THE SCROLL

Rev.5:1 – And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

The opening of this scroll lies at the very center of God’s purposes and man’s eternal destiny. The words of this scroll contain the future of man and the future of this planet. This event, witnessed by John in his vision, is the culmination of all things. John has just realized one man, the Son of Man, is able to open this book. It is terrifying and exciting at the same time. In it we see the reward of the righteous and the wrath of God released on those who have rejected Christ’s kingdom.

There have been many theories put forward about what this scroll actually is. I believe it is somehow connected to the solemn agreement between the Father and the Son. In eternity, the eternal Son of God agreed to become a human to redeem our fallen race. The Father made promises to His Son about the ramifications of His eternal sacrifice. The results of Christ becoming a man, salvation to those who believe in Him and judgement and eternal suffering to those who don’t. This book seems to unlock the results of that contract. Here are some thoughts from Ellicott on this scroll.

“But what is meant by the book? Numberless interpretations have been offered: it is the Old Testament; it is the whole Bible; it is the title-deed of man’s inheritance; it is the book containing the sentence of judgment on the foes of the faith; it is the Apocalypse; it is part of the Apocalypse; it is the book of God’s purposes and providence. There is a truth underlying most of these interpretations, but most of them narrow the force of the vision. If we say it is the book which unfolds the principles of God’s government—in a wide sense, the book of salvation, the interpretation of life, which Christ alone can bestow, we shall include, probably, the practical truths which underlie each of these interpretations; for all—Old Testament and New, man’s heritage and destiny, God’s purposes and providence— are dark, till He who is the Light unfolds those truths which shed a light on all. Such a book becomes one “which contains and interprets human history,” and claims the kingdoms of the earth for God….There are things which are hidden from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes.”

When I read about the opening of this scroll I am filled with joyful anticipation and terror at the same time. I have to hide myself in Christ, He is the only protection from the coming storm.

THE ROOT OF DAVID

Rev.5:5 – and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

The facets of the glory of God seen in Christ are limitless. The book of Revelations is filled with titles and names speaking of the Lord, each of them point to one of His attributes. This phrase, Root of David, tends to be overlooked but is full of meaning referring to the deity and humanity of Christ. As to His deity, Christ is the root that David sprang from. How can that be? Christ is the Creator of David. This reminds us of the question Jesus posed to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:44,45, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”’? “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”

This is the great mystery of the manhood and deity of Christ. David came from the Lord but the Lord also came from David. Here are some thoughts from the JFB Commentary and the ESV Study Bible.

“Root of David — (Isaiah 11:1, 10). Not merely “a sucker come up from David’s ancient root”, but also including the idea of His being Himself the root and origin of David. Hence He is called not merely Son of David, but also David. He is at once “the branch” of David, and “the root” of David, David’s Son and David’s Lord, the Lamb slain and therefore the Lion of Juda: about to reign over Israel, and thence over the whole earth.”

“But now he is also called the Root of David, because Jesus is not only the royal descendant (Rev. 22:16) but also the source of David’s rule (Mark 12:35–37; cf. “root of Jesse,” Rom. 15:12).”

In the book of Revelations John sees this mystery of humanity and deity from a different perspective. John had see Christ on earth as a man and was amazed at the glimpses of deity seen in Him here. As John is caught up into heaven he is absolutely thunderstruck by the humanity of Christ in His glorified state. Yes, a man is seated on the throne ruling all things. All of creation responds to Him and bows in worship before His throne.

PREPARING FOR ANOTHER WORLD

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Rev. 5:11 ¶ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

Rev. 5:12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

Ever go on a vacation. Actually you have to make preparations to go. If you travel out of the country you need a passport and possibly a visa. You also need to check the climate, nothing like going to the Southern Hemisphere and realizing our summer is their winter. How much more should we prepare, or acclimate ourselves, for the world to come. If you plan to go to heaven one day you better get ready. It is a quite different place than anything here. Many people would be uncomfortable there because of the excessive worship and excessive joy. Have you ever thought about the possibility that this world is only a preparation for the next? If that is the case many people are missing the boat. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explains this.
“We ought now to begin that work which we intend shall be the work of another world; for this life is given us on purpose that therein we might prepare for a future life. The present state is a state of probation and preparation: a state of preparation for the enjoyments and employment of another, future, and eternal state; and no one is ever admitted to those enjoyments and employments, but those who are prepared for them here. If ever we would go to heaven, we must be fitted for heaven in this world; we must here have our souls moulded and fashioned for that work and that happiness. They must be formed for praise, and they must begin their work here. The beginnings of future things are in this world. The seed must be sown here; the foundation must be laid in this world.”
This should change the way we view church, especially the worship part. Many think that worship is not that important and refer to it as the preliminaries. Actually, I think worship is the most important part of the service. This is our preparation for the worship in heaven that never stops. The worship will be preeminent, preaching will become a distant memory.

THE LION AND THE LAMB

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Rev. 5:5,6 – And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

I read this sermon, THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST, by Jonathan Edwards for the first time flying across the ocean returning from a ministry trip. This is one of my top 3 favorite messages. I wept most of the way through this message the first time I read it, struck by the diverse excellencies of Jesus, the lamb of God and the lion of the tribe of Judah. This is exactly what brought the Apostle John to tears in his vision of the lion and the lamb, to see such strength and weakness in the same person takes your breath away. That is what Edwards built on in this sermon; justice and mercy, submission and sovereignty, all sufficient and dependent, holy and intimate, jealous and kind. To see these opposite qualities displayed in Jesus, the Son of God changes your entire perspective of this person, Jesus Christ. Here are a few quotes from Edwards sermon, THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST.

“Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth: for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him, all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to him, and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend him. And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low, or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them. He condescends to take notice of beggars, and of servants, and people of the most despised nations…”
Have you seen Jesus like this for yourself. Even though He is holy and unapproachable, He is calling us into intimate fellowship with Himself. Even though He is glorified on His throne and given a name above every name, He has called us to be seated with Him on His throne. Despite the fact that our sins are many and disgusting, He sees us with mercy, acceptance, and love. Justice and mercy are seen clearly in Him, justice and mercy have reconciled at the cross of Jesus. Take a look at Jesus again, maybe you will see something of what John saw, the Lion and the Lamb

“O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS:

“I heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands.” (Revelation 5:11)
Allowing the Lord to bring thankfulness into our lives to some is like yanking an old tooth out of our mouth. Learning to be “filled continually filled” is a lifetime challenge. Call it whatever you want, drinking His presence, praying in the Holy Ghost, letting it bubble up from your belly, living supernaturally is possible and is a must!

Years ago, on my search for true joy I came across this passage concerning John and Charles Wesley.

“Part of Sunday my brother (Charles) and I then used to spend in walking in the meadows and singing psalms. But one day, just as we were beginning to sing, he burst out into a loud laughter. I asked him, if he was distracted; and began to be very angry, and presently after to laugh as loud as he. Nor could we possibly refrain, though we were ready to tear ourselves in pieces, but we were forced to go home without singing another line.”
I was so taken back with this! To think the presence of the Lord could be so strong to overtake someone with such joy. I knew then that I had blockages as a Christian and the “cares of this world” were stealing my joy. Normal life to me was just mundane and depressing. Thank God joy came and paid me a visit! Have you allowed yourself to be touched by joy? “Digging deep into the mine and seeking out treasures of life divine” is what Charles Wesley wrote and experienced. Going down deep inside and allowing the gospel to shine in those dark areas isn’t a cake walk. But when we let Christ come and change our garments of mourning into praise, we too will find ourselves overcome with laughter. Charles Wesley spent the rest of His life overflowing with praise; His life was touched and changed by Christ. He even prayed for 1000 tongues to express this!
“Oh for a thousand tongues to sing

My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,

Assist me to proclaim,

To spread through all the earth abroad

The honors of Thy name.”
Learning to use our mouth to continually praise him out of a “heart of thanksgiving” means we let go. We trust that He “has the ball” and as I say to myself in any given day-“He’s got this”. Walking in joy brings liberty and freedom and helps us face defeat, death and loneliness supernaturally.
“JOY BECOMES THE AFFIRMATION OF THE TRUEST THINGS IN THIS LIFE-The joy of the Lord is rooted in the now and the not-yet of the Kingdom of God.” (Sarah Bessey)

I pray you too can join in with the angels and ask for a language that will guide you through life into deeper joy and revelation. Oh God give me a thousand tongues to express my love to you!

ACCUMULATED PRAYER

Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

What an unusual concept, accumulated prayers. I guess the reason the concept of stored up prayers seems strange may be our lack of understanding of what true prayer is. The nature of prayer is spiritual, not natural. Our effective prayers are birthed by the Holy Spirit making our prayers themselves supernatural. Praying in the Spirit is actually The Lord praying through us; we may be praying scripture, praying for some well known need in our natural language, or even praying in our heavenly language. The Lord actually prays through us making our prayers actually eternal prayers. Our prayers transcend time and space and for us, stuck in the finite world governed by time, prayers appear to be “stored up” before the Father’s Throne. Here is how Andrew Murray describes stored up prayer.

“We learn here that the prayers of the saints in the Old Testament concerning the promised redemption were preserved in heaven. These prayers are offered as incense at the throne of the Lamb, so that He may lay them before the Father. Later, in Revelation 8 we also read of the angel who stood at the altar before the throne with a golden censer filled with the prayers of all the saints.
What profound and heavenly thoughts do these words awaken within us! The prayers of the saints are not answered at once. Just as men on earth accumulate money and allow it to increase as capital for greater undertakings, so the prayers of the saints are stored up in heaven until the measure is full and the answer can descend.”

There is a lot of prayer that has been stored up these last 2000 years. Every time I pray; Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, my prayers join together with the countless multitudes that have prayed that prayer the last 2000 years. My prayers are accumulated with the prayers of the 12 apostles, with the Apostle Paul, and all of those powerful first century Christians. My prayers are mingled before the throne with the prayers of the martyrs from every generation. They are joined with the prayers of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Bunyan. They ascend with the prayers of Whitefield, Edwards, Wesley, and Spurgeon. They even are rising as incense with the prayers of Evan Roberts, Seymore, MacPhaerson and Kuhlman. Come Lord, pour out your Spirit, your censer is filling up!!!

THE LION AND THE LAMB

THEE LION AND THE LAMB

Rev. 5:5-6 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” ¶ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

This is one of the most moving passages in the Bible. The Apostle John is in heaven, before the throne of God, and he is weeping uncontrollably. He understands that the scroll in the hand of God is the future and destiny of mankind and is quite disturbed because no one has the moral authority to open the scroll. At least that was true until the One Who is a lion and a lamb suddenly appeared. The man Jesus Christ is able to open this scroll of man’s future, He is the only sinless man and appears in heaven as our representative. Jonathan Edwards preached one of the greatest sermons of all time based on these verses called The Excellency of Christ. Here is an excerpt.

“John was told of a lion that had prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in his vision; but while he is expecting, behold a lamb appears to open the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion! A lion is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of others; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb. And Christ is here represented not only as a lamb, a creature very liable to be slain, but a “Lamb as it had been slain,” that is, with the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it.
That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of my present discourse is this,
the lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice. The lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing, and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both; because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him.”

Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, He is all powerful and rules the world and the universe by His word. He Is the reigning King of kings. He is also the lamb of God. He was led to the slaughter like a lamb and yet remained silent. Today in heaven, this man still carries the scars of redemption in His body. So what is our response, worship of course. We join with the inhabitants of heaven singing praises to our great God.

SINGING HEAVEN’S SONG

SINGING HEAVEN’S SONG

Rev. 5:8,9 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song…

This passage is taken from one of the Apostle John’s spectacular heavenly visions. He was caught up into heaven and saw the throne, an emerald rainbow, twenty four elders dressed in white robes and gold crowns, a sea of glass, seven torches (which is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit), four very strange creatures with animal faces with six wings covered with eyes, and of course the One who dwells in unapproachable light seated on the throne. Then, he saw the lion who appeared as a lamb. All of heaven began to sing praises to the Lamb of God. They were singing the song of heaven, a supernatural song that is given to us by God. Jonathan Edwards spoke about this new song. He said it was the song of redemption; or of saving grace. Here is part of his sermon called “They Sang a New Song”.

“And in this work it is that the heart is put in tune, and it is put into a capacity and disposition truly and sincerely to praise God and to make that heavenly melody, which is made in singing this new song, by exercising these divine principles of divine love and divine joy. “The love of God is shed abroad” in the heart by the Holy Ghost. And spiritual rejoicing is called “joy in the Holy Ghost”. And seeing it is thus— that this knowledge of the things to be sung, and the ability to make the melody of the song, is imparted no other way than by the saving work of the Spirit, whereby the soul is redeemed by power— hence we may see another reason why no man can learn that song but they that are redeemed. Other men are dumb and dead as to any such heavenly exercise as this. They can exalt their idols, but they can’t exalt God. They can rejoice in the objects of their lusts, in their worldliness and in their carnal pleasures, but they can’t rejoice in Christ Jesus. They can howl, but they can’t sing the new song.”

Revival in a person’s heart makes him a singer. The saving and awakening work of God actually puts our heart in tune with heaven. Edwards’ church in Northampton, experienced revival in the 1730’s and 1740’s. At one point, they had a special afternoon service where they sang revival songs written by Isaac Watts. He was a songwriter in England at this time who had also experienced revival, the result was he was overflowing with God’s new song. Here are several of his well known hymns.

Joy to the world
Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove
When I survey the wondrous cross
Alas! and did my Savior bleed

Sing to The Lord, join in with the heavenly singers. Maybe you will be given life changing songs like Isaac Watts.

THE SCROLL AND THE LAMB

THE SCROLL AND THE LAMB

Rev. 5:1-3 ¶ Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,

This is one of the great mysteries of the New Testament. What are the contents of this scroll? Why does it unleash the unthinkable time of tribulation on this earth? How close are we to these events in our world today?
If you study Bible prophesy books and research Bible commentaries, you will find many different theories about this mysterious scroll. To me, their are some obvious conclusions we can make. First, this scroll is connected to the results of man’s fall and his rebellion against The Lord. John is weeping because no man was found worthy to open the scroll. Finally, one man was found, the man Christ Jesus. He became a man for this very purpose, to deal with the judgement that had fallen on mankind. As our only holy representative, He alone is qualified to open the scroll. It’s contents hold the ultimate good news, bad news scenarios. Incredible victory and glory for those who belong to Christ, destruction and suffering beyond imagination to those who have rejected Him. Here are some interesting observations about this scroll from the ESV Study Bible.

“A scroll written within and on the back is like the scroll given to Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:9–3:3) but is atypical of most ancient manuscripts, since the irregular texture of the reverse side of either vellum (leather) or papyrus made them hard to inscribe. However, such a doubly inscribed scroll would resemble a Roman will or contract deed, with the contents written in detail inside and summarized briefly outside, then sealed with seven seals. The scroll John sees could symbolize a will that is to be opened and its contents executed; or it could symbolize God’s covenant with mankind, with the covenant curses that will be poured out due to mankind’s breaking of the contract. In a broader sense, the scroll contains God’s purposes for history, but its seven seals prevent the full disclosure and enactment of its contents.”

These judgements are about to be unleashed on the earth. Tsunamis, earthquakes, unprecedented destructive storms, increased threats of nuclear war; all of these are birth pangs, anticipating the approaching storm known as the Great Tribulation. Are you prepared for the coming time of trouble on the earth? The only place of protection in this time called Jacob’s trouble, will be to be hidden away in Christ. Are you trusting in Him? Have you made peace with God? The Lord has promised safety and an eternal reward past comprehension. Make your preparation for the days ahead. Call on the name of The Lord and you will be delivered.

THE LION AND THE LAMB

THE LION AND THE LAMB

Rev. 5:5-6 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” ¶ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth

I recently reread my favorite sermon of all, “The Excellency of Christ” by Jonathan Edwards. The first time I read it was on a long plane flight across the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, I wept until I had no more tears. That message takes a long look at the vision of the lion and the lamb in the book of revelation. In it, Edwards unfolds what I like to call the diverse excellencies of Jesus Christ. He speaks of His glory and His humility, His sovereignty and His dependency, His eternal power and incredible weakness seen in His humanity. He is the lion and the lamb. Here is a short excerpt from the introduction of Edwards’ sermon.

“John was told of a lion that had prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in his vision; but while he is expecting, behold a lamb appears to open the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion! A lion is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of others; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb. And Christ is here represented not only as a lamb, a creature very liable to be slain, but a “Lamb as it had been slain,” that is, with the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it. The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice. The lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing, and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both; because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him.”

If you really think about it, there was no other way for us to come to God. We needed a holy representative from our fallen race. The problem was this, that person didn’t exist. There was only One who was holy and our only chance was for Him to become one of us. He stripped Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself human flesh. The lion became a lamb. Today in heaven those diverse excellencies are still seen. The Lion is ruling the universe by the word of His power, the Lamb is comforting His sons and daughters as they are welcomed into His arms.