10.5 Revelation – Praise Worthy

Praise Worthy

In Revelation 5:12, the heavenly beings sing in chorus to Jesus, saying, “He is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

7 things.  7 blessings.  7 categories of blessings.  As I look at the list, I’m struggling to find any blessing someone might desire that isn’t part of that list.  Love?  But true love is a gift of the Spirit of God who is Love and is given in the same way it is received.  Peace, Joy?  Again, these are things of God and we have seen they are already held as possessions by Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Then we get into the powerful, but confusing, echo of Revelation 5:13.  John writes, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying…

As we continue to read Revelation, we will see that there are legions of people that will still reject Jesus.  Even during a time of His reign on the Earth for 1000 year, men will still turn away from Him.  As we look around the world today, we have a very hard time imagining every creature singing praise to Jesus.

Yet, what John sees and hears is exactly that.  Even as mankind strives to lie and deny, every part of us and every part of creation sings the truth.  We are like a child throwing a tantrum in the arms of a loving parent, yet, the entire scene further exemplifies and amplifies the image of the magnitude of the love of that parent.

How much of your “world” is shaped by lies?  How much of what you think and believe and what you discuss, worry about, live and breath comes from the tantrums of a mankind throwing a tantrum that it doesn’t need God?

John points out that it is inevitable.  Every part of creation, which was made by God, has no power or ability to do anything other than sing out praises and blessings to the savior.  Even our denial, shows the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice because it is one that pays the price for all sin with nothing we can do to add to it in any way.

Why do the elders keep falling down and praising God/Jesus?  Let’s put it in perspective.  Let’s say you are trapped in a burning building.  When you realize you have absolutely no exit, no ability to save yourself from the flame that you yourself set, a firefighter bursts in and scoops you up and carries you to safety.  What would be your reaction to that firefighter?  Now, magnify the severity of the fire by a million and the hopelessness by an equal magnitude.  Now, repeat this scene over and over and over, realizing you weren’t saved once, but repeatedly for every second you lived.  And that as you give thanks to the firefighter for the risks and sacrifices he endured to save you, it is further revealed to you each additional time this has happened, not only for you, but for everyone you love.  Even as you kicked and fought the firefighter in the smoke of the fire, he held you and his power is sufficient to save you.  The elders bow repeatedly because the alternative is to run back into the burning building.  The bigger question is, why do we keep going back into the burning building instead of getting on our knees?

My Answers:

11.
a.
power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.  These summarize eternal blessings for the King of Heaven.  He is worthy because He submitted Himself to death for the sin of others and purchased them (us) back into the kingdom

b.
It is all in – physical, mental, singing, praising.  It is not an obligation – it is an outpouring of love.

12.
a.
Everyone: in heaven, 4 creatures, 24 elders, thousands upon thousands of angels – all on the earth – under the earth, sea and all that is in them

b.
made by God in His image -it declares God’s glory – it is vast, but it was subjected to frustration to someday be liberated from bondage to decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God.   – it testifies to the majesty of God (Luke 19:40 – the rocks would cry out) Romans 1:20 (God’s invisible qualities have been seen from what has been made

13.
a.
John saw every part of God’s creation bowing, singing and praising Jesus Christ and God the Father – with everything they have.

b.
Mostly turning away from Him – wanting Him only to be “a part”, not the whole.

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10.4 Revelation – Worthy

Worthy

In Greek the word Worthy as used in Revelation 5:9 is “Axios.”  According to Strong’s, the definition of Axios is “properly, to weigh in, assigning the matching value (“worth-to-worth”)”

I love the visual that this image provides.  The scales of justice are not balance.  With the fall, mankind took on the weight of sin and gave up holiness.  This is not an even trade and has ever since thrown everything out of balance.  As Romans 8:20 states, all of creation is in a state of frustration.  The only way a guilty verdict has not been delivered is because God chose to delay judgement.

But in this image we also see the futility of man’s efforts.  On our end of the scale, we can not put things back in balance.  Think of it this way – all of the things we do to add back to our account (good works, etc.), are simply rearranging the things on our side that God has given us.  We cannot take anything from Heaven, nor can we remove any of the sin we hold as mankind.  We can rearrange things, putting a shiny appearance on the outside, but inside we are rotten and corrupt, hollow and without merit.

But Jesus Christ alone chose to move from one side of the scale to the other.  He left the Holy Spirit within His church in the Earth and removed the sin of the world.

He and He alone is the matching value to the perfection of God.  As a man, a member of the creation, Jesus, by whom and through whom all was created, alone has the ability at the day of judgement, to return creation to a state of balance.  To restore a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

He is worthy – Axios.

My Answers:

8.
a.
fell down before the lamb, each with a harp, holding golden bowls of incense (prayers of God’s people), sang a new song

b.
slain & with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, nation – made kingdom of priests

c.
It models what should be my daily response to Jesus.  It also reiterates my vocation (to be a priest, part of a kingdom of priests, serving God.

9.
Marked by the spirit.  I have seen Him move in my life to help bring others to Him.

10.
we were (people of every tribe, language, people and nation)  It can and will be a diverse party, with great music!

10.3 Revelation – One and the Same, Completely

One and the Same, Completely
The Lion and the Lamb

Through time, the Jews, the chosen people of God awaited a savior, a Messiah, the promised one.  A Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.

The elder speaking to John in the throne room of heaven explains this is the only one who has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.

Then John sees a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne.

Notice that this isn’t portrayed as a “but instead” statement.  The Lamb is not a replacement for the Lion.  The Lamb is not “plan b”.  The Lamb is the Lion!

The Lamb was slain but is slain no more.  The lamb stands at the center of the throne, the place reserved only for the King, for God Himself.  The Lamb doesn’t reach into the inner circle, He does not replace the Father God King on the throne, instead He stands with and in Him.  This may be sacrilegious, but think along the lines of the 1990 movie “Ghost” with Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, where Swayze was embodied in Goldberg.  Please don’t take this analogy too far, but the point is that Jesus and the Father are one and in this way, everything that is the Father’s is the Son’s and the scroll held in the right hand of the Father is held in the right hand of Jesus.

The description of the Lamb, with 7 horns and eyes, further describes His physical connection not only to the Divine, but to creation.  The seven spirits of the seven churches are not just held in the hand of Jesus, but they are physically part of Him, extensions of who He now is.

My Answers:

6.
a.
a Lamb, looking as if had been slain, standing at the center of the throne (Jesus)

b.
He died as a sacrifice – He had been slain, but was no longer – now was standing

7.
a.
The throne is the throne of God.  God is at the center.  Jesus is God

b.
completeness of the connection between heaven and the people of earth (7 churches, 7 spirits., 7 candlestands).  They are physically part of the lamb of God.  They come out from Christ into all the earth.

10.2 Revelation – Sealed Scroll

Sealed Scroll

It is clear from Revelation 5 that not only is the scroll in God’s right hand a big deal, but the inability to open it is of such paramount importance that John cries and cries when no one is found who can open the seals.  Yet, the content of the words written on the scroll are not specifically disclosed.  This seems to imply that the content of the scroll is not nearly as important as the scroll itself and the ability to break the seals.

First, there are some things we know historically about scrolls and seals.  First, a scroll is a made up of a long piece of what we would consider paper.  They were normally made of plant material such as parchment or papyrus, stripped, dried, and pressed together in a weave pattern.  These sheets where then adhered (glued) to each other to form a long sheet, sometimes as long as 30 feet.  Scrolls were used for important documents, such as the written word of the Torah as well as the recording of events and decisions in the courts of Kings.  A scroll differs from a roll in length, with a roll being a shorter document.  Each were used for legal documents such as deeds, contracts and wills, but mostly for the classes of nobility (think land-owners).

A seal was affixed by the scribe (the one recording the words).  It was a method of preventing the premature disclosure (or tampering) of terms, events, actions or other information on the scroll.  The scribe would begin writing then roll the section up to that point and affix a seal.  He would then continue writing and rolling periodically affixing another seal.  These intact seals signified that the legal document was intact and binding.  As the document was unrolled, another seal would appear, when that was broken, then the reader could proceed in unrolling the document.

In the case of a legal document, such as a deed or will, when the final seal was affixed, the terms of the redemption or reading of the document was written on the outside of the document (to specified what the document contained and the terms for its execution.)

7 seals would have signified a very important document.  The wills of both Emperor Vespasian and Caesar Augustus were secured with seven seals.

The fact that God held the document indicates that God held ownership.  The lender, not the borrower, would hold the legal document.  The Father, not the children, would hold the will.  The land owner would hold the deed.  But the fact that the document was sealed indicates it was indentured or bound up.  Think back to Jacob and Laban, where Jacob purposefully indentured his work product (time and materials) enslaving himself to Laban.  There were conditions (end of 7 years) under which that agreement was broken and he was no longer bound by its terms.

God had withheld judgement of His creation after the fall of man into sin.  Creation still belonged to God.  God was not indebted to us or to Satan, but by choosing to delay judgement, He bound up an agreement for which redemption of the property (His creation) may someday come.  He allowed Satan a position of rule on the Earth as the Prince of the Air and Father of Lies, but ownership never transferred to the fallen angel.  There was always a legally binding written document by the execution of which this state would no longer continue.  The All Knowing God would not have needed to write this down, but it was written for the benefit of mankind the angels and all creation.

John cried and cried, the appropriate response, because no one was found in all created things who met the conditions specified on the outside of the document to be able to break the agreement and redeem creation from being bound in its current state forever.  This would be a situation without hope because the current state of a fallen earth and people would continue for all eternity and separation from God would continue (something John could not bear).

But the elder informed John that one did exist who is able to open the scroll and break the seals.  This one is, however, was not part of God’s creation for He existed before and in creation itself.  The Messiah, the promised one of God (God with us), is and was God (as part of the Trinity) and the one who fulfilled the Jewish prophecy of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. (more on that tomorrow).

My Answers:

3.
a.
a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals

b.
He wept and wept – no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it

4.
It means Jesus, the one who fulfilled the messianic prophecies

5.
1st by being slain, then standing in the center of the throne in heaven.  By fulfilling the prophecies He showed and revealed that He (Jesus) was and is God incarnate – it is significant because without Him there is no salvation from sin