope he comes soon. So did the early church. They even used an aramaic word as part of their worship and communication to express this hope and desire. The word was maranatha. It means "come quickly".
As we rapidly approach the celebration of Passion Week and the resurrection of Jesus, remember that this is the God who loves you and wants to live in relationship with you. He is the God who was...He is the God who is...and He is the God who is to come!