Our heavenly journey continues. It is sometimes complicated to think ourselves out of time. I struggle to grasp the full implication of God’s perspective outside our “prison” of time. He sees all of history in one moment, our birth and death and whole life in between. I have often thought that this single feature of God, comprehended in its fullness, will boost my faith and trust in our loving Father to reign supreme over every aspect of my life till the day of my death. Knowing He sees and controls my destiny “abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34) guarantees my victory in all things to end well.
Nowhere is the time perspective more obvious than in Revelation 5. God takes the scroll from the angel in His right hand, the symbol of power and authority. The scroll is all of history, written on the front and back, in other words fully ordained with nothing to be added or taken away – complete and sealed. It contains the God proclaimed redemptive plan of God in Jesus Christ now revealed in victorious consummation, with seven seals that represent the consequences of sin and disobedience.
In Roman law, only the last will and testament was sealed with seven seals – one for each witness. All witnesses were to be present when the seals were broken and the will read. Ordinary documents had only one seal.
No creature, celestial of earthly, is worthy to execute God’s plan for the “fullness of times”. This is earth’s tragedy, therefore John wept.
He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
(Ephesians 1:9,10, NIV)
John gets the impression that the promise of a worthy One is frustrated, and gets a sense of deep sorrow.
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7, NIV)
God reveals His secrets to the prophets throughout all time, also today. Inside the vision is the point of receiving for those who guard their insight and anointing to “see” into unseen. Outsiders will receive nothing. It is a life of ignorance and confusion. (Ephesians 4:18)
There is comfort for weeping and sorrow in the Plan. One of the elders comforts John. The church has the knowledge of Jesus, the solution to all. The church should be the comfort and the vehicle of insight to see the One and reveal Him as the solution to history and the consequences of sin contained in the seven seals. Jesus’ own words to so many were: Do not weep. He speaks comfort and rest over a battered and broken world.
Human grief is born in insufficient knowledge and a lack of vision.
Do we lack patience, endurance and trust? Jesus is worthy to know God’s secrets. He is the key to the revelation of God’s secrets. Only in Him is the fullness of knowledge and understanding of what is happening in our world.
Christ is introduced as the Lion of Judah just as Matthew 1 establishes Jesus’ genealogy as the true Messiah from the root of David. (Isaiah 11:1) Jesse’s offspring would combine power and goodness. (Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 3:8)
Instead of the expected Lion, John sees a Lamb as though slain, but alive, bearing His scars also in heaven on the Throne of the Most High. God’s purpose is fulfilled. The death of Jesus was no accident of history. It was death with a purpose, to rescue the entire universe. There are no limits. It is all-inclusive and will always be.
The seven horns depict full authority, omnipotence and honour. (Psalm 89:17,112:9, 148:14) The priest put the blood of the sacrificial animal on the horns of the altar. (Leviticus 4:7,18, 25). It speaks of redemption. One could also grab hold of the horns of the altar to save one’s life when persecuted. (1 Kings 1:50/ 2:28)
The seven eyes depict full knowledge, wisdom, insight and counsel as promised in Isaiah 11:2 – characteristics of the Messiah. He takes the scroll exactly as described in Daniel 7: 9-14. Daniel calls Him the Ancient of days.
The Lamb is the centre of the scene. Jesus is called the Lamb of God 29 times in the Bible. In Isaiah (53:7) and Jeremiah (11:19) they see Jesus prophetically like a lamb led to slaughter.
Worship is the reaction to His triumphant entry into heaven after the victory on the Cross. The Cross stands at the centre of history. Years of earthly time after the Cross, John sees Christ’s entry into heaven to take the scroll of destiny in His hand, since the Cross made Him worthy to roll out God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Also for us, only the Cross makes us worthy of our destiny of redemption from sin.
Jesus stands before the Throne as the first fruits of the church. In John 20:17 Jesus says to Mary Magdalene:
“Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’
In Revelation 5 John sees Jesus’ ascension to His Father as triumphant over death and glorified in the ultimate victory over sin and destruction. This is the moment when all of creation knows He is worthy to take the scroll. After this Jesus returned and appeared to many, also to Thomas who was allowed to touch Him.
All creatures, elders and the saints worship the Lamb as worthy to control destiny. This scripture is one of the spiritual pillars in my life.
It is thrilling to imagine the Throne room of heaven and the altar of incense, which depicts worship and prayer. My prayer is in that golden bowl before the Throne of God. Rejoice, Pebble pals!! The prayers of the saints are in that bowl. We have already said that we are saints, made righteous by the Cross.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)
There is no such thing as unanswered prayer. God hears ALL prayers. We proclaim the praises of our Jesus together with the hosts of heaven. Whatever bears down on your heart this day, proclaim the Lamb of heaven and praise Him in chorus with all the angels. Bring your circumstances and heavy heart to the Throne room and “see” yourself in the golden bowl before the Throne.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)
Our prayers are directly before God. There is no intermediary necessary. The door to God is open. Jesus says this to Mary Magdalene as the most important message to His disciples – My God and your God and My Father and your Father. We have access through the Blood of the Lamb. We pray in the name of Jesus, which He gave to us. (John 16:26) We do not pray through any other mediator.
Let us sing the new song. It is new in quality; it was never heard before. (Psalm 33:3, 40:3, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1, Isaiah 42:1-13) It is UNIQUE and it is happening NOW.
[New could mean: neos – more of the same depicting quantity as in a new pencil but many others already exist or: kainos – unique, has never been, depicting quality as in one of a kind.]
The kings and priests to reign are the saints of God to rule over the earth through our intercession, spiritual war and walk with God. Our witness is the effective barrier against complete destruction. The presence of the church holds back evil. (1 Peter 2:9)
The numbers of Revelation are symbolical of endless and countless multitudes (5:11). Only God can do this type of calculation. It is always more than enough; more than needed.
He is El Shaddai – the God of plenty.
Every creature is every possible being. Every knee shall bow. (Philippians 2:10) All the multitudes join the cosmic chorus to praise every attribute of God forever. All history moves towards the point of ultimate recognition of the Lordship of Jesus. Everybody says AMEN – it is true.
It is the greatest chorus ever. Every created thing is designed to praise Jesus. The elders have harps. It was the traditional music in the Psalms.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God, (Psalm 147:7)