Seeing the Heavenly Court through the Eyes of a Criminal Court

This past week I was honored to attend a criminal trial in which a friend had pressed charges because he was personally violated when he was a child.  So happy for him, that his perpetrator was found guilty!  The drama in the court was at times gripping, and I often found myself thinking about the heavenly courts, of which God has much to say.  Justice is only imperfectly found in human courts, and we look to God for final and eternal justice. 

In a criminal court, the judge is treated with honor.  In the heavenly courts, the Judge is worshiped

They lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:10b-11 (NIV)

Let there be no ambiguity regarding Jesus Christ; He is at the very center of this worship!

“In a loud voice they sang, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  Revelation 5:12 (NIV)

In a criminal court, the judge is protected by a sheriff’s officer.  In the heavenly courts no one can stand in His presence.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. Revelation 20:11 (NIV)

In a criminal court, the judge is respected as an impartial gatekeeper in a trial.  In the heavenly courts, the Judge is terrifying in His holiness.

And the seraphs…were calling to one another:  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory!”  At the sound of their voices the threshold shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  Isaiah 6:3-4 (NIV)

In a criminal court, the judge has particular jurisdiction.  In the heavenly court, Jesus is Lord of all.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. Revelation 20:12-13 (NIV)

In a criminal court, temporal justice is often (but not always) meted out.  In the heavenly courts, justice is in keeping with God’s infinite holiness and is eternal.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. II Thessalonians 1:6-9 (NIV)

Criminal courts are imperfect.  Justice is the foundation of God’s court, and yet He extends mercy.

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Psalm 85:10 (NIV)

In criminal courts, lawyers play a prominent role.  Next to God’s throne is seated my defense attorney; He perfectly defends me against Satan’s endless accusations and He never lets me down!

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. I John 2:1 (NIV)

In a criminal court, the judge enforces the verdict.  In the heavenly courts, the Judge enforces the verdict by suffering in my place!  Hallelujah! 

God made him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  II Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

Because Jesus loves me and suffered in my stead, I can joyfully and with confidence approach God!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

AMEN and AMEN!  God is good!

-          Pastor Colin