Saturday, August 26, 2023

Jesus Prevails

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Jesus Prevails"
Written By: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” - Revelation 1:19.

The Gospel of John is the first step in his obedience to Christ. In Revelation Chapter 1, Jesus reveals Himself to John in a vision: Jesus Christ in His full heavenly glory. John is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10), and Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:11), and then John sees Jesus’ heavenly presence, and describes Him to every reader.

In Chapters 2 and 3, we find the letters John wrote to each of the seven churches which were in Asia. These letters reveal first, the problems and commendations to each church, and secondly, they describe the state of “the Church” throughout the Church Age: the first century, to today.

In Chapter 4, John is called up into heaven to see visions of the future condition of the world (Revelation 4:1). As the sole surviving Apostle, John is the only Apostolic connection the churches still have. And as representing the Churches, his call into heaven is a type of the Rapture of the Church during end times.

In Chapter 5, John’s eyes become fixed on the Seven Sealed Book in the hand of God as He sits on His Throne (Revelation 5:1). But no one in heaven or earth was found worthy to open this book. John began to weep, until an elder spoke to him and told him that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David had prevailed to open the Book. John’s tears were likely the first and the last ever to be shed in heaven.

Today in chapter 6, the Church is in Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), and Jesus begins to open the seals of the book (Daniel 12). Those who remain on the Earth at this time are not Believers, but some shall become believers in Christ during the 7 years of the Great Tribulation period. And as we follow John’s words from the Lord, we learn quickly that God sees mankind in two categories: Believers and non-believers. What follows is judgment on an unbelieving world, and encouragement for those who have been “on the fence” about Jesus, Faith, and the Bible. We will read of the Church again in Chapter 19.
“…these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, ye might have life through His name" - John 21:31.

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:

Revelation 6:1-6 - "Jesus Prevails"


This morning we are beginning chapter 6 of the book of Revelation.  As with all the previous chapters, we are going to be learning a lot.  The church has already been raptured at this point, and the Holy Spirit has been removed with them. The four creatures, the twenty-four elders and the angels are praising God and glorifying the Lamb as He steps onto the stage of history to enact the judgments, the beginning of God's final wrath.

Back in chapter 5, we learned that Jesus was the only One worthy to open the scroll, which is the title deed to the earth.  As he breaks open the seven seals that secure the scroll, each seal unleashes God's judgment on the earth during the time called the Great Tribulation.  The seals encompass the entire seven-year period of the Tribulation, at which time the Lord will return as King of kings and Lord of lords.  
The Great Tribulation:  is a seven-year period of intense judgment on the earth.  The Great Tribulation fulfills the prophecies of Daniel 7-12.  
So, here in chapter 6, the focus has now changed from what is going on in heaven back to the earth. This chapter begins the turning point of future events.   The seven-year period known as the tribulation begins, and thus begins the pouring out final judgment.

Man's world is facing inevitable death because sin has consumed the hearts of man.  We see it in every aspect of culture and society in every sort of depravity.  Hearts have been given over to lust, pride, self-indulgence, immorality and the total rejection of God, and the truth of His Word.  God in His mercy and grace has given us through His Son, the gift of salvation, yet the scoffers scoff, the scorners scorn, and the mockers mock.  As a result, the whole world is sentenced to divine wrath.  
"Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish" (Psalm 1:5-6).
Jesus is beginning to open the seals on the scroll, again encompassing the whole tribulation period until His final coming.  There is mourning, confusion, and chaos on the earth.  It is here that Jesus breaks open the first seal.  

The First Seal - 

A White Horse - represents an unparalleled time of world peace - a false peace that is to be short-lived.  This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist.  

The Rider of the white horse - he is depicted as the hero, the one who will save the world from all of the chaos and suffering.  In reality, he is a satanic deceiver who gives the appearance of being a man of peace, when in reality, he is the prophesied man of lawlessness, whom Paul describes as "the son of perdition" - the son of Satan, the Antichrist, who will deceive, and maim, and kill a multitude of men without number. He will set up his false one-world system: government, religion and economy, and the people will look to him as their savior.

The Rider Carries a Bow:  This man carries a bow, without any mention of arrows. This is done to lull an unsuspecting world into a false sense of peace and security. But his real motive is to go forth conquering and to conquer, for in his wake, there follows war, famine, pestilence, and death. The rider on the white horse is a trickster, giving the appearance of a man of peace who is going to usher in world safety and prosperity for all. However, when he rides onto the world scene, he will come as a victor, intent on conquering and controlling.

It's interesting that the Greek translation for "bow" is pronounced toxon, and it and it means a piece of fabric.  Can you envision a man on a white horse carrying a flag of peace and safety?  Well, this flag is described as having the colors of the rainbow, representing the peace and blessings of God.  It's interesting how the rainbow and flags are used even now as a perversion of scripture.  This flag represents a false sense of peace and security.

The Rider Wears a Crown.  The crown is a kind of laurel wreath.  The Greek word is staphanos, this is not a royal diadem.  His crown is an imperial crown of a conquering dictator, which is to display his authoritarian control and his mission to impose one-world totalitarian authority over the souls of the men he deceived. The mission of this satanic tyrant is not to bring peace to a weary, war-torn world but to kill and to maim, and to set his throne above God.

The Second Seal - 

A Fiery Red Horse:  It's blood-red in appearance and speaks of the devastation of war (see Matthew 24:7).  God will grant this horse and its rider the power to create worldwide war.  But as horrible as this judgment is, it will be only the "birth Pains, the beginning pains of God's wrath.  The rider on the second horse is a powerful warrior. He is an influential, political leader and military man who commands a mighty 'war-machine', and excites global unrest and civil rebellion. He bursts into the pseudo-peaceful world-scene, carrying a great sword in his hand, with power to engulf the nations of the world, in a terrible and bloody war.

The Sword - depicts assassination, revolt, massacre, and wholesale slaughter.

The Third Seal - 

A Black Horse:  Black signifies famine (see Lamentations 5:8-10).  Worldwide war will destroy the food supply and spawn global hunger.  

A Pair of Scales:  The third rider held in his hands a pair of scales - a common measuring device - two small trays hung from each end of a balancing arm indicating the scarcity of food. This represents unprecedented famine. His shocking announcement of terrible food shortage, worldwide, was confirmed, as something like a voice from the center of the four living creatures said, "a quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius.

As each rider is summoned onto the world stage, we discover a terrible time of trouble unfolding - a time of destruction, death, and tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will do so again. Each rider carries in his hand an implement that dictates his nefarious role as the 70th week of Daniel begins to unfold. 

The Fourth Seal - 

A Pale Horse:  The Greek word for "Pale" is Chloros, from which the English word "chlorophyll" comes.   This describes the pale, ashen-green pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse.  

It is as the Lamb breaks the fourth seal on the seven-sealed scroll and the fourth living creature booms out his ominous command to "COME", that the final, formidable horseman emerges on his pale-green steed. The rider is no respecter of persons. No-one is exempt from the icy fingers of Death or Hades - the place of the dead. Shockingly, a quarter of the population of the earth will be slaughtered as the floodgate of evil is unloosed.

Throughout the history of the earth, evil dictators have massacred millions, emperors have instigated war, and famines have resulted in the death of untold numbers of men and women. There is hardly a time in the entire history of humanity when nations have not risen up against other nations and death and destruction have resulted from man's lust for power, through the enslavement of others. But these former times of conflict pale into insignificance, by comparison with this future bloodbath and carnage which will commence with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Death:  His name that sat on the horse was DEATH. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to twenty-five percent of the world's population. Hades (v.8) is the place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death.

The seals of Revelation 6 represent the overlying theme of God’s judgment on evil. This is not only a prophecy but a practical teaching and encouragement to believers of every age. It reflects the character of God. He is good on His Word. Jesus is the King of Kings with absolute authority over the entire Universe. He will vindicate His people and deliver a fatal blow to His enemies. This is something that should be celebrated by those covered in the blood of the Lamb.

This is also a warning to those who have not come to faith in Jesus. The gospels declare that salvation comes through Christ alone. It is the gift of God by His grace through faith in Him. He who took our place on the cross and bore the punishment that we should have received for our sin is still calling you to come to Him and believe.

It is also vital to be sure that we are truly in the faith. The true gospel repeatedly commands unbelievers to repent (Matthew 4:17; 11:20–21; Mark 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3, 5; 15:7, 10; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9–10; 2 Timothy 2:25) and declares, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). In fact, the scriptures urge us to “EXAMINE” ourselves “to see if you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), and also reminds us that true believers will be known “by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16-18; cf. Luke 6:43–44).

We are about to move into the absolute wrath of God unleashed on the earth. It will be frightening and disturbing as God’s wrath is something fierce. But what also is seen here in Revelation 6 is His gracious love. Although the next several chapters are filled with horror, they are also a merciful warning. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it. Jesus willingly gave up His life for us so that we could have life in Him – be made right with God. God so loved the world (the rebellious, cantankerous, self-absorbed world) that He gave His only Son. And whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. There is still time, seek the Lord while He may be found.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Lamb

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Lamb"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We have heard it said, and discovered through diligent study, that the New Testament is hidden in the Old, the Old Testament is fully revealed in the New.

Last week, John’s eyes were following a book, or scroll. No man in heaven was found to be worthy to unseal the book or read it. John began to weep. Then one of the 24 Elders came and told him that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David had prevailed to open the book, and release the seven seals. Excitement was building!

But when John turned to see Him, the Lion of Judah was not the image he saw. What John saw instead was a lamb as it had been slain, the Lamb of God!

It was not an image of Jesus as he was taken down from the cross though, this Lamb was a Victor, having seven horns (full authority) and seven eyes (all seeing), as the seven Spirits of Jehovah God (Isaiah 11:2)! This victorious Lamb came and took the Book out of the hand of the Father on the Throne.

The description of the Lamb of God as victor having full authority, is now incredible. John had seen the vision of Christ in his full Glory in Revelation 1, and now he sees the victorious Christ in full “Slain Lamb Regalia!” Suddenly, the four living Creatures of Revelation 4:6 and the 24 Elders around the Throne fall at His feet with harps and vials containing the prayers of the saints. They have waited for this moment! What wonders John is seeing! These are the images of events in heaven, and we shall also see them one day! Even Disney’s Pixar could not depict such a scene as this! The four Creatures and the 24 Elders sang a new song. The Angelic Host join them in exalted praise and worship as a full choir of 10,000 times 10,000, and thousands and thousands! It is a glorious scene! While we can only imagine it, John is living it.

This end to chapter 5 will be the last we read of the Church until Chapter 19. The raptured Saints will be with the Lord, just as John is here. But those unbelievers still on earth will live in a very different reality, with much hardship during the Great Tribulation Period. It’s coming; God is faithful to His Word.
“For it is written, ‘I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God'” - Romans 14:11.

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 5:8-14 - "The Lamb" - Part 2


We are continuing our study in the book of Revelation. This morning we are continuing our study in part 2 of chapter five in the book of Revelation.  

Again, chapters 4 and 5 are some of the most breathtaking passages in Revelation.  Last week, John is weeping because he realizes that no man is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals.  One of the twenty-four elders tells him there is One worthy.  In verse 5, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof."

Last week we noted that both of these titles of the Messiah are found in the Old Testament.  The Lion with great power and fierceness, who comes from the tribe of Judah; and the Root of David, literally the offspring of David, carrying royal blood.  

So here in verse 5, the elder tells John the Lion is coming. When John looks, he sees a Lamb, as though he were slain.  No one could mistake this for anyone other than Jesus.  Jesus.  Notice, "And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb... " (verse 6).  Jesus is not dead, but alive.  He resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven.  Here, this Lamb, stood, as though he had been slain.  

See what the description tells us:
  • The Lamb is obviously a symbol for Jesus Christ himself, whom John the Baptist had proclaimed, "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). But this is no ordinary lamb.
  • Appearing to have been slain, his wounds were visible in this vision. A sacrificial lamb would have been slain by having his throat cut. Yet somehow, this Lamb who has been slain has triumphed -- just how he has triumphed we'll see as the vision unfolds.
  • The Lamb is standing (Greek histÄ“mi, Perfect tense) in the midst of the throne and the elders. Though he had been slain, He is now standing and lives -- a clear allusion to Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
  • The Lamb has seven horns. In Scripture, horns always symbolize power, because in the animal kingdom they are used to exert power and inflict wounds in combat.  Seven horns signify complete or perfect power.  Unlike other defenseless lambs, this One has complete, sovereign power.  This is reflected in the Gospels by the risen Christ declaring, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18).
  • The Lamb has seven eyes -But seven eyes indicate that the Lamb sees fully, completely. He has perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom, perfect insight, perfect ability to see and assess and understand.  Those seven eyes really are the seven-fold Spirit of God sent out into all the earth to see what needs to be seen. The slain Lamb that stands is all powerful and all knowing -- omnipotent and omniscient.
As we read on, beginning in verse eight, we know that worship is due this Lamb. Again we see the twenty-four elders, the four living creatures falling prostrate in humble worship of the One who is greater.

See what the description tells us:
  • The harp - is an ancient stringed instrument used to accompany the songs of God's people (1 Chronicles 25:6; Psalm 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (see 1 Samuel 10:5).  The twenty four elders, representative of the redeemed Church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled.
  • The bowls of incense - These gold, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple.  Incense was a normal part of the Old Testament ritual.  Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God.  This symbolized the prayers of the saints rising to Him.
  • Filled with incense - Incense was burned to send a fragrance upward.   The Old Testament priests burned incense because it symbolized prayer rising to God fragrantly.    As incense went up and the smoke carried the fragrance up, it symbolized the offering of fragrant prayers to God.
  • The prayers of the saints - Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed, especially concerning redemption.   
This is quite a picture.  You and I may not be there in this heavenly enthronement ceremony, but our prayers are, valued with golden bowls that bear our petitions before the Lord. Our prayers are not forgotten but heard in the very presence of the Almighty God on high!
  • Who are the saints?  God's people are referred to as "saints."
There seems to be some confusion as to who the saints really are.  In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshiped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone. 

The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." It is almost always used in the plural, “saints.” Scripturally speaking, the “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christians are saints—and at the same time are called to be saints. First Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's.”  The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the biblical description and calling of the saints.

Continuing on the song the twenty-four elders sing is a "new song," one not heard before. It is sung upon the occasion of enthroning the triumphant, conquering Lamb. Examine the words in Revelation 9-10.  The song explains the basis of the Lamb's worthiness to open the scroll and execute God's plan for the Last Days. It is because He was the Lamb without blemish, sacrificing His own life to atone for our sin.  His sacrificial death paid the price for us, and we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  
For this victorious feat, the Lamb is worshipped and praised.

And what of the redeemed? Who are they? Not just God's chosen people, the Jews, but now from every tribe, language, people, and nation (ethnē) -- throngs of people from around the globe are purchased for God.

In verse 11, innumerable millions of angelic beings sing a second song in praise to the Lamb.  This doxology records seven qualities intrinsic to God and to the Lamb that demand our praise. 

So, we have the twenty-four elders, the 4 living creatures, the innumerable number of angels and then in verse 13, all of creation joins in worship to the Lamb of God, saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. "  Endless worship and blessing and honor and praise and glory belong to God, to Christ.  All of God's creation joins in... incredible!

Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seal?  Jesus is.  The curse is reversed, and God's kingdom comes forever and ever... Amen!

Amen is a solemn confirmation.  It means let it be. 

Jesus, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" -- and your sin as well as mine -- this Jesus is worthy of our worship and praise. In Revelation 5, heaven can't seem to restrain itself. It breaks out in songs of praises to the Lamb again and again. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

The Book

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Book"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

John’s eyes are drawn to the Throne of God. What captures his attention is a book in the right hand of the Father. It is sealed with seven seals. The next several verses seem to happen in rapid succession, as we see God’s eternal plan played out to fulfill a prophecy from Daniel 12.

The New Testament is hidden in the Old,the Old Testament is fully revealed in the New.

To the serpent who tricked Eve and Adam into disobedience, God spoke:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).

The stage is now set for the rest of the Bible! From the very loins of the woman who was duped into sinning against God will come a redeemer to save us all. The Bible’s 66 Books take us through generations of the woman, setting apart her bloodline, and sanctifying them as God’s Chosen People. The bloodline becomes God’s Chosen People to bring The Redeemer, Jesus, the Christ into the world. Satan’s free will is pitted against the Father’s perfect will. Christ the Redeemer becomes Satan’s natural and supernatural enemy for all of time.


Satan does his best to defeat God’s plan for redemption at every turn, but God has already beaten His adversary. While Satan boasts of being like the Most High, God’s plan has him cast into hell and the sides of the pit (Isaiah 14:9-17).

In Revelation 4 and 5, believers in Jesus have already been taken up to heaven. His promises have already thwarted Satan’s plans for humanity. More will come to Christ through the Great Tribulation in the chapters to come. God’s plan will not be set aside. Satan will take many with him into the pit of hell, but many others will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Savior, and Friend!

“And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” - Acts 16:11.

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 5:1-12 - "The Book" - Part 1


We are continuing our study in the book of Revelation. This morning we are begining chapter five.

One of the most breathtaking passages on the second coming is found in Revelation chapter 5, as we find out the answer to, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" As we get a glimpse of what is taking place in heaven, in anticipation of the second coming of Christ, we meet the Lion of Judah, conqueror of the world, who is also the Lamb of God. He is about to come to take deed to the universe, to redeem it.  He will also destroy the wicked and establish and bless His people.

In chapter 4 and 5 of Revelation, again seeing Jesus in all His glory, and the fulfillment of scripture, as we anticipate the great tribulation that will follow. Chapter 6 to 19 records the exploding judgment of God in the world. This judgment comes through seven seals that are loosed; it comes through seven trumpets that are blown and seven bowls that are poured out upon the earth, all describing the different facets of this judgment which ultimately culminate in the return of Christ described in chapter 19.

At the same time judgment is being poured out, salvation is taking place to a degree never before known in the history of redemption. The nation Israel is being saved, and 144,000 of them are sealed as ministers and missionaries and witnesses. Angels are preaching the gospel as they’re flying across heaven. Two witnesses are raised from the dead to preach the gospel so that the city of Jerusalem repents. It’s an incredible time described from chapter 6 to 19.

Chapters 4 and 5 are a glimpse into heaven as the divine war machine begins to move. It’s very much like Ezekiel chapter 1, where you see the war machine of God described as wheels in wheels and shining fire and sparkle coming off as God begins to move in judgment and in glory.

This morning's teaching opens with a scripture reading from Daniel 12:1-4.  Pastor Bob reminds us that the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is fully revealed in the New.  In other words, there is nothing in the Old Testament that doesn't point to Christ, and there is nothing in the New Testament that isn't already revealed in the Old.  From the beginning of the book of Genesis, to the end of the book of Revelation, God is revealing to us His perfect will as it unfolds through the history of man.  Not only does He reveal His will to us, but His every Word is fulfilled in every detail until the end.

In Revelation chapter 5, John in his vision sees the things transpiring and writes, "I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" (vs.1).  This is a scroll.  It's made of papyrus or parchment.  

In the vision, John saw something written on the inside and on the backside of the scroll, and that it was rolled up sealed with seven seals.  This is typical of various kinds of contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, and wills, land purchases.  The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside (or back) contained a summary of the document, and the rightful owner who had purchased it (see Jeremiah 32).  It was then sealed and deposited somewhere for preservation and record and could only be opened by the owner when he arrived to take possession. 

John is seeing the title deed, held in God's hand, not just to a parcel of land, but to the entire earth and its inhabitants.   The ultimate owner of the earth is its Creator (Psalm 24:1); and only He has the right to deed it to another.  In Genesis, God gave Adam dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28).  We know that Satan usurped that dominion when Adam sinned and died, and because of that sin, "The whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19).  God is still the owner and has retained the record of ownership in the palm of His hand.  This is what John sees.

This is the official, legal document of ownership of all of Creation.  It belongs to God and God alone; He has maintained possession of it.  It can be described as God's will and testament, and what do we see Him doing with it? He is passing it to His heir, to His rightful heir, in order to take possession of what is His.  

In verse 2, John writes, "I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?"

The strong angel with a loud voice, symbolically reaching every corner of the endless universe, asking, "Who is worthy?"

Who is worthy?  Not one person of the sinful human race is worthy.  Not any of the created angels of heaven are worthy.  The apostles, the prophets, the 24elders, the saints in heaven... they aren't worthy.  Who has the right to take the universe back? Who is the Redeemer of this lost world revealed throughout the Bible? He must be a kinsman, a sinless man, but He must also be God. 

In verse 5, we are told that "He is the lion of the tribe of Judah." This is a title of the Messiah, (see Genesis 49:8-10).   John continues saying that He is also, "the Root of David." This is another Messianic title from Isaiah chapter 11.  So, the worthy one is not only the Son of David, as in the genealogies, the royal line, He is the "Root of David."  In other words, Christ comes through the bloodline of David, however, David comes from Him.  Jesus bears David's royal lineage, but He as God the Son, He is the Lord over all, the King above all kings.  He bears the right to rule the throne.

The Jews missed the first coming of the Messiah simply because they were looking for a conquering King, a Lion.  Jesus, the Messiah, is the Worthy One.  How do we know? John's description in verse 6, "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."  "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).   

He is the Lamb of God, the lamb that was slain.  The One who shed His blood as the price of redemption, and yet rose alive again conquering death.  "He is the Lamb without blemish and without spot...foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:19-20).  

The seven horns and the seven eyes on the lamb speak of the perfect power to execute all the will of God, and with perfect wisdom and understanding.  Again, the sevenfold Spirit of God is mentioned, the Lamb has received the Holy Spirit, and that without measure. 

In verse 7, the moment arrives, the moment that all of God's creation yearns for.  "And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."  Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is taking that scroll, the title deed to the universe, and will begin to open the seals (beginning in chapter 6).  This is the same scene, from a different perspective, that Daniel saw in his vision (Daniel 7:13-14), in which the Son of man comes before the Ancient of days to receive dominion over the earth.  

When Christ takes the book (or scroll) out of His Father's hand, notice that every angelic being, every saint in heaven begins to worship the One who is worthy. 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Who Is Worthy?

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Who Is Worthy?"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The incredible sights seen by John in God’s Throne Room are clearly made by an intellect beyond genius. That would be the mind of God. It may even cause us to ask the question, “Which came first, the chicken, or the egg?”  His reality, or ours? As we saw in last week’s study, the fantastic visions John saw in heaven, are the true reality of Earthly things seen through “a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Our Earthly reality replicates the things in heaven, though not clearly. They are imitations of things in heaven, perhaps accurate, but out of focus by our earthbound eyes. You may recall that even Adam and Eve were made in God’s image. Yet, the glory of humans pale when compared to God.

While humans are the highest functioning beings on Earth, there are many others which function differently. Things on Earth replicate heavenly things, I might postulate. Revelation chapter 19 indicates that there are horses in Heaven, why not others of God’s creatures? God is orderly, and Jesus said, “all things of my Father, I have made unto you.” Our vision may be a bit foggy, but when you hear someone say “this is a little slice of heaven,” it is more likely true than false, as much as we can imagine.

“Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God, and it doth not YET appear what we SHALL be: but we know that, WHEN He shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as HE IS." - 1 John 3:15.

“For now we see through a glass darkly; but THEN face to face: Now I know in part; but THEN I shall know even as I am known" - 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Sunday Morning Audio Message:
Revelation 4:8-11 - Who Is Worthy?


** We apologize for a bit of technical difficulty the first few minutes of this message.  There is a 5g cell phone tower directly across the street from the church, which on occasion, seems to interfere with our wireless radio signal effecting our recordings.  Thankfully we have a backup plan for when that happens.  This is an important message, so don't get discouraged.  The recording is much better after a couple of minutes.

This week, we are finishing up chapter 4 in the book of Revelation.  John is still describing all that he sees and hears in the throne room of heaven.   Here is the throne of God set in heaven.  Sitting on this throne is the ruler of the universe, Almighty God, the Creator of all that exists.  John does not describe Him by any human features but has given us a fantastic description of the pure, brilliant, sparkling, perfectly crystal clear, and reflective Light that sits on the throne, like a Jasper.  Also, like a sardius stone, ruby red in color, signifying His provision of sacrifice, the blood of Jesus, as well as the justice of God, judgment that will proceed to those who have not believed. 

The rainbow around the throne was the seal of the covenant of promise that God made with Noah and his posterity, and the covenant of promise that God made with Christ and all those who belong to Him, demonstrating God's grace and mercy, and faithfulness. This is not like any rainbow we have ever seen but was like an emerald in appearance.   

Last week we looked at the twenty-four elders seated (their work is completed) on twenty-four lesser thrones, with golden crowns upon their heads.  They are clothed in white garments, symbolizing eternal righteousness.  These are the representatives of the glorified church.  The church at this point is present in heaven, the rapture has taken place. We know that these twenty-four elders are not angels, as their work is complete, and the angelic beings have much more to do.  

From the throne, John tells us about the seven lamps symbolizing the seven spirits of God.  He describes that in the midst of the throne, there are thunderings and lightnings and voices - speaking of the judgment that is coming upon the earth, to those who have refused to believe.

God's glory is reflected in the sea of glass... His beauty, His holiness, His splendor and majesty, His sovereign power and authority...all on display in this glorious, fantastic and utterly incomparable place. The absoluteness of perfection.

Next are the four living beings, in the center and around the throne of God.  The prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament gives the same description.  See Ezekiel Chapter 1.  John sees four living creatures with various faces and manifestations.  He sees the spirit of those creatures, beautiful and glorious beings who are indescribable in our limited understanding.   In Ezekiel 10:15, these living beings were the cherubim in brilliant light and glory. Cherubim are angels and are frequently referred to in the Old Testament with God's divine power.   See Psalm 80:1 and Psalm 99:1. These beings are in God's presence, and they are guarding His holiness, expressing His power when called to do so.

In the book of Exodus, we know the Israelites make their exodus from Egypt marking the end of a period of oppression for Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 15:13).  It is the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant promise to Abraham that his descendants would not only live in the Promised Land but would also multiply and become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3, 7).  God made a covenant (a conditional covenant) with the children of Israel through His servant Moses. He promised good to them and their children for generations if they obeyed Him and His laws; but warned of despair, punishment, and dispersion if they were to disobey.  He instructs them to build a tabernacle.  As a sign of His covenant, He had the Israelites make a box according to His own design, in which to place the second set of stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. This box, or chest, was called an “ark” and was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. The Ark was to be housed in the inner sanctum of the tabernacle in the desert and eventually in the Temple when it was built in Jerusalem. This chest is known as the Ark of the Covenant.

The real significance of the Ark of the Covenant was what took place involving the lid of the box, known as the "Mercy Seat." The term ‘mercy seat’ comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to cover, placate, appease, cleanse, cancel or make atonement for.” It was here that the high priest, only once a year (Leviticus 16), entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark was kept and atoned for his sins and the sins of the Israelites. The priest sprinkled blood of a sacrificed animal onto the Mercy Seat to appease the wrath and anger of God for past sins committed. This was the only place in the world where this atonement could take place.

The Mercy Seat on the Ark was a symbolic foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice for all sin—the blood of Christ shed on the cross for the remission of sins. The Apostle Paul wrote about Christ being our covering for sin in Romans 3:24-25. 

There is also a description in 1 Kings 6, with the two cherubim that were placed in the midst of the inner sanctuary in the temple.  The inner sanctuary being the Holy of Holies, the cherubim spread out over the mercy seat in the ark of the covenant, symbols guarding the holiness of God, and representing the power of God as He acts against sin.  

So back to chapter four, John is seeing is God's reality!  Everything we see on earth is a shadow of things to come.  Although God has revealed these things to us, we are unable to comprehend fully, because of sin.  Because of Adam's sin, the Human Race lost the Holy Spirit, our understanding became tainted, blurred, foggy, and lacking.

The four creatures or angelic beings are in the presence of God adoring and worshiping Him.  In verse 8 it says that they do not cease to say, "
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."  It is their constant occupation both day and night to offer God the worship that is rightly due Him. 

John hears the beautiful worship of God and sees the response of the twenty-four elders as they fall down before the Lord, and lay their crowns before Him 
knowing that He alone is worthy to receive all the glory and honor and power. He is the Creator of all things and the object of creation.  All things were created by His will and for His pleasure.  That's right, we were created by God, not for His entertainment, but for His pleasure.  His desire to dwell with us, to fellowship with us, for us to know Him, personally, and to love and worship Him for who He is.  Thou art worthy!

What can anyone possibly pretend to give unto God what already is His? Creation existed in God’s mind before He created the universe. From the beginning, He was the Creator of all things, and the Preserver of all things. He alone upholds and sustains all that exists. It was by His will and for His pleasure. He is the sovereign One, and He is Lord over all.

The elders’ response is most likely the way we will all respond when we receive our reward from Jesus. We will be so overcome with gratitude because of what He has done for us that worship will be spontaneous.

In today's message, Pastor Bob will be showing us some comparisons from the Old Testament about the image that John is seeing, and the image that was created with the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat and the cherubim upon it. 

This morning's scripture reading in Genesis 1:20-27, are the keys to understanding the things we are reading about in the book of Revelation.  All the things we see on earth, are a shadow of the things to come in heaven for us. 
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." - 1 Corinthians 13:12.  

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV