February 17, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 5:1 – 14
Here is an important statement to consider: Bible chapters and verses came into existence 500 years ago. They are not inspired, but greatly assist one in finding texts. Sometimes, however, they break the continuity of a study. Such is the case at this point. Because John continues describing the heavenly scene, there should not have been a break between chapters 4 and 5.
Verse 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.
The book in the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a scroll of either sheepskin, papyrus, or vellum. Its subject is redemption, and its contents unlock the remainder of this chapter. The message is contained on the inside and outside, and is enclosed by seven seals.
Verse 2: And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
The search for a member of the human race, past or present, or any rank of angel to open the book proves fruitless. None is worthy!
Verse 3: And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
John is heartbroken!
Verse 4: And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
John’s lament has to do with the fact that this scroll is also the title deed to the earth. As long as it remains sealed, Satan will be in complete control of the planet.
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
John’s weeping ends at the place where all tears are dried. He is pointed to Christ where tears are turned to joy. Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. Since Judah is the leading tribe of Israel and a lion is the king of the beasts, Christ is thus pictured when He comes as Israel’s King (see chapter 19, verse 16). It is at this same moment that the Lord God gives unto him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32). Let’s go further in proving that our Saviour is the One John sees.
Verse 6: And I beheld, and, lo, 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, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
As mentioned previously, the seven-sealed scroll is the title deed to the earth and its subject is redemption. The Lamb of God (John 1:29), who earned the right by redemption to the title deed of the earth, is the only One worthy to open the seals. This is the Lamb who died for you and for me. Yes, Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He shed His precious blood to purchase our redemption, for the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). John, who recorded the fact that Jesus was the Lamb of God when He walked upon the earth, now says that no one can overcome but by the blood of the Lamb (chapter 12, verse 11). “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” There is no other way! Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins (see Hebrews 9:22). This Lamb is worthy because of the sacrifice He paid for your sin and mine. Yes, worthy is the Lamb to be praised for time and eternity.
The Lamb’s seven horns picture strength. Jesus said, All [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). The seven eyes picture the fact that He sees everything each of us does: All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do(Hebrews 4:13). Since “seven” means perfection, there will be no mistakes made as the judgment is meted out, because the seven spirits of God-a picture of the Holy Spirit in all of His fullness-rest upon Christ without measure. Coupling His power (seven horns), His all-seeing vision (seven eyes), along with His filling of the Spirit of God in a sevenfold way (see Isaiah 11:1, 2), not one mistake will be made during the Tribulation hour. The One found worthy now acts.
Verse 7: And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Verse 8: 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.
The twenty-four elders, representatives of all of God’s saved people, share in this glorious moment. The praise is so spectacular that the redeemed break out in song. What a heavenly choir-the largest ever assembled! Listen to them!
Verse 9: And they [sang] 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;
Verse 10: And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
The song is in appreciation of the fact that Christ was slain on Calvary’s cross, that His precious blood was shed (see 1 Peter 1:19), and that it was shed for the entire world. This includes Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists. Some Christians think they are going to have their own little corner, all alone, in heaven. Not so! Christ’s sacrifice was for all kindreds, all tongues, and all people, all nations. God loves the world! The choir also sings about their soon return with Him when He comes as King of kings (chapter 19, verse 11). At that time they-the armies of heaven-will follow Him upon white horses. At this point the angels also join in praising the Lamb…
Verse 11: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beast and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.
Verse 12: Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing.
Notice that this passage is not a song. Nowhere does the Bible teach that angels sing. They recite their praise, whereas the Church Triumphant sings her glorious message. The angels, associated with the Lord since their creation, know Him as few know Him-for they have lived with Him for thousands of years. They praise the Lamb for seven reasons: (1) His power; (2) His spiritual riches; (3) His wisdom; (4) His might; (5) His honor; (6) His glory; and (7) His blessing. Carnal Christians who will not bow in worship to Christ here on earth, soon will!
Verse 13: And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
At this point Philippians 2:9-11 will be fulfilled: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What is the response as the heavenly hosts envision this future hour?
Verse 14: And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Notice they get a head start. They cannot wait to begin their worship of the Lamb-the Lord Jesus Christ!
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
A few summers ago, after sensing the need for a change of pace, my husband and I drove to Montreal, Canada, the largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. It was delightful and so relaxing. Just what we needed. The people were friendly, the old city intriguing, the food wonderful. Montreal is considered to be one of North America’s most interesting cities. And we found it to be true. In fact, we agreed Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen. In two weeks’ time we walked 150 miles savoring all the sights and delights, and learning about the history and the greater metropolitan area itself.
One afternoon we found an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. “It has to be a great place,” Jack said, “look at all the people!” He patted his “midsection” and I raised my eyebrows and we walked in. We found an empty table and placed our order.
Just as we were being served, two bedraggled-looking young people came in each carrying a backpack. They were obviously exhausted. They spied an empty table where the waitress hadn’t removed the plates from the previous customers, and they plopped down. But just that quickly, they snatched up the leftovers and wolfed them down. Eyes darting around, never making eye contact with anyone, they focused on other empty tables with plates containing food and quickly ran from one to the other, stuffing the food into their mouths. The young woman, whom I guessed to be about twenty, was more aggressive than the young man. They were just starved!
It happened so fast that everyone was in a state of shock. About the time we and others had recovered from seeing this, they grabbed their backpacks and were out of the door and gone. “Jack, if only they’d stayed long enough, we could have offered to buy them food!” I was dazed by the brief encounter. “Oh Jack,” I continued, “I wonder whose child she is …” my voice trailed off.
Jack leaned across the table and patted my hand. The food which had been served so attractively had somehow lost its appeal. I looked around and noticed others were feeling the same way. The charming place which just moments before had been the scene of animated conversation now seemed strangely silent.
Jack’s eyes were sad; mine were tearful.
As we left the ice cream parlor and continued our leisurely walk, my eyes glanced around. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the young couple. “There are so many like them in city after city all over Canada and the United States,” my husband said.
“Where are the parents?” I asked. Jack shook his head. Later, as I reflected on the incident, (in fact, I don’t think I will ever forget those two young people), I was reminded that one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that we are Gods children. Our needs are important to Him and He is always ready to supply (Phil. 4:19). He knows the way that we take (Job 23:9). I took comfort in the knowledge that God even knew their names (Isa. 45:4). I could leave them in the Fathers hands.
As we walk through life, we can do so with confidence, knowing that the steps, as well as the stops, of God’s children are ordered by Him (Ps. 37:23). Because we are His children, we can count on His promises, and they are so many! Our potential as His children is limitless.
But we need to be living up to our potential. How do people know we belong to God? Three things, it seems to me, characterize the life of a child of God: (1) Our conversation; (2) Our conduct; and (3) Our convictions.
Our conversation: She (or he) openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26).
My mother had a little saying which I have called to mind many times: “He that thinketh by the by the inch, and speaketh by the yard, shall be kicked by the foot.”
The Bible is full of counsel about the need to guard our conversation. Consider just these few: A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous word stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). How many relationships would fare better if these words were called to mind when people were tempted to temperamental outbursts! The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is (of) little worth (Prov. 10:20). Silver reflects. What a beautiful word picture this presents! Our tongues should reflect the Lord.
Our conduct: We must back up our conversation with right conduct. Those beautiful graces depicted in Galatians 5 should exemplify the conduct of our lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (w. 22, 23). An entire article could be written around each word, but let me simplify it in this way: LOVE is a new constraint, JOY is a new cheer, PEACE is a new compassion, LONG-SUFFERING is a new continuance, GENTLENESS is a new characteristic, GOODNESS is a new character, PATIENCE is a new confidence, MEEKNESS is a new courtesy and TEMPERANCE is a new contentment.
Our Convictions: The story is told of David Hume, the agnostic, who was reproached by his friends because of his inconsistency. He used to like to go hear the famous preacher John Brown preach, and when questioned about this he explained, “I don’t believe all that he says, but at least once a week I like to hear a man who declares his convictions.”
How important for us to have strong convictions and to abide by them. The letter of James emphasizes that our “yes” should be a simple “yes,” and our “no” a simple “no” (Ja. 5:12). In other words, be convinced in your heart and stand by your convictions. Be a man or woman whose word is unquestionable. If you say you are going to do something, or you promise something, it ought to be as if you were in a courtroom and had taken an oath to speak the truth.
These are just some of the identifying characteristics that mark us as children of God. The Psalmist said, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace (Ps. 37:37). None of us have arrived, we aren’t wholly perfect, progress is perhaps a more accurate word to describe our condition. But we should be progressing.
Perhaps a good prayer would be: “Lord, help me to reflect the fact that I am your child.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
God Bless you both. You are such a beacon in this dark and perverse world. I do enjoy your newsletter and when I can I watch your show. You give such encouragement in the light of this doomed world.
Again thank you and God Bless!
I love your program it’s been a great help to me down through the years. I just want to encourage you both to continue spreading the gospel of our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST.
Minister Michael M.
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