Revelation 5:914

Wednesday Night Bible Study

March 19, 1997

Introduction

Side note:

In Time magazine this week, the cover story is on "Does Heaven Exist?" (3-24-97)

In it, the writers say that most churches never talk about heaven, and though most people believe in it, most don't know much about it.

I guess they've never been through a study of Revelation!

We saw chapter four as the start of the future events, where John is raptured into heaven to find himself before God's throne.

John saw:

God's throne, and God was like a clear, reddish light upon the throne.

There was a greenish halo ("rainbow") around the throne, and also around the throne were 24 smaller thrones, with 24 elders sitting on them (possibly representative of the leaders of God's people in heaven), clothed with white, wearing golden crowns.

We saw the four "beasts", or "living creatures" that surround the throne, also known as the "cherubim".

These angelic beings each had six wings, four different faces, and were covered with eyes.

Being covered with eyes, and being constantly before God's throne, we understand that there are no creatures in the universe that see God and the things He does quite as much as these do.

And because they know God so well, they are constantly worshipping Him

Last week we saw:

Around this throne the activity became focused on a scroll in the hand of God.

The scroll would be similar to a "title deed" to earth.

We talked about the concept of selling your property, and the ability of your sold property to be "redeemed" by a near kinsman.

The earth had been sold into sin by Adam in the garden.

No one was "worthy" to open this scroll, and to redeem the earth and its inhabitants.

The requirements involved

      1. Someone who was a near "kinsman" to mankind.
      2. Someone who had the purchasing power to pay the price.

Then up stepped the Lamb, standing as having been slain, and took the scroll.

The inhabitants of heaven all responded in worship because someone was worthy to open the earth and redeem it back from sin.

5:9-14 Worshipping the Lamb

:9 and hast redeemed us

Some take the "us" to indicate that the 24 elders are indeed humans, the leaders of the church, or of the redeemed of all time.

But, honestly there are some ancient Greek copies of the Scriptures that have "them" instead of us. No matter, you can still have the same conclusion.

Redeemed

We have been purchased for an incredibly high price:

1 Pet 1:17-19 (NASB) And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; {18} knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, {19} but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

When we think of the depth of our sin, and the depth of His payment for us, it makes us respond as the old hymn:

"Beneath the cross of Jesus"

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see

The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;

And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess--

The wonder of redeeming love, and my unworthiness!

And yet, it's never been our "worthiness" that's got us anything, it's only what He's done for us that counts.

Illustration

A beggar stopped a lawyer on the street in a large southern city and asked him for a quarter. Taking a long, hard look into the man's unshaven face, the attorney asked, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" "You should," came the reply. "I'm your former classmate. Remember, second floor, old Main Hall?" "Why Sam, of course I know you!" Without further question the lawyer wrote a check for $100. "Here, take this and get a new start. I don't care what's happened in the past, it's the future that counts." And with that he hurried on.

Tears welled up in the man's eyes as he walked to a bank nearby. Stopping at the door, he saw through the glass well-dressed tellers and the spotlessly clean interior. Then he looked at his filthy rags. "They won't take this from me. They'll swear that I forged it," he muttered as he turned away.

The next day the two men met again. "Why Sam, what did you do with my check? Gamble it away? Drink it up?" "No," said the beggar as he pulled it out of his dirty shirt pocket and told why he hadn't cashed it. "Listen, friend," said the lawyer. "What makes that check good is not your clothes or appearance, but my signature. Go on, cash it!"

The Bible says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." That promise is a "negotiable note" of infinite value. And as sinners, all we need to do is "exchange" it by faith for eternal life. Don't let the "tattered clothes" of your past keep you from cashing God's "check" of salvation.

If we've realized what Jesus paid for us, it should affect the way we live our lives.

(1 Cor 6:18-20 NASB) Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. {19} Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? {20} For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

If I've been "redeemed", then I have been purchased, and I no longer am my own, I belong to another.

Illustration

Let's say I wanted to go "off-roading", but knowing I don't have a car that can handle it, I decide to "borrow" my neighbor's new truck, without telling him of course.

And you know, since I've never been "off-roading", I don't know what I'm doing, and when I return the truck, it's not exactly in the same shape.

That's what it's like when we abuse our bodies with sin. Our bodies no longer belong to us, they belong to Jesus. He's bought and paid for them.

:10 And hast made us unto our God kings

Kind of ironic that Jesus would take the dregs of society, purchase them with His own blood, and turn around and make them kings.

I can see Him making us slaves, but not kings.

In case you're thinking that this only applies to the 24 elders, or the cherubim, look again:

(Rev 1:5-6 KJV) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, {6} And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

To the church at Thyatira,

(Rev 2:26-27 KJV) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: {27} And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

To Laodicea, Jesus writes,

(Rev 3:21 KJV) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

There are some churches that want to make a big deal out of this "king" thing.

They like to talk about the authority we have as believers, and almost give the impression that they're going to take their "authority" and shove it down every one's throat.

Though it's true that Jesus has given us His authority, I think we ought to be careful just what kind of "king" idea we have in our heads.

Be like the King of Kings

Keep in mind some of the lessons we've seen through the Gospel of John.

1. He was a King, but also a loving servant.

(John 13:1-5 KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. {2} And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; {3} Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; {4} He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. {5} After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

2. He was a King, but He was a rejected King.

(John 19:14-15 KJV) And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! {15} But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

3. He was a King, but He wasn't an abusive tyrant.

He could have called down legions of angels to deliver Him, but He didn't.

(Mat 26:51-53 KJV) And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. {52} Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. {53} Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

He could have sneezed on the Roman executioners and melted them, but instead He prayed "Father forgive them" (Luke 23:34)

:10 and priests

The Latin word for "priest" is "pontifex", which literally means "bridge".

A priest is a kind of "bridge" between God and man.

What does a priest do?

1. He represents man before God - as we do in prayer.

2. He represents God to man - as we do when we tell people about Jesus.

When you read through your Bible in your daily devotions, and you come across Scriptures concerning "priests", take note, there's an aspect that will apply to you.

An example:

(Lev 9:23-24 KJV) And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. {24} And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

(Lev 10:1-3 KJV) And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. {2} And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. {3} Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

(Lev 10:8-11 KJV) And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, {9} Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: {10} And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; {11} And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

:11 ten thousand times ten thousand

muriades - ten thousand, a myriad.

So, 10,000 x 10,000 = 100,000,000 angels

:11 thousands of thousands

1,000 x 1,000 = 1,000,000 angels

There are lots of angels!!!!

:12 Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

Back in chapter four we saw the worship of God the Father, saying that He was worthy because He is our Creator.

Here, Jesus is also worthy of worship because of His great sacrifice for us.

:12 to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

God the Father only received "glory and honour and power".

Now Jesus comes up and receives seven things instead of just three.

Do you think the Father's feelings are hurt? No way.

I don't think one person of the Trinity is ever jealous of the attention we might give to another person.

What I see here is a great display of emotion and worship in response to what the Lamb has done for us.

Do you ever get "worked up" in praise to Jesus for your salvation?

Or has it become kind of just "ho-hum"?

:13 And every creature

Have you noticed how the praises in heaven are building.

When the Lamb appears to take the scroll, the first ones to worship are the cherubim and the elders (vs.8).

Then all the angels join in worship. (vs.11)

Now finally, all of creation joins in worship.

There is a sense in which all of creation is just as eager for things to get cleaned up on this earth as we are:

(Rom 8:19-23 TLB) For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children. {20} For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay--the things that overcame the world against its will at God's command--will all disappear, {21} and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God's children enjoy. {22} For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event. {23} And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us--bodies that will never be sick again and will never die.

How is this that "all" creation is praising God when the tribulation hasn't even started?

It may be some sense that this is all the praise that will eventually come to heaven, since this IS the way it will end:

Paul wrote:

(Phil 2:9-11 KJV) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: {10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; {11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

You can either worship Him NOW, or worship Him later.

It's better to be starting NOW.

:13 be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb

Both the Father and the Son receiving equal praise.

:14 And the four beasts said, Amen

They're the "amen" section!

"Amen" is the actual Greek word, and it means "verily, truly, of a truth"

In other words, they say, "Right on!"

:14 the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped

Pay attention to this.

Nobody does this better.

On their faces.

Loving and adoring their God.