We look forward to the Second Coming with great anticipation for all the blessings it will bring, but it’s not primarily about us – it’s about God and His glory. We must understand clearly that God’s redemptive plan in history is because of Jesus, through Jesus, for Jesus and about Jesus.
Revelation is an intimidating book in a lot of ways. It’s full of deep and often difficult symbols, images and metaphors. Sometimes when we go through Revelation, we can get so bogged down in the symbols and the details that we forget the main things, the plain things, the big picture and the most important point. This book should point us to Jesus and turns our minds, thoughts and focus on Him.
We must never see what happens in this book from a human point of view, but always measured against who God is and what He is doing. We look forward to the Second Coming with great anticipation for all the blessings it will bring, but it’s not primarily about us – it’s about God and His glory. We must understand clearly that God’s redemptive plan in history is because of Jesus, through Jesus, for Jesus and about Jesus.
The Scroll and the Seals
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
– v. 1
In the throne room of God, John sees a scroll written on both sides, indicating that it is complete and there is nothing to be added to it. This scroll is sealed with seven seals – seven representing completeness and the seals representing God’s authority. Although there may be different ways to interpret this, the scroll can be thought of as God’s will, His deed to everything. And the one who could open this scroll would be the rightful ruler of all creation.
The problem is, “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it” (v. 3). But then one of the 24 elders in the throne room says to John, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (v. 5). They found someone who was worthy to open the scroll.
The Lamb Who Was Slain
John turns around and sees “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (v. 6). This Lamb who was slain and yet standing is, of course, Jesus. Jesus, the Lamb, then goes and takes the scroll from God – His reign is symbolically transferred and the deed to all creation is handed over to Jesus.
When the four living creatures and the 24 elders see the Lamb take the scroll, they do the only thing they can do: they fall down and worship Him (v. 8).
Worthy Is the Lamb
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
– vv. 9-10
In this song that the elders and the creatures sing, there are five reasons for why the Lamb is worthy to take the scroll: 1) His substitutionary death, 2) His blood paid the price for redemption, 3) He ransomed people from everyone everywhere, 4) He made all these people priests and 5) they will reign with Him on the earth. No one is worthy to take the scroll but Jesus Christ.
To wrap things up:
If your eschatology (study of the last things) does not magnify Jesus and have Him at the center, then it’s flawed. If you’re trying to figure out all the symbolism in Revelation and you miss Jesus, you’re theology is broken.
If your eschatology does not lead to doxology, then you’ve missed the point. If your view of the end times does not lead you to worship Jesus, then your view is flawed. There are all kinds of theological systems, but if they move our eyes from Jesus and do not move us toward Jesus, then we need to get a new theology.
The grand prize is not the kingdom of God. The grand prize is Jesus, the Lamb who was worthy. What was John’s vision will be our reality forever. As wonderful as the manifold blessings of the new heaven and earth will be, the greatest aspect will be our perfect, eternal fellowship basking in the glory of the Triune God forever and ever.
This passage should remind us that Jesus and Jesus alone is our hope. As the myriads of angels sang in verse 12, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Guest Speaker: Justin Nash
- What do you think of when you think of the end times?
- What is the purpose of the Book of Revelation?
- How does Revelation turn your heart, mind and focus on Jesus?
- Who are the 24 elders?
- What do the four creatures represent?
- Why is it important that the scroll is “written within and on the back”? (v. 1)
- What is the importance of the scroll being “sealed with seven seals”? (v. 1)
- What do the scroll and its seals represent?
- What is the significance of the Lamb’s appearance and where it is standing? (v. 6)
- According to the song (vv. 9-10), why is the Lamb worthy to take the scroll?
- Does your view of the end times lead you to worship Jesus?
- What is the grand prize of Christianity?