The Lion Who Is A lamb…Rev 4-6 pt 9

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. (Revelation 5:5-7)

The apostle of the Lord Jesus, John, wept in heaven when he was made to see that the plan of God to undo the curse of sin and death, and to bring in a new creation, could only be inaugurated by a man. By man came death, and by man must come resurrection. But there wasn’t found a man worthy to carry out God’s plan!

But at this point in the vision of the throne room of God, John is told not to weep anymore, for a man has been found, worthy to open the seals and the book! That man is the one of whom Jacob prophesied, who would be as a lion from Judah’s tribe! A descendant and the root of King David.

He turned to see this “Lion”, standing in the center of the congregation of awesome Cherubim, Angels, and redeemed Elders, and instead he saw a Lamb, bearing in his body the marks of slaughter. This Lamb had wounds, blood, and the marks of death, but was very much alive, standing in the midst of the throne.

The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, in other words He stood there with all Power, and all Wisdom. This Lamb is a Lion!

The Lion is a Lamb. A Paschal lamb, wounded, slain, and bloody, yet alive, powerful and all-knowing. This is the center of reality, all that is real, true and good flow out of the throne room of God, and at its very center, is sacrificial love, humble sacrifice for sins, victorious love.

Real power is revealed not as bared fangs and tensed sinews, a terrifying roar, and ripping, grinding teeth. Real power is in the One who gave himself for us, who laid down His life as an offering for sin and for sinners, loving us by taking our place in judgment. “He was numbered with the transgressors…”

This Lamb conquered as a lion, but not by shedding anyone else’s blood, but by the offering of His own sinless blood for us . He Gave His life, what more could he give? Oh how He loves you and me…

The Lamb in the midst of the congregation, in the very throne room of God, is the offering God made unto himself. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! This Lamb bearing the marks of death on his own body is the satisfaction of God’s own Holy wrath against all that is sinful, rebellious, evil, false.

In Him, Love wins! Love is powerful, more powerful than sin and death! But we speak not of humanistic love, certainly not “unconditional love”, The Lamb bearing the marks of slaughter, standing in heaven, witnesses to Holy Love. The soul that sins shall die, but He died in our place. Why did the Lamb have to die?

A Holy God had to find a Holy way to forgive and to save we who were so fallen, so sinful, faithless, false, and yes , evil. The cross is what it took to redeem us from our sinful state!

How can a Holy God remain Holy and yet forgive sinners? In the center of heaven, in the vision of the throne room, stands the answer, A Lamb bearing the marks of slaughter.

The Lamb slain for sinners on the Altar of God! Slain from the foundation of the world.

How fitting that through apparent weakness and frailty God would show the greatest of power. The Lamb is the “weakness of God”, the very power of Divine restraint, for at anytime, he could have called ten thousand Angels to slay his enemies in an instant. But this all-powerful and all-wise Lamb, slew no one, and took nothing for himself.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.(Isaiah 53;4-5)

This is the man who steps forward to receive the book out of the hand of the glorious One on the throne.Daniel saw the same vision centuries earlier,

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened…(Daniel 7:9-10)

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.(Daniel 7:13-14)

Hallelujah, The Lamb reigns! He has prevailed to bring us to God and to open the book, and to commence the judgment! He has the scars in his body, He is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world! Jesus is Lord!

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The Lion of Judah…Rev 4-6 pt 9

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. ( Revelation 5:6-8)

In our previous Article, John saw a book, in the hand of the Glorious One, seated on the throne. The book is held out for any person who is “worthy to take the book and open the seals therof”. Evidently the book, “written within and on the outside“, is the plan of God to reverse the curse of Sin and all of it’s effects, and to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

There is no room on it for any more writing, for it is it is a complete and sufficient plan, no man can add to it, it is the plan of God himself. The plan anticipates a full salvation for sinners and a regeneration of the world, as well as terrible judgments on all that is evil, the overturning of the “kingdoms of this world”, and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth.

But there is one problem, it can only be inaugurated by a man, a human being. Who is qualified to do this? He must be a man perfectly pleasing to God in every respect, a man who has lived life as the Holy God intended our life to be lived, loving God supremely, and his fellow as much as himself.

Since it was a man, Adam, who by his disobedience plunged the whole race into condemnation,sin,and misery, God has required that a man, undo the damage. The book lies in the hand of the One on the throne unclaimed, for in all of human history, not one righteous, and worthy man could be found. John wept inconsolably because of this.

But there is no need for inconsolable weeping , for there has been found a man who is worthy, a man who has lived an entire life without sin. He is a man who has never broken faith with God, and whose every thought and action has been to please God .

He is called “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.

Centuries earlier, the Patriarch Jacob prophesied over each of his twelve sons, his inspired words over each of them reaching all the way to the last days. Of Judah he predicted,

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:8-10)

Judah was to be the Royal tribe, the true Kings of Israel were to come from it. Jacob saw these kings as being like lions, zealous to execute the policies of God through the Holy Nation. He saw King David, and David’s greater Son, King Jesus! The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes. The Word Shiloh means, “He to whom it belongs” and was long understood by the sages to pertain to the Messiah.

When the Romans removed the right of capital punishment from the Jews in 6-7 AD, the Rabbis mourned thinking the prophecy of Jacob had failed, for the sceptre had indeed departed from Judah, where is Shiloh? Little did they know , Shiloh was at that time a Carpenter in training, out in Nazareth!

When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us for the sceptre has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come‘” (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin, 24)

This is why Jesus had to be crucified and not stoned , as the Jews would normally have executed one whom they regarded as a blasphemer.

Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: (John 18:31)

This is the man, who could walk up to the very throne of God and take the book out of his hand. He alone is worthy to open the seals, and to commence the final plan to free us from the curse. He knows, having lived as a human being, tempted and pressed like all of us, tested in everything but never having sinned.

This is the Lion out of Judah that Jacob saw, Shiloh, to whom the privilege belongs.

 

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The Sealed Book…Rev 4-6 pt 8

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (Revelation 5:1-4)

Revelation chapter Five is the continuation of John’s vision of the throne room of God. We proceed from the vision of the wonderful,terrible,Holy beasts and Elders singing the Ancient and everlasting Hymn to the Sovereign Creator of all things into the setting for the New Song.

The indescribable One sitting on the throne, whom John said was “like a Jasper”(diamond), and “like a Sardine stone”, (a blood-red Ruby), holds out in His hand a book, which is covered in writing, but sealed shut.

A mighty Angel issues a loud call for any person worthy to break the seals and open the book. The search is universal, is there any man in heaven, on earth or under the earth, past present or future, living or dead who is worthy enough to open this book?

The search includes all of the great men of the past, and present the saints; the benefactors, the moral and spiritual leaders, martyrs, philanthropists, spiritual and religious leaders, and none measures up, the conclusion is the same as in Romans…”There is none righteous, no not one, there is none that doeth good…”.

And John wept, inconsolably for there was no one found who was worthy to open the book. And in those inconsolable tears lie all of the disappointment, frustration, despair, hurt, wistfulness, vanity, loss, death and spiritual pain that ever befell the race because of sin.

If this book is not opened all is lost. If this book is not unsealed, then Hell and wrath are indeed the last words for man.If this Holy and August book is left shut, man is forever estranged from God, forever and ever.

This book is of the gravest importance and the inability to find one worthy to open it would be the worst tragedy ever, as evidenced by the Apostle’s inconsolable weeping. Furthermore it must needs be opened by a man, a human being. Obviously the man must be qualified to open it, he must be worthy. What is the meaning of the sealed book?

I believe the book is the Word of the salvation and final purposes of God to undo the curse of sin, it’s damning effects and its final destruction by the Judgment of God and the commencement of the New heavens and the New Earth.

It is a complete plan, and there is nothing man can add to or take away from it, as evidenced by the fact that the writing was on all sides , and in and out of it. There is nothing left open to chance, God has provided a Righteous plan to save man, and to save the universe from the effects of man’s sin, and all is of God.

However it cannot commence without the agency of a man. A man brought sin and death into the world, therefore in God’s economy, it must be a man who brings resurrection and life , and who executes Judgment on the earth. As it is written…

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.( I Cor 15:21-22)

But what man? Who is worthy to execute God’s saving purposes? We know the answer to that question, for in Jesus, God himself became a man, putting himself under the limitations of a man. As Paul tells us, “He emptied himself and took upon himself the form of a slave…”. Hallellujah for the man of God’s right hand!

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.(Revelation 5:5)

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The Old Song…Rev 4-6 pt 7

And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.(Revelation 4:9-11)

The Apostle John has been ushered into the very center of reality, the throne room of Almighty God. God is there, as are the twenty-four elders, and the various ranks of Heavenly beings, Cherubim, Seraphim, and the hosts of heaven. All of the church is there, as is all of redeemed humanity, for the once turbulent sea of human history has been calmed by the coming of Jesus.

The Elders and the Beasts worship Him that sits upon the throne. When the beasts proclaim the glory of the thrice Holy God, praising His power and self existence, the Elders in regal and priestly garments, prostrate themselves in utter Adoration.

On earth the church that the 24 elders are the embodiment of , was despised, powerless, abused, vulnerable, and often overcome by various sins,compromises and failings. Not much to look at, “no beauty that the world should desire”, but look at these kingly, regal and influential worshippers now! They fully know that all thanks and honor belong to the one who redeemed them, and preserved them unto the end of the race!

And they sing the Old Song. I call it the old song because it is primal, it is a song of the worthiness of the creator, it is an acknowledgement that Creation was done by God and for God. It is the Old song by contrast to what the Bible does call “the New Song”.

* Thou art Worthy O Lord – Worship is truly “worthship”, that is ascribing worthiness of all love, devotion, affection and praise to the One who made us. Worship is the duty of all creatures.

They sing directly unto the Lord, for God is a person, a “Thou” and not an “it”. He is the Lord and Sovereign of everything that exists. The Living Creatures sang of the thrice Holy God, but the 24 Elders sing directly unto Him, for truly ,“Thou art worthy,O Lord…”

* To receive the glory, honor and power – They ascribe to Him Glory,Honor and power. That is in this ancient song of worship, they acknowledge Him as the source of all Glory ; everything splendid, Holy, beautiful, and praise worthy, and true is derived from Him, the Lord.

He is worthy to receive Glory and Honor and Power, Honor also is His, and so is power. That thing we men crave so badly, Honor, comes from and is owed back to God.The Song acknowledges the same of Power. Power and Honor belong to God.

In their fallen state, men seek the honor of other men, living and acting to please men. They would kill for honor, that is to be seen as someone high and lifted up, someone to be respected and esteemed.When God’s supreme Honor is not recognised, all human honor becomes idolatrous.

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?(John 5;44)

We are told in the book of Romans among other places, that man fell because He refused to ascribe Glory to God, his maker. The essence of sin itself is the rejection of the duty and privilege to glorify God, and to attempt to seek beauty and meaning somewhere other than in God.

We had once usurped the glory, for we refused to acknowledge Him. We worshipped anything but God! We wanted honor from another source and on other terms, we wanted to be great in our own right! And we fallen men killed each other for power.

But here in the throne room of God, we see the redeemed and reborn church of God in communion with the very Cherubim who once barred sinful man from the tree of Life. The Cherubim proclaim the holiness of the Sovereign, and the redeemed men freely acknowledge the glory of God, in a Hymn of adoration.

* For thou hast Created all things for thy pleasure – Just the fact that God called us into existence, calls for worship.

The old song proclaims that Creation alone renders God worthy of humble adoration and acknowledgement of His worth. He it is who made us and who sustains us, we owe him our next breath! The arrogance of man is breath-taking, rejecting his creator, refusing to worship Him, insisting on self existence.

We were made to worship, know and glorify God forever, and we see our end in the throne room of God in Revelation 4.

And why did God create all things? There could only be one answer, for God needs nothing and has no necessity. He wasn’t lonely or bored, He has always had himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternal communion.

“For thy pleasure, they are and were created…”

We can only humbly say, that all things were made because it pleased God to make all things and all things were made to please Him. Glory to God in the highest!

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.(Psalm 115:1-3)

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The Cherubim and the Gospels…Rev 4-6 pt 6

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:7-8)

John saw four “Living Beings”, called “beasts” in the King James Version, worshipping the Holy and Sovereign God in antiphon. The description of the four, is akin to that of the Cherubim Ezekiel saw in his vision of God.

The Cherubim were the angels who with flaming swords guarded the way to the tree of life, after the fall of Adam and Eve, barring the couple from ever returning to the garden . The figures of the cherubim were embroidered into the Holy curtain in front of the Holy place of the tabernacle and the Holy of Holies also.

But in the throne room of God, John encounters the actual beings, in all of their awful, Holy glory. We have noted that the faces, of Lion, Eagle,Ox and man, are expressions of the highest orders of created life on earth.

The Lion is the “king” of wild animals, the OX is the ultimate domesticated beast, the eagle is the acme of bird life, and Man is the Image bearer of God himself, the crown of all creation.

But the Cherubim denote something even deeper than that. They are a living revelation of Jesus Christ and his work on this earth. There are four of them, four is the number associated with the earth. There are four directions, four seasons, and four gospels which proclaim the earthly sojourn of our saviour, the Lord Jesus.

* The Face of a Lion- This corresponds to the gospel according to Matthew, with its heavy Hebraic emphasis. Jesus is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”, the one Jacob prophesied of as a crouching lion,

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?(Genesis 49:8-9)

The Messiah is the King of Israel, and his teachings are the law and polity of the Kingdom. Jesus is Lord, the Son of David, the King who shall reign forever. Matthew’s emphasis is the King and the Kingdom of God.

* The Face of an Ox – The Gospel of Mark has no birth story for it is irrelevant how a lowly servant is born. This is the gospel of the servant of the LORD, who came to carry out his Father’s will.

The imperative word, Euqus, translated ,”immediately” is repeated over and over again in Mark. It is a word one would use on a servant, for in Mark, Jesus is hard at work, rushing to do God’s will.

Like an Ox, he plods, on undeterred by opposition, suffering or death. He came to die, as a sacrificial OX, and as the strong, carrying the burdens of we, the weak and bankrupt.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

* The Face of an Eagle In John’s gospel, we are given something unique to the other three, we are given the Divine perspective of Jesus.

The eagle flies higher, and sees clearer from farther away than any other creature on earth. Jesus is God. He came to us from above, he then descended to earth, that he might “bear us up” as on eagles wings.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.(John 3:13)

Jesus is presented as the one who is from above-

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.(John 8:23-24)

His descent to us is that we might be born from above, and have everlasting life.

* The Face of a Man- Finally, in the gospel of Luke, Jesus is revealed as the ideal man, He is what mankind was always intended to be, and in him, our true humanity is redeemed and restored.

The genealogy in Luke goes all the way back to Adam, for Jesus is the representative man. He fully enters into all of man’s problems; poverty, oppression, suffering, hunger, temptation, weariness, and injustice, and as the representative man, he prevails, for he keeps faith with God his Father through it all.

Jesus tells us, of his mission, that “the Son of Man comes to seek and to save that which is lost”, and in this gospel the threefold parable of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son are told.

The compassion of God for Lost and suffering humanity is shown in Luke’s preaching of Jesus , the true son of Man.

Therefore the “Beasts ” of the throne room of Revelation, do indeed reveal Jesus, in the aspect of the four gospels, and his earthly ministry. Jesus is Lord!

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What Else Did He See There?…Rev 4-6 pt 5

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:6-10)

The Apostle John has been taken “In the Spirit” into the very throne room of God, to record for us the “Things which he has seen“, as part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We have discussed the Open door, The throne, the description of the one seated upon the throne, the rainbow, and the meaning of the twenty-four, Kingly, priestly elders.

What else did John see in that room, which in fact is the center of all reality, and out of which emits all that is true, good and holy ? John saw,

*Lightnings and thunderings and voices proceeding out of the throne- This takes us back to Exodus, and the truly awful scene of the giving of the law of God on Mount Sinai. There also the lightnings, thunderings and voices were heard, to the great terror of the people.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.(Exodus 20:18)

Lightning, thunder and voices are a revelation of the awesome power of the One who sits on the throne, as well as of His willingness to use that power to bring to judgment all that is evil, false, sinful, rebellious on earth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken, He is going to soon use his power to destroy evil once and for all.
He shot arrows and scattered the enemies , bolts of lightning and routed them.( 2 Samuel 22:15)

* Seven Blazing Lamps Before the throne – John saw seven blazing lamps, which He reveals is a manifestation of the seven fold Spirit of God. There are not “seven Spirits ” of God, the greek word used here is “Hepta” which means seven fold, or having seven aspects. Seven being the number for fullness, this is saying that the Spirit of God is perfect .

This passage in Isaiah refers to the Spirit in a sevenfold way,

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;(Isaiah 11:2)

* A Sea of Glass like Crystal – Before the Throne , John saw a sea of glass, crystal clear and smooth. The Nations of the world in scripture are likened unto the turbulent sea. Raging waves, foaming, dashing against rocks, waves breaking in roiling chaotic power, such is the troubled history of mankind.

O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm. (Psalm 89:8-10)

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.(Jude 12-13)

But in heaven and before the throne of God, Man’s turbulence is finally stilled, at the revelation of Jesus. No more strife, war, envy, murder, no more jealousy, covetousness, nor lusts . Gone are internal conflict, guilt , rage, pride, and above all God estrangement, for someone with power has spoken with a word of authority to the Raging waves of humanity, saying “Peace be still”!

As it was long before written; They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;  These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.  Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!(Psalm 107:23-31)

 

 

 

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The Throne Room…Rev 4-6 pt 4

And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.(Revelation 4:2-5)

After hearing the heavenly voice commanding him to “Come up here”, the apostle John has been translated from “the things that are…” , through the “door opened into heaven“, into the very throne room of God.

What did he see there?

* A Throne was set…The first thing John sees in heaven is a Throne. It is God who rules, not Caesar or Pharoah, Bush or Putin. The heavenly court is a throne room, the living God is an absolute Sovereign.

The churches, besieged and harassed by their enemies, and seemingly powerless and vulnerable in this world, can take comfort knowing that at the ultimate center of reality is a Throne, fixed in heaven.

…I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?(Daniel 4:34-35)

* A figure sitting on the Throne who is indescribable! “He that sat on the throne to look upon was like Jasper and like Sardine stone”.

What did he look like? Jasper is a blood-red stone, Sardine is like a diamond, a clear stone. What kind of description is that? This person, seated on the throne is indescribable!

The blood-red Sardius Stone was the first in the series of stones on the Priest’s breastplate, representing the firstborn, Reuben and does indeed speak of blood sacrifice. The last stone, the clear Jasper, represents Benjamin, and stands for victory.

The name Reuben means “Behold a Son”, and the name Benjamin translates, “The Son of my Right Hand”. The colors point to Jesus in his first and second comings.

* The Rainbow around the Throne. God’s throne is surrounded by a complete Rainbow. The obvious connection is the covenant sign of mercy after the flood. Green is the color that stands for renewed life.

There are many terrifying, awesome, Holy and destructive Judgments rightly coming to the inhabitants of the earth, but we can be assured that the One who sits upon the throne, sees everything through the prism of His mercy.

* Twenty Four Elders- Remember the stained and weak churches, seemingly helpless on this earth, with no recourse when her enemies lied about her, stole from and persecuted her? The ‘despised and rejected’ weak and powerless Ones, witnesses to truth in a hostile world?

That is just one way to look at the church, but here is the heavenly perspective of the same people. They are immaculately dressed, there is no stain, they have access, not to Caesar, but the magnificent throne set in heaven! This is the heavenly view of God’s people.

These are King/Priests, dignified, and powerful in their access to heaven. They too sit on thrones and when their prayers are later gathered up into a censor in heaven, powerful things happen on earth!

Twelve is the number that represents the people of God, 12 Sons of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus. Two is the number for witness, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses…”. Twenty four, 12×2, is the number for the whole people of God.

All of them will be there, God himself will see to that. They will gladly worship Jesus, casting their crowns of reward before Him, acknowledging His love, and the price He paid to make them fit for this place.

There they stand, immaculate, crowned with glory and Honor, and in a place of privilege. They all know well, that they deserve none of the pleasures they have been given.

They were once idolaters, sinners, they hated God himself and in many cases persecuted the followers of the lamb. Some of them were drowning in their own swamp of lust, sin, failure and strife, until the Saviour reached out a hand to rescue them.

They fall down in utter worship, and amazed adoration, praising and singing of him who bought them and gave them the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

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