Well as you know, if you’ve been with us, we’re looking at the book of Revelation, and I want to go back there today, chapter 5. This is a really incredible chapter, in fact, not just in the book of Revelation, but in all of Holy Scripture. This fifth chapter is remarkable, and you’ll see why. It is a chapter of pure worship, and worship in heaven over the fact that all of redemptive history is about to culminate. It’s about to come to its final conclusion, and all of heaven unleashes worship over that reality. Let me read these fourteen verses for you so you have them in mind.
Revelation chapter 5: “I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book [or a scroll] written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or look into it; and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.’
“And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.’
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the [four] living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all [the] things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be the blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’ And the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Indeed, that is pure worship. And even though it comes at the early part of the book of Revelation, it is worship in anticipation of the end of the book of Revelation, and that is of Christ taking back the creation, taking back the universe, establishing Himself as King of kings and Lord of lords. There’s a lot to happen before that happens, and we’ll go through that in the middle of the chapters of this wonderful prophecy. But all of heaven in chapters 4 and 5 is anticipating what is about to unfold, and that is final judgment and the establishment of the Lord Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. So this is heaven worshiping, for the end is in sight, and all that redemptive history has anticipated and headed for is about to unfold. It is pure worship.
And speaking of that, just as a general observation, worship sometimes seems to people a little bit like a one-sided conversation or like a monologue. Some people think of a church service as worship, which means we all speak to the Lord, and then comes the teaching of the Scripture and He speaks to us. But you have to understand that worship is not a one-sided conversation; it is anything but a monologue. It is a conversation. It is a conversation between the worshiper and God Himself—in an actual conversation. It is, further, a conversation not only with God, but with everybody else who’s in the collective assembly of those who are worshipers.
It’s not only in the preaching that we hear from God. It’s not only in the reading of Scripture that we hear from God. He speaks to us in our songs. He speaks to us in our praise. Why is that? Because, essentially, the words that we sing are all reiterations of what He’s revealed in His Word. Everything that we have sung this morning, which may have seemed like some one-sided conversation, was anything but that because we were literally giving back to God what He has said to us. This is the essence of worshiping in spirit and in truth. We lift up our spirits in worship, and that worship is all about the truth. We have received it, we affirm it, we declare it back to Him as part of our praise. We speak to Him what He has revealed to us to be true. So the words that we sing are truths that we know only because of revelation. Singing in our wholehearted way is an affirmation of divine revelation because that’s the essence of the lyrics of our songs. We sing back to God what He has revealed to us.
Just some illustrations that are easy to understand. We have a favorite hymn: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Now, when you sing that, you may feel like that’s a one-sided conversation back to God. But the truth is, you’re telling God what is true about Him that He has revealed to you, and that is that He is a faithful God. The lyrics of that hymn affirm the divine revelation upon which the hymn is based.
If we sing “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness,” and we think about the fact that Christ in His death has provided for us righteousness, as we sing that we are singing back what has been revealed in Scripture. As we sing the hymn “He Will Hold Me Fast,” we are declaring back to God that we believe, and we affirm that He will hold us fast because He has revealed that to us. If we sing “It Is Well With My Soul,” we are singing that because in our hearts we know it is well with our souls because of what He has revealed to be true. If we sing “His Robes for Mine,” that is to talk about the doctrine of justification. We are affirming that doctrine and the understanding we have by its revelation in Holy Scripture. Even when we sing, “Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King,” we’re simply echoing the revelation of God in the account of Christ’s birth. When we sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” we are affirming that the One who promised to come will come.
So worship, even in song, is a conversation with God, as we give back to God our full understanding and affirmation of what He has revealed to us. And then beyond that, it is all of us conversing together in that affirmation. And that’s what you see in heaven in chapters 4 and 5. You see angels and glorified saints collectively giving God praise. And what they’re saying to God is what has been revealed as being true about God. That is the essence of worship. A simple way to understand worship is you affirm to God what He has revealed about Himself to be true. That’s the only kind of worship that He accepts—that which is consistent with the revelation of Himself.
Now, why all this worshiping in chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation? Because all of heaven is realizing in this prophetic picture that Christ is about to bring final judgment in the world and establish His long-awaited kingdom. And so this is the anticipatory joy of heaven, both among glorified saints and angels, that the reign of Satan is coming to its end, that the dominance of corruption and sin and death is going to be conquered and vanquished, and Christ will reign in righteous glory. So 4 and 5 anticipates what actually happens in chapter 19 when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom. Before He comes, however, chapters 6 to 19 are all of the judgments laid out that will take place in anticipation of Christ’s return.
So chapters 4 and 5 are about glory, but they are also about doom. And the scene in chapters 4 and 5 is the throne of God, as we saw in chapter 4 the last couple of weeks. John, in chapters 1 to 3, saw Christ moving in His church—picture of the church age. And we know the church age ends when the church is raptured into heaven. So in chapter 4, John is all of a sudden in heaven, and there are the angels basically identified as “four living creatures” or cherubim, and many other angels. And there are twenty-four elders who are the representatives of the church. So when we get to chapter 4, the church has been raptured, saints are around the throne worshiping with the angels in anticipation of coming judgment.
Keep that in mind. This is worship because God is going to bring judgment and overthrow Satan and sin and death and hell and establish His glorious kingdom. The judgments actually start in chapter 6, verse 1. So 4 and 5 leads us right up to the revelation of those judgments. This is the prophecy of the Lord Jesus taking over the whole creation, completing the redemption of sinners and the redemption of creation.
Now as we saw in chapter 4, the praise began in verse 8 with four living creatures who are cherubim, angelic beings, praising God for this anticipated judgment. The praise is in verse 8, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” And then there was a second paean of praise down in verses 10 and 11 as the twenty-four elders, or the redeemed saints, fall down around the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, and they begin to say, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” “You are the Creator, You have a right to Your creation, which has been in the hands of a usurper since the fall in the garden. It’s time to take back creation.”
So we’ve already been to the throne of God in looking at chapter. We return to that throne in chapter 5, and let’s look at verse 1. Now God is sitting on the throne, and God is the one behind all of the activity in not only this vision but all through the book of Revelation. And so John writes in his vision—he was transported to heaven in a vision, and he says, “I saw in the right hand”—or literally, on, upon the right hand—“of Him who sat on the throne”—which is, of course, God—“a [scroll]”—“a book,” a scroll literally—“written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.”
Now, what is this? Scrolls were very familiar in ancient times before books. Books were called codex; scrolls, biblos. It was an ancient way of communicating, before books were invented. It could be made out of parchment, it could be made out of papyrus, it could be made out of animal skin, and it was rolled up. So here you have a scroll, rolled up and sealed seven times.
Just exactly what is this? Well, we know from history that documents of importance were scrolls rolled up and sealed. They were sealed because only an authorized person could open them. And in particular, the Romans had a tradition that they sealed any title deed, any will, any final testament with seven seals, so that there had to be an authorized person to open each seal, and an eyewitness. So there was protection over what that document said, until the appropriate time to open it only by the appropriate people and their witnesses.
But it was more than just the Roman will that was sealed this way. All over the ancient East, Middle East, there was this kind of familiar pattern; they had scrolls. That’s how they wrote things down. And all kinds of transactions were sealed. A marriage covenant was a scroll that was sealed, rental contracts, lease agreements, release of slaves, contract bills, all kinds of bonds, all kinds of documents. And even among the Hebrews, there was the familiar use of a scroll as a title deed, a scroll as a title deed. It was folded and signed, folded and signed, folded and signed, and it had to be sealed at each point of its unveiling so that only an authorized person could open it. It took a large number of witnesses to open the whole thing, and that was protection for the one who authored it.
So that’s what you have here. You have really what is, essentially, the title deed to the universe. This is the title deed to the universe, the official document that grants the universe to the One who is the heir of the Creator. That’s what you have in the hand of God, is the title deed to the universe, is the scroll.
Now we know from Psalm 24:1 that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains.” And He is the Creator, and it all belongs to Him. And here is the sort of official heavenly title deed in His hand. Now when this thing unfolds, the seven seals, with each seal will come judgment and judgment and judgment and judgment, as each one is opened. And after the seventh seal, more judgments called trumpet judgments. And after those trumpet judgments, more judgments called bowl judgments. So you have literally seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls unpacking all these judgments until you get to chapter 19 and the return of Christ.
So the scroll is in the hand of the One on the throne. It is a scroll of judgment, a scroll of doom, and at the same time, a scroll of glory because it is time for the Lord to be King over creation. The effects of sin will be removed, the universe will be returned to its rightful owner. The consequences of the scroll’s contents are immeasurable, and they are everlasting, they are everlasting.
Back in Romans 8, Paul talks about how that the whole creation is groaning, waiting for its redemption, and that is essentially what will come to fruition here. The long-groaning creation, which is in its groaning period ever since the Fall, will find its freedom when Christ takes back the creation; and all of creation will participate in the worship and the celebration. So the scroll, then, is the title deed to the world. The title deed to the universe belongs to the Father. He is the one who authored it, and it is time to redeem His universe.
That leads us to verse 2 and this amazing vision. Verse 2, “I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’” That is the compelling question.
We have a search for the Worthy One. “Who [can] . . . break the seals?” Who is authorized, who is empowered, and who is able? Who is qualified? Who is the heir? Who has the power of redemption? Who can overpower Satan, sin, and demons? The cry goes out through the universe, “And no one”—verse 3 says—“in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.” No one—no angel, no glorified human being.
Who has the right? Who has the worthiness? Who is the heir? Who has the power to overthrow the interloper, the intruder, Satan? “The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one.” Who can overthrow that? Michael was there; he doesn’t respond. Gabriel was there, whose name essentially means “a strong man of God”; he was there. There were myriads times myriads of angels. That’s ten thousand times ten thousand, which is a hundred million angels, plus thousands and thousands of more angels. None of them stepped forward. There were millions of Old Testament saints, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha, Moses, Job, Ezekiel, Daniel, and more. Millions of New Testament saints, including the apostles and all the giants of church history, and none of them stepped forward. Verse 3 says, “No one.” “No one in heaven,” “no one . . . on the earth,” “no one . . . under the earth.” That’s just covering all the bases. No one. No one. No one was authorized or had the power to even “look into it.”
In this moment of disappointment, we see in verse 4, John says, “I began to weep.” And the word “weep” there is the same one used in Luke 19 to describe Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. John has been led to heaven in this vision, and anticipating that God is about to take back the creation to consummate redemptive history, John’s heart is filled with anticipation. But in the vision, no one is authorized or capable of opening the scroll, and so he’s so overwhelmed that he begins to weep greatly.
This is a high degree of emotion. It’s the only time there are tears in heaven. John’s not actually there, but he’s there by vision, and he’s weeping “because no one was found worthy to open the book or look into it.” No one was authorized. No one had the right, no one had the power. So John in his vision is overwhelmed with emotion because what he had longed for, what all saints have always longed for—the consummation and the glory of Christ and the demise of Satan—is on hold because no one can open the book. No one has the right, the authority.
W. A. Criswell years ago wrote a wonderful paragraph on this moment. He wrote this: “These represent the tears of all God’s people through all the centuries. Those tears of the Apostle John are the tears of Adam and Eve driven out of the Garden of Eden as they bowed over the first grave, as they watered the dust of the ground with their tears over the silent, still form of their son Abel. Those are the tears of the children of Israel in bondage as they cried unto God in their affliction and slavery. Those are the tears of God’s elect through the centuries as they cried unto heaven. They are the sobs and tears that had been wrung from the heart and soul of God’s people as they looked on their silent dead, as they stand beside their open graves, as they experience and the trials and sufferings of life, heartaches and disappointments indescribable. Such is the curse that sin has laid on God’s beautiful creation, and this is the damnation of the hand of him who holds it, that usurper, that interloper, that intruder, that alien, that stranger, that dragon, that serpent, that satan-devil.” No wonder John wept audibly, for the failure to find a redeemer meant that this earth and its curse is consigned forever to death. It meant that death and sin and damnation and hell should reign forever and ever, and the sovereignty of God’s earth should remain forever in the hands of Satan.
But such weeping was short-lived because from the search for a worthy one in verses 2 to 4, we come to verses 5 to 7, the appearance of the Worthy One. John was weeping because he wanted to see the world redeemed. He wanted to see the kingdom come. He wanted to see the power of evil broken. He wanted to see retribution on Satan and demons and Christ-rejecting people. He wanted Israel saved. He wanted Christ to reign. He wanted the Curse to be reversed. He wanted glory to fill the world.
And then in verse 5, “One of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.’” This elder, representative of the church, calls a halt to John’s distress in the vision and the distress of all the saints who fear the ultimate triumph of evil. “You don’t need to weep. Evil will not triumph. Behold”—or look—“behold, the Lion is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. He has overcome, to open the book and its seven seals.”
Who is the Lion from Judah? It’s the Messiah. That title comes from Genesis 49:8 through 10, a messianic title. Speaks of Messiah as strong and powerful and menacing and destructive and deadly. In fact, the Jews assumed that their Messiah would be a lion. That was at the heart of their messianic theology, and it’s part of the reason why when Jesus came in humility and meekness and appeared as anything but a lion, they rejected Him. He was not lionlike. He was not fierce. He was not destructive of the enemies of Israel. He did not appear to be the Messiah because He was no lion, at least in their view. Far from it. He came in meekness as a slave and suffered rather than give out suffering.
“Stop weeping,” verse 5. “The Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, [the Messiah,] the Root of David”—another messianic title from Isaiah 11. The Messiah is not only a son of David, He is “the Root of David.” He is both David’s son and David’s Lord, as Luke 20 puts it.
So the announcement from this elder is that the Messiah is the one, the one “from the tribe of Judah”—necessary for Him to be from the tribe of Judah, the chosen tribe. The one who is from the line “of David”—necessary for Him to be of David’s line, to have a right to the throne. He “has overcome,” has overcome in His death and resurrection. He conquered Satan, He conquered sin, He conquered death by His resurrection. He destroyed the devil; He crushed his head. He is the victor.
And so there is the announcement in verse 5 of a lion. But look at verse 6: “I saw.” John looks up from his tears and he looks at the throne. And “between the throne”—or in the midst of the throne—are “the four living creatures,” the cherubim, “and the elders and a Lamb standing.” It’s arnion, a pet lamb, because the Passover lamb, by the way, was always a pet lamb, who was a young lamb who had to live in the house four days with the family before it was killed. It was cuddled, and then it was violently slain. John looked for a lion, and he saw a lamb. What a revelation. The Lion is the Lamb. Christ came the first time, and John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
This Lamb is amazing. It’s “as if [He has been] slain,” which is to say that He bears the marks, the wounds of His death, the wounds of His death. But He is “standing” triumphantly, and He is about to engage, this time, in another conflict. This one will leave no scars on Him at all. This time He will deal with the dragon. This time He will be the Lion. This time He will bring the ultimate triumph. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world will come back to take the world and rule it in righteousness.
What does it say? “[He has] seven horns.” Horns are symbols of power, seven is the number of perfection, so this is symbolic of His power. “Seven eyes”—again, perfection in terms of knowledge, omniscience, understanding. “Seven spirits of God”—that He is experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The seven aspects of the Holy Spirit are given in Isaiah chapter 11; we saw that back in chapter 1 of Revelation. So here is the Lion, and the Lion is the Lamb with perfect—perfect power, perfect knowledge, and the fullness of the Spirit in all that He is about to do. He’s ready to judge.
Verse 7, “And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” I can’t tell you what a monumental moment this is in redemptive history. We’ve been waiting for this since Genesis 3:15. Since the announcement was made that Satan would wound Christ, the earth has belonged to him, the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of this world. But this is the final moment. This is the culmination of all redemptive history. The goal of redemption is about to be reached. The Lion and the Lamb, who’s the rightful heir to the throne of God, takes the scroll out of the right hand of God on the throne. He is the heir. He is the one who inherits everything that God created. And He Himself is co-Creator.
It is time for Him to take the scroll, unroll the seals, which will unroll judgment after judgment after judgment after judgment, running all the way through the book of Revelation to the nineteenth chapter. Judgment is coming, final judgment. And all of heaven has been waiting for this, waiting and waiting and waiting. And John has been waiting, and the saints have been waiting, and we are waiting. And here is the moment.
And what happens immediately in anticipation of what the Lion and the Lamb is going to do? All of heaven explodes in worship. Look at verse 8. We go from the search for the Worthy One, to the appearance of the Worthy One, to the songs of the Worthy One. And “when He had taken [the scroll, or] the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.”
This is just consummate, final, ultimate praise and worship. Monumental act: the end of sin, the end of Satan, the end of demons, the end of the wicked; and the glorious reign of Christ. The cherubim and the twenty-four elders fall down in worship, ascribing the same worship to Christ as they did to God in chapter 4, verse 10, affirming the deity of Christ. A long-awaited time has come.
There are two interesting things that are connected to this moment. First is a harp. Back in verse 8 it says each of these twenty-four elders were holding a harp. What is that about? Oh, we know that harps were used in worship. You see it all through the Psalms, and you see it several times in the book of Revelation. But there’s something more than just the idea that it’s an instrument of worship.
Harps were associated with prophecy. Harps were associated with prophecy in the Old Testament. In some way, there was a connection between harps and prophetic word from heaven. You say, “What do you mean by that?” Well, just listen to this.
First Samuel 10:5, the prophet Samuel says to Saul, “And it shall come to pass, when you come to the city, you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the high places with a psaltery . . . and a harp, and they will prophesy.” So Samuel associates this harp with these prophets. And then it further says in that same scripture, “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.” The prophets are coming with harps.
In 2 Kings chapter 3, the spirit of prophecy was not on Elisha. As he stood before two kings in 2 Kings 3, verse 15, he says, “‘But now bring me a minstrel.’ And it came to pass, when the minstrel played [upon his harp], that the hand of the Lord came upon him. And he said, ‘Thus says the Lord.’” Elisha said, “The spirit of prophecy is not upon me. Bring a minstrel.” And it came to pass, as the minstrel played, that the Spirit of God came upon the prophet. God ordained that in the sounding of those notes and the plucking of those cords and the making of that melody, His Spirit would move to bring a prophecy from heaven.
In 1 Chronicles 25:1, “David . . . separated to the service . . . Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps . . . . Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the Lord.” In Psalm 49 we read this, verse 4, “I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying [I will open these things God has given me to say] upon the harp,” upon the harp.
Harps were not only used for accompaniment in praise around the throne, they were to symbolize heavenly revelation, probably because of the beauty of music, which, of course, God invented, and was a gift from heaven. So when the twenty-four elders have in their hands harps, what they are symbolizing is that what is about to happen is the fulfillment of all prophecy. It is the fulfillment of all prophecy.
Then, they also had “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” You know that, associating with the Temple, that there were utensils of all kinds in the Temple made of gold, and some of them were incense bowls that they would put incense in, light it, and an aroma would rise, symbolic of their prayers. So the golden bowls related to the priestly work of prayer indicate to us not only does this moment signal the fulfillment of prophecy, but it signals the answer to all the prayers of God’s people.
So in answer to all the prophetic promises, in answer to all the prayers of the people of God, all the saints who have prayed for this moment to come for the Curse to be overthrown, this is their moment. And they understand it. It’s the fulfillment of all prophetic promise and the answer to all prayers for a righteous kingdom. And so they burst into praise, verse 9.
“They sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.’” They can’t hold back, they can’t restrain the praise, and they sang a new song. Twenty-four elders singing that song about the worthiness of the Lamb who was slain, and who was slain to purchase a redeemed humanity from every part of the globe, and to make them, as verse 10 says, “a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.” This is the song of redemption. It’s very much like a similar song in Isaiah 42, verses 9 to 13; you can look it up and read it.
But it doesn’t stop there. “Then I looked”—in verse 11—“and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne.” Now all heaven is just going to burst forth in praise because of this moment when all prophecy will be fulfilled and all prayers would be answered. And it starts with the twenty-four elders, and then it moves to the angels, “the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures,” the cherubim, “and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads”—that’s murios in Greek, essentially ten thousand times ten thousand, which is a hundred million, a hundred million angels. And that’s not enough—“and thousands of thousands”—an innumerable host of angelic beings, and they all “[say] with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’” This is all that heaven has waited for. It’s all a reality.
And their voices are loud. Imagine. I don’t know what it would be like to have a hundred million angels plus, praising God “with a loud voice.” This is the exuberance that has not occurred in heaven yet and won’t until this moment. Yes, there’s praise. But this is the moment that all of heaven has waited for. Seven things true of the Lamb: “power,” “riches,” “wisdom,” “might,” “honor,” “glory,” “blessing.” Chapter 4, they were true of God; and of course, Christ is God, and indeed worthy.
“And [then] every created thing”—somehow creation itself becomes animated—“every created thing which is in heaven.” What does that mean? It means every created thing which is in heaven. What does it mean, “on the earth”? It means on the earth. What does it mean, “under the earth”—“under the earth, on the sea, all things in them”? Everything. The whole creation, Romans 8 says, has been groaning in some fashion. All of a sudden, here, it’s liberated in a cacophony of praise that makes the entire creation burst forth and say, “‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen’”—Amen. So let it be. So let it be. “And the elders fell down and worshiped.”
So what you have there, even though we’re only in the fifth chapter of Revelation, is a preview of the very, very end. All sentient beings, all living things somehow are activated in this solemn confirmation: “Let it be. Let it be. Let it be.” Worship reaches its pinnacle level as the worthy Lamb is ready to take His possession.
This marvelous reality involves us because we are that “kingdom and priests,” are we not? This will be for us the fulfillment that we were promised; and we will, verse 10 says, reign upon the earth. This will be an earthly kingdom when Christ takes over. That kingdom is described in Revelation chapter 20, the millennial kingdom, which we’ll see down the road. This is the great moment for heaven to celebrate because Christ is going to reign.
Father, we thank You for Your Word. How thrilling it is not only to know the reality of it but to know we’re a part of it. How can it be? How can it be? We are so unworthy. And yet, in Your sovereign grace, You have determined from before the foundation of the world to make us Your children, to make us that kingdom, those priests, and those who will reign with You forever.
So we say with John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” We’re glad You came the first time, but we are eager for You to come the second time. And we groan with the creation around us. We live in hope. We long to see that hope fulfilled. We know that whatever happens in this world, as bad as it is and as bad as it gets, and as it continues to escalate and evil men grow worse and worse, the groaning of our own hearts for Your return increases. And we will, as heaven sets the example for us, worship You now as our great King in anticipation of what You will soon do.
Thank You for making us part of Your kingdom. Thank You for shedding Your blood. That’s what was necessary. You took our penalty, You bore our judgment, and that allowed us to be forgiven. It was Your shed blood in our place that has given us eternal life and hope.
So as we come to Your Table, may we come with hearts that are full of joy and gratitude. May we confess any sins that stand between us and our love and obedience to You, as we think back to the cross where You shed Your blood for people from every tongue and tribe and people and nation, to realize that You died for us specifically, personally. And may that call us to a new level of love and obedience in response, and to a new heart of anticipation for that day that we saw illustrated here in Revelation 4 and 5, the day when all heaven bursts forth in praise because You are coming to judge and to reign.
Come, Lord Jesus. Vindicate Yourself. Establish Your throne. In the meantime, may we be faithful to proclaim Your glorious gospel until all Your chosen ones are gathered in. We thank You that we can remember the cross in this beautiful way. May it have deep meaning in our hearts as we say thank You in this expression.
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