The Old Song…Rev 4-7 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 4-7 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 John See Up There?…Rev 4-7 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! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.(Psalm 107:23-32)

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The Throne Room…Rev 4-7 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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Come Up Here…Rev 4-7 pt 3

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.(Revelation 4:1-2)

The revelation given to the apostle John,begins with “the things that are…”. That would be the temporal situation of the church; despised and rejected like her Lord, struggling with temptation, persecution, false doctrine, false prophets, moral defeat, lethargy, compromise, and yes some evangelism and faithful witness even unto death.

But the vision of chapter four takes us completely out of that realm , and into the heavenly throne room of God himself, through “the door opened in heaven”. John actually experienced this, as a Revelation of Jesus to we his servants.

The door open in heaven is a message from God, for Jesus himself is the “open door’, only by Him do we sinners gain access into God’s holy heaven. Jesus said in John 10, “I am the door“, and in John 14 ,”No one comes to the Father but by Me“.

Access to all that is holy, beautiful, and eternally satisfying, was shut and barred to us , the children of Adam , because by our sin we had fallen, and forfeited the right to it. God himself barred the way to the tree of Life, deploying the flaming, holy, and terrible Cherubim, lest we eat in a fallen state and remain locked in our fallenness forever.

Man could not “draw near” to God, He could not go to heaven, for nothing sinful, false, evil, or rebellious could ever be allowed to disrupt the Holy beauty and harmony of God’s heaven.

The door to heaven was closed to sinful man! Since man could never get to God, God came down to man! God descended to us in humility, to save us from our sins. Jesus is God manifested in the flesh, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself…”.

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)

In the vision given to John , the heavenly voice calls him (and us) up, and through the open door into heaven , with perhaps the simplest and yet most encouraging gospel message yet, “Come up Here”.

God would bring us to himself, therefore His word to us is “Come…”.”Let Him that is athirst, Come and drink…Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden…”

He calls us “up”, for He would bring us to something higher, and purer than where we are coming from, morally, spiritually, and even physically. We have to recognize that we have fallen, and that He alone can raise us up, for His salvation is nothing less than resurrection from the dead.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6)

Finally “Here” , “Come up Here”, because Heaven is a real place, it is a “better country” and a “city whose builder and maker is God”. Jesus went ahead of us to “prepare a place for us”. The preparation involved giving His life as a sacrifice of Love to God for us, that He might make us fit for that holy place.

As an aside, Hell is a real place too. It was created not for man for “the devil and his angels”, but unrepentant man will indeed go there. It is a place of torment, consciousness, memory,feeling, recognition of others, and profound remorse, and regret.

But the Gospel of God is that the door in heaven is now open, and through Jesus there is welcome from Heaven to earth, a call to that which is higher, purer and more beautiful than anything this world has to Offer, “Come up Here” saith the Lord!

Let Him who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying!

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The Things Which Are… Revelation 4-7 pt 2

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter (Revelation 1;19)

The instruction given to the apostle John, by the Lord Jesus Christ, was threefold, “write the things which you have seen”, that is the vision of Jesus Christ, standing among the lampstands, in glory, as described in Revelation 1.

Second he was to write the things which are, that is the condition of the churches, in this world, as described in the seven letters to the churches. From the vantage point of the things that are, the sight of the churches in this evil age is sad, and perhaps discouraging.

* The Church at Ephesus has much to commend it, for it puts a premium on discernment, not just accepting false prophets, prophecies, apostles, or teachings. But the church is on the verge of going out of existence, because it has “lost its first love”.

* The church in Smyrna is faithful and true, but suffers persecution, and consequently extreme poverty. Furthermore there are enemies who claim to be God’s people, who are able to lie with impunity about the church in Smyrna, and she is powerless to refute the lies.

* The church in Pergamos also suffers persecution, there are individual bright lights among them, such as Antipas who was burned alive in a bronze bull rather than renounce Christ. But the church is afflicted with a perverse antinomianism, she tolerates members who fornicate and accommodate idolatrous practices.

*The church in Thyatira- in spite of her many good works and outreach, has allowed a false prophetess to corrupt the body with her false prophecies, and false teachings which have brought members of the church into fornication and accommodation to idolatry. The Lord threatens to “Kill her and her children”, if they won’t repent.

* Sardis is a church that lives in the past glories, she is presently asleep, dull to God’s voice, unaware of her own need. The church is on the verge of death, the Lord would waken her again, he warns her he is coming as a Thief!

*Philadelphia is an exception, there is no rebuke for her, she is told that she has “a little strength”, and to be ready for the “open door”. Those who have lied about her, and persecuted her with impunity, are destined to openly acknowledge that it is she, who is “loved” of God.

* Finally Laodicea, of whom so much is written of lately. She is Lukewarm, and so abominable to God, that he threatens to vomit her out of His mouth! ironically this church has the highest self-esteem, in spite of its worldliness, accommodation, and self-sufficiency.

This is the church that Jesus portrays himself as being outside of, “knocking at the door” of her heart. bidding her open up to Him, that He might be allowed to “Sup with them”. Imagine! The very One who loved us and washed us from our sin in his blood, yet outside knocking on the door, asking to be let in!

This is the temporary state of the church, the “things that are”. She stands on this earth in the stained and spotted garments, in all of her oft failing strength, and alienated affections from her Lord, examined by the Saviour, certainly weighed in the balances and all too oft found wanting, by the One whose penetrating “eyes are as a fire”.

Yet the last word to her is certainly not that He shall “spew her out of his mouth”, for He stands ever ready to renew her strength, to “come in and sup” with her again, and by his attributes to make up for all that is lacking in her.

Thus He introduces himself in each case, highlighting the attribute in Him that meets the need, He is the One who holds the churches in His hand, out of His mouth goes a sharp two edged sword, His eyes are a flame of fire, and feet like bronze, He is the one with the sevenfold Spirit of God, each attribute adequate to meet the need of the “things which are”, in the churches.

Actually in each case, the last word is an encouragement for the church to overcome, by and through the risen One. Lovelessness, lethargy, compromise with the world and sexual immorality, all are to be seen as implacable enemies to overcome.

From the vantage point of the “things that are” the church doesn’t look all-powerful, she doesn’t command the respect of her enemies, her resources are neither political, nor financial, in fact her enemies seem to be able to persecute and lie about her with impunity. Her failures are prominently put on display by the world.

Her services are not wildly attracting the throngs of passers-by, the truth is, “there is no (worldly) beauty for anyone to desire her…” and like her Lord, “she is despised and rejected of men…”. Her power is Truth. She sets a modest table, that doesn’t appeal to jaded tastes. The nobodies of this world are who she attracts.

The church does have a rival, in “the things that are”. She is a bride to be, but she is rivaled by a gaudy harlot, which pretends to be the Bride, and attracts great crowds to her own profane show of worship. the Harlot prostitutes everything precious, and blasphemes the name of God in the name of God, and always persecutes the true Bride. The World does regard her because she shares the values of this fallen world.

But there is another way of looking at the church, a different vantage point. John can only see it after hearing the command “Come Up here!”…

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The Revelation Is Blessed…Rev 4-7 pt 1

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.(Revelation 1:1-3)

The Book of Revelation is unique to all of the other books of the Bible, because it pronounces a specific blessing on those who read and those who hear the reading of the prophecy, providing they take the word to heart. Obviously there is a blessing on all of the scripture, but there is a specific blessing in reading revelation.

Here is why I believe there is such a blessing;

*Because It is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”, not merely the end times events, the anti christ, the beasts, the plagues and woes befalling the world , but the vision given to John the apostle is an unveiling of Jesus Christ himself as the glorified Lord of history and eternity.

All of the Scripture are in fact a Revelation of Jesus Messiah. The Law, Prophets, History and Wisdom literature of the Tanakh cannot truly be understood without appreciating this fact.“In the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy Will, O my God, your law is in my heart…”(Psalm 40)

From the very beginning , in the promise of “the seed of the woman” ,who would come to undo the primal curse and redeem the Sons of Adam and Eve, by “crushing the serpent’s head” and in the process he would suffer the “bruising of his heel”, the gospel of the Messiah was being preached. In all of Israel’s long history, in her worship, her temple with its sacrifices and in her Kings, Priests and Prophets, Jesus was being foretold, and taught of.

Obviously the New Testament is a Revelation of Jesus. The Gospels reveal that God was “manifested in the flesh”, in the person of Jesus Christ. Behold the mystery of Christ crucified, a paradox, for “Christ” is power, yet “crucified” is weakness, “Christ” is divine acceptance and “crucified” is Divine rejection, and finally “Christ” is Salvation, yet “crucified” is wrath and Judgment.

But the Revelation is of Jesus glorified.

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.(Revelation 1:12-17)

* Because the Revelation strips away the veneer that covers the world. Too many christians are enamored of the world, as never before ours is a worldly “vanity fair”. Because of the prevalence of media, entertainment and distraction, people literally “Love the World” and the things in the world, even many christians. It all looks so good.

Revelation 18 presents “Mystery Babylon as a great shopping mall.All the things a person can desire are available to man, in a descending order of expense, the highest value being Gold, and silver and at the bottom of the scale, “the souls of men”. Everything is available to everybody, 24-7, it is a merchant’s dream, the long-awaited everlasting, shiny, high tech, streamlined, easy credit, universal shopping experience. There is something for everyone!

But the vision John received strips away the veneer, to reveal the spiritual reality,

… Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.(Revelation 18:2)

The habitation of demons? The hold of foul spirits? The cage containing unclean and hateful birds? Such is the spiritual reality of the World, the true nature of the system which would gratify men’s desires at the expense of the Spirit.

The World is designed to make men forget their deepest need, ie reconciliation to God. It is hostile to God and Christ, and would overcome the curse without repentance. The Revelation of Jesus to John, makes this all plain to see, stripping away the facade.

* Because the Apocalypse takes us to heaven. Often times we hear adages and maxims that pass for conventional wisdom, and seem almost “scriptural”, when in fact upon thoughtful examination, they are wrong!

One saying that particularly peeves me, is “He’s so heavenly minded, he’s no earthly good”. It ranks right up there with “pie in the sky”, as a scornful dismissal of something exceedingly precious, and holy, that is the contemplation of heaven.

The truth is, the only people who ever truly did any “earthly good”, were the heavenly minded ones. Those who were pilgrims and strangers, inspired by the Bible and it’s promise of a “better country ” and of a “city, whose builder and maker is God”, are the ones who built hospitals, Universities, ended slavery, and performed countless other merciful reliefs for this sin sick world.

The vision of the Revelation of Jesus, takes us into the very throne room of heaven itself, many times, and that is a blessing in and of itself. We need to see above the earthly horizon, in order to be whole, we must maintain the heavenly hope.

Only those nurtured on the hope of heaven, will be enabled able to resist the “artificial heaven on earth”, the godless Utopia which comes to a head in the last hour, only to be crushed at the Parousia of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ.

In our next article we will follow John into the throne room of God…

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