I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow…
The curtain of Heaven was lifted up, and Daniel, wrapt in the spirit and vision of prophecy, was favoured with a view of the celestial regions. The scene is laid in the wide etherial of the third heaven. The Ancient of Days appeared upon a burning throne, which, being provided with wheels, was the chariot in which He made the immense circuit of His dominion. A numerous and splendid host of angels and redeemed spirits minister unto Him, and stand before Him. To minister and to stand in Scripture language, mean service. These countless millions, therefore, stand before God to wait His commands, and then they minister unto Him, that is, they flee to do His sovereign pleasure. The truth to be gathered from this part of Daniel's vision is, that Heaven is a state of exalted service.
I. THE PECULIAR NATURE OF THE HEAVENLY SERVICE.
1. It will be suited to a state of final reward. There will be nothing that will imply a state of probation or trial. When we reach Heaven, all service which had the nature of a means to attaining the end of moral perfection will pass away.
2. It will include all essential duties that are due from the creature to the Creator. Many of the duties of revealed religion will cease in Heaven, because they are designed to effect a temporary purpose only. Through eternity, angels and redeemed will be dependent upon God, and receive all good from Him. Love, and the manifestation of love, will be one portion of this exalted service. A holy fear of, and respect to, the majesty of God is due from the creature to the Creator, and the manifestation of this will be one part of the service of Heaven. A voluntary dependence on God; an absolute and unlimited subjection to His supreme authority; a continued aim at His glory — enter into the duty of the creature towards the Creator.
3. The Heavenly service will be the united service of angels and men. The assembly of Heaven is one, the worship or service is one, the temple is one, the song is one.
4. The Heavenly service will consist in immediate attendance upon God. Here ours is the service of trading for our great Master while He is in a far country. But in Heaven we shall serve in His presence; we shall be His personal attendants.
5. It will be a service of subordinate dominion. The Scriptures assure us that the saints are to be rulers and governors in the world to come. What an honour and satisfaction it will be to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords, as kings and rulers under Him, and this honour shall all the saints have.
6. The Heavenly service will be a sabbath service. The earthly sabbath is a type of Heaven, and it shadows forth the state and employments of the saints there. It is a rest from worldly toil and labour, but not a cessation of all activity and service.
7. The service of Heaven is temple service. The ancient temple was a type of Heaven.
8. The service of Heaven will be a service of praise. To think of God, to admire Him, to behold His glory and rejoice in it, to love and praise Him, will be the sweet employment of Heaven. The Heavenly service is the engagement of spirits freed from sin; pervaded with light, fired with love, enraptured with delight, and bound by sweet and immortal bonds to God and to each other for ever.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS SERVICE WILL BE RENDERED,
1. Without the least reluctance. The service of God will be voluntarily rendered, deeply loved, and highly enjoyed.
2. Without weakness.
3. Without weariness.
4. Without distraction.
5. Without intermission.
6. Without defect.
7. Without end.If this service will be our happiness and honour in Heaven, let us take care that we deem it our happiness and honour on earth. None who refuse to serve God on earth shall serve Him in Heaven.
Parallel VersesKJV: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
WEB: I saw until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat: his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, [and] its wheels burning fire.