The world today has more information available at our fingertips than ever in history. Google has become a verb. A verb is the active word in a sentence, the word that works and Google works hard. Just “google” it – one would say, to remember the movie name that slipped your mind, the synonym that you cannot think of right now, the third British monarch after Cromwell – I mean, whatever you want to know – somebody has written it down and made it available on the cloud of information covering our earth today. We have instant access to so much.
I would like to make a daring statement and say: Revelation is the google that matters most deeply to us. It is the true information we need to survive, to be encouraged and to be victorious in our everyday life. It is the wealth of information, written down over two thousand years ago that explains our world and describes our future. It is a most unique piece of literature dictated by the Author, Jesus and written down by the author, John.
We read Revelation 5 and “see” with John the triumphant entry of Jesus in heaven after His death on the cross. In the right hand of God, symbol of authority and power, is the scroll of history, written on the back and the front. Nothing is to be added; it is complete and sealed.
In Roman law only the last will and testament of a person was sealed with seven seals, one for each witness. All the witnesses had to be present when the seals were broken and the will read. Ordinary documents had only one seal. In this case we have a most special document: the scroll of the entire history of mankind. It contains the God-ordained redemptive plan of God in Jesus Christ now revealed in victorious consummation, with seven seals that represent the consequences of sin and disobedience.
No creature, celestial of earthly, is worthy to execute God’s plan for the “fullness of times”.
He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]—to bring all things together in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. (Ephesians 1:9,10, Ampl)
This is earth’s tragedy. None is worthy and therefore John is weeping. The promise of the Anointed One has often been a source of frustration and disappointment. Shattered expectations followed many an impostor who falsely claimed the position. Deep sorrow and longing for the promise are repeatedly addressed in the prophets of old.
Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7) –
Inside the vision is the point of receiving. Outsiders will receive nothing. They live in ignorance and confusion according to Ephesians 4:17,18:
So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.
This is truly the best description of a life without God and the image of post-modern man with whom we contend daily in the spiritual realm. To me it is a frightening state of living to be a prisoner of. It is a life with no true knowledge and no insight in what is happening around us. For John the unworthiness of creation in a state of sin, is overwhelming, but…
There is comfort for the desperate cry of unworthiness in the godly Plan. One of the elders, in other words, the church has the knowledge of Jesus, the solution to all. Jesus’ own soothing words to so many were: “do not weep”, speaking consolation to aching hearts and broken lives. We, the church, are the haven of sympathy and reassurance in the confusion and destruction of the world.
Human grief is born of insufficient knowledge and lack of vision. Do we lack patience, endurance and trust to wait for the promise of outcome and victory in our life today? Jesus is worthy to know God’s secrets, to reveal and control God’s secrets. He takes the scroll of our destiny and is worthy to work it out. Take heart! We are in the hands of the Worthy One. There is no better place to be!
Christ is introduced as the Lion of Judah as in Matthew 1 so that every Israelite would know He is the One they expected.
Then a Shoot (the Messiah) will spring from the stock of Jesse [David’s father], and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)
He will combine power and goodness. (Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 3:8.)
Instead of the expected Lion, John saw a Lamb as though slain, but alive. Just to think that Jesus is bearing His scars also in heaven in the throne room of the Most High. God’s purpose is fulfilled. His death was no accidental death. It was death with a purpose: to rescue all of mankind with no limits. His life and death always have been and always will be all-inclusive.
The seven horns depict full authority, infinite power, omnipotence and honour. (Psalm 89:17,112:9, 148:14.) Since the desert Tabernacle the priest put the blood of redemption on the horns of the altar.
The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense, which is before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting. (Leviticus 4:7,18, 25)
The blood is the saving power, to redeem from sin and pay the debt that we can never pay. In ancient Israel people in desperate flight grabbed hold of the horns of the altar to escape the death penalty. (1 Kings 1:50 and 2:28)
The seven eyes depict complete knowledge, wisdom, insight and counsel. (Isaiah 11:2)
In Daniel 7: 9-14 he describes the Ancient of Days in whose presence the books are opened.
The Lamb is the centre of the scene. Jesus is named in this manner 29 times in the Bible. Isaiah (53:7) and Jeremiah (11:19) describe Him as looking like a lamb being led to slaughter.
Worship is the response to this magnificent scene of all creatures, the elders and our prayers. Incense is the symbol of prayer.
A new song is sung. It is new in quality as it was never heard before.
(Psalm 33:3, 40:3, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1, Isaiah 42:1-13)
Once again we need to place ourselves outside the limitations of time. This grand and glorious event is happening in the unseen. Our prayers together with the saints of all times are in the throne room at this moment.
We are the kings and priests to reign, now. Our intercession, spiritual war and walk with God rule the earth. Our witness is the effective barrier against complete destruction. We hold back evil and at the same time raid hell to harvest the souls of men for Jesus. 1 Peter 2:9:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The numbers of Revelation are symbolical of endlessness and innumerable things (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. As Paul said: every knee shall bow. (Philippians 2:10) Every living creature joins the cosmic chorus to praise the countless attributes of God forever. All of 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. Creation is designed to praise Jesus. The elders have harps. It is an instrument easily recognizable as part of the traditional music in the Psalms. (147:7)
The golden bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints – that’s us. Psalm 141:2: Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
Our prayers are directly before God. There is no intermediary necessary. The door to God is open. We have access through the Blood.
We can sing:
“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”