Qavcinek? File #21: Streets, Names, and Thrones

by Tad Lindley

Do you know how many streets there are in heaven? A lot of the songs that we sing about heaven make the reference to there being streets of gold. Phrases that come to mind are, …walking the streets of pure gold, on the streets of glory…, where the streets are made with gold, where the streets are paved with gold… We could go on and on. Back to my original question though, how many streets are there in heaven?

How many streets are there in heaven?

Heaven is large. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (Revelation 21:16) Twelve thousand furlongs is almost exactly 1,500 miles. Therefore, heaven is 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles long, and 1,500 miles tall.

Only one street

It sounds like it must have a lot of streets. It doesn’t. In fact the songwriters of all of the songs quoted above must never have read all the way to the back of the book. There is only one street in heaven! Here is the proof: And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21) In the Yup’ik Bible, it’s tumyarai. In fact it doesn’t matter which translation you pick (except for the Contemporary English Version), because they all bear out the truth: there is only one street. Song leaders and choir directors please take notice and sing it right.

How many thrones?

Now for the next one. How many thrones are there in heaven? A late, great friend of mine, Lance Appleton, wrote a song with the line, There’s only one throne up in heaven, on this most folks can seem to agree. So I studied it out. One translation has only one throne, and another has 25 thrones in heaven. They can’t both be right. Here they are for comparison:

King James Version (1 throne): 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… (Revelation 4:4)

New International Version (25 thrones): Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders… (Revelation 4:4)

25 vs. 1

If you go back to the original language of the New Testament, Greek, you find out that the same Greek word is used for all of the underlined words above. Therefore the Lord is sitting on the same kind of chair that the 24 elders are sitting on, thrones. If you add them up, you get 25 thrones. I tend to root for the King James Version, but in this case, I think the translators got it wrong.

How many names?

There are many, many words that we use to describe God. Let’s start with Isaiah 9:6, For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (KJV) There we have five ways to describe for God in a single verse. That doesn’t mean that God is five different people. There is only one God. That is so foundational that Jesus lists it as the greatest commandment of all (Mark 12:29). He is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (I Peter 2:25), he is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), he’s the Bread of Life (John 6:35), in Isaiah 44:6 he is the King, the Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, and the First and the Last, and in Revelation 1 he is the Alpha and the Omega. I could go on and on, but I’m running out of space. These are all descriptors that we use to describe God, but there is still only one God.

What about Matthew 28:19?

Some people have misconstrued Matthew 28:19 to teach that God is actually three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Here it is in its entirety: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (NIV) This no more teaches that God is three than Isaiah 9:6 teaches that God is five. Notice that both of these verses have the word name in them. We can describe him as the Father. When he was manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16) we describe him as the Son, when he comforted the church in Acts 2, we describe God as the Holy Ghost, but he is still one God with one name, Jesus. Zechariah, in speaking about the days leading up to the 1500 cubic miles of heaven with only one street put in like this: And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (14:9)

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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