Heaven Help Our WorshipThe Uniqueness of JesusRevelation 5:1-5INTRODUCTIONRemember what the book of Revelation is- 1:1 - Revelation - an unveiling - an appearing - revealing from JesusIt is a description primarily about His own return (1:7) tothe earth to rule and to reign and to set up an eternalkingdomIt was Jesus who showed Himself in His brilliant glory toJohn on the island of Patmos- It was Jesus who revealed to John the letters to the churches in chapters 2-3 - There we saw the Sovereign and Gloriﬁed Jesus Christ - And He was speaking to the church - warning, commending and even condemning - He was speaking to the church about the things that are - the realities that exist as long as the church existsBut Revelation 4 began a new section - with a new vision.- and this is not a revelation about the church- this is a revelation abut the world - the earth - and the people who are dwelling on it - at a time when the church does not appear - does not exist- Yes, saints, followers of God, followers of Christ are mentioned.
- But where the church was mentioned on numerous occasions in chapters 2-3 - it is not mentioned in chapters 4-21 - this material is still intended for the church to understand, as we stated last week - but the subject matter has to do with what is going to happen on the earth - with those who remain on the earth when the church is no longer presentSo, as we turn from the churches to those who dwell onthe earth - at a time yet to come- who reveals this part? Is it Jesus? Is this still a Revelation from Jesus Christ?Chapter 4 - begins a new vision (A voice - Christ, wepresumed)- a vision that began some time after the ﬁrst vision about the churches- a vision that will encompass events that will occur after the time period of the churchʼs existenceBut who is doing the revealing here?- we are caught up into the throne room of heaven itself - and we are shown an absolutely incredible description - an amazing and stunning portrayal of the majestic authority and intense exaltation of the Almighty God - It is a revelation of the throne room of God the Father - and the picture is brilliant and breath taking and humblingBut did you notice who was missing?This being a book largely about Jesus - but more so - abook originating “from” Jesus- where was he in Johnʼs depiction of what he saw when he was taken in the Spirit to heaven and shown the very
spot from which the rule of God over all the universe originates- we saw the throne- we saw the description of the one sitting on the throne - a reference to some aspect of God the Father- we saw the emerald rainbow- We saw the angelic creatures - the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures- We saw the great expansive crystal sea separating creation from Godʼs throne- We even saw a reference to the Holy Spirit - the 7 torches in front of the throneIt should have been obvious- the Silence should have been deafening and disturbing- there is a magniﬁcent scene - but no JesusFrom what we read in the remainder of the book ofRevelation- Chapters 4-5 bring us to the brink of horrible and unimaginable judgment that is about to be unleashed upon the world- It is appropriate to begin a description of judgment from the court room - the throne room of the one who has the right and authority and responsibility to judge the worldBut the questions still stands- and the tension was no doubt building in the mind of the Apostle John and in the heart of anyone who would read this book
So - where is Jesus - He is the one revealing thisdescription isnʼt he?- he showed Himself to John in the ﬁrst vision of chapters 1-3- will he show Himself to John in the next vision?Where in Heaven or on earth or under the earth - wherein the universe is Jesus before we begin the description ofthe earthʼs ﬁnal demise?- we heard his voice, but have yet to see his presenceChapter 5 is the Introduction of Jesus into the scene ofjudgment- the rest of the book of Revelation cannot and will not make sense if we do not have chapter 5 - if we do not have JesusRevelation chapter 5 is the revealing of the rightful placeof Jesus- exercising total authority over all creation - in judgment - and eventually in redemptionIt is a powerful presentation - revealing of Jesus as Heprepares to reveal the remainder of the book ofRevelationRead Rev 5:1-5 againHave you noticed- every heavenly scene has been a bit different- Jesus is not pictured the same here as he was in chapter 1 - nor will the description be similar in chapters 4-20 as it was in chapters 1-3- Chapters 1-3 show the Jesus who is ruling His church right now
- Chapters 4-20 show the Jesus who is coming to judge the world in the futureThis is true of most heavenly visions- they are all a bit different in their description of heaven - did you notice that last week - the 4 living creatures of Revelation 4 - had some differences from the 4 living creatures of Ezekiel 1 & 10 - The cherubim of Revelation 4 and Ezekiel 1 & 10 had differences from the Seraphim of Isaiah 6 - though they are probably referring to the same thing- why is there a difference in these descriptions? - these are heavenly visions - that have attached to them - speciﬁc symbols and ﬁgures of speech that should communicate certain truths and realities - So the people who are receiving that vision could be warned or comforted in a particular mannerThey are similar because they are picturing the sameplace- they are different - because the way God reveals it - helps to emphasize different realities about heaven for various and different reasons- depending on His purpose at the point in time He revealed itTaken altogether we can discern a fairly goodunderstanding about heaven and God and his throne andrule and the majestic authority and intense exaltation thatsurrounds his throneRevelation 5 is no different- we donʼt see Jesus the way we saw Him in Chapter 1
- As a matter of fact - the way He is revealed here in Chapter 5 will dominate the way He is depicted throughout the remainder of this bookRevelation 5 is all about Jesus - as Jesus is preparing toreveal what is in store for the earth prior to His returnSo, what does Revelation 5 tell us about Him?it is arranged in a marvelous manner- there are four parts to this introduction of Jesus in this new vision - Each part begins with the phrase “And I saw” - kai eidon - This is a phrase John uses throughout the book of Revelation to describe the sequence of events as they will unfurl in the future- Recall 1:11 - write what you see in a book - This phrase “and I saw” is not used until Chapter 5 - because here is the beginning of Johnʼs vision the things that will “soon take place” 1:1- Notice the 4 parts marked by this phrase - v 1 and I saw - a book - vv 2-5 - and I saw a strong angel proclaiming - vv 6-10 - and I saw a Lamb - vv 11-14 - and I saw and heard the voice of many angelsWithin these 4 parts we are taught three importantlessons about Jesus- vv 1-5 - the uniqueness of Jesus- vv 6-1- - the Worthiness of Jesus- vv 11-14 - the Exaltedness of Jesuswhat do we learn about Jesus? He is undeniably unique,He is uniquely worthy and He is universally exalted?
But How is this so?- how is Jesus undeniably unique?- how is Jesus Uniquely worthy?- how is Jesus universally exalted?These 3 questions are answered in Revelation 5 - and willteach us the lessons about Jesus that will be important forus to understand- as we see Him reveal the rest of the book- as we worship Him - even as he judges the worldLetʼs answer the ﬁrst questionI. WHAT MAKES JESUS UNDENIABLY UNIQUE? vv1-5This is a signiﬁcant question for us today in our culture- Our culture does not really believe that Jesus is undeniably unique.- One of the hard-core shifts that took place after September 11 was a public push of pluralism" think back ten years ago - when our government(even with a self-avowed evangelical Christian in theWhite House) proclaimed that Islam and Christianity maybe different, but not necessarily exclusive- they are merely different ways to speak about God- the few times I have been to Washing D.C., and even this week in Jeff City, - I was amazed at the references to God engraved across innumerable buildings in our nationʼs capitol and even in our state capitol - but none of them that I recall mentioned Jesus uniquely
- it is typical for city councils to be opened in prayer - but many are asking that prayers not be given “in Jesusʼ name” - why? because our culture does not want him to be unique, the only way, or the exclusive means to come to God or through whom the eternal God worksBut that is not the description of Jesus you will ﬁnd inRevelation 5, especially the ﬁrst 5 verses - He isabsolutely and undeniably uniquevv 1-5 - show us 3 reasons why Jesus is UndeniablyUnique- and the amazing thing about this portrayal of Jesus is that He is not even speciﬁcally mentioned - only alluded to in verse 5 - but what is said shows that no one is like HimWhat makes Jesus undeniably unique? - 3 marks1. Godʼs plan makes Jesus undeniably unique v 1v 1 is all about Godʼs plan - especially His plan for thefuturein the right hand of him who was seated on the throne- lit “upon” the right hand- on his open palm - as if open for someone to come and take it - as if to guard it until He is ready to give it“right hand” = hand of absolute power and authority- the hand that chooses who will and wi ll not take what is in it- the hand that determines who will rule and execute His plan
a scroll written within and on the back, sealed withseven seals“book” = biblion - used 22 times in the book of Revelation- in the NT - used only 10 other times - so it is best not to go “outside” Revelation - to ﬁnd out what this “book” is- more than likely this refers to a scroll - not a bound book as we know it (6:14 - scroll)As William Barclay notes:In the ancient world, down to the second century A.D., theform of literary work was the roll, not the book. The rollwas made of papyrus, manufactured in single sheetsabout ten inches by eight. The sheets are joined togetherhorizontally when a great deal of writing had to be done.The writing was in narrow columns about 3 inches long,with margins of about 2 and a half inches at the top and atthe bottom, and with about three-quarters of an inchbetween the columns. The roll commonly had a woodenroller at each end. It was held in the left hand, unrolledwith the right, and as the reading went on, the part in theleft hand was rolled up again.The Revelation itself would occupy a roll 15 feet long.There are a number of ideas out in the CommentatorCommunity as to what this book is referring to:- the Lambʼs book of life- the OT- A last will and testament containing the inheritance of the saints- a divorce certiﬁcate from God for unfaithful Jerusalem- a contract or title deed that gives Jesus possession of the world
There are good reason for many of these- Ancient contracts, title and testaments - written on both sides and usually sealed with 7 sealsBut, if you want to know what is in this scroll, and whatthis scroll is used for - you simply need to keep readingthe book of RevelationNOTICE- it is written on the inside and on the back - similar to the scroll Ezekiel saw in Ezek 2:9-10:Ezekiel 2:9–10 (ESV)9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, andbehold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And he spread it before me.And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there werewritten on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.- it is sealed with 7 seals - these would be thin blobs of wax or clay - that would have a stamp of a ring or imprint of some kind - indicating who it came from - If you found such a seal on an ofﬁcial document - it was to be opened - only by the one the author intended to open itThis is an amazing scroll - it has some similarities toancient documents - but many dissimilarities - it isuniquely a heavenly scrollHow do we know what is in this book?- we read chapters 6-20 and we see the events described in the book unfolded- as a matter of fact - this scroll is never actually read - but every time one of the 7 seals is broken - a speciﬁc event related to the judgment of Christ on the earth happens
- notice what is in this book: - chapter 6 - the seals broken - 6:1-8:1 - 7th seal is broken - contains the 7 trumpets - 8:2, 6-11:15 - the blowing of the 7 trumpets - 7th trumpet is blown - the events of 12-15 begin - 15:1, 5-16:1 - the 7th trumpet contains the 7 angels with the 7 bowls of Godʼs wrath - 7th bowl of wrath - 16:17 - brings the destruction of Babylon (chapters 17-18) and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ - (19) - the remainder of the events of Rev follow in sequenceSo, what is in this scroll?- the rest of the book of Revelation- and all the future plans of God for how He will judge the world and set up HIs kingdom on the earth and eventually bring in the new Heaven and the New EarthWhat is in this scroll? Godʼs unique plan for the rest ofhuman historyThis is a powerful and profound scroll in the hand of theone sitting on the throne.And that is what makes this book - and the one who willpossess it and open it, unique.- as we will see - to open it - is not just to open the mail - is to oversee and enact and unfold the actual events containedGodʼs plan - being revealed and enacted - requiressomeone very unique2. Creationʼs limitations make Jesus undeniablyunique vv 2-4
a strong angel- 10:1 (Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven); 18:21 (then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea) - different angels - no indication as to who this angel isproclaiming with a loud voice - preaching, announcing- over and over- a voice that could reach across the creation“who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals”- not merely - who is able - but - who is worthy - not merely an issue of identity, letʼs see who can come and understand the language used - or who has the strength to break the seals - NO, this is a matter of qualiﬁcation - who is worthy - who, in and of themselves, is actually worthy - To open and break - to oversee the events and enact themWho is qualiﬁed - who ﬁts the very unique requirements ofGod?- to unleash judgment upon the world- and to bring about ultimate redemption of forgiven sinners and vindicate an offended God?Here is the ancient angelic executive head hunter of theheavenly realm- the job search is on- and only a certain resume will ﬁt the billWhat are the results of the search?
v3- in heaven - no heavenly being (Gabriel, Michael, Cherubim, Angels)- on earth (Moses, Paul, Peter . . .)- Under the earth - the underworld - in the fallen spiritual world (Satan, the demonic powers).Philippians 2:10 (ESV)10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heavenand on earth and under the earth,could open - or look into itWhat is Johnʼs response?- Weep - loud waiting - i.e., professional wailers, weepers,- Greatly - sobbingWhy? - because he was to be shown what would soonhappen - to bring about the return of Christ on the clouds- to bring about the vindication of God- to bring about the ultimate victory over death and hell and SatanWhy weep? - because creation groans - and thereappears to be no hope- because believers are persecuted, and there is no vindication- because Godʼs purposes seem to to be unfulﬁlledAs W.A. Criswell poignantly put it:[Johnʼs tears] represent the tears of all Godʼs peoplethrough all the centuries. Those tears of the apostle Johnare the tears of Adam and Even, driven out of the Gardenof Eden, as they bowed over the ﬁrst grave, as they
watered the dust of the ground with their tears over thesilent, still form of their son, Abel. Those are the tears ofthe children of Israel in bondage as they cried unto God intheir afﬂiction and slavery. They are the tears of Godʼselect through the centuries as they cried unto heaven.They are the sobs and tears that have been wrung fromthe heart and soul of Godʼs people as they looked on theirsilent dead, as they stand beside their open graves, asthey experience in the trials and sufferings of life,heartaches and disappointments indescribable. Such isthe curse that sin has laid upon Godʼs beautiful creation;and this is the damnation of the hand of him who holds it,that usurper, that interloper, that intruder, that alien, thatstranger, that dragon, that serpent, that Satan-devil. “and Iwept audibly,” for the failure to ﬁnd a Redeemer meantthat this earth in its curse is consigned forever to death. Itmeant that death, sin, damnation, and hell should reignforever and ever and the sovereignty of Godʼs earthshould remain forever in the hands of Satan.Why is Jesus undeniably unique- because there is no one in heaven, earth or in the wicked spiritual world who can fulﬁll the ultimate purposes of God3. Jesusʼ position makes him undeniably unique v 5v 5 - but the end is not hereweep no more - a command - no need to cry over this -not all is lostbehold - something astounding is to be shownthe Lion of the tribe of Judah- Gen 49:9-10 - a reference to messiah - to come and rule and conquer
Genesis 49:9–10 (ESV)! 9! Judah is a lionʼs cub;from the prey, my son, you have gone up.! ! He stooped down; he crouched as a lionand as a lioness; who dares rouse him?! 10! The scepter shall not depart from Judah,nor the rulerʼs staff from between his feet,! ! until tribute comes to him;and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.Hosea 5:14 (ESV)! 14! For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,and like a young lion to the house of Judah.! ! I, even I, will tear and go away;I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.The Root of David- another clear description of the Messiah - the anointed one to fulﬁll all the promises that God had for Israel- the one who would pour out wrath and bring deliveranceIsaiah 11 - clear references to Jesus ChristJeremiah 23:5 (ESV)5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raiseup for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king anddeal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.Jeremiah 33:14–15 (ESV)The Lord’s Eternal Covenant with David14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulﬁllthe promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch tospring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousnessin the land.Mark 12:35–37 (ESV)Whose Son Is the Christ?35And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribessay that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the HolySpirit, declared,! ! “ ʻThe Lord said to my Lord,! ! Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.ʼ37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And thegreat throng heard him gladly.John 7:42 (ESV)42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from theoffspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village whereDavid was?”Hebrews 7:14 (ESV)14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and inconnection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.and this onehas conquered- overcome death, hell, sinJohn 16:33 (ESV)33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I haveovercome the world.”1 Corinthians 15:54 (ESV)54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortalputs on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that iswritten:! ! “Death is swallowed up in victory.”And the reason why he overcame- to take the scroll - and open it- so that he would be the one worthyThe Lion - the Offspring of the warrior David- the King of Kings and Lord of LordsOnly the one prophesied for hundreds of years - only theone who meets the requirements of God expressedthrough the prophets
Jesus is the only one uniquely qualiﬁed to fulﬁll the plan ofGodCONCLUSIONThis description makes it no mistake that Jesus is uniqueamong everything and everyone that exists on the planet.Though He is fully human in His incarnation, He is stillvery unique from us.He is not merely one among many ways to God - he isthe only way to reconciliation with God.He is not merely one good teacher among a host of moralvoices in human history.What have we said uniquely about Jesus today?- how possible is it that we came here today looking for a therapeutic Jesus to cure our ailments and give us a good word from which we can build a better life?- Have we lifted up Jesus in such a way that He is the sole source of our ultimate satisfaction - regardless of what happens to us in this life - in this world?Have we prayed to him with such a desperation and sucha conﬁdence that he is the only one who can answer ourprayers?Have we sung to Him as if He was the very one whocreated the world - and the very one who will enact all ofthe judgments that will fall upon the earth?Have we listened to His word - as if His word alone - is allsufﬁcient for our spiritual life?
Do we have such a unique view of Jesus that the thingsof which we often ﬁnd ourselves concerned about beginto become things by which we ﬁnd conﬁdence in him?How unique is your vision of Jesus? How central to yourlife is your understanding of who He is? How speciﬁc hasyour worship of Jesus been this morning?Our gatherings should not be merely “God” gatherings - inwhich you can assume that whatever is your personalview of God, you could comfortably worship here.We do not hold higher-power pep-rallyʼs here. We sopaint the portrait of Jesus that any other pursuit of anyother God in any other way than Jesus is fruitless andempty.- but the pursuit of Jesus in our prayers, fellowship, singing, listening, and responding - will ﬁnd the deepest satisfaction and fullness.One of the chief ways that Heaven helps our worship is tocall us to see how central Jesus is - and to uniquely putHis greatness and centrality on display.