In the last blog (Revelation Blog 6), we reviewed the four living creatures John saw in the throne room of Heaven. In these next verses, we’re still in the throne room, but the scene is about to change. Before moving forward, I’d like to remind myself, and you—my favorite people—of the objective of this book. In verse 1 of chapter 1, the purpose of John’s vision is explained: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His bond servants [you and me] the things which must shortly take place. Our purpose in reading/hearing this wild and wooly book of the Bible is clear: we will encounter Christ’s fill revelation and will be told (because our Lord desire’s it) what is coming in the future.
And just in case you find yourself a little overwhelmed with all the imagery and are tempted to move to simpler Scripture, let me remind you that in verse 3 we’re promised to be blessed for reading and/or hearing the words of this prophecy and for heeding the things which are written, for the time is near.
How cool is this? The time is near. God wants you to know stuff. And He blesses you when you want to know stuff.
Through the lens of the objectives (Revelation of Christ, a blessing, and the nearness of time), understanding takes shape. And interestingly, as we shape understanding, we’ll also come to terms with not fully comprehending every detail, but fully trusting the Lord’s plans.
I look at the coming prophecies in Revelation as God’s outline and timeline for humanity. Some of the events will be hard to imagine, but with trust and the desire to know what the Lord wants us to know, we’ll find a space of peace.
So let’s get started.
In this blog, we’re still in the throne room when John sees something in the “right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” It’s a book, we’re told, with important information written inside and on the back of this book are seven seals.
I find it mysterious and compelling that there are reports … news … intelligence written in heaven and kept under wraps until a specific time arrives.
Some scholars believe this is the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 21:27) and others believe this is the scroll from Daniel 12:4. “But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the end of time; many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.” We’re not told the title, but as John watches, we realize there is an issue with the scroll/book and seals. Yikes! Evidently, these writings are sacred and only a worthy being can break the seals and reveal what’s inside. An angel cries out, “Who is worthy to open the book and break the seals?”
It appears there’s a search underway.
To John’s dismay, there are no worthy beings found in heaven, on earth, or under the earth who qualify.
Please hang with me on a short rabbit trail while we pull a couple of puzzle pieces together. According to Psalm 8:4-5, God’s created beings have categories and we humans fall below angelic creatures on the ladder rungs of hierarchy. Here’s a psalm that explains it:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
But in this room of glorious angelic beings who rank higher than humans, none are found worthy to open the scroll. No humans back down on earth measure up either. But the puzzle piece I’m slipping into place here is the fact that, as superior beings, angels, though ranked higher than man, are not worthy of this honor. Nor do angels receive salvation. The Son of Man never was or will be the Son of an angel. And, we’re told, angels are curious about God’s unique relationship to man. So curious they long to know more (1 Peter 1:8-12). Christ became a man, a being ranked lower than angels. And the man He became is … worthy and about to take center stage.
Before Christ enters the scene, John experiences a heart-sinking moment. He understands what is in that book must be revealed. But for a pause pregnant with grief, he realizes no one has earned the right to open the seals. Of all in God’s creation, there is none righteous or holy enough.
John doesn’t just tear up at this point—he weeps greatly. I imagine he sobs. Our John is broken with despair and disappointment seeing, for the first time, reality—none are worthy. None. No one anywhere is worthy to fulfill God’s sealed-up plans.
Then, right on cue … at the moment of hopelessness, one of the twenty-four elders around the throne reaches out with encouragement. “Stop weeping,” he soothingly tells John. “Behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and it’s seven seals.”
As I started this blog with a reminder that Revelation was written to reveal Christ, we are about to witness the final revelation of all our Savior is. I say final because this is the last book of the Bible and this is where we see Christ, fully God, fully man revealed as the One who is worthy of bringing about the culmination of history.
The last eyewitnesses of Christ on earth were the disciples, watching him ascend into heaven after he commanded them to go into every nation discipling and teaching. There, we know from documented accounts, he looked different than when he walked with them earlier. But they do recognize him, walking and eating with Him after the resurrection. We conclude that though glorified, He had an earthly appearance, still resembling a lowly made man.
But here in heaven, John sees Christ in another form.
John tells us that between the throne and the twenty-four elders, appears a Lamb—as if slain. From Old Testament shadowing and our understanding of the sacrifice of the Son of God, we know immediately who John sees. But there’s deeper revelation here. John describes the Lamb as having “seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
I believe what we see here is the full embodiment of the trinity—Christ as the Lamb, the Holy Spirit as the seven Spirits, and God as the seven eyes. Because the number seven biblically represents complete perfection, we’re seeing the completed and perfect, all-powerful Christ. I believe the seven eyes represent God the Father (Proverbs 15:3), the seven spirits represent the Holy Spirit (Revelation 4:5) and the lamb, of course, is the sacrificial Son of God.
The seven horns on the lamb represent power as many times in Scripture, the horn is used as a symbol of power and authority or kingship (Exodus 27:2; Daniel 7:26). With seven horns, Christ is the perfect and completed king.
Wowza. I hope as you read this, revelation pours. Christ became a lowly man and sacrificed himself for lowly mankind. Now as man in part, He is the one and only all-powerful being in the universe—the trinity of holiness—worthy to break the seals of this important and future determining book.
What is man that you are mindful of him, asks the Psalmist (Psalm 8:4). After being a human for several decades now, I can’t find much worthy in me or in anyone I know. We fall; we fail.
But the Lamb.
God’s plans for mankind are incomprehensible, glorious, and so undeserved. That we, not angels, are the recipients of His grace and mercy is what fantasy story books are written about. If you were a visitor from another other-worldly universe, would you, after studying reckless mankind, believe this salvation story? Believe God put His glorious image on man?
Hard as it is to believe, this is the truth our enemies want us to never discover.
The book of Revelation teems with … well … revelation. The truth of Christ.
If you’ve liked this journey through Revelation so far, check out my newest Bible Brief, God’s Will, Unraveling the Mystery on Amazon. It’s only $10.99 and well worth the investment, I pray.
I’ll be traveling in September and October, but plan to pick up the Revelation blog in November. Until then, there will be other writings, thoughts, and notions.
Be blessed. You’re my favorite beings—people seeking to understand.
If I perish, I perish,
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