Revelation 5 Worship

March 31, 2013    Revelation 5    The Mighty Lamb

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. ~ Clarence W. Hall 

The stone was rolled away from the door, not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in. ~ Peter Marshall 

We live and die; Christ died and lived!  ~ John Stott 

Do not abandon yourselves to despair: We are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song. ~ Pope John Paul II 

Christ has not only spoken to us by his life but has also spoken for us by his death. ~ Soren Kierkegaard 

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:14 

Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility and our ultimate destiny. ~ Rick Warren 

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time. ~ Martin Luther 

Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection. ~ Watchman Nee 

Easter is always the answer to "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" ~ Madeleine L’Engle 

We must not forget that it wasn’t the Jews that put him on the cross, and it wasn’t the Romans. It was my sins, it was your sins, the sins of this world. ~Franklin Graham 

A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me. ~Andrew Murray 

Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~ Phillips Brooks 

"He is risen; he is not here." ~ Mark 16:6 

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" ~ Jesus Christ - John 11:25, 26          

            This passage is amazing.  Verse 13 says every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and in the sea.    Every living thing in the sea involved in worship.   I somewhat suspect that would mean the demons also.   We know they will bow and confess Jesus.   We see in this passage that there is a strong angel who spoke with a loud voice.   Twenty times a loud voice is recorded in Revelation.   Some think it is Gabriel or Michael but scripture does not state which angel speaks.  He spoke with a loud voice so that everyone and everything could hear what he was saying.   Who has the power and the right to open the seals on the scroll?  This scroll has been likened to the title deed of the earth.   It does not contain so much what Jesus will get but judgments that will follow.   In the beginning of chapter 6 the lamb opens one of the seals.   It is also a scroll of redemption for the redeemed.  The scroll is filled with writing both sides meaning it is full. 

     All are invited to try to open it.  No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open it or even look into it.   No angel or demon or Satan could open it.   Abraham, Moses Daniel nor the apostles and not the apostle Paul could open the scroll.   No one steps up to the plate.   John begins to weep greatly because no one can open the scroll.  This was an intense weeping.   The Greek word used here is the same word used when Jesus wept over Jerusalem and when Peter wept bitterly after he denied Jesus.   This was painful weeping.  W. A. Criswell says the tears represent the tears of all God’s people through all the centuries.  They are the tears of Adam and Eve as they are driven from the Garden of Eden and as they bowed over the first grave of their son Abel.  They represent the tears of the Children of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt.   They represent the tears shed at the gravesites, the trials and sufferings and disappointments that God’s people have suffered through the centuries of time.   John was weeping because it seemed the earth would lie forever in the hands of Satan and that death and damnation and hell should reign forever.   Without God there is no hope.  Without God there are no answers. 

            John’s weeping was sincere but he was told do not weep.  Sometimes our weeping is misguided.   Sometimes we weep for the wrong reasons.   In the book of James we are told to weep.   James 4:8 – Come near to God and He will come near to you.   What a great promise that is isn’t it?   Come near to God and He will come near to you.   Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded.   Grieve and mourn and wail    Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.   Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.   We should weep for the lost.  John’s tears were in appropriate and so he was told to stop weeping and I think they were trying to comfort him.     The lion from the tribe of Judah, the root of David has overcome and is worthy to open the book and the 7 seals.   He is worthy because He has over come death and hell.   He has over come Satan and demons.           Dr Donald Gray Barnhouse once observed that there were 4 things out of place in the universe: the church, which should be in heaven, Israel which should be living in peace in the land that God gave to her, Satan who belongs in the lake of fire, and Christ who should be seated on His throne reigning.  These things will happen.    

            It would seem that it would be a terrible mismatch to pit a lamb against the dragon we see in Revelation 12 and the demon locusts in chapter 9 and all the other things that follow in Revelation but his is no ordinary sacrificial lamb.  He is also a lion, and the Kings of Kings and the Lord of Lords.   This is the last great show down of good and evil of God and of Satan.    The lamb has already defeated death, sin and Satan and now He is about to consummate that victory.   Jesus came as a lamb first and He returns as a lion.  When John looked he saw a lamb and not a lion.   A lamb as if it had been slain.  Jesus the lion and lamb is the self sacrificing savior.   The scars of his death were still visible.   Jesus is referred to as the Lamb only once in the OT in Isaiah 53 and excluding Revelation he is mentioned only 4 times as a lamb in the NT.   In Revelation he is called lamb 31 times. 

        God is called a lamb interesting a gentle lamb.   We do not think of God as a gentle lamb.   Normally when we think of God we think of power.   This lamb is more than able to do everything that needs to be done. Jesus writes the last page and has the final say.   Jesus puts everything in order and makes everything right.      The freeing of this world from sin and the making of all things to be right and correct starts with horrible judgment.   Things will happen quickly.   In chapter 6 scripture says then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.   They called to the mountains and the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?   The mountains and the hand of God protected Moses from God’s glory but God and the Lamb now come to judge and no mountain will protect mankind.

      Jesus takes the scroll and there is a whole lot of praise going on.  This whole chapter is a song of praise.  There are 2 majestic doxologies in chapter 4 and 3 more in chapter 5.   There is great anticipation in this passage that the final defeat of death and Satan are soon to come.  The whole creation Romans tells us groans and travails and that groaning and travail is about to be made right and be done with forever.   The fulfillment of prophecy is coming to pass.   Each of the 24 elders was holding a harp and bowls full of incense, which were the prayers of the saints.  Harps in the OT were associated with worship and prophecy.   I Chronicles 25 say they were to prophecy with harp, lyres, and symbols.  Often the power of God would come upon the prophet as music was played and they would prophecy.   The harps held by the elders may symbolize all prophecy of all people since the beginning of time.   Golden bowls of incense were used in the temple and the tabernacle.   They were connected to the altar and they symbolized the priestly work of intercession for the people.  

     As the elders brought before God the desires and prayers of the saints they sang a new song.   The new song was the song of redemption.   Revelation is a book of new things and one of them is a new song.   There is a new name and a new Jerusalem, a new song, new heavens, new earth, and the great final promise that God will make all things new.   Won’t that be some kind of wonderful?   Everything God does is perfect.    The song opens with affirmation that Jesus is worthy to take the book and break the seals and they explain why Jesus is worthy.   He was slain and his blood purchased people for God from every tribe, language and nation and that the redeemed will be priests and will reign.   God made us to reign.   In Genesis Adam reigned and in heaven we will reign and I believe today we reign.   Today we have authority and power in Jesus to reign.  We reign as we are submitted to Jesus.     John must have been so blessed to realize that saints would be saved from every tribe and nation. 

         In verse 11 John for the 4th time in this chapter sees something.   He heard the voice of many angels and the number of them was 10 thousand times ten thousand or myriads upon myriads.   They encircled the throne with the living creatures and elders and in a loud voice they sang worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and wealth, and wisdom, and strength.   This great hymn and singing reaches such a climax that every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them worshipped.   Psalm 69:34 Let heaven and earth praise Him the seas and all that move in them.  Let the fish worship and the whales and the stingrays and the starfish etc worship.   Christina Rosetti said heaven is revealed to earth as the homeland of music.  Here is the greatest chorus of praise the universe can ever hear.   Here is the truth that heaven and earth and everything under the earth and in the earth are designed to praise God.   May our voices join this vast chorus of praise.