08 Revelation Worthy Is The Lamb


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Class 8 of 16 on the Book of Revelation, scheduled to be taught by Dale Wells at Palm Springs Church of Christ on February 25, 2009.

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08 Revelation Worthy Is The Lamb

  1. 1. Lesson 8 Worthy is the Lamb! Amen! Hallelujah! – A Study of the Book of Revelation By Dale Wells Text: Rev 5
  2. 2. THE SEALED BOOK <ul><li>Rev 5:1-4 WEB I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals. I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, &quot;Who is worthy to open the book, and to break its seals?&quot; No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look in it. And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it. </li></ul>
  3. 3. John sees a book in the right hand of the one on the throne <ul><li>Writing on both sides. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literally, &quot;within and on the back&quot;. That was unusual – manuscripts were written on one side only. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This manuscript has no space left to write. It is full of words, and the words are full of significance. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It contains the whole revelation of God on whatever subject it addresses. </li></ul><ul><li>But what could that subject be? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ezekiel had a similar experience <ul><li>Eze 2:9-10 WEB When I looked, behold, a hand was put forth to me; and, behold, a scroll of a book was therein; He spread it before me: and it was written within and without; and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe . </li></ul><ul><li>Using the same imagery as Ezekiel, the words on the scroll spell out bad news for someone. Whom could it be? </li></ul>
  5. 5. The book John sees is sealed with seven seals <ul><li>Do not visualize a traditional &quot;scroll&quot;. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Imagine a 7-page pamphlet, with the pages bound together along one edge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imagine that booklet rolled up, with each page sealed where the edge ends. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By opening each seal, you open one page at a time, without revealing the contents of the others. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>7 speaks of the completion of God's purpose. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So this scroll contains not only a message from God, but the complete will, or purpose of God. But it cannot be read, because the pages are sealed. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The apparently insurmountable problem <ul><li>A mighty angel asks for a volunteer who is worthy to receive and open the book. </li></ul><ul><li>His request is met with silence. No one is worthy, either in heaven, or on earth, or even under the earth, to open the seals - or even to look inside - and reveal the message from the God on the throne. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Isaiah described Israel as a people to whom God's word was sealed <ul><li>Isa 29:11-14 WEB All vision is become to you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is learned, saying, Read this, I pray you; and he says, I can't, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him who is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray you; and he says, I am not learned. The Lord said, Because this people draw near to me , and with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which has been taught them ; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. </li></ul><ul><li>Their sins sealed God's word to their minds. </li></ul><ul><li>No wonder John weeps! It appears that God's purpose has been thwarted! </li></ul>
  8. 8. THE WORTHY LAMB <ul><li>Rev 5:5-7 WEB One of the elders said to me, &quot;Don't weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the book and its seven seals.&quot; I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. </li></ul>
  9. 9. One of the elders tells John not to give up hope so quickly <ul><li>One is worthy, but not the one everyone expects. </li></ul><ul><li>The emperor declared himself to be a god, worthy of worship (Greek kaisarsebaston , “Caesar, worthy of worship”). The emperors all took the throne name “Caesar Augustus” (Latin version of kaisarsebaston ). </li></ul><ul><li>It is not Caesar on his throne, but God on his , who is worthy of worship. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When it comes time to receive and reveal the will of God, Caesar is not even in the running. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is only one who is worthy, and that is the &quot;Lion who is of the Tribe of Judah&quot;. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The &quot;Lion of the tribe of Judah&quot; comes from Jacob blessing his sons <ul><li>Gen 49:8-10 WEB &quot;Judah, your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; Your father's sons will bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, As a lioness. Who will rouse him up? The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be. </li></ul>
  11. 11. He is also identified as another OT figure - the &quot;Root of David&quot; <ul><li>Isa 11:1-5 WEB There shall come forth a shoot out of .. Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit . The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him … His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. </li></ul>
  12. 12. David was the son of Jesse & Jesus is the pre-eminent son of David! <ul><li>As David surpassed his father, Jesse, so also, Jesus surpassed his ancestor, David. </li></ul><ul><li>Jer 23:5-6 WEB Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land . In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name by which he shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Lord promised an heir to David's throne <ul><li>2Sa 7:12-16 WEB When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son … Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever. </li></ul><ul><li>In the immediate future, he was talking about Solomon, but the Jews saw in that promise a future Messiah,the son of David, to whom the Lord promised the throne in his eternal kingdom </li></ul>
  14. 14. Psa 89:20-37 WEB <ul><li>I have found David, my servant. I have anointed him with my holy oil, (21) with whom my hand shall be established … (26) He will call to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation!' (27) I will also appoint him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. (28) I will keep my loving kindness for him forevermore. My covenant will stand firm with him. (29) I will also make his seed endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (30) If his children forsake my law, and don't walk in my ordinances; (31) if they break my statutes, and don't keep my commandments; (32) then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. (33) But I will not completely take my loving kindness from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. (34) I will not break my covenant, nor alter what my lips have uttered. (35) Once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David. (36) His seed will endure forever, his throne like the sun before me. (37) It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.&quot; Selah. </li></ul>
  15. 15. This is a staple of the apostolic preaching in the New Testament <ul><li>David wrote: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 16:8-11 WEB I have set Yahweh always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices. My body shall also dwell in safety. (10) For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption. (11) You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peter quotes that passage from David, but applies it to the resurrected Jesus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 2:29-31 WEB Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Paul made the same connection. <ul><li>Rom 1:1-4 WEB Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, </li></ul>
  17. 17. The voice says the Lion … of Judah & Root of David has &quot;overcome&quot; <ul><li>Overcome ( nikaoo ) is the same word as in Rev 2-3. Jesus was the first overcomer. He met the power of the universe and won. </li></ul><ul><li>Col 2:13-15 WEB You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Lion has overcome <ul><li>He is able to take & open the scroll, so there is no more need for tears. </li></ul><ul><li>A lion is announced, so John expects to see a lion. Instead, he sees a lamb advancing to the throne to take the scroll! </li></ul><ul><li>But this is no ordinary lamb! It looks as if it had been slain. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The WEB makes it sound like a mere matter of appearance. That is not the force of the Greek text. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The NEB does a good job when it describes the lamb as having &quot;the marks of slaughter upon him&quot;. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The literal translation is &quot;standing as one having been slain&quot; <ul><li>These are Greek perfect passive participles. </li></ul><ul><li>The idea is of something that actually happened in the past, but which has abiding results in the present. </li></ul><ul><li>Here, John sees a lamb. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is obvious that the lamb has been slaughtered, but there it stands, nevertheless, and it is alive! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is no matter of mere appearance. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Lamb was actually killed <ul><li>Rev 5:9-10 WEB They sang a new song, saying, &quot;You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed , And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The Greek sphazoo was the word for ritual, sacrificial slaughter. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a sacrificial lamb, that has been sacrificed, but that is alive, nevertheless! </li></ul>
  21. 21. Isaiah had described the Messiah in terms reminiscent of this <ul><li>Isa 53:7 WEB He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn't open his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn't open his mouth. </li></ul>
  22. 22. There can be no doubt who this Lamb is <ul><li>We cannot help but think of John the Baptizer introducing Jesus to his disciples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joh 1:29 WEB The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, &quot;Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. It reminds us of other passages about our redemption <ul><li>1Co 5:7b WEB For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. </li></ul><ul><li>It also reminds us that we were not redeemed with silver or gold ... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1Pe 1:19 WEB … but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, the blood of Christ; </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. It has &quot;seven horns and seven eyes&quot; <ul><li>&quot;Seven&quot; is a depiction of God's complete will. So what do seven horns and seven eyes signify? </li></ul><ul><li>The horn in the Old Testament is a symbol of strength. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deu 33:17 WEB The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his; His horns are the horns of the wild-ox: With them he shall push the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth: They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, They are the thousands of Manasseh. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To say that the lamb has seven horns is to say he has God's power. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In other words, he is omnipotent! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To say that he has seven eyes, is an affirmation that he has God's vision. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro 15:3 WEB Yahweh's eyes are everywhere, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In other words, he is omniscient! </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. John saw the lamb do what no one else in creation was worthy to do <ul><li>He walked up to the throne of God and took the book out of the hand of the Almighty! </li></ul><ul><li>No wonder heaven erupts with praise of his worth! </li></ul><ul><li>Our word &quot;worship&quot; comes from old English &quot;worth-ship.&quot; It is an affirmation of worth! </li></ul><ul><li>Revelation 4 declares that God on the throne is worthy of worship! </li></ul><ul><li>Revelation 5 adds a second verse, declaring that the Lamb is worthy of worship, as well! </li></ul>
  26. 26. WORSHIP OF THE LAMB <ul><li>Rev 5:8-14 WEB Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song, saying, &quot;You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed, And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth.&quot; I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, &quot;Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!&quot; I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, &quot;To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!&quot; The four living creatures said, &quot;Amen!&quot; The elders fell down and worshiped. </li></ul>
  27. 27. In Revelation 4, all eyes had been on the throne <ul><li>Now, in Revelation 5, all eyes are on the Lamb. </li></ul><ul><li>The entire heavenly scene, the four creatures and 24 elders, fall before the Lamb and worship him. </li></ul><ul><li>The harps signify their worship, and John tells the reader that the bowls of incense signify the prayers of the saints, which come out of the tabernacle. </li></ul><ul><li>He would understand the sentiment of David: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 141:2 WEB Let my prayer be set before you like incense; The lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. John's situation is unique vis-à-vis every human before, or since <ul><li>He has the unique distinction of seeing the same moment in celestial history from both earth's and heaven's perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>He was with the few who saw Jesus ascend to heaven in Acts 1. </li></ul><ul><li>Now, he sees the ascended Christ as he enters into heaven. </li></ul>
  29. 29. And when Jesus enters, all heaven erupts with praise! <ul><li>The fact that they sing a &quot;new song&quot; means only that it is new as compared with the song they had sung in Revelation 4. </li></ul><ul><li>There, the song was a song of praise to God on the throne, as worthy because of his work in creation. </li></ul><ul><li>Here, the song is a song of praise to the Lamb as worthy because of his work in redemption. </li></ul>
  30. 30. This is the New Testament counterpart to the &quot;Song of Moses&quot; <ul><li>Recall that when Israel had crossed the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army had been drowned in it, the Israelites sang the &quot;Song of Moses&quot; in which they praised God for redeeming them, and for vanquishing their enemies. </li></ul>
  31. 31. That is the way the concept of a &quot;new song&quot; is used in the scriptures <ul><li>It is a &quot;new song&quot; that is sung after God delivers his people. Throughout the Old Testament, there are many mentions of a &quot;new song&quot; that is sung when God has acted decisively for his people. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 33:3 WEB Sing to him a new song. Play skillfully with a shout of joy! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 40:3 WEB He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in Yahweh. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 96:1 WEB Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 98:1 WEB Sing to Yahweh a new song, For he has done marvelous things! His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 144:9 WEB I will sing a new song to you, God. On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psa 149:1 WEB Praise Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Isaiah also urges people to sing a new song in light of God's deliverance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Isa 42:10 WEB Sing to Yahweh a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth; you who go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the isles, and the inhabitants of it. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. In Rev 14:3, we will read of God's people who have been delivered <ul><li>Rev 14:3 WEB They sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed out of the earth. </li></ul><ul><li>In this picture, the redeemed are standing on Mount Zion singing a song commemorating their redemption. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Then, just a chapter later, we'll read again of the overcomers singing <ul><li>In the context of God's judgments on the ungodly, the redeemed sing a song of deliverance. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rev 15:3 WEB They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, &quot;Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So what is there about this Lamb that is so special? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Lamb is worthy because of his death, and because of what his death accomplished. Look at what his death did </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. His death purchased men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation <ul><li>The King James Version incorrectly says he purchased &quot;us&quot;. That is not what the Greek text says. It says he purchased men. But not just any men, and not just men from a select group. </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus' death made it possible for men to be purchased from every tribe (ethnic group), tongue (language group), people (racial group), and nation (national group). </li></ul><ul><li>No matter what there is that segregates men from one another, it has been abolished in the cross. </li></ul><ul><li>As Paul put it, &quot;There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus&quot; ( Galatians 3:28 ). </li></ul><ul><li>The days are past when one had to be a physical descendant of Abraham in order to be a part of God's people. </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus opened the doors of heaven to everyone! </li></ul>
  35. 35. His death made these people into a &quot;kingdom&quot; and &quot;priests&quot; <ul><li>In spite of their diversity of race, culture and language, the Lamb's blood has made them into a &quot;kingdom&quot; (not &quot;kings&quot; as in some translations), in which God rules. </li></ul><ul><li>In spite of the fact that their sins separated them from God, the Lamb's blood has made them into &quot;priests&quot;, with access to God! </li></ul><ul><li>The OT prophets said God's intention was to give them access to his throne. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Isa 61:6 WEB But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men shall call you the ministers of our God: you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No wonder the hosts of heaven sing praises to the Lamb with their own version of &quot;Worthy art Thou!&quot; </li></ul>
  36. 36. The chapter began with a question: &quot;Who is worthy?&quot; <ul><li>Of course there is the foregone conclusion that God is worthy. </li></ul><ul><li>That is why the singers sang the first stanza of &quot;Worthy Art Thou&quot; in Revelation 4. </li></ul><ul><li>There, they ascribed to God the same kind of worthiness that the prophets had ascribed to him centuries before. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1Ch 29:11 WEB Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. But &quot;who is worthy&quot; to take the book out of God's hand and open it? <ul><li>They looked everywhere and no one could be found who was worthy. </li></ul><ul><li>But, just when it seemed hopeless, there was found one - no more and no less - who was worthy! </li></ul><ul><li>Now everyone who had been involved in the search joins in the assent that he truly is worthy! </li></ul>
  38. 38. Every created being joins in the act <ul><li>They sing about the worthiness of the one on the throne, and of the Lamb, as well. ( 5:13 ). </li></ul><ul><li>The singers are the ones described by Daniel as those who minister to and stand before God. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dan 7:10 WEB … thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When everyone and every thing in creation agree that God and the Lamb are worthy, there's just one thing for the elders and the four living creatures to say - &quot;Amen!&quot; </li></ul>
  39. 39. The Old Testament background of this entire scene is Daniel 7:9-14 <ul><li>Dan 7:9-14 WEB I saw until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat: his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels of it burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened … I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, 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. </li></ul>
  40. 40. In that grand vision, God is seen on the throne, ready to judge <ul><li>God's judgment is about to come upon one kingdom, and a king who thought he was worthy of worship. </li></ul><ul><li>Into the scene came &quot;one like a son of man&quot; who was led into his presence. </li></ul><ul><li>He was given dominion over all peoples, nations and languages. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a final word about his rule: &quot;his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.&quot; </li></ul>
  41. 41. Ready or not, God's enemy is about to be judged! <ul><li>We’re going to see that the nation - and the king - who are facing judgment in Daniel 7 are the same as the enemies of God's people in the Book of Revelation. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the Roman Empire and the Roman emperors, and, in particular, one emperor named Domitian. </li></ul>
  42. 42. The scene in Revelation 4-5 is this <ul><li>God is on his throne. His court is assembled, and his judgments are ready to be pronounced. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But there is no one worthy to pronounce God’s judgments. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then, the only worthy one in the universe comes to the throne. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He takes the book and it's time for God's judgments to begin. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The judgments are the seals, trumpets, thunders, and bowls that we'll see in the rest of the book. </li></ul></ul>