Revelation 5: The Seven Sealed Scroll

Revelation 5

God held in his hand a scroll. It was written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Who on earth could take it and open it? No-one.

“Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” proclaimed a strong angel in a loud voice. The silence was deafening. All that could be heard was the weeping of a man.

John wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll. “Do not weep,” said one of the elders as Jesus stepped forward.

Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. Revelation 5:5

John dried his tears.

Standing at the centre of the throne, in the midst of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, was the dual natured Lamb of God, His body bearing the marks of the crucifixion.

Approaching the throne, the Lamb took the scroll as Lion of God.

A new song resounded from Heaven all the way to Earth, when, falling down before Jesus, the Cherubim and Twenty-four Elders sang:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

Planet earth’s redemption was about to begin.

Angels numbering thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand joined in, encircling the throne, the Cherubim and the elders, singing;

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

Hearing it, all the creatures in heaven and on earth joined the thunderous praise;

“Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Rev 5:13

“Amen,” said the four living creatures, and the elders fell down and worshipped.

The Scroll

The scroll in Jesus’ hands is a title deed. The Cherubim and the Twenty-four elders also mention a purchase when they said in Revelation 5:9 that Jesus purchased the earth with His blood.

According to Jeremiah the purchase deed was both open and sealed according to the law and custom. The details are written on the inside of the scroll and the summary of the document is written on the outside.

There’s an example in Jeremiah 32:6-15 where the prophet Jeremiah bought a field from his nearest relative for seventeen shekels of silver;

So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the money—seventeen shekels of silver. And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales. So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open…”

This property law is like a lease.

In Leviticus 25:23-28 the land returned into the owner’s possession in the year of Jubilee, the fiftieth year: The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land. If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold…

God intended the nation of Israel to understand that the Promised Land was His property, and if the land goes out of a family, the closest male relative can redeem the land. So in God’s eyes, Jesus must be Israel’s closest male relative.

The gift of the use of the land was established by the Covenant of Abraham. The land granted to the various tribes was intended to remain under their stewardship, so genealogies were essential for maintaining their property rights.

But it has a much wider application than Israel. Jesus has purchased the whole earth as ‘the Son of Man.’

And Jesus is about to open the sealed deed!

The seals must be broken in order to set in motion the events that must take place and the conditions that must be met in order for Jesus to reclaim the earth.

The Lion and the Lamb

The gentle lamb and fierce lion represent Jesus’ dual nature. His role as high priest dealing with us is going to change to that of an avenger dealing with Satan.

There’s going to be a war. And when Jesus returns to earth, it will be as King.

From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?

From Jacob’s blessing to Judah – “the lion’s whelp.”
Genesis 49:8-12

Related post

Through the Word: the Twelve tribes and Jacob’s blessing

The return of the King

The Gate

There is a gate in the old walls of Jerusalem that is known as the Lion Gate, also known as the Sheep Gate.  It is one of seven gates located in the Old City Walls of Jerusalem.

Five hundred years ago a Moslem ruler named Selim 1 captured Jerusalem and all of Israel.  He had plans to level the city of Jerusalem but changed his mind after dreaming of lions coming to devour him.  To be spared he promised to protect Jerusalem by building a wall around the city.

The return of the King, part 2

Links

Revelation 5

Through the Word: Love, Rivalry and Mandrakes

Genesis 30:1-24

The race between Leah and Rachel for children has intensified. Envying her sister, Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!” If Rachel sounds dramatic she must have been at her wits end, as Jacob already has four sons by Leah – Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.

Finally deciding to use her maid as a surrogate, Rachel said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her.”

Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son who Rachel named Dan.

Dan means “judge” as Rachel said, “God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.

Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son who Rachel named Naphtali.

Naphtali means “my wrestling” as Rachel said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.”

Not to be outdone, when Leah saw that she’d stopped bearing, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as wife.  And Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son Leah named Gad.

Gad means “troop” as Leah said, “A troop comes!”

And Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son who Leah named Asher.

Asher means “happy” as Leah said, “I am happy, for the daughters will call me blessed.”

Rachel hired Jacob to Leah for mandrakes, and there’s more about that later. After that Leah conceived and had a fifth son who she named Issachar.

Isaachar means “wages” as Leah said “God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband.”

Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son who she named Zebulun.

Zebulun means “dwelling” as Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.”  

Afterward Leah bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah meaning judgement.

Rachel

“Then God remembered Rachel.” I don’t think he ever forgot her. There’s a proverb that says,

There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
Sheol,
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, “Enough!”

Proverbs 30:15-16

Finally conceiving, Rachel bore a son who she named Joseph.
Joseph means “He will add” as Rachel said, “God has taken away my reproach. The Lord shall add to me another son.”

I wonder if the mandrakes Rachel wanted so badly worked? Lets see.

Mandrakes

In the days of the wheat harvest, Reuben found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Genesis 30:14-16

Reuben may have given the mandrakes to his mother for their scent, as the scent of their flowers is mentioned in the Song of Songs, 7:13.

This is a strange plant, it has no stem and the roots can resemble human figures.

Perhaps the mandrake roots were used in their culture and belief system for fertility.

Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

But Leah said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”

It was Rachel’s turn to have Jacob so she hired him out to Leah for the mandrakes.

When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he lay with her that night. Genesis 30:16

This was before Leah birthed Isaachar, her fifth son. Leah had two more children, Zebulun and Dinah before Rachel finally conceived Joseph.

“The Lord will add to me another son,” Rachel declared prophetically after Joseph was born. her faith now in the Lord rather than the mandrakes.

What’s in a name?

The names of the sons spell out a message, one that is not assembled yet. The message is explained in my book “The End, the Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse” and it’s a gold nugget.

Meanwhile, not mentioned in the book are the names of the four mothers of Israel;

The name Leah means to be weary or grieved.

The name Rachel means Ewe, but not any old sheep.

Still, it must be noted that sheep and such are mentioned very often in the Bible — Israel was an agricultural society, after all — yet our word occurs only four times. This suggests that it doesn’t simply refer to any old ewe but rather a special kind or one in a rare fix. What fix that might be is unknown, but it this rare word that is so famously used in Isaiah 53:7: “Like a sheep — רחל (rahel) — that is silent before its shearers, so did he not open his mouth”.

Abarim Publications

The name Bilhah means trouble, calamity. Her name turned out to be true after Reuben slept with her, we’ll get to that in Genesis 35:22 and 49:4.

The name Zilpah means a drop.

Leah and Dinah

In the naming of her last child Dinah, meaning “judgement,” we can see the hope Leah had die. I think Leah represents all the unloved who have lost hope.

God and Jezreel

But after judgement comes a new day; a day where the earth is no longer cursed and people who have not been loved will be firmly planted in a place where they belong.

“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth;
 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
    and they will respond to *Jezreel.
I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.”

Hosea 2:21-23

*Jezreel means “God plants.”

LOVE

It brings to mind the song “What the world needs now” by Dionne Warwick.

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of,
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

With Jesus, we’re all one

There’s a whole lot of stirring going on in the western world right now over divisive racial issues.  It doesn’t surprise me, I expected there’d be something after people were penned up over this so-called pandemic.  It makes a mockery of of all the Covid-19 restrictions thhough, especially distancing.  Someone in the US said, “I don’t know whether to wear a mask or carry a gun!”

Let’s give God his due, rather than the devil.  I’m glad that with God, we all matter, and we’re all one.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28

In these troubled times, it’s good to keep our eyes on the Lord.  There’s power in unity.  Here’s a clip from five years ago, I thought it would be good to play now.  Be blessed.

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, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

Easter 2020

Happy Easter.  I hope you are well wherever you are in this so-called pandemic.

The day before New Zealand went into lock down I saw a lot of fear.  I was shocked at the turn of events – but not afraid of the Coronavirus.  My daughter and son-in-law felt that I was not taking it seriously enough.  They don’t understand my faith or the confidence I have as a believer in Christ.

I trust the Lord more than I trust the government or our media but I am obeying the quarantine rules.  I’ve been sticking to my usual routine in lock down – working a 40 hour week providing remote computer support, walking along the beach one hour a day and attending ‘church’ at home on Sunday.

We’ve been listening to Charles Stanley.  Last week’s sermon was “Victory over fear.”

This morning our observance meant more than usual because it was Easter and we had communion.  We finished by singing “Because he lives.”

God bless, and remember he is in control and we need not fear.

This is Brazilians in lock down singing:

I hope it blesses you.  Stay well in quarantine and keep the faith.  I would love to hear how you observed Easter.

Feeling insignificant?

sea-of-facesDo you feel small and insignificant to God? Just a face in the crowd? Lost in the big picture?

Go to this site, place your computer’s cursor in the mass of people and double-click a  couple of times. Scary sharp!!  Not so easy to hide in a crowd anymore.

http://www.gigapixel.com/image/gigapan-canucks-g7.html

This was from an email sent to me by my Aunt.  The picture was taken with a 70,000 x 30,000-pixel camera  (2100 Mega  Pixels.)  These cameras are not sold to the public and are being  installed in strategic locations. The camera can identify a face among a multitude of people.

If the camera technology we’ve now got can pick you out of a crowd, how much more can God?

Did you know God saw you and wrote about you before you were even conceived?  It’s there in Psalm 139, and it says that God’s thoughts outnumber the grains of sand.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs by Kutless, Sea of Faces.  Enjoy, and remember that as far as God’s concerned, you’re to die for.

“I see the city lights all around me
Everyone’s obscure
Ten million people each with their problems
Why should anyone care
And in Your eyes I can see
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
Sometimes my life it feels so trivial
Immersed in the greatness of space
Yet somehow you still find the time for me
It’s then You show me Your love
And In Your eyes I can see
And in Your arms I will be
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
If only my one heart
Was all you’d gain from all it cost
Well I know you would have still been a man
With a reason
To willingly offer your life
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
Just one in a million faces” – Kutless

The fading flower …

Shortly after my last post where I asked “Who wants to live forever?” my mother passed away.  For most of her life she grappled with the highs and lows of bipolar disease.  She’s free of her demons at last. 

My memories of her when she was bipolar aren’t good, but in between times she had a happy, sunny nature.  And that’s how I want to remember her.

I’ve made a youtube video of the powerpoint I prepared for the funeral, showing scenes from her life, which I and my family feature in.

It’s here if you want to see it.  The music is “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.

It brings to mind the scripture that God has compassion on us mortals – who are here today and gone tomorrow, just like the grass and flowers.  That’s why Jesus wept at the grief of Lazarus’s sisters.

As a father has compassion on his children
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.” 

Psalm 103:13-19

I wasn’t sure of how things were with my mother and God.  He gave me a story to tell her on the last occasion she had a serious heart attack, which I wrote here.

superscript_seven_u2077_icon_256x256God gave us a sign that she’d gone to be with him.  Seven is the number of rest, and she’d entered his rest, dying at 7pm on the 7th day of the 7th month, aged 77.

He explains about that rest in Hebrews 4;

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.

Hebrews 4:9

I recommend reading the whole passage from Hebrews 4:1-11.

SeriousFaith_ImagesREST

Hebrews 4:1-10 The Promise of Rest

So now I know what can go on my mother’s headstone; “At rest.”  Two simple words that say so much.

One in a million

The inspiration for my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” came from Psalm 45 – which speaks of a King who is the most attractive man on the planet; “fairer than the sons of men.”  In the world his appearance was rather ordinary.  The prophet Isaiah wrote of Jesus 700 years before His birth saying “He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Isaiah 53:2-3. 

To start with, I admit I too saw him like that.  As I began to know him from the Bible and from experience, I got to see him as beyond handsome – wise, witty, subtle and gentle with unimaginable power.

Here’s a screen shot of page 1 of “The Kingdom,” circa 1997.  I took a trip down memory lane and came back with a screen shot of page 1 the original story.  I’ve still got the story on the old software in DOS, which I run in DOSBox just because I can.

Now I’ve got to promote the story.  I’ve discovered that’s not going to be an easy matter!  There’s been millions of eBooks published.  My book is literally ‘one in a million.’  Sigh.

If you want to read an inspirational story where Jesus is the mighty one clothed with splendour and majesty with his sword girded on his side, this is the one.  It’s Jesus from the point of view of His Kingdom.  It’s Jesus without the religious exoskeleton.  Come and read all about him.

Kingdom 1997

For my WordPress followers – I hope you can come visit on Facebook.  Thanks for following my posts.

If you have any ideas how to market this ‘one in a million’ book I’d love to hear from you.

The Amazing race

amazingrace2Have you watched the Amazing Race? Imagine you are competing in it.  Millions of people are watching you on TV.  The prize is $1,000,000.  It would change your life to win it.

You finish the first leg, and those watching you are excited about the way you’ve run the race so far.  The race organiser is there to greet you as you come up to the finish.   You’re still in the race.  He is happy to see you make the pit stop, and while you rest you think about the decisions you made, the risks, the trials, the challenges you overcame, the pitfalls and mistakes, the detours and roadblocks.

The Kingdom is like the Amazing Race.  We have to follow directions, search for signs, work out the clues, overcome the obstacles, and get through the road blocks and challenges.  Only at the finish will we know if we’ve won, and what we’ve won.

The Kingdom of Heaven is open for all, if you believe in the Lord and confess your faith in Him.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10.

But you still have to contend for the race.  There is an adversary, the devil.  If he can’t stop you from getting that precious ticket to Heaven, purchased for you by Christ, he will try and keep you from running the race.  He will find your weakness and attempt to ensnare you.

Ephesians6-12Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Philippians 2:13

What you inherit when you enter the Kingdom of Heaven depends on how you’ve run the race here.  Not everyone gets a prize.  Many are called, few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14.  You have to overcome to inherit the promises, and they are great.

What you inherit is up to the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:24-25

Get this, y
ou can lose your inheritance while still being allowed into Heaven.  Some people are going to get into Heaven with the smell of smoke on them and nothing else.relay

If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:14

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If you are in one of those ‘nor’ or ‘neithers’, have a really good think about what you stand to lose because of that sin.  This should make us intentional about how we live our lives; working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

Just like in the Amazing Race, where the competitors are gunning for the finish line, the prize in sight.

You may run the race alone or as part of a team.  For years I ran alone or with friends until Isaac came to join me in the race.

When I learned about inheritance, I found there was even more to the race than I first thought.  There are people who have run before who have a baton to pass on.  You will know if you are on their team.

Hebrews 11 speaks of people of faith, who believed in what God promised; “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The baton can be promises to be fulfilled, victories to be obtained, or mantles to be taken up.

The Church fulfills its commission in telling everyone about salvation, but often it stops there.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The next chapter of my story is about running the race.  I’m still running.  I’ve got a funny looking baton which you can read about in Chapter 79 The Year of Inheritance.

Here’s a good site I found that teaches on what I’ve mentioned here, in more depth;

http://remnantreport.com/cgi-bin/imcart/read.cgi?article_id=292&sub=25

Here’s “Stay strong” by the Newsboys.

40

40You know how you hear a song and it takes you back to a certain time in your life? U2’s song ’40’ is one of those songs for me.  

When I first heard the song, I was on my own, and miserable.  The narcissist I was in a “relationship” with put me through hell.  I remember finding comfort in the words to Psalm 40.  It was like a promise.  Back then, I was living in a street called Pitt Street.  It was there that the Lord turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me up out of the pit and got me onto solid ground.  He brought me safe people and taught me how to have healthy relationships.  I can’t sing His praises enough.

U2 think the same thing.  The song ’40’ by U2 is taken from Psalm 40.  Have you heard it?

Psalm4040 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a clip of them sing ‘Yahweh’ and ’40’.  40 comes on around the 4 minute mark.  Enjoy.

U2 are not a Christian band, but here they are giving the King the glory and recognition He deserves.