TITLE DEED TO THE EARTH - Revelation 4 and 5

Revelation 4 and 5

In this lesson we learn why Jesus Christ is praised in heaven.

OUTLINE

The Lord's Prayer is the most oft-prayed prayer in the world. During the Tribulation period, all of heaven unites in praise as God prepares the answer to the central request of that prayer-that God's kingdom would come, and His will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

I. The Identity of the One Who Takes the Scroll

   A. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

   B. The Root of David

   C. The Lamb Who Was Slain

II. The Locality of the One Who Takes the Scroll

III. The Activity of the One Who Takes the Scroll

   A. He Reclaims Authority Over All the Earth

   B. He Receives the Worship of Heaven

OVERVIEW

   It is well-known among most Bible students that the chapter and verse divisions in our modern Bibles are not part of the original text of Scripture. The book of Revelation, for instance, would have been one long, continuous document with no breaks. There were not even spaces or punctuation marks between sentences! As publishing progressed, however, chapter and verse divisions were inserted to make the study and reading of the Bible easier.

   One of the results is that portions of Scripture which are best understood if read together have been broken apart. Such is the case with Revelation 4-5. The first word of chapter 5, "and," ties it to the last verse of chapter 4. Chapter 5 continues the vision of what John saw in heaven when a door was opened and he was called to "come up here" (Revelation 4:1).

   We see something in chapter 5 not mentioned in chapter 4: The One on the throne has a scroll, or book, in His hand. The book of Revelation is, indeed, a book about books. There is a book of life, a book of works, a book of testimony-and in the chapter before us is another book which is, in many ways, a key to the unfolding of the rest of Revelation. It is a scroll written on front and back, indicating nothing more could be added, sealed with seven seals (5:1). I agree with those Bible scholars who believe this book is the title deed to planet earth, and that Revelation 5 tells us what the title deed contains and what happens when the seven seals are released.

   We said in an earlier lesson that Revelation contains three sets of sevens: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Some have suggested that they unfold consecutively, one after another. But in reality they unfold in a different manner. For instance, the scroll would not have appeared with seven seals along the outside edge. Because John has a Roman scroll in mind, the seals would have been applied as follows: The first portion was written and rolled up, and the first seal applied. The second portion was written, rolled up, and sealed. Then the third portion, and so on, until the seventh seal was applied. In reading the scroll, therefore, that procedure is reversed: Remove the first seal and read the first portion; remove the second seal and read the second portion, and so on until the end.

   Another key is to connect the seals with the trumpets and the bowls. To put it simply, the seventh seal is the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet is the seven bowls. Therefore, within the seven seals are contained all the seals, trumpets, and bowls-all the judgments of God. And they are all contained in the scroll held in His hand. This book unfolds the story of the Tribulation from, beginning to end (chapters 4-19). The venue for chapters 4-5 is heaven, the venue for chapters 6-19 is the earth.

   Through the scroll, the title deed to earth, Jesus Christ is going to once again take control of planet earth, a realm which belongs to Him. By the time we get through the seven bowl judgment; we find that "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15) As the book in the Father's hand is gradually unfolded and judgment is carried out on the earth, it culminates with the earth being delivered into the hands of the King of kings.

   I believe the contents of this scroll are the same contents that were sealed up by God in Daniel 12:8-9, sealed "till the time of the end." And the only one in heaven worthy to unseal the book and read its contents becomes the focus of worship in chapter 5.What was sealed up in Daniel's day was unsealed in John's, and the one unsealing the book is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," Jesus Christ Himself.

THE IDENTITY OF THE ONE WHO TAKES THE SCROLL

   There are three names given in Revelation 5:5-7for the One who takes the book and unfolds its truth.

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

   This title is taken from Genesis 49 when the patriarch Jacob was blessing his sons shortly before his death. He said of Judah, "Judah is a lion's whelp ... he lies down as a lion; And ... who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah ... and to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (Genesis 49:9-10). Jacob's prophecy meant that from the tribe of Judah the Messiah of Israel would come forth. King David was of the tribe of Judah, as was Joseph, Jesus' legal father, and one of Jesus' names while on earth was Son of David (the whole problem with Saul being the king of Israel was that he was from the tribe of Benjamin, not Judah).

The Root of David

   This is a most amazing name given to Jesus. While Jesus was a descendant of David, the text says He was the "Root of David," meaning that it was from Jesus that David came forth. How can that be? Jesus was both the ancestor and the descendant of David. This became an issue in a discussion Jesus had with the Pharisees. Jesus asked them once whose son the Messiah would be. They answered correctly-"the Son of David." Then why, Jesus continued, does David refer to Him as Lord, and quotes for them Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool'" How could David call his own Son "Lord"? The Pharisees were stumped (Matthew 22:41-46).Jesus referred to the same reality once when He said, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). In His humanity He was the "descendant" of David, but in His deity the "ancestor" of David.

The Lamb Who Was Slain

   The last of the three titles is the most moving for the believer-the Lamb who was slain. There are four things to know about the Lamb.

1.The Lamb Is Standing

   The word lamb referring to Christ in Revelation is very important. It brings to mind Isaac asking his father Abraham, "Where is the lamb?" (Genesis 22:7) for the sacrifice. And John the Baptist answering the question centuries later, "Behold! The Lamb of God ... " (John 1:29) when Jesus appeared. The word lamb occurs 28 times in Revelation.

   First the Lamb is standing in the midst of the throne, unusual for a lamb that has been slain. The Lamb standing is indicative of the resurrected Christ-slain but brought back to life. Hebrews 8:1 pictures Christ seated in heaven, but here He has risen and is ready for judgment to begin.

2. The Lamb Is Slain

   Though He is standing, the Lamb is still a slain lamb. The marks of Jesus' death will be visible throughout eternity. We will never be allowed to forget the price He paid for our redemption and that it is only through His death that we are able to enter heaven at all.

3. The Lamb Is Strong

   The seven horns indicate the strength of the Lamb (5:6),as homs always indicate in Scripture (1Kings 22:11;Zechariah 1:18).

Though He has been slain, He has not been weakened. And while no real lamb has seven horns, the number seven is the number of fullness and completion. He is totally strong, thoroughly able to execute the judgments recorded in the book.

4. The Lamb Is Searching

   The seven eyes represent His all-seeing wisdom. The seven eyes are said to be seven spirits sent out into all the earth, as if to gather information on all that is happening. He is omniscient and omnipresent both necessary in order to execute a just judgment upon the earth.

   A lion and a lamb are a study in contrasts. The Lamb of God was Jesus at His first coming, the Lion of Judah at His second. The Lamb is meek; the Lion is majestic. The Lamb is the Savior; the Lion the Sovereign. The Lamb was judged; the Lion is the Judge. The Lamb brings the grace of God; the Lion the government of God. All of that and more are wrapped up in the Person who holds the scroll while standing in the midst of the throne.

THE LOCALITY OF THE ONE WHO TAKES THE SCROLL

He is worshiped because of where He is-in the midst of the throne of God, in the midst of the 24 elders, in the midst of the four living creatures (Revelation 5:6).He is the center of the worship of heaven.

THE ACTIVITY OF THE ONE WHO TAKES THE SCROLL

Why is the Lamb worthy to be worshiped? For two reasons, because He reclaims authority over all the earth and because all of heaven worships Him. He Reclaims Authority Over All the Earth The background for what is happening in Revelation, chapter 5, is Daniel 7:13-14. There, one like the Son of Man, comes to the Ancient of Days and receives "dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him." In Revelation 5 Jesus is receiving the kingdom from His Father. The Tribulation period is when He moves upon the earth to judge all who are in rebellion against God and to take ownership of earth and establish His rule and reign.

He Receives the Worship of Heaven

Three groups in heaven are pictured worshiping the Lamb.

1.The Worship of the Redeemed

   Remember that the elders (5:8) represent the Church, the redeemed. The bowls they hold are filled with the prayers of the saint-the Lord's Prayer, I believe. For it is in the Lord's Prayer that we pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." That is the prayer that will be ultimately fulfilled by the end of the Tribulation period. In verses 9-10, the redeemed, the believers, worship the Lamb. The words of their song are in these two verses, praising the Lamb that He is worthy because He has redeemed out of every people those who will reign with Him on earth. Praise His Name!

2. The Worship of the Angels

   In verses 11-12 we find new worshipers-angels, "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." That obviously is not the exact number, but an extravagant way of saying a number beyond measure. The Bible never says how many angels there are in the universe; they are apparently innumerable, never numbered. Can you imagine the sound of that many angels speaking praises of worship to the Lamb?

3. The Worship of the Creatures

   Last the Lamb is worthy of our worship because every creature in the universe worships Him. Verse 13 says that the animal kingdom, even the fish in the sea, break forth in praise to the Lamb. The day is coming when those creatures which we consider to be dumb and beneath us are going to praise the Lamb.

   Around the throne of God, closest to the throne, are the redeemed of God who sing a song of praise to God (verses 8-10). Next are the angels who do not sing, but speak words of praise to God (verses 11-12). Finally, every creature on earth will join the redeemed and the angels in speaking forth praises to the Lamb (verse 13). Note that the redeemed are the only ones who offer their praises directly. While the redeemed actually praise God that He has redeemed them, the angels and creatures offer praises for the redemption which the Lamb provided, that is, the redeemed praise God for their redemption, while the angels and the creatures praise God for redemption itself.

   Whether the praises are sung (the redeemed) or spoken (the angels and creatures), there is no missing the fact that the central focus of heaven during the Tribulation is a vision of praise to the Lamb who was slain in anticipation of the kingdom He is about to establish on earth -- just as it is in heaven.

TITLE DEED TO THE EARTH - Revelation 4 and 5