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.  

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