Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Revelation
“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. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
As we come to the end of our journey through the sixty-six Books of the Bible, we now find ourselves at the mysterious Book of Revelation – sometimes referred to as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John. It is believed to have been revealed to John when he was exiled to Patmos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
There is much debate as to the date of this vision given to John. Some say that it occurred during the reign and bloody persecution of Nero (AD 54-68), and if that is the case, a good portion of Revelation prophetically speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The majority believe it was written later (one big reason is that Irenaeus wrote in AD 180 about Revelation being written by the apostle John during the reign and persecution of Domitian – around AD 95). The date chosen does determine one’s view of the Revelation (NOT Revelations!), but that debate is not the issue with the verses I have chosen to write about.
The scene being described in Revelation 5 is in Heaven, and upon His throne the Holy God Almighty sits holding a scroll that is sealed seven times with the insignia of the owner – in this case, the Lord Himself. There is an outer waxy seal that keeps the entire scroll enclosed, and the seal, thus the scroll, can only be broken and opened by a qualified person – the Owner. As the scroll is unrolled you would come to another wax seal that would prevent the reader from going any further, until, once again, the qualified person broke the seal and continued to unroll the scroll, revealing the next bit of information.
In the sixth chapter we discover that the scroll contains the seven seals – the judgments of God. Many feel that the scroll represents any number of things, such as: God’s covenant, His law, His promises, His plans, or maybe it’s a legal will. All we know is that in the fifth chapter, John begins to weep when he hears the angel declare that someone needs to open the scroll, but no one is qualified to do so. But then the elders, who surround the throne of God, reassure John that there is no need to weep, because there IS One who is qualified – the Lion of the tribe of Judah – the Root of David – the slain and resurrected Lamb – Jesus Christ. Because of His perfect life as a human, and His sacrificial death and resurrection for the elect, this enables Him and Him alone to possess the authority to fulfill and reveal the purposes of the Lord God.
Now, all of that might not mean a whole lot to you, and I understand that you might have a thousand other questions about this scene and the meaning of it all, but once again, the purpose of these ’66 Verses in 66 Days’ is to give you a taste of the context, while focusing on one particular aspect of one or a few verses. So, with that little bit of background, let’s just focus on this ninth and tenth verse of this fifth chapter of Revelation. Once again:
“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.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to
serve our God,and they will reign on the earth.”
There are a number of reasons why these two verses are so significant to the context, the Book, and to each of us who have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
- In and of ourselves, because of our sin, rebellion, and rejection of the Persons of the Triune God and His grace, none of us are ‘worthy’ of the Lord’s salvation, friendship, and acceptance within His family. I know that goes against all of the positive self-image stuff that surrounds our culture today, and I am not saying that we are worthless pieces of junk (we are all made in God’s image!), but fallen man – and even redeemed man – has no ability, or nothing within ourselves (that is, in our flesh) that ‘deserves’ or warrants ‘worthiness’. We read in Romans 3:10-12,
As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks
God. All have turned away, they have together become
worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’
Paul is speaking about ALL of mankind, not just ‘those vile people over there’. The ONLY ONE worthy to open the scroll containing the purposes and plans of God is the One who wrote or determined those purposes and plans – God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, the Good News is that because of the indwelling Spirit and Life of Christ within us, which has transformed and repurposed us for the Lord’s glory, we have been made righteous – made worthy. We are now ‘worthy’ because HE is worthy. So it is not a righteousness or worthiness mustered together by our own means and doings, but rather is the gift of HIS LIFE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS that now makes us ‘worthy’. So, as a believer you can now go ahead and see yourself ‘worthy’, but PLEASE always see that worthiness in context of the One who lives within us and makes us worthy – Jesus Christ. That way we don’t become proud and ‘self-righteous’ by puffing ourselves up.
- As I have previously stated, because the Lamb is Jesus Christ (Who, as the verse continues, was slain, and whose sacrifice ransomed for God His elect), is WORTHY, then He can open the scroll revealing the purposes, plans, covenants, laws, and judgments of the Triune God.
- The Lamb of God was sacrificed – the Perfect Lamb of God – was slain in order to fulfill righteousness, atone for our sins, and satisfy the just and holy wrath of God.As John the Baptist declared as his cousin Jesus approached him to be baptized, “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” We know from both the Old and the New Testaments (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22) that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (the taking of the life, since ‘life is in the blood’). Jesus was slain as the Perfect Man (Divine/Man), and since it was a Perfect sacrifice (unblemished Lamb, who truly represented mankind), then not only were our sins atoned for (covered, washed away, paid for), but we were ransomed – delivered from slavery – rescued from the punishment of sin, the control of the devil, the grip of the world, and the wrath of God.
- And one of the most beautiful and universal truths of the Gospel – the Lord, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – has ransomed, not everyone (the Bible does NOT teach universalism), but someone (many ones!) from every tribe in the world; someone from every language group; a representative from every people group; and ever nation.Yes, this means that in glory we will meet fellow redeemed believing Christians from Sudan, Russia, India, Papua New Guinea, Iran, England, Iceland, and even good ol’ New Jersey.
- And each of those humbled, forgiven, redeemed, spiritually transformed, repurposed, and born again people from all four corners of the world, have been made – by God Himself – to be an eternal Kingdom – One Nation – One Unified Table of God’s Children – each a priest of the Holy God, who will eternally, willingly, humbly, and joyfully serve other Christians, but most importantly, we will have the privilege to serve our Great God and King – the Triune God – for all of eternity.
- And finally, (and this is a whole message in and of itself) each believer will rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity – not in just a spiritual ‘world’ called Heaven, but we will actually live, serve, worship, and enjoy the presence of the Lord right here on a renewed and perfect planet Earth. Yep, that’s what it says! What do you think Revelation 21 is talking about? Here it says,
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with
them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will
be My children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts,
the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery
lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8
And then Revelation 21:22-27,
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need
the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light,
and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought
into it.Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who
does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose
names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Wow! What a glorious day that will be! And that is the hope – the confident expectation that all believers have. But in the meantime, we aren’t to just sit and stare at the eastern sky waiting for the Lord to return to make all things new. He’s called us to keep busy with the things of God; meet together in God’s House to worship Him and encourage one another; keep sharing the Good News to the lost; continue to love our neighbors and our enemies; feed the hungry; care for the ill, infirmed, orphaned, and widowed; visit those in prison; and do it all for the glory of God.
Yes, one day the Lord will return, and when He does I want to be found faithfully serving Him – not in order to win His affection (because, through Christ I already have His love and affection) – but because I am so grateful that He, according to His good pleasure, purposes, mercy, love and grace, saved a wretch like me. How about you?