We are now at Chapter Five in the Book of Revelation. What an exciting chapter this is! We are going to learn some things from this chapter about Redemption, and about the only One who has the right to open the Seven Seals. As the Seals are opened, they begin the wrath of God upon an ungodly Earth and upon an ungodly mankind that pays no attention to Christ. God’s judgments are going to begin to fall with the opening of these Seals.
Prior to the opening of the seals, we’ve got to find out who has the right to open the scroll, in order to fulfill the prophecies that were made. Many of the signs are in the Old Testament, concerning the reign of Christ and His judgments here upon the Earth. This will answer the atheists, the agnostics, and the critics who are saying, “There is no God.”
I am amazed at some of these people, today, who do not want anything to do with Christ, and claim not to believe in a God. Yet, when bad things happen in this world, they are the first to ask, “Well, where is God?” Right away they want to blame the God they don’t believe in for all of it. We are going to find that God is going to place His wrath on the Earth, for that kind of philosophy and denial. They will find there is a God of creation that created them. Where is God? He is in Heaven on His throne. That is what the Book of Revelation is all about. The word “book” in the following veses is the Greek word “biblion.”
“And 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” (1). And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (2) And no man in heaven, nor in Earth, neither under the Earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. (3) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (4).
Everything stands still. There is no more progress until one, that is worthy, is able to come and to open the scroll is found. Only the Creator, only the Lord Jesus Christ is the One able to do that. Everything stops! There was no person. There was no angel. None of the four and twenty elders were found worthy. None of the seraphims, or the cherubims were found worthy. No human being ever—ever—ever has the right to go ahead and open the seals of the prophecy of this book. No one is found in Heaven. No one is found under the Earth. No one is found on the Earth.
But we will find one of the elders came to John and said,
“…Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5)
We are going to examine the scroll that was written, and contains the Seven Seals of God’s judgment upon the Earth. Until one is found worthy to open that book, or scroll, we find out that the Old Testament prophecies will never be fulfilled.
Satan doesn’t want these seals opened! He doesn’t want you to know what the future holds. He wants you to think everything is all right. You just go out and live it up, and do whatever you want to do. But Satan is a deceiver. Satan is the Antichrist. He is the one who seeks your soul to Hell. He is the one who seeks to destroy your life, if you are a Christian. He will do everything possible, because he knows that his end is to be separated from God for all time and eternity. He also knows that Hell “was created for the devil and his angels.”
“No man was found worthy to open and to read the book” (Revelation 5:4).
To understand what this means, we have to go back to the Old Testament and begin to examine the Laws of Redemption.
In the Old Testament, we find there is redemption for a wife. If a wife had lost her husband because he died, then, a near relative, the brother was usually the one, could do it. Therefore, if he was not married, under the Old Testament law, the brother was to go to the priest, and it was written there who the marriage was to. Under the law, he was to take his brother’s wife, so that the name of the family would continue. If he failed to do so, then it was written that he was to go before the priest, and he was to suffer shame. He was to take off his shoe, which was an absolute disgrace. That was the Law in the Old Testament times. He would be a total disgrace to his relatives, a total disgrace to himself, and a total disgrace to the Nation of Israel for not fulfilling his responsibility, as God had decreed.
However, if he could redeem the wife, and take that position of the brother who had died, and fulfill that responsibility to be her husband, he could carry on the name.
If a man, because of whatever it might be, owed a debt which he could not pay, then he was to sell himself to the person to whom he owed the debt, for whatever the money was. The arrangements were made, and they would, then, go before the priest. The priest would put it in the scrolls. They used to use two scrolls. They would take the one scroll, put it in the Tabernacle, or the Court of the Temple, for all to see. It would have the conditions on it. It would say that he owed so-many hundreds of dollars, and he would sell himself as a slave, and have to work for that person until he got that debt paid off. He was then free.
The other scroll was sealed with seven seals and placed in the Temple. It was only brought out when a kinsman redeemer gave evidence he was willing, and able, to redeem it. When he paid the redemption terms, he was given the sealed scroll. Then he would tear open the seven seals, thus invalidating the mortgage, and the previous owner could take back his redeemed farm, or property.
Sometimes the debt extended further into what was called the “Year of Jubilee,” which was every fiftieth year. If it was the forty-eighth year that he went into this debt, then he would not have to serve all of that out. The land was always, on the fiftieth year, to be returned to the Nation of Israel, or returned to the rightful owner. That was the Law of Redemption.
If a man had to sell a parcel of land and someone else bought it, and he, himself, could not redeem the land; then a relative, a nephew or an uncle, could come in and pay the price. That relative could redeem the land for the uncle, or the nephew, whoever it might be, and buy it back for him. We are going to find out how significant this is, because we’re going to take the Scriptures. We just wanted to lay this out for you first.
First of all, it shows that no one on Earth, no one in Heaven, no one can redeem you, or have the right to buy this Title Deed to Creation, only the Creator. That is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, Himself, in human flesh. But in order to do that, as it was with the servant, the wife, and the land, there were three things that were required:
- First, they had to be related.
- Second, they had to be willing.
- And, third, they had to be able.
We’re going to find that’s exactly what Jesus Christ did for you, and that’s what He did for me. He was related. We’re going to find out in Hebrews that He was willing to give His life for you to save you. He was able to do it because He was the only person, on the face of this Earth, born sinless through the virgin birth. He not only redeemed mankind, but He also is going to redeem the land in the Millennium. It’s going to bloom like a rose! Also, He is going to redeem the animal kingdom. It will be restored like it was, before the flood, when man did not have a meat diet. To get all of this, go with me in your Bibles clear back to the Book of Leviticus, where we have these laws given. This will be a good refresher for some of you who have not been studying the Old Testament as you should. You say, “Well, it’s sort of boring.” It’s not, really, when you get into it and begin to study it.
“And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family (47): After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him (48): Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself” (49).
Very seldom could a person redeem himself, as he was working for the wages to pay it off. It would take him a long time to do that.
“And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him” (Leviticus 25:50).
“If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her (5). And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel (6). And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother (7). Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her (8); Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house” (9).
He could redeem the wife, but, if he refused, he became a total disgrace. We see this in the Book of Ruth. We recall that Ruth was a Gentile, and Boaz was a Jew. They had a famine in Jerusalem. Naomi had gone down to Moab with her family, and they had lost their land. We find that, even though Naomi’s husband and her two sons had died while they were in Moab, leaving Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws as widows, Ruth came back with Naomi. Naomi had lost the land, but Boaz, a near kinsman, had the price and he was willing to pay it. He was the near kinsman and he had the three things: he had the price, he was willing, and he was able to do it. Therefore, he married Ruth and bought back the inheritance of Naomi. What a wonderful picture of Redemption that is.
For our Redemption, the price had to be paid and Christ was willing to do it. He paid the price. He was able to do that, and he went to the Cross willingly. What nonsense it is for some churches to say, “Your water baptism is what gets you to Heaven,” and take Jesus Christ right down off the Cross! They keep Him right in the tomb, and do not recognize His Resurrection! Oh, they say they do! If they really did, they would not substitute good works in place of receiving God’s free gift of salvation.
“The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me (23). And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land (24).
Now, he gives the case here.
If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold (25). And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it (26); Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession (27). But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile (every 50th year): and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession” (28).
God gave this land to Israel. They were only the tenants. God is the owner of it. All of this becomes significant when we go back to the Book of Revelation, and find out the One who has the Title Deed to Creation. Everything Adam lost, Christ bought back. He bought back our sinful condition. What we mean by that is, Christ died on that Cross to redeem us.
It is interesting here, as we begin to see who has the Title Deed to Creation. Notice in Verse 4, where John wept because no person, no human being, can redeem or have the right and the power to open up these seals, and continue on with the prophecies here. No man can bring the prophecies of the Old Testament to pass. Only God, in the person of Jesus Christ, can do that.
How frail man is, yet in his eyes, he exalts himself above God. He says, “I’m good enough to go to Heaven. I can go to church and, as long as people think I’m good, I can go to Heaven.” But the Word of God tells us in Ephesians 2:8,9,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
So we come to Chapter 5, and John says,
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:4).
None of the prophecies would be fulfilled in the Book of Revelation until we find the One, and the only One, worthy to open the book, or scroll. Notice in Verse 5…
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (5).
“…behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda…” (5:5b).
Of course, this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah. Do you know something very interesting? The Lion was the symbol of the Tribe of Judah? In the 1976 Six-Day War, on June 11-15, the Old City of Jerusalem was taken by the Israelites by an attack at the Lion’s Gate. Originally, the attack was to be made at the Dung Gate. There were several gates around Jerusalem, and each gate had a specific purpose. The cry of the soldiers was, “Judah first!” That was clear back there in the 1976 Six-Day War. Do you know why? Because in Judges 20:18, of the twelve tribes, Judah was always the first to go to war? They were the first ones to lead the way into war, therefore, the Judah Lion Gate became the objective.
“And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.”
In the Old Testament, Judah, the Lion, went first into battle. So, current Jerusalem was to be regained by the Lion’s Gate.
“…the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book…” (5:5c).
What does the “root of David” mean. Well, the Messiah was to be descended from Judah, and to sit on David’s throne.
The Line of the Kings of Judah.
By Jeremiah’s time, the Davidic kings of his day were probably the worst sinners of the kingdom, therefore God had sent the judgment of the Babylonian captivity. (606 B.C. to 535 B.C.) Yet, God promised from the cut-down tree of David’s kingly line, a truly righteous king would emerge, a shoot from the roots that still remained. We find that recorded in Isaiah 11:1-5.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots (1): And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD (2); And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears (3): But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the Earth: and he shall smite the Earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (4). And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (5).
It is of Him that Revelation 5:5 speaks as “the root of David who hath prevailed.” The Lord Jesus is the Redeemer as given in Hebrews 2:16,17, and we find that He was related.
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham (16). Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (17).
Christ was related; but was He willing? Notice Hebrews 10:7,
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
He was willing. Look in Hebrews 12:2,
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This verse tells us that the Lord Jesus “…for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” He certainly was willing. Who would love a sinner like you and I? Who else would count it a joy to have those nails driven into His hands, driven into His feet, a sword thrust in His side, and a crown of thorns smashed down upon His head, ripping His face to where it was unrecognizable? No one, but the Lord Jesus Christ, ever loved you and I that much. We find in Romans 5:8,
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So, He was willing, but was He able? Did He have the price? Now, let us go to 1 Peter 1:18,19, where we find that he was able. He was able to do it. And His own precious, sinless blood was the price.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers (18); But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (19).
“But with the precious blood of Christ.” That’s what you were redeemed with. And “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” In Verse 6, of this chapter, John sees “…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…” It is the Lord Jesus.
Are you actually trusting in water baptism, or good works, to get you to Heaven? Do you actually think that you are good enough to go to Heaven without receiving the payment that Jesus Christ made on the Cross? By saying that, you are saying, “Christ, you died in vain. You didn’t have to die. Look at me! Look how good I am. I have a prominent position in society. The people in my town respect me because I’m such a good person.” God’s estimation is that you’re a sinner, and all your good works are nothing but a pile of filthy rags.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
God says, “I know your heart and your heart is deceitful and wicked above all things, and, who can know it?” You may cover it up to a lot of people, but underneath, God knows the wickedness of your heart.
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9)
You can take a dead man and, at most funerals that I’ve ever preached, they put a brand new suit on Him, or a suit that he’s had, or a nice dress that she’s had. They look as nice as they can look, but I don’t care what you put on them. You can put make-up on them. You can put everything in the world on them, but they’re still dead! You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time. God said that you’re “dead in your trespasses and sins,” and I don’t care how many new clothes you put on, or how much self-righteousness you clothe yourself with, you’re as “dead as a door nail” and hell-bound! Your only hope is Jesus Christ. That is why Christ said,
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6)
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred (tribe), and tongue, and people (Israel), and nation (Gentiles);”
God is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t care if you are Hispanic, black, white, purple, blue, or yellow. If you are a human being, God created you, and he loves you. Color and race are absolutely neutral in God’s eyes. He looks upon you as a human being that His Son died for, and He loves you no matter who you are, where you come from, or how much sin you’ve been in. Jesus Christ died for sinners. Amen? Isn’t that wonderful? I’m glad He did, because I’m one of them! I don’t know about you, but I’m not able to save myself. I’m thankful for the Redeemer!
He was related by the virgin birth. He was willing to go to that Cross, and He had the price to pay because He was sinless. No man is sinless and, therefore, “The wages of sin is death.” We’re under the condemnation of God. It is only Christ who redeemed us.
Let us look at something else. Christ is even going to redeem the land. Go with me to Genesis 3:17,18 where there was a curse put on it because of Adam.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life (17); Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (18).
I can bear that to be true! I planted a garden this year, and I’ll tell you what, I didn’t plant any thorns and thistles, or weeds, but they are coming up prolifically. Actually, they are coming up better than the seeds that I planted! God’s word is true. I haven’t seen a garden planted yet that didn’t have a thistle in there somewhere. I don’t know where they come from, but they get in there. You can pull ‘em out. You can put weed killer on them, and they still come back. It only attests to the truth of God’s Word. What is God going to do as far as redeeming the land? Go with me to Isaiah 35:1,2 and 7.
“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose (1). It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God (2).
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes” (7).
So, the places that are barren today, since the Lord Jesus is going to redeem the land, also, they will blossom like a rose. But, what about the animal kingdom? Do you know they are going to be redeemed also? Let us go to Genesis 7:1,2, where Noah was to take both clean and unclean animals on the ark.
“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation (1). Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female” (2).
Let us go to Genesis 9:2, now, and notice what God says,
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the Earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the Earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.”
Yes, even the animal kingdom is under a curse. After the flood, when animals were taken for meat, God put fear of man into the animals. That fear will be taken away, and there will be no more meat diet for man in the Millennium. God is going to redeem the animal kingdom, and animals and man will live peacefully together. But go with me to Isaiah 65:25 and notice what it says.
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.”
It is unheard of for a wolf and a lamb to lay together.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature (Greek = creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (19).
Well, what is “the manifestation of the sons of God?” We’re going to see that is the Rapture, the redemption of our bodies.
“For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope (20), (See, also Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:30)
The creation was “subjected” in Genesis, Chapter 9,when God gave man a meat diet, and put fear of man into the animals. Get this now!
Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (21). For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (22). And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (the Rapture)” (23).
We got a phone call just the other day. We had some friends call and say, “Pastor, would you call a certain person in Ohio. This man was led to Christ in our church down there, to the best of my knowledge. A wonderful man. He came up from Fort Smith, Arkansas. I’ll never forget him telling me, “I went to one of these churches down there where everybody is trying to go to Heaven on their good works, and they were all telling me what a wonderful man I really was. I began to believe that! I knew it wasn’t true, but I loved it. That didn’t sound bad. Everybody thought I was the greatest guy that ever was!” Then he came to our church where we preach from the Bible, and the Bible says…
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
In order to be saved, you have to acknowlege that you are a sinner, because, “Christ came to seek and save that which is lost.” If you’re not lost, you can’t be saved. If you’re trying to save yourself, you’re not going to be saved. You’re just lost, and you refuse to admit it. And, you’re going to soak in self-righteousness, in Hell, for all time and eternity. You’ll be like the man in Luke 16:23,24, “Give me a drop of water that I may wet my tongue, for I’m tormented in these flames.”
To shorten the story…he became very, very ill. He was now very sick, and could hardly breathe or talk. I called him on the phone and talked with him. It was good to hear the little he had the strength to say. I said to him, “You know we never know who is going to go first. I could go out of the house and be killed in a car wreck. You just don’t know. You can go out and drop over with a heart attack. You may get to Heaven before me.” But I know Barney is saved. He truly was a wonderful man. I used to stop at their house and drink a cup of coffee with them. I had not seen him for several years. But the relatives wanted me to call and talk to him. He just wanted me to talk to him, I guess.
He was telling me that his body was just about to give out. He said, “I don’t think I’m going to be here long.” I said, “Well, we never know. You could go before me, but, now, the Rapture may come and we’ll go together! I’ll see you up there. A cloud from Ohio. A cloud from Minnesota. I’ll see you on the way up, but if you should precede me, I don’t want you to waste any time now. I don’t want you to be up there lookin’ around. When it’s my turn to come, I want you to be able to show me around. Will you?” We laughed a little about that, and, then, I was happy to be able to tell him, “Not only that. You’re going to have a new body. A brand new one! You’re not going to have any of this sickness again. You’re not going to have any trouble breathing. You’re not going to have any trouble at all. You’re going to be with your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re going to be together.” “So shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Oh, what a difference it makes when you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior.
Notice, again, Romans 8:23, “And not only they,” not only the animal kingdom. The rabbit runs from the fox. The deer runs from the wolf. It is survival of the fittest, I guess. Everything preys upon everything. The time is coming when that won’t happen. There will be perfect peace in the animal kingdom. Also, there is going to be perfect peace, not only for the Christian in Heaven, but, also, a peace from the aches and the pains of this old body, because we’re going to have a new one! Notice what it says in Romans 8:23,
“And not only they, (the animal kingdom) but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
So, when Christ died for us on the Cross, He not only redeemed our soul and spirit to Heaven, He, also, redeemed our body. In Philippians 3:20,21 we find,
“For our conversation (our citizenship – Greek = “politeuo”) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (20): Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Just as the Lord Jesus had a resurrected body, so the Christians will have a resurrected body, and our redemption includes both. Christ redeemed our soul and spirit, and our body. Also, the redemption, that Christ bought, is going to be a redeeming of the land. It is going to be a redeeming of the animal kingdom, and a peace on Earth such as has never been since the Garden of Eden, and before Adam sinned.
Let’s continue here with a few more things in Chapter Five, and then we shall keep our appointment to view the terrible judgments coming out in Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation.
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
Again, the “four and twenty elders” represent all of mankind, and, they, with the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel, all fall down before the Lamb. Here, certainly, we have an act of adoration and worship. In Revelation 19:10, the words of the angel show that only God may be worshiped. We must, therefore, conclude from this that “the Lamb” is being rightfully worshiped as God, and “the Lamb” is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ. This book, with its heavenly glimpses, exhibits the Deity of the Lord Jesus manifest in the Heavens.
“The harps and golden vials.” Literally, the Greek reads, “having each a harp and vials golden.” The word “vial” could just as well be translated “bowl.” Therefore, in this glorious scene, we see these heavenly creatures holding instruments which make music to praise the Lord.
From this we ought to observe two things:
First of all, we should observe there are those that oppose the using of any, or all, musical instruments in the church worship service, and we will have to say, they surely err. We might as well let you know who one of them is. It is the Church of Christ. Now, there is a difference between them and the Church of Christ Congregational. The Church of Christ Congregational uses music, but the denomination of Church of Christ does not use any musical instruments at all. In fact, they deny they are even a denomination. They say they are the “True Church of Christ,” but they are the Church of Christ denomination.
Number Two: The harps here do not, by any imagination, support the fantasy I heard when I was a boy, that the redeemed will do nothing throughout eternity, except play harps and sit around on clouds, just floating around all day long. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It should be noted also that “the prayers of the saints” are not lost, nor do they disappear into the air. No. They are preserved by God, as is seen here in the “golden vials,” preserved until His time for their answering, as we are going to see.
The twenty four elders, holding the prayers of the saints, further confirm that these are the representatives of the redeemed who are with Christ in Heaven.
Another thing we would like to bring out about singing. The music that we are going to hear in Heaven will be new.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
It’s a song that has never been sung before. Have you ever noticed that one of the characteristics of the Book of Revelation is that it is a book of “new things.” For example:
- There is a new name in Revelation 2:17. A new name given to each one of us.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
- There’s a new song here in Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 14:3.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the Earth” (Revelation 14:3).
- There’s a New Heavens and a New Earth in Revelation 21:1.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new Earth: for the first heaven and the first Earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
- There’s the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2.
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
- We have the promise of all new things in Revelation 21:5.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
I think all of us can remember waiting for some new thing in our life. There are many things we can look forward to. Perhaps a new car, a piano, a new home, but all these quickly vanish away.
The Greek here is significant as it has two words for “new.”
- “Neos” and it means “New in point of time.” It means “young,” but not, necessarily, new in point of quality.
- “Kainos” means “new in point of quality. “Kainos” describes a thing which has not only been recently produced, but also, the like of which has never existed before. All of the verses that we quoted. The “new name.” That’s “kainos.” There is a “new song.” “Kainos,” again. New Earth, “kainos.” New Jerusalem, “kainos.” All new things, that’s “kainos.” They have never existed before. All the verses use the word “kainos.” Therefore, when we believe in the Lord Jesus, He makes us a “new creature,” a “new” creation. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 he says we’re brand new!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
It is “kainos.” You’ve never been like that before. Thank God that you are a brand new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen? He has also given you a new birth. You are born again. You’re new, because you now have the Holy Spirit of God. Thank God for that!
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13).
And, at the Rapture, we will have a new body.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (the Rapture)” (Romans 8:23).