The Weekend Word
We left off last week in the heavenly throne room as the Lamb (Jesus) took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne (the Father).
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.
- Just as an introductory note here, v. 7 & 8 are very similar to what Isaiah saw on the Lord’s Day in Isa 6.
- This is the same that Ezekiel sees in Ezekiel 37 – looking over the valley of dry bones – where he will see resurrection of new life.
- It is the Revelation 7 language where we see the great multitude of those who are dressed in white robes – those who are coming out of the tribulation
- All are a picture of the Church.
- It’s funny as you read the descriptions of ‘creatures’ in the scriptures, they resemble our favorite sports teams – Lions, Tigers, Panthers, Hawks, Eagles – all powerful beasts and birds – no one names their team the Lambs.
- Even Texas Christian, the Frogs are the ‘Horned’ Frogs to add power.
- Harps = Psalm 33:2-3 = “Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
- Very similar to when Jesus gathers his own in the Divine Worship Service, where he speaks, where he acts, where he gives on the earth – where the Church prays to him who has been given all authority on heaven and earth.
- How do we respond to this/ We see it in v. 8 ff
- Confession – Praise and Thanksgiving.
- Let’s look at the participants;
- 4 living creatures = all of creation
- 24 elders = the entire church
- ALL fall down and worship the lamb = Jesus
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
- Look what John is doing. This is for those who are tempted to see only the socio – political – economic view of things.
- Going back into v. 7 John would have us step back and read God’s signs – see what things are and what they are and what they will really be.
- (1) Where there is weakness we are to see strength.
- (2) Where there is poverty we are to see the riches of God being done.
- (3) Where there is servanthood, we are to see majesty.
- (4) Where there is death we are to see victory.
- Our politicians may seem to be God like but they aren’t. The Book of Revelation is teaching us “don’t believe that.”
- But note here v. 8-14 – this is a worship service – it is a worship scene. Jesus takes the scroll and everyone worships.
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
- Note that we have been ‘made’- not we accomplished or made ourselves.
- 1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
- Priests in the NT are the baptized – not the clergy. In the NT the clergy is never referred to as the priests.
- 1 Peter does say that the baptized, the holy and royal priesthood do offer sacrifice – a spiritual sacrifice.
- This is a sacrifice that is pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. This is not a sacrifice as we see in the Roman Catholic Church mass that atones for sin.
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,
- We sometimes just read this as God and his inner circle. But look at the numbers.
- What is a myriad? It doesn’t matter – it is a whole bunch more than we can count.
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!”
- This may be a prelude to a Gregorian chant. How do they know the words? Who is the one who is worthy?
- The Lamb is worthy — to receive what? Look back at Matthew 28:18
- “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Why was all authority given to him? Because he is worthy.
- This is great, and it is throughout Revelation. How many acclamations are given here? Seven – to show completeness – complete in the grouping and complete in each individual attribute.
- (1) complete power, (2) complete wealth, (3) complete wisdom, (4) complete might, (5) complete honor, (6) complete glory, (7) complete blessing.
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
- Now how many beings are we seeing? All
- This is the same Jesus we saw in Rev 1:5-6 – “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
- To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
- What else can you say? Amen and then fall down and worship.
Closing this chapter, I think we see that this chapter is the one on which the whole book turns. God reveals himself to us on the cross as the Lamb slain. This book is solely about Jesus Christ – it is not about Israel, it is not about anti Christ, it is not about a 1,000 year earthly millennial kingdom – it is about Jesus Christ.
Your last sentence is the reason this is such a comforting book. You do such a faithful job keeping us focused on Jesus. Jesus is the Lamb. The priesthood is all who are baptized and believing in Jesus. The spiritual sacrifices are prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Thanks for this article but also for the series on Revelation.
Thank you Jeff – I appreciate your comment.