Worthy Art The Lamb Who Was Slain
I’d like to read to you a few passages from the book of Revelation. Go ahead and follow along in your own bibles if you’d like. I’m going to start at the very beginning, in Revelation 1, verses 1 thru 3;
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show unto His servants, even the things which must shortly take place, and He sent His angel unto His servant John, who bare witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, even of all the things that he saw.”
“Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear, the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein; For the time is near.”
God gave this “revelation” to Jesus Christ, so that Jesus Christ could in turn, give the revelation to His servants. Remember what Jesus said in John 12, verse 49; “For I spoke not from Myself, but from the Father that sent Me. He hath given Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” So then the words of Jesus, have always been the words of the Father.
And Christ gave this revelation to all of His servants, (which includes us today) through the writings of His one servant named John. The scripture says; “..and He (God) sent His angel unto His servant John..” The word angel, simply means “messenger”. And the “messenger” that God sent to John, was Jesus Christ Himself.
John says in verse 10; “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me, a great voice, as of a trumpet..” And this great voice, told John to write what he was about to see, in a book, and to send that book to the seven congregations of Asia, which would have been the present day area of Turkey. And verse 11 says that those congregations were located in the cities of Ephesus, and Smyrna, and Pergamum, and Thyatira, and Sardis, and Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
But listen to what John says about the one whose voice he heard.. This will be verses 12 thru 18; “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the candlesticks, one like unto a Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girded about at the breasts with a golden girdle” (or in other words, a golden belt or sash)
So John saw someone who appeared to be a man, he was like unto a son of man”. But He didn’t look like any ordinary man. The scripture says;
“And His head and His hair were white as white wool, white as snow. (That gives you the impression of purity, and sinlessness, doesn’t it”) Isaiah 1:18 says; “..Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
“And His eyes were as a flame of fire.” It must have looked like His eyes could burn right through you, right down to your heart and soul.
“And His feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace,” Remember when the Son of God walked in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego? King Nebuchadnezzar said, in Daniel 3, verse 24; “Did we not cast three men, bound, into the midst of the fire?” Then he said in verse 25; “Lo, I see four men, loosed, and walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the aspect of the fourth, is like a son of the Gods!”
I wonder what that story is supposed to impress upon a faithful Christian? Is it telling us, that when we have to go through the trials, and the difficulties that we face, that Christ is right there with us? And maybe when we go through severe trials, and remain faithful, maybe it refines us. Jesus was certainly “refined” wasn’t He? With all that He went through in His life here. “And His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace.”
“And His voice, as the voice of many waters.” What impression does that give you? Does it remind you of how the sound of waves, has a soothing effect? Maybe it reminds you of a river of living water. Jesus said in John 7:38; “He that believes on Me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.”
Or maybe it’s like that well of water that Jesus talked about in John 4:14. He said; “Whoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water, springing up unto eternal life.”
Listen to how the voice of Jesus is described in Revelation 14, verse 2; “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, and the voice that I heard was as the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” The voice of Christ must sound like a lot of things, all at once.
And as Jesus Christ appeared to John that Lord’s day, John says, back in chapter 1, verses 16 thru 18; “..He had in His right hand, seven stars, and out of His mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was as the sun shineth, in His strength.” And John says; “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead. And he laid His right hand upon me, saying; Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the Living One. And I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of hades.”
Remember when Jesus told Peter, in Mathew 16, verse 18; “..I will build My church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it”? Well, Jesus holds the keys to hades. He’s the one who controls hades. And He also has “the keys of death”. In other words, Jesus controls death. That’s why it says in 1 Corinthians 15:55; “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” Jesus controls it all; He’s got the keys.
Revelation 1, verse 5 says; “Unto Him who loveth us, and loosed us from our sins, by His blood.”
And that’s why, if you’re a Christian, you don’t have to worry about death, because you belong to Christ, and Christ has the keys! He loosed us from our sins and gave us our life back. And of course that’s why it says in 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 14; “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him.” Jesus Christ holds the keys to our life, and to our death, and to hades, and to our eternity! Jesus holds it all!
In John’s vision that day, Jesus said that the seven candlesticks that were all around him, were the seven churches of Asia, but for us today, those seven candlesticks really represents all the congregations of Christ, everywhere, and Christ indeed stands in the midst of them all, everywhere. He’s everywhere, all at once. And He’s in our midst, right here, right now, today.
As long as we are gathered “in His name”, in other words, as long as we are abiding in His teaching, and as long as we are doing the things which God has authorized us to do, then His Spirit is right here among us. That’s easy to understand isn’t it? How could the “Spirit” of Christ be with us, if we were doing something that He forbids us to do? Or how could His “Spirit” be with us if we are doing things of our own initiative, without respect, for what He has authorized us to do? Well, obviously, if we did that, the “Spirit” of Christ, wouldn’t be with us. The only “spirit” that would be with us, would be our own, not God’s.
“But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as their doctrines, the precepts of men.” (Mathew 15, verse 9)
Let’s go back to our reading in Revelation. We read these words, in Revelation 1, verses 4 thru 8;
“John, to the seven churches that are in Asia; (and to all the churches of Christ that exist today) Grace to you, and peace, from Him who is, and was, and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits that are before His throne.” The “seven Spirits that are before His throne”, is simply a figurative way of referring to the fullness of God. Grace to you, and peace, from Jesus Christ, and from God; In other words, from “the fullness of God”.
Remember, this is very symbolic writing, and just like the seven candlesticks, which directly represent seven specific congregations scattered around Asia, they are also representative to us, of ALL congregations of Christ’s body, scattered all around the world. And in the same way, the “seven Spirits” that are before the throne of God, represent the fullness, or the totality of the Spirit of God. After all, Ephesians 4, verse 4 does tell us that there is one body, and ONE Spirit. Just one. And so the “seven Spirits” is simply a figurative and symbolic way, of expressing the fulness and completeness, of God’s Holy Spirit, which again is symbolized as being “before the throne of God”.
And so John writes; “Grace to you, and peace, from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits, which are before the throne of God, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loves us, and loosed us from our sins, by His blood.”
“And He made us to be a kingdom; (the church of Christ is a kingdom, it’s the kingdom of Christ) “..He made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto His God and Father. To Him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever, Amen.”
1 Peter 2, verse 9 says; “But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light.”
You and I, and all others who have been forgiven of their sins, and who have been given the promise of eternal life, we make up the kingdom of God; The kingdom of Christ. And you and I, and all those others, make up “a royal priesthood”. And as priests, we are to offer up sacrifices. And the sacrifices that we are to offer up, are own lives. That’s why Romans 12, verse 1 says; “I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, (it’s by God’s mercy that we have this opportunity) to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.”
Revelation 1, verse 8 says; “I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God; Who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 4, verse 11 says; “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God. To receive the glory and the honor and the power; For Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will, they were, and were created.”
Now listen to what the bible says in Revelation chapter 5, verses 1 thru 4; “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and on the back, closed and sealed, with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a great voice; Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”
“And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look thereon.”
The book was completely sealed, with “seven seals” so to speak; And no one could look inside of it, to see the words of the book, held in the hand of the God of heaven. What was in that book? What does that book symbolize?
As the story of Revelation unfolds, we have so many visions and symbols being displayed. But if I had to summarize what is displayed throughout the rest of the book, I’d have to say that it symbolized two things. It symbolizes judgment, and salvation. And I’d have to say that that book, held in the hand of God Almighty represents those same two things. it represents judgment and salvation. And no one was found worthy of opening that book, except for one! And of course that one, was Jesus Christ.
Revelation 5, verses 5 & 6 says; “And one of the elders saith to me; Weep not; Behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath overcome, to open the book, and the seven seals thereof. And I saw in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had bene slain; Having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.”
And then it says in verses 7 thru 9; “And He came, and He taketh it out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty elders, fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
“And they sang a new song, saying; Worthy art Thou, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; For Thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God, with Thy blood, men of every tribe and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them t be unto our God, a kingdom and priests, and they reign upon the earth.”
And verses 12 thru 14 says; “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain, to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying; Unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped.”
God had a plan from eternity, to save the faithful and obedient, and to judge the rest. But that plan could only be carried out, through one individual, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
We’ll all either be saved, or judged. Which will it be for you?
Will you hear and believe His word? Will you confess your faith in Christ? Will you repent of your sins, and be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins? And will you live faithfully unto death?
We’ll all be either saved or judged, and it’s entirely up to us. The invitation is yours to obey the Lord today.