Revelation chapter 20 describes the final Great White Throne judgment of all people by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is here that God draws a line between our world and His heaven. Nothing that defiles, decays nor dies will be permitted into His Glorious heaven. There are many ways to this judgment but only one way through this judgment! Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation chapter 20 contains the final secret of the Bible. It is not our works, nor our righteousness, nor or religious endeavours which open up heaven to us but a name known by a Saviour who died, our name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Heaven belongs to those who belong to Jesus. Faith alone in teh Saviour who is alone the way and the truth and the life is the only way through judgment and into the presence of God forever. Dr J Stewart Gillespie
The joy of believers in the presence of the Lamb seated upon the throne of heaven in Revelation chapter 5 contrasts with the disappointment, despair, death and loss of those who pursue the world with its passing atheism, materialism and hedonism. We cannot have both heaven and earth as our part and portion, a wise man will chose that which lasts the longest (Jim Elliot) - J Stewart Gillespie
Revelation chapter 15 vs 1 to 4 traces the destiny of those who trusted the God of their strength, never flinching and refusing to let go until He became their salvation. As they stand upon the the crystal sea now mixed with the fires of affliction, they stand perpetual testimony to the God who is able to turn the victim into a victor. Here is the great secret of Christian trial and affliction that we have a God who is able to empower us to emerge butterfly like from the catastrophe of persecution and turmoil. The enemy in his hatred and cruelty may well have chased them to the brink of extinction at the edge of the sea but this was merely God's preamble to opening up the path before them for an eternal entrance to the habitation of God. They were like the Covenanter Martyrs of 1685, Corson and Hair; "Unknown till persecution dragged them into fame and chased them up to heaven"
What a God! What a Saviour! What a Lamb!
A message preached as part of our systematic study series on the book of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Bible teaching from Revelation chapter 14 verses 14 to 20; the two judgments of Revelation chapter 14 of the world and of Israel. Man may be impatient for judgement, God is not! He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. God does not merely react to sin! God is sovereign over man and works purpose through even a world in rebellion. We ought not to underestemate the sovereign power of a God who is able to bring good from the slavery and betrayal of Joseph, the murder by Moses and the rebellion of Jonah. After cries which echoe through the Psalms of David, the service of the disciples, the sanctuary of Daniel and the sousl of the saints of Revelation chapter 6; cries of "how long?" finally the answer is "now". Here is God's perfect judgment in God's time. From a systematic exposition of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Christian hymns, Old Testament Psalms (Psalm 2) and Biblical prophecies all look forward to Christ reigning in Zion; the Holy and royal mountain of Jerusalem. Well here He is; Christ in Zion, in Revelation chapter 14. John paints the picture, gives us a snapshot of Christ on mount Zion! It’s here He has finally arrived, but it's not what I would expect of:
The Son of God
The King of Kings
The Lord of Lords
Judge of all things
It’s the picture I might anticipate of one who is:
“Yet have I set my King upon my Holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6)
I wasn’t expecting to see a lamb there! Maybe a lion!
Yet the path from earth to heaven and glory, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has taken as a lamb.
That’s interesting that we should find the lamb on Mt Zion
We find the lamb in all sorts of places:
On the altar (Gen 22) – sacrifice
In the fire and flame (Ex 12) – suffering
In the mouth of the lion (1 Sam 17) – Satanic attack
Led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53)
Bearing away the sin of the world - As the Substitute
Finally we find the lamb here; on the throne (Revelation 4); in heaven (Revelation 14)
This path of the lamb by way of:
Is the path followed by those whom we find here in heaven. The route to the destination is the same.
They have followed the lamb all the way to Zion.
Some claim that we ought not to be ‘prisoners to our past, it’s a lesson, not a life sentence.’ There is some truth in that, but not much!
The biblical view of our past is far higher than being ‘free from the prison’ of the past and the past is certainly no lesson, it is the real thing!
If the past is but a lesson for today and today is but a lesson for the future. Where is it that we put into practice these so called lessons? When do we actually graduate from school into the real world! This of course is the real world!
No doubt lessons should be learned but regarding our life as merely a lesson is way short of the profound depths which God attaches to our life here and now.
Our past is not a prison from which we ought to regard ourselves as liberated from, our past is
what in part moulds and shapes us and produces character in us (Romans 5:1ff).
Theatre in which is worked out our service for God, the race is run, and as such reward can follow on.
The arena of sin and error; a place where ripples extend out into eternity, to the judgment seat and to others
Our past is way more serious than a prison from which we might seek freedom.
Our past does indeed teach lessons, but it has eternal consequences for us and consequences for others, which we cannot ignore nor erase. Consequences not only of:
Once we face up to the reality of this, once we grasp the truth of this, this will lead us to:
As well as
There is by far the greater path of:
We are far more than prisoners of our past
We are products of our past
A past that is not merely a lesson in life but a past that is life itself, real life with ripples running off into eternity.
The 144,000 arrive in heaven, sounding like the lamb (14:2) with a “voice of many waters” and with a “new song” that no man could learn.
Anyone could read the lyrics but they could not learn the song
Anyone could learn words but they could not learn the song!
Anyone could follow a tune but they could not learn this song!
Many could play the music but they could not learn the song.
This was a song played on the heart, not only upon the harp (v2)
Like Christ who ‘learned obedience by the things which He suffered’
Learning is a change brought about from experience
At times in life we complain, we are resentful, become bitter, get discouraged.
At times we desire an:
To take it a little easier
Put our feet up
A bit less hassle
This path is the path to mount Sinai
This is the path which brought the Son of God to Glory
This song was and is the product of their lives.
This is the song that makes us sound like Christ!
Bass notes of suffering
The treble clef of lifes melody
The sharps of excitement
The flats of disappointment
The rests of recuperation
The repeats of routine
The majors of life’s dominant themes
The minors of less significant
We may be an epistle written and read as Paul reminds us but our life also produces a song that is sung and nothing need be wasted.
From a systematic bible teaching series from the letter of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, preached at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock. Free to download messages and free to view online.
Great songs are born of deep experience. Some of the richest treasures of human expression arise from our deepest emotions of love, both fulfilled and frustrated. From lessons learned in deep anguish arise the expressions of heart uniquely tuned in the life and experience of every believer. To heaven these 144 000 bring a song so unique that only their life and their experience is able to give expression to it.
Dr J Stewart Gillespie at Faskally House Families Week 2022 - Tell me There's a Heaven.
Heaven is the expected conclusion to the life of faith. The path to heaven is fragranced with the presence and provision of the God of heaven. As pilgrims heavenward, the one to whom we go is the one who goes with us. We drink of the well of the living waters of Christ, as he promised to the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4. We hear His word of revelation and enjoy an ongoing relationship with the Saviour day by day. When heaven finally comes the summit is to the believer no surprise. With every step upward we feel the strain in our muscles, the tension in our tendons, the cool dew condensing on our hair, the air becoming thinner and the sun a little brighter. Heaven is the conclusion to a life of faith. We know the way because we know the person.
From a series of messages on the theme of "Tell me There's a Heaven" given at Faskally Families Week in 2022 by Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Trace back the fuse wire to the detonator that triggered the pouring out of the 7 vials of judgment, the fall of Babylon the Great, the battle of Armageddon, the sounding of the 7 trumpets, and the opening of the 7 seals, will lead you to this book in the hand of God in Revelation chapter 5. Whatever this book is, it contains the secret of all subsequent judgments and catastrophes in the book of Revelation which are to befall the world. Whatever it is, this book is important. Despite the fact that loosening the seals to open the book leads to global environmental, economic and spiritual melt down following in the wake of war, famine, disease and demonic attack, this is a risk worth taking.
The 4th message in a series of studies in the book of Revelation given at Faskally Family week 2022 on the theme of "Tell me There's a Heaven" by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
The lion of the tribe of Judah reigns sovereign and supreme from the throne of the Universe in Revelation chapter 5. His sovereignty has suffered and sacrificed through time and humanity. To the throne of heaven He brings Divine right and appointment fused with moral right and authority. He is the King who wore the crown of thorns ever before He bore the royal diadem. His reign in Righteousness is above fault and criticism, He was both given this right to reign, and He died for this right to reign. As the Lamb He concludes His retribution with redemption, His purpose in time for the universe collectively and for us individually will not be revealed in the raw power of destruction but rather every pain, each sorrow, every disappointment, all trials and affliction ultimately work together for good and Glory.
The 3rd message given at Faskally House Family Week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme of
"Tell me there's a Heaven" - studies in the book of Revelation.
The anticipated ecstasy of hymns, the crystal sea pictures the absolute, transparent holiness of God. Solomon was commissioned to reflect the pattern in the sea of his temple, provided for the cleansing of the priesthood. In this solid sea of glass, washing from sin and defilement is eternally out of the question. Nothing that defiles can enter into the dwelling place of God. Access to God's Heaven has as it's requirement holiness. It is a condition of entry and not a consequence. Absolute purity, the kind of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can provide, purchased by His blood and freely given to those willing to receive salvation by faith alone.
This crystal sea marks the boundary conditions of heaven. It is both heaven's floor and earth's ceiling. It is the extent of man's experience of the Divine when sought without Christ; a barrier of solid holiness. Revelation chapter 5 paints a picture of the character and nature of the God of heaven:
Lion like in His Sovereignty
Calf like in His salvation
Man like in His incarnation
Eagle like in the transcendence of His Spirit
Get a glimpse of Glory Get a glimpse of God
From a series of messages presented at Faskally House Family Week 2022 by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme:
It has taken 4000 years for the Spirit of God to introduce us to heaven. Heaven is a place of many surprises, but perhaps the greatest of all surprises is that there are so few surprises! Heaven has a door; a door we know of well from John's gospel. Heaven opens with a voice familiar; that of Jesus Christ. Heaven is the throne room of God. Upon the throne of heaven we see one like a Jasper and Sardine stone; one who is the Son of God's right hand and the Son of His mother's sorrow. The throne is surrounded by a rainbow of covenant keeping glory; echoing the one who is life and light.
Here is heaven.
Here is the God of heaven.
This is the God we know.
This is Jesus Christ.
The first of 6 studies in the book of Revelation presented at Faskally House, families week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Revelation chapter 13 is set in a day not too distant!
This second beast arises out of the earth as opposed to the sea (13:1).
The first beast we have categorised / identified as the AntiChrist on the basis of:
Wild beast description (13:1) by way of contrast with the description of the Lord Jesus as the lamb.
His incarnation in arising up out of the depths of the sea (13:1) in contrast to the one who came down from God (John 6:33,38)
7 fold names of blasphemy (13:1) in marked contrast to those names associated with the 7 fold spirit of God, described of the Lord Jesus in Isaiah 11: 2 and ascribed to the Lord Jesus in Revelation 5:6.
His mouth “speaking great things” (13:5) that also quite strikingly contrasts with the “gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22)
The duration of his reign of 3 ½ years which compares to the 3 ½ of public service of the Lord Jesus as a humble servant.
AntiSermon on the mount of 13:6, as the beast opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, His place on earth and His place in heaven. The complete opposite of what we find from the lips of Christ in Matthew 5:2; 6:9.
The first beast then we characterised as the AntiChrist. He had the object of distracting us from Christ, providing us with an alternative, a Satanic alternative opposite to the Christ of God.That of course has always been the object and purpose of Satan, to provide an alternative Christ, an antichrist, anti in:
The second beast is intimately tied into the mission of the Antichrist (13:12). His purpose is not so much to provide the lie; that has already been done, but to get us believing the lie, subscribing to the lie and under the power of the lie.
This second beast is referred to as the false prophet in Revelation 19:20.
He is not only false of course but in verse 11 he is DANGEROUS; dangerously deceptive. The second beast looks superficially, to the passing glance, like a lamb, although intriguingly he looks like a lamb in rather peculiar way. That feature of the beast which connects him to, that echoes of the lamb, is perhaps the least lamb like feature of the lamb, the horns! You won't find any reference to that feature of the lamb in the OT. The closest perhaps, is the reference to God providing Himself a lamb in Genesis 22. When Abraham turns there is the provision for the sacrifice, caught by it’s horns in the thicket, but the language is changed from lamb to ram. The horn is symbolic of strength and power in the Old Testament. The power of this beast however is unassuming, maybe even strangely attractive. His power is disguised lamb like as non-threatening, benign and perhaps even kindly. This is the power behind deception. This beast, whilst we appreciate his power, can be trusted because, well quite clearly he is acting in our best interests! We can trust him! He is the master propagandist. He is powerful and dangerous. His power seems to be benign, beneficent. He has managed to convince a lost world that they can trust him! Trust me, I’m a devil.
You don’t need to look too far to get a flavour of that today, religious leaders who project themselves as warm, friendly, with your best interest at heart and in the process get you to swallow a lie hook line and sinker.
There is currently circulating on Facebook and You Tube a video with 3 million views, fronted by a benign and friendly looking Buddhist monk advising us of 3 things we need to know, one of which was ‘don’t be a prisoner to your past, the past is just a lesson not a life sentence.’
That seems to be, on the surface quite a warm and helpful statement, encouraging people not to be hindered by burdens in the past they cannot alter. But of course it contains the seed of a most profound lie and it fails to stand up to logical scrutiny.
It’s illogical – if the past is but a lesson for the present, then logically the present is a lesson for the future, which begs the question a lesson for what? For life? When does the living come if this is but a lesson. The reality is that the past and present and future are no mere lessons to be learned and moved on from. By all means we must learn lessons from our mistakes in the past. The subtle twist brings in the most profound lie. We learn lessons from the past and in the past but the past itself is not a lesson. The past is our life. The past has consequences for us, what we sow we reap. Consequences for others in time and for us in eternity, ultimately, we receive the ‘due reward of our deeds.’
We are accountable for our past and our past will be judged by God. It is no simple matter to learn the lesson, dismiss the past as a mere lesson and move on. That denies
accountability for and
judgement of and
salvation from sin.
This second beast is dangerous and deceptive.
What is the nature of this apparent miracle?
On surface he produces an image / a statue like perhaps that of Nebuchadnezzar and then make it live – that would be a miracle. It would indeed be a miracle! Comparable to the miracle of creation. This is very unlikely.
To God uniquely is imputed the power to give life. We have that truth in Creation.
“in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)
“in Him is life and that life is the light of men”
So much so, come John’s Gospel, it is the fact that Christ is able to make alive that John uses as a proof of the Deity of Christ.
Come the replication of the miracles of Moses, the magicians of Pharaoh seemed to have a real problem in turning dust into lice, in producing life from the dust (Exodus 8:18). How come Satan can do it now but not then?
The word here for life is a bit unusual in verse 15. It is not the word for a living organism, animate with motion and activity ‘zoe’ but rather “pneuma”. This false prophet, manages to take a man made object and impute a spirit to it. By analogy to God’s creation of Adam we recall that God breathed into Adam the breath of lifes and Adam became a living soul then perhaps what we have here is a man made artificial entity empowered by the spirit of the false prophet. As strange as that may sound that is not out with the realms of possibility.
Man cannot create life but he can transfer his life force or spirit to a previously inanimate object.
The story begins back around 1999 with a Prof Miguel Nicolelis creating a Brain Computer Interface. Probes were inserted into the brain, which measured brain action potentials and electrical activity. Some very clever computer analysis was able to anticipate which muscles and movements these electrical activities triggered. He then got a monkey to play a computer game with a joy stick whilst that brain computer interface was reading the monkey's brain. He then disconnected the joystick and the monkey was able to control the screen and computer with mere thought read by the brain computer interface.
Professor Kevin Warwick, professor of Cybernetics at the university of Reading, used an implant into his nervous system in 2002 to control a robotic arm. What was interesting was that he added a further dimension to this by making use of the internet, so that he moved the robotic arm in a different continent. His spirit in a sense animated the inanimate object.
Currently an Elon Musk funded company in California – Neuralink is experimenting with a neural brain implant, about the size of a £1 coin, inserted into a hole hollowed out of the skull, to which is attached 1024 fine electrically conducting channels. The neuralink has inductive, wireless charging and megabyte wireless transfer speeds. These channels pick up the action potentials, the electrical activity of the brain. Complex and clever computer decoding is able to tie those patterns of electrical signals to the physical movements which they cause. Musk’s neuralink group were able to use the brain signals from a monkey to play ping pong!
We are also the first generation to live in the era when we no longer need to doubt the possibility of the fulfilment of verses 16 and 17, nor need we greatly speculate as to how this could be possible.
You can order one over the internet today.
British Polish company Walletmor has now gone into commercial production of these devices just a few months ago. It uses the same technology as is in your contactless NFC payment system in your mobile phone.
“The microchip implants that let you pay with your hand” BBC Website 2022
Cost euros: 249.00
The technology referenced in Revelation chapter 13 is already with us.
How long before the antichrist and false prophet are likewise with us?
For the martyred multitude of Revelation chapter 7, heaven was worth it and heaven came as no surprise. With every strain of the sinews, every stretch of their muscle fibres and with each tensing of the tendons, this great multitude of God's people felt they were stepping upwards, higher and higher to the heavens. Reaching the summit came as no surprise. The clouds seemed closer with every step, the atmosphere of earth thinning and the sun a little brighter. Their journey had been one of progressing a little higher day by day. Along that upward path they had known the:
The Taste of the Place
The Touch of a Person
Heaven was reached by a palm tree paved path from the:
Palms of the oasis of Elim bringing refreshment from the wells of God's provision for His people on their earthly journey
Palms of reflection as His people dwelt annually under the booths of palm leaves, reminding them of their pilgrim character on earth
Palms of revelation under the palm tree of Deborah
Palms of relationship adorning the temple
Each step of the pilgrim journey home had a taste of the place, a fragrance of heaven.
That journey to the dwelling place of the Lamb was likewise assured by the presence and provision of the Shepherd along the path. The one who had lead them by the still waters and who had made them lie down in green pastures was the same one who had lead them to the source of that supply. Psalm 23 with its closing promise of dwelling in the House of the Lord forever, is the doorway into the eternal vista of Revelation chapter 7. Still waters in the valley of Psalm 23 find the eternal and abundant source in the "living fountains of water" of Revelation chapter 7. In this eternal abode hearts are fully satisfied (verse 16) with Christ.
It is at the conclusion of the journey for God's people, faithful martyrs for Jesus Christ, men and women who have come through persecution, suffering and death that we are finally able to weigh up the worth and value of all that has transpired before the eternal. Has earth been worth it? Has life been fare? Have the means been worth the end? Can we make sense of life now in the light of forever? The reflection and response of those martyred for Jesus is a resounding volley of praise and worship (verse 12); an emphatic 'yes'. Perhaps like them it would be wise for us to reserve judgment and assessment on our own trials and difficulties until finally we see life in the light of the Lamb, time from the perspective of forever.
A message preached in our systematic series of studies in the book of Revelation at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Revelation chapter 7 verse 12 is a high point of praise and worship in the book of Revelation. It is perhaps all the more surprising that this praise comes from the lips of and in the presence of those who have come through the most extreme of experiences of persecution, death and martyrdom. From the embers of suffering comes a choir of praise and worship. Such praise is not naïve nor short sighted but rather founded on an appreciation of the power and wisdom of their God.
Part of our ongoing series in the book of Revelation, a practical and devotional exposition of John's Apocalypse.
Hot on the heels of the catastrophic events of the opening of the first 6 seals of Revelation chapter 6 comes the introduction to the opening of the 7th seal, here in Revelation chapter 7. By all accounts the introduction to this series of events seems pretty benign, even innocuous. What is the problem with with holding the winds that blow upon the earth (Revelation 7:1)? Is this not a good thing? This would have been welcome relief to the disciples in the storm tossed boat of John chapter 6. This could have provided reprieve for Jonah on the ship heading to Tarsus. The restraining of the winds could have averted the terrifying disaster of Paul's ship wreck at Malta! So what if God holds back the winds!
On many occasions God's winds have blown through the scripture. Often times those winds have blown with blessing and grace!
In Genesis chapter 1, it is the Spirit of God; the same Hebrew word for wind, who moves on the face of the waters with:
After the flood waters covered the earth, it is the wind that blows, pushing back those waters of judgment and permitting the release of Noah and the occupants of the ark. God's wind blows in:
By Passover lamb and by the power of shed blood, God purchases and releases His people from bondage in Egypt. The final hurdle is that of the Red Sea. The waters will be blown back by the wind. God blows in:
To meet the needs of His people and sustain them in the wilderness, it is the wind of God that will carry the quail into the camp of the wilderness people. God blows in:
The needs of Israel and Elijah will be met in draught conditions by the rains carried by the wind. God blows in:
Refreshing and living Power
It may appear a trivial judgment for God to hold back the winds (Revelation 7:1) but such a with holding of Divine Grace belies catastrophe; a catastrophe which can be anticipated in the physical realm as well as the spiritual. This world will feel the effects of the absence of the winds upon the earth. Temperatures will rise at the equator. Temperatures will fall at the poles. This earth will become a place of polar extremes. The earth will dessicate. Precipitation will stagnate. Bareness and dryness will dominate a world turned to desert. Spiritual conditions of course will likewise be reflected in a world which has rejected the Lamb of redemption. This world will become a place of spiritual extremes, bareness and dryness. It is perhaps worth pausing and contemplating the condition of our own life and heart. Would we notice in the microcosm of our own personal existence if God's gracious winds ceased to blow? Are we spiritual enough to detect the dryness, the bareness, the extremeness of our souls, in the presence of no open vision?
There is in Revelation chapter 7 an infinitely more glorious purpose behind this action of God to hold back the winds. It was the winds of God who scattered the tribes of Israel in Zechariah 7:14. This wind will cease and the people of God will be regathered, sealed and set apart as witnesses for Christ. We see today the scene being set for this very event.
A message from our systematic Bible study series in the book of Revelation
Yours by God's Grace in Christ
Dr J Stewart Gillespie
GraceinChrist.org where bible teaching never sleeps.
Tears begin to flow in Revelation chapter 5 at the possibility that this book in the hand of God could remain unopened. It is the losing of the seals of this momentous book which determines all else that subsequently happens in the unfolding purposes of God in this final prophetic conclusion to the Bible: the book of Revelation. This book, in the hand of God, is destined to be opened and read at the great white throne judgment, determining the destiny of God's redeemed people. It is the eternal list of those, sealed, saved and secure. This is the Lamb's book of life! That such a book should remain unread would be unthinkable.
There is to be found only one who is worthy to break the seals and thus open the book. Redemptive character and power are needed for this task. This alone is can be undertaken by the Lamb.
Revelation chapter 5 concludes with a great, unified, although diverse chorus of praise to the worthiness of the lamb, affirming that indeed He is worthy to take the book and unloose the seals. Each individual in heaven, in turn affirms who the Lamb is, what the Lamb is and what He has done.
To the elder He is the only one fitted by might and by moral right to take the throne of the universe. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and has proven His worth and character as a man born into and through the line of Judah. The Lamb upon the throne is uniquely qualified for this role. Unlike mere human and mortal kings the Lamb does not reign purely by inherited right nor even by convincing others of His personal ability nor might. His path of ascendency came through humanity, through the tribe of Judah. His life is an open book in the Gospels and in the scriptures. We see His character, "He did sin... He knew no sin... in Him is no sin." In every way He was tested like we are yet found to be without sin. He is worthy of the throne. He is worthy to reign.
To John He is marked with the attributes of God; all powerful with His 7 horns, all knowing and seeing with His 7 eyes and omnipresent with the 7 Spirits of God sent forth upon all the earth.
To the living creatures and 24 elders His motives and character are above and beyond reproach for He not only has a people, not only has He redeemed a people but the Lamb has redeemed them with His one blood. His people are precious to Him, infinitely and personally precious.
Finally we ask the angels for their perspective on the Lamb? Is He worthy? Ask the angels! He above all inhabitors of a throne is able by the purity of His character to handle absolute power, riches, wisdom, honour and glory without pride and without tyranny.
The one who sits today on the throne of the universe is absolutely trustworthy and dependable.
Part of our series of systematic Bible Teaching in the book of Revelation, brought by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Graceinchrist.org where bible teaching never sleeps.
It is John who assures us in Revelation chapter 21 vs 4 that there will be no tears in heaven and yet it is his very description of heaven that opens with the intensity of his own tears (Revelation 4:4). This is indeed a strange and sorrowful introduction to the tearless place. We may be unsurprised that the description of disaster, famine, plaque and pestilence of the subsequent chapters are preceded by tears. What is about to unfold in the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets, and the 7 vials amounts to global catastrophe and world wide destruction. The 4 riders of the apocalypse are followed by the veiling of the sun and the blood moon. The 7 trumpets announce the destruction of 1/3 of the land, 1/3 of the sea. 1/3 of the rivers as well as the solar, lunar and stellar disasters. The bottomless pit is opened and the demonic plaque of locusts are released upon the earth followed by 200 million horseman reeking destruction on the earth. Boils and sores are followed by seas and rivers of blood as the satanically inspired Kingdom of the beast comes crashing down along with the global economic and religious systems. Yet it is not because of any of this John weeps! Even more astounding than the weeping of John in heaven is his reason for weeping. John weeps that these seal may not be loosed and the book may not be opened!
Whatever this book contains the glory of the book is infinitely greater than the grief which it causes! This is a book which demands the redemptive rights of the lamb to open. This is not title deeds of the universe which in reality do not exist. The earth is and always has been the Lord's and the fullness thereof. He did not purchase, neither did He lose the earth. The earth is His by rights. The Creator needs no work of redemption to judge a fallen world; that is His Divine prerogative! Neither does this book contain the story of future events, not the book of revelation in part nor in whole. The story of Revelation chapter 6 to 19 are the product of the seals and not the scroll.
The identity of this book, is perhaps heaven's best kept secret and can only be that of the Lamb's Book of Life of Revelation chapters 20 and 21. It is only this book which requires redemptive rights to handle. It is only the Book of Life who's eternal Glory eclipses the grief of the loosed seals. It would be an unopened book of life which truly would be worth the tears of John for if the Lamb's book were never to be opened the fate of all would be that of eternal loss and damnation. This is indeed why John wept, he wept for you! The opening of this book determines the eternal destiny of all those whose names are contained within it's pages. Once this book is opened John will in chapters 20 and 21 present to us the presence and reality of the opened book of life of the Lamb. Let us value greatly the cost and consequence of our salvation.
Listen below or watch online to the full bible teaching message preached on Revelation chapter 5.
Upon the fulcrum of Revelation chapter 5 the whole of John's great prophetic book turns. John has introduced us to heaven in Revelation chapter 4 and to the God of heaven. In chapter 4 we learn WHAT God is; He is the covenant making and covenant keeping God of the rainbow encircled throne. All of His rule is founded on the principle of faithfulness and of God's unbreakable promises. He is the God of the crystal sea, impeccably Holy, absolutely pure. We glimpse WHO God is in the Jasper and the Sardine stone. The stones of the breastplate of Israel's high priest contain the names of Benjamin; the Son of His Father's right hand and Reuben: behold a Son. The God of eternity seated upon the throne of glory is the Son. This is the Jesus of the bible! Write above chapter 4 of Revelation:
"Our Father which art in heaven..."
Here is God in His dwelling. Here is God seated upon His throne!
From chapter 6 to 19 of Revelation John will describe in detail not so much WHO God is or WHAT God is like but WHAT God will do. Chapter after awful chapter, catastrophe follows disaster and yet these calamities are anything short of natural or accidental. These earth shattering events are deliberate, ordered, designed and ordained; each one triggered by a definitive act of the Lamb and His angels. These events can in fact be traced back to the opening of the seven seals of Revelation chapter 5.
And so after:
The 4 riders of the Apocalypse; harbingers of war, famine, death and disease you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
After the veiling of the sun and the blood red moon you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
After the destruction of 1/3 of the land, 1/3 of the sea, 1/3 of the rivers; you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
As the solar system moves and the stars fall; you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
As the bottomless pit is opened and as Apollyon leads the demonic locusts on their merciless mission; you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
As 200 million horsemen emerge to destroy 1/3 of mankind, you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
As Armageddon rages, the beast and Antichrist arise and the global financial and religious systems fall; you can write:
"Thy will be done on earth..."
With so much in these chapters as to who God is, what God is like and what God will do; what indeed is the purpose of Revelation chapter 5, and more particularly a scroll or book unsealed, one seal at a time unleashing global destruction? This pattern teaches me that:
Pain has a purpose
Grief has a Glory
Madness has a meaning
All of these subsequent judgments; wars and destructions are the essential forerunner to the opening of the book. It is in other words the opening of this book which heralds in Gods eternal Kingdom and New Jerusalem that necessitates the opening of this book. You can't have the open book without the preceding catastrophe!
You can't have success in life without the sacrifice!
You can't climb a mountain sitting on your sofa with your slippers on!
You can't have the donuts without the calories!
You can't have a world of sin, rebellion, and separation from God without first the purging of fire, the fulfilment of the ultimate and eternal consequences of sin, the judgment of Satan and rebellion. To be separate from the God of life, light and love necessitates the experience of death, darkness and despair!
The tragedy of Revelation has meaning and purpose as does all tragedy and turmoil under the hand of a sovereign God.
To open the book that leads to Glory means to lose the seals which each demand judgment!
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We may expect something secret, something special, some deep and mysterious purpose in the book we discover inside the book of the bible. Not without significance do we discover in the final book of the bible, the book of Revelation, a book hidden within the book and kept secret till the very end. Of all the books external to the bible referenced by it, the book found in Revelation chapter 5, is one of the few whose whereabouts we know of. Many enquire as to what this book contains. Is it the title deeds of the world or universe? Probably not since the earth has no title deeds! The earth is the Lord's and then fullness thereof. No special qualification of redemption is needed by God to claim what is rightfully His! Does this book contain the details of future events? Does it detail what is to be revealed in chapters 6 to 19? It is not the reading of the scroll which provides the content of subsequent chapters but rather the losing of the seals. Not until all 7 seals are broken can the scroll be opened and read!
Perhaps a better question would be not so much what do we find in the scroll but why do we have the scroll? What purpose is there here in the scroll? Is the scroll here for mere dramatic effect? What purpose is there in the progressive breaking of each successive seal?
The meaning of the symbolism appears to rest in this simple observation that for the scroll to be opened the seals must be broken! From these broken seals, all of the subsequent events of Revelation flow. The reason behind the 4 riders of the apocalypse, the sounding of the 7 trumpets, the pouring out of the 7 vials of judgement, global destruction, the loosing of the locusts from the pit, the release of the 200 million horseman, the rise of the antichrist, Armageddon and the fall of Babylon, lies here in Revelation chapter 5. All of these catastrophic events find their cause not in man and not purely as a reaction or response to man's sin but rather in the eternal purposes of God. All of the judgements and events of Revelation chapters 6 to 19 are triggered by the opening of these seals. These seals are broken that the book might be opened. Gods purpose is to be found not in destruction but construction, not in grief but in the eternal glory beyond the judgements of this world, in the new heaven, the earth and the new Jerusalem, in the eternal glory of His Son.