Sunday, May 22, 2011

Revelation Chapter Five, Part 1 of 2

5:1 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.
This book or scroll (NKJV) appears to be a scroll of judgments to be poured out on the unrepentant earth. It is in the hand of God the Father and He waits for one who is qualified to mete out these judgments. Seven is the biblical number of perfection or completion; so only one who is perfect may open, or even read, the scroll in the hand of the Father.

We know Christ our Lord was made perfect through sufferings, Hebrews 2:10. Jesus received the prerogative of judgment because He was made like unto us in all things, John 5:22, 27; Hebrews 2:17. Therefore when we see God pouring out judgments on the earth throughout the remainder of Revelation we know that this is actually Jesus Christ, since Scripture states that the Father judges no one, but commits all judgment to the Son, again John 5:22. So when the books are opened before God at the Great White Throne, who do you think that is? It’s Jesus! Paul writes:

Then cometh the end, when he (Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he (Jesus) shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he (Jesus) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” 1st Corinthians 15:24-26. To understand that Paul is presently speaking about the end of our material universe when he uses the phrase “delivers up the kingdom” we turn to Revelation 20:14, where we see the conclusion of the Great White Throne judgment. “Then Death (the grave) and Hades (Hell) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” See also 2nd Peter 3:10.

There is a resurrection of the unjust, where the bodies of the unsaved are taken from Death—the grave—and out of Hades (Hell, where they have been temporarily imprisoned) and now they stand before God the Son, Revelation 20:13. It will be much like a prisoner today being moved from a county jail to a high security prison to endure the duration of their sentence.

Presently God is waiting with scroll in hand to give all judgment to the Son that all might honor Christ as they honor the Father, John 5:23. If you do not honor the Son as God, then you do not honor the Father, either; nor do you have them, nor are you saved. That being the case the nature of this scroll and its contents should intrigue you greatly, for it may that you will have the sad misfortune of enduring the wrath of God as it begins to be poured out on this Christ-rejecting world.

5:3-5 no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 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.
Salvation and judgment are closely related. Revelation teaches us this lesson: that salvation and judgment are two sides of one coin. The One who by His vicarious sacrifice became the Savior of the world also became the judge of all mankind. The Heavens, earth and Hell were scoured by the omnipotent eyes of God to find a suitable champion to initiate the judgments of God’s wrath; but all were found wanting. As we noted in verse 1, the scroll was sealed with seven seals, which is the number of perfection in the Bible. Only a perfect man may open such a scroll, and only a perfect God may judge a rebellious world impartially and with equity: both find their solution in Jesus Christ.

To the Roman Catholic I would pause here and plead with you. Christ’ offering of Himself was absolutely perfect. John 3:16, 1st John 2:2, Hebrews 10:12 and so many more passages plainly tell us that Christ’s offering for sin paid for the sins of the world. Every sin there could be (venial or mortal; a human invention of degrees of sin not found in the Bible) is paid for in Christ. What sin did Jesus Christ’s sacrifice not pay for? Save for unbelief (refusing to be saved) can you point one out? How many sins were required for Adam and Eve to be expelled from Eden?  Either Jesus’ work on the cross is sufficient and He is in fact our Savior, or it is not and at best Jesus is relegated to being our divine Helper in salvation. The Bible declares that when you believe in Jesus Christ and trust in what He accomplished FOR you, you are eternally saved. These words are so plainly echoed in Scripture that it is insulting for so many Catholic theologians to do spiritual cartwheels endeavoring to get around them in order to justify their man-made institution: Roman Catholicism.

To those who espouse “falling away” I would like to say that you are in a similar boat with Rome. You may think salvation is offered by grace through faith alone, but then legalism rears its head when you suggest salvation is kept by a joint effort of God’s grace mingled with our obedience. The same question applies: did Jesus Christ’s offering on the cross earn for us eternal life? Or was Jesus lying when He offered eternal life to all who believed in Him? Eternal life by very definition cannot end. The plain verses that state this are legion, and those that seem to refute eternal security must be lifted out of context and forced to fit a falling away mold. Observe please that every passage speaking about salvation does not always refer to justification. There is also sanctification and glorification; salvation from sin’s power and presence, respectively. Philippians 2:12-13 is a good example.

Both Rome and the doctrine of falling away reject eternal security and faith alone in Jesus Christ, adding human merit, intercession, works, obedience, endurance, to the list of “things to do.” But Jesus Christ is either our Savior or He isn’t. In the Bible a Savior is someone who rescues you out of all danger and delivers you (without your help) into complete safety. If He is your Savior then stop the efforts to earn/keep salvation; you are being rebellious to the revealed word of God and hindering many people from either being saved or being secure in their salvation. Both views suffer the detriment of viewing some types of sins or some lengths of sin as being worse than others. This is judging from a human standpoint. God sees all sin on even ground, James 2:10; Isaiah 59:2.

No one is a worthy co-savior; nor is anyone a worthy co-judge. Christ purchased both with his priceless shed blood, John 1:29; Revelation 5:9. Soon Jesus will step forth and begin a new role: that of Judge over the earth as He pours out the cup of God’s wrath mingled full strength. The question then being: do you want to meet Jesus Christ, God Almighty, as your Savior or your Judge?

1 comment:

  1. Amen, Ian.

    To many are depending on their own efforts, not realizing that as Galatians 5:16 says, If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It is God's power that prevents us going back into sin, if we allow him to do so. Our part is surrendering control to him. As Galatians 3:3 asks, "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"

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