#19 The Lamb Of God, The Lion Of Judah
When we last looked at the book of Revelation, in chapter 4, we saw all of heaven worshiping Him Who sits on the Throne. And this is only right for God our Father is worthy to receive all praise and adoration, not because we deem it so, but because of WHO HE IS! He is the one true, the Glorious God. And that is enough!
Now this morning we return to that heavenly scene and again we see that God is on His Throne. There has been much said about God on His Throne and much is false or at least belittling of the Eternal glory. God, it is said, is on the Throne but He really can’t do anything unless we let Him, allow Him, permit Him. Though no scripture can back this up, God, we are told, is a gentleman and will not force Himself on anyone. He has given us free will and He will not violate that free will.
If this is true, then we can stop God from carrying out His eternal decrees if they violate our free will. If we so choose, we can dethrone God and kick Him out of our sphere of existence. I know that this is absurd but this is the logical conclusion that one must come to if one is to accept the blasphemous ideas of the minds of sinful men who will not have God reigning over them.
The reality however is contrary to such nonsense as I have just cited for as the Psalmist states, (Ps 115:3) “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. God speaking through His prophet Isaiah said in (Isa 46:8-10) “Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. 9 “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’
God sits on His Throne as the Ruler, the Controller the Master of His creation. His is the directing Hand that governs all things. He, as Paul so eloquently stated, is the Potter. We on the other hand are merely lumps of clay. It is His hand that molds us into what we are. It is His will which declares what we will do and not the other way around. He decides to make vessels for honorable and common use!
In fact, consider the idea of a potter and his clay from the human perspective. Before anything happens, the potter must actually mix materials together to even make clay! Then he must place the clay on the potters’ wheel. The clay doesn’t mix itself nor can it climb up onto the wheel by itself. It doesn’t decide what it will be! It is lifeless material which the potter must mix. It is shapeless until the potter lifts it onto the wheel and begins to shape it. It is the same with God. He mixed the clay and made vessels, as He decided! The clay didn’t have a say in what it would be. God chose and God created.
I understand that this is totally contrary to what the world believes. Sinful man thinks that the Universe and all we know just happened. They believe that something came out of nothing. They believe that this Universe and all that it contains is a series of accidents that “just happened by themselves!” But they have never seen God nor known Him. There are so called Christians who hold to the same idea but have Christianized the ‘scientific data’ to ‘include God!’ But they too have never seen God nor known Him; otherwise they would never utter such blasphemous nonsense. In reality such garbage comes from them minds of sinners who want a savior who will forgive their sins and serve them. They want a ‘god’ who will make them happy.
But they don’t want a Lord who will meddle in their affairs. And this is where “no lordship salvation” comes from. This teaches says that you can ‘accept’ Jesus as your personal Savior but you don’t have to bow down to Him as Lord of your life! Isn’t it interesting how stupid people can be! By His very nature, Jesus is Lord. The Savior/Lord is a package deal. You cannot separate the attributes you don’t like unless you are creating an idol for your own amusement.
Sinners use the name God but in reality they invent a ‘god’ who is no god at all; merely a caricature of their own sinful imaginations. They fill their ‘god’ up with characteristics that they like. And then they worship it! Then there are those who call themselves Christians who seek to humanize the Almighty. They treat the attributes of God like a smorgasbord where they can pick and choose the things they like and toss out the rest!
But the truth of the matter is that they have merely exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for a lie, inventing a god who will serve them. And they invent ‘laws’ that one must obey in order to get things from their ‘god’ (You must do these four things in sequence and then God will answer your prayer) at the same time inventing ‘laws’ that God is bound by as well. As if God were bound by laws, by man. How many times have you heard that God is bound by laws? It is stupid.
But that is what I said at the beginning. Sinful man is stupid. Sinful man thinks that he can chain the Almighty: that he can bind God and make Him his slave. But this is really no different than those who carve statues and overlay them with gold and silver, grant them attributes, set up a formula for worship and then bow down and worship them! And they think they can get away with this! But God, the true God, the God of the Bible, the One who sits on the Throne is no such being. And those who worship their ‘caricature god’ at their own self made altars don’t know Him! And worse still, He doesn’t know them! That is, He has not called them from the grave of self to serve the Living God.
Otherwise no such blasphemies would escape their lips. Otherwise they would not serve dumb idols! Otherwise they would not even dare to try to humanize the Almighty. This was the indictment that God brought against Israel in (Ps 50:21) when He said, “These things you have done and I kept silence; I was patient for a while. And You foolishly thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. In other words, I am going to clear up all of your misconceptions. And you will know that I am the Lord!
God is no figurehead or idol who can be manipulated. He is God Almighty. (Ps 90:2) tells us that “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. As we turn aside to see this great sight, the LORD on His Throne, we do so in an attitude of worship, of holy reverence to Him who truly is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Our text is found in (Rev 5:1-14) and as we stand with John before our Lord on His Throne we read 1I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. Boy oh boy, are there a lot of theories about what this book is. Talk about speculation. William Hendriksen believes that the book contains all of redemptive history. True to his A-Millennialism he says “It symbolizes God’s purpose with respect to the entire universe throughout history, and concerns all creatures in all ages and to all eternity. This has quite a bit of merit as God has ordained all things that will come to pass. And so there is truth in what he says.
John MacArthur thinks that this book is the title deed of the earth. This is interesting. You see, when an Israelite was forced to sell some of his inheritance due to whatever reason, a title deed was written out on the front and the back. Then it was sealed with seven seals. Only the former owner or a near kinsman could open it up to see what was written inside. In our text though, every time a seal is broken a judgment comes. Maybe John sees this like a title burning ceremony that many churches have after they have paid off the building. Richard Jeske says that this book represents the truth, that all of history is subject to the will and power of God. This is the case of a truth! But the scripture does not say exactly what this book is.
I would like to put forth my opinion as well. I understand this book, this scroll to symbolize the final judgment upon the earth. My reasoning is that every time a seal is broken, a judgment falls upon the earth. You have but to follow the breaking of the seals to see this. And this is not the only place where a book of judgment is seen.
In (Eze 2:9) we read about another book very similar to the one John sees. We read…“Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe. Here is a book full of judgments against Israel for their sin.
Now we understand that the theme of the book of Revelation is the culmination of the Ages, the final judgment on sinful mankind. This book, I believe is full of the final judgments of the earth! It is the culmination of the end of the age, the return of Jesus and the final rest for His children. This is where I stand on this issue. But understand; this is my opinion! We will see where the scriptures lead us!
Verse 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” Now obviously someone has to open the Book. Who’s gonna do it? Notice what verse 3 says “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Now this is interesting. If Mohammed is the guy, if he is this great prophet, if his word is law and if he thinks that he can conquer all religions by the sword why doesn’t he come up and rip that book out of God’s hand? What is stopping him from coming right up to the Throne of God, taking the book and opening it up?
Joseph Smith is supposed to be the guy who lets people into heaven or bars them from entering. He teaches that “as man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” In keeping with this teaching, Joseph Smith is a god. Where is he? In fact, if he is a god, why isn’t he on the throne of heaven? If the Mormons are to be believed, it is Joseph Smith who is sitting on the Throne and it is he who is holding the scroll. And yet, a created being, Smith not only is not on the throne, not a god, but even now is under judgment from the God he denied!
The Pope is God on earth! Why, he’s so powerful that when he speaks it is the voice of God! He is revered and worshiped! Why doesn’t he come and take the book and open it? Why doesn’t he order God off the Throne? I mean if he has the power to bring Jesus down and turn Him into a wafer and a cup of wine, surely he is almighty! But in reality he is a mere man and a sinful blasphemous man at that. For he being a mere man makes himself out to be God.
The way the supporters of these various religions speak, these men should be able to say “Open Sesame!” In fact, if these religions are to be believed, it is these men who should be sitting on the throne! But it is not true. Notice again what John says, “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. In one fell swoop all the religious rulers of this world are knocked off of their pedestals. No one, no created being has the power to open God’s sealed book. Just as no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, so too, no mere man can move God to do anything.
GOD does according to His will among the hosts of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. God alone declares the end from the beginning. It is God who sets up Kingdoms and brings them down and it is God alone who holds all life in His hand, who kills and makes alive and there is no one who can deliver out of God’s hand! Sinful man is a fool when he tries to rise up against the Almighty. Now, for some reason John is moved tears by this scene. 4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; I don’t know why John cries. God is on His throne. He is in control of all of His creation. None of the angels are weeping. The twenty four elders haven’t broken down. God doesn’t look upset! Why? Because there is no need! There is no need to cry! There is no need for tears. No one should be dismayed. God is in control! And this is not my opinion. It is the stated fact of the word of God!
This is why while John weeps no one else is worried. In verse 5 we read and one of the elders said* to me, “Stop weeping; in other words, knock it off! You have no reason to weep oh you of little faith. There is no need to fear. Stop acting as if you don’t trust in God. Stop acting as if you don’t believe that God is on the Throne. Stop acting as if you believe that things are out of control. There is no need to weep for behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
This of course is the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son. He is called the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David and the Lamb. The first title is taken from Jacob’s final blessing of his sons in (Ge 49:9-10) Before there were any kings in Israel, Jacob prophesied that there would be a scepter in Judah, that is, a king would arise from the tribe of Judah, first David, and then the Messiah from his lineage. Jacob says, “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? 10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah) comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. When He comes to reign as King, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.
The second title comes from (Isaiah 11:1-5,10) Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. Verse 10 “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.
Finally, we have the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus, the Passover Lamb laid down His life for His sheep. The Hymn writer says, “Those wounds yet visible above in beauty glorified. Here John says, 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, but there is something else. John sees Him having seven horns… As the horn is the emblem of power, and seven the number of perfection, the seven horns denote the all-prevailing and infinite might of Jesus Christ. He can support all his friends; he can destroy all his enemies; and he can save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him because He is God Almighty! Remember His words in (Mt 28:18) “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority (or all power) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
And the All Powerful One will prevail because He has ordained everything that comes to pass. He directs all things by the word of His Power. It is He who is at work to will and to do of His good pleasure. Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation. Oh my soul praise Him for He is my health and salvation. All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near. Praise Him in glad adoration. He has seven horns then which represent all power and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, Remember that His eyes are everywhere. He sees everything. He watches over His creation not as a disinterested deity but as the One who moves all things, directs all things, causes all things, has decreed all things! In (Col 2:9) Paul says “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.
The Holy Spirit in all of His fullness is sent out into all the earth. “Eyes” symbolize His all-watchful and wise providence for His Church, and against her enemies. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ because He Himself guards it. The Holy Spirit restrains evil and empowers believers to shine as lights in this dark world. And so here we see Jesus Christ, full of the Spirit of God standing in all of His Kingly majesty and omnipotent power between the Throne and the elders. And we read in verse 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. While no self made prophet, religious leader, wanna be usurper to the Throne of heaven is seen, the One, the only begotten Son of God stands forth as a rebuke to all who would even think of setting themselves up in the place of God.
He alone is worthy, able, has the right to take this book and not only take it but open it. And He already knows what is inside as He wrote it. It is His eternal decree.
He is the Judge of all the earth and He has decreed the end from the beginning. He started this world, created it from nothing and he will bring it to nothing because from everlasting to everlasting, HE IS GOD!!!!!!!!!!!! And in heaven everything says Glory!!!!!!!!!!!
Notice what happens when Jesus Christ takes the book. 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. There is worship. There is adoration. There is High Praise! While men shake for fear at the unknown, in heaven there is perfect peace and unbroken praise to the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the King of kings; Him who is in perfect control of all things.
This heavenly scene is so different from us is it not! In Heaven there is perfect peace while on earth men’s hearts fail for fear. Even Christians are caught up in this at times. We say we trust God; that we believe He is in control of all things that will happen in our lives. We say that we believe all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.
But then we grow fat and complacent or we enter into a time of trial and then all of our ‘faith’ goes out the window as we fret and fear and complain and gnash our teeth because “we just don’t know what’s going to happen!” We have taken our eyes off of God just for a moment and that is long enough for our sinful nature to run wild.
If only we would trust God and take to heart the truth that He really is in control; that He really is the cause of all things that happen in this world; that He really does direct all things according to His will! How different would our lives be! How different would be our reaction to trials and tribulations! Instead of fear there would be peace for our minds would be staid on Jesus where there is perfect unbroken peace. In place of the wails of terror and the shouts of unbelief would be the High Praises of God, songs of adoration to the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah.
This is what happens here. John wept because he did not see as the denizens of heaven do. But the elder told him to look to the Lamb! When he did the weeping stopped. He was given eyes to see the glory of God and peace flooded his heart as heaven worshiped!
And how they worshiped! 9And they sang* a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
Will you not find comfort here as well! Will you not find rest for your fearful hearts! God is on the Throne and all things are going exactly as He had decreed. He who had decreed the end from the beginning; who directs all things according to His will has set His love upon us! He has saved us from our sins with His own precious blood. He has delivered us from the wrath to come! No condemnation awaits us! He holds us in His almighty hand and no one can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! He has begun a good work in us and He will complete it. He is at work in us even now to will and to do of His good pleasure. He has gone to prepare a place for us and He will return on the appointed day to bring us to our heavenly home; to our eternal rest! One day we will join the heavenly throng as they rejoice before the Throne and there we will glorify God for all eternity.
Be comforted with these truths. The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket. But this was all foretold! We already know that in this world there is tribulation. We already know that one day the earth and all that is in it will be destroyed! But we also know that this world is not our final home. And Jesus will come one day to deliver us from all of this.
There is no reason to weep. There is no reason to despair! “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Be of good cheer! Our God is in control, the Lamb of God has overcome. And you belong to Him!