Monday, September 28, 2015

The Last Will of the New Testament



Chapter 5 in the Book of Revelation is the most neglected chapter in all of the Bible. It shouldn't be for this one ginormous reason, we will learn that no one was found worthy in heaven, on the earth, under the earth or anywhere to loose the seven sealed scroll. Jesus is the only one found worthy. So why is that important? Because without Jesus Christ being qualified as our Priest, our salvation, our advocate in heaven, we are lost because He alone is the only one who can unloosen these seven seals. Each seal, as we learned through studying Roman history represents a chapter in a person's life. In a sense the scroll represents a will, like it did in Roman times, sealed with seven seals. For the sake of argument and those living in the western world, the first seal would be opened by let's say, your real estate attorney, and he would tell those present what the will said in regards to the property or estate, because he, being the real estate attorney was qualified to share that part of the person's will.

The next guy would open up the will and he would be your financial adviser, he loosens the second seal and says here is where all the money is going to go and here is how it will be spent. Then the next guy would go who was qualified. You see my point? Here Jesus Christ is the only one to be found worthy to open all seven seals, who can unfurl the scroll and meet all the demands.

You've probably been to the auto races like Nascar or even some of the drag street races and have seen the cars labeled, "powered by...Ford" or whatever the sponsors want on the car. We, as believers in Christ are powered by Jesus. He has done it all and we are going to hear the accolades of heaven. One thing to note before we get into our study is that there is no break between chapter 4 and 5. When you look at the original scriptures, there is no break between chapters 4 and 5 like our Bibles have laid out for us today. There is a language flow that begins in Revelation 4:1 and and goes all the way out to the end of Chapter 5. There is no break to the presentation of this message. Meaning that John in the beginning of verse one in Chapter 4 when he is raptured out of the world, and now the perspective or vantage point is now from heaven looking down on the earth, John is giving us an eyewitness account to what is happening as he is in heaven.

He is like a reporter on the scene reporting to us live from heaven, with the events as they will happen just before the judgment comes to the earth. We are so often caught up in presenting the "fire and brimstone" nature of God, but what we should be focusing on, is the forgiveness and grace of God instead. But in order to give you the full biblical nature of God, God is holy, He is just, He is loving and like the Bible states, "He is angry with the wicked every day." God is all these things and He is also forgiving. But because He is holy, he must discipline all unrighteousness and godlessness. We believe that we will prosper if we simply turn the other cheek on certain matters, that maybe the evil that is happening in my home, my church or my community might just go away.

We do those things because we are unrighteous. God is holy, He doesn't think like that, He sees things that are wrong and unholy and must deal with them. As we enter into Chapters 4 and 5, we are seeing the preparation of God's judgment that is coming. From Chapter 6 through Chapter 19, is God's disciplining or judgment upon the world. He is not weak, or mad, or out of control for doing it, but His holiness creates a righteous indignation which must be executed, because of God's justice. The beautiful thing is that in Jesus Christ, we escape all of that. Jesus took the beating and the crucifixion upon Himself on the cross, for the sins of all those who put their trust in him. That is called redemption, that Jesus went to the cross for us. He bought for us, our salvation, which was a price so great, that all of humanities collective goodness, could have never produced.

You and I can offer up our best goodness that we can give, but the problem is, like poisoned water, it's tainted. You can't see it and it looks clear, looks okay and presentable, but there could be cyanide in that water. The best of our efforts is tainted the Bible tells us, by ungodly motives. and sometimes as the Bible tells us, we don't even know our own hearts. It is interesting when we look further into things that we see when the apostle Paul saw into heaven, he was told not to mention or write what he had seen when he gazed into heaven,

2 Corinthians 12:4, ~ "was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." 

Yet we see that John has permission from the angel to write about the things which he has been shown, to tell all that he sees and hears regarding the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the concluding events of these last 2000 years. Here John has been telling us of these great and awesome things about heaven, about the future and about eternity. We are just seeing snippets of Heaven and we won't see it in all its glory and wonder until we get there. Chapter 5 is the most important chapter thus far in our study because it deals with one of the most troubling issues in our lives. That issue being, "If God is all loving and caring, why is there so much suffering in the world?" and "Why did God create Adam and Eve, if He knew they were going to sin and mess it all up?" The answers are found right here in Chapter 5.

Revelation 5:1-7 ~ "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne."

These things keep in mind, when we consider that our redemption comes from Jesus Christ, that Jesus has become our salvation, by Himself being God's authorized agent.

Revelation 5:1 ~ "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals."

I stress this as if it was a legal term and I want you to think of it that way. Redemption is a legal affair. Redemption demands that certain legalities take place. We are a society that is governed by laws, in fact, there is no society unless it is a society that is governed by laws, and that law that we operated on has been founded on the Judean law or the law of the Bible. In the Supreme Court, there are marble carved images that go all the way around the court, and sitting right over the Chief Justice, a marble carved image of  Moses sitting on a throne, holding the ten commandments in both arms. The law giver! Emanating out from him and all around are the subsequent law givers throughout humanity, they all have their names. Redemption is a legal act before God. Let's look at how it authorizes Jesus to be that agent.

Revelation 5:1 ~ "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals."

Everything in that culture, of authority and power, is on the right hand. Remember what Jesus said, "I will look to those on my right hand, and I will say enter into the joy of the Lord and he says to those on His left, depart from Me, you workers of iniquity." The right hand is the place of authority. It is the place of strength, it is the place of transaction on the right side. So John is telling us something that is very important. The protocol of heaven and the protocol of what is taking place, you've got the court set in heaven, Daniel talks about this in great detail. He says as the angels were gathered around and the court was seated, making a reference to the 24 elders, then the Ancient of Days did come, and He was seated and exercised judgement upon the earth. It is a legal courtroom setting. Jesus is our authorized agent. So when John says, "I saw him seated on the right side, he says in his hand is a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals." 

In Rome, when a will was written it had writing on the front and back. It meant that the scroll was full and nothing could be legally added. Roman law required that a legal will, a Last Will and Testament, be sealed 7 times. In fact in 1962 in the Middle East, through archaelogical digs, a scroll was dug up, it was in an earthen jar, they pulled out that scroll and some of it was weathered and lost, but a lot of it was intact. It was dated some day in March, in 335 BC. They took it into a labratory and began to unfold it and they unfolded the first seal, and that seal unfolded the next document, and the next document because it is all rolled up in one.

Imagine and I will try and describe it the best way I can. Imagine a long piece of paper like a newsprint laid out. That is a piece of paper rolled out. On the end of it is a seal. I place one more piece of paper on the inside a little bit smaller with one more seal. Yet a smaller one and a smaller one, each of them having a seal. You got it? When I roll it up, it is sealed but it has seven seals. So when I take off the first initial seal, and open it, it reveals the remaining seals, I can see them but I have to undo each seal, and with each seal opened, there were requirements that the go-el or redeemer, or the authorized agent, had to perform or to execute for that will to be enacted. As the scroll is unrolled, there are more and more things that must be done. They are not negotiable. The problem is that is deals with someone, that will, that someone wrote it, and as long as a will is in a safe deposit box or at the bank, or at your agents office, or whatever the case might be, that will has no power at all. Did you know that? It's worthless. It's just abiding. It's just there. There is no power to it. There is no authority to it until what happens? Somebody has got to die. Not just somebody, the person who wrote it. As soon as that person dies, by a record of the deceased, when the legalities declare that that person is pronounced dead and on that Good Friday at 3 o'clock, (we are going someplace with all of this), and the Roman government declared he is dead, grab a spear by the way, pierce it through his side, yup, he is dead; Rome requires that Jesus is dead. When Jesus died, that will, was empowered. The last will of the New Testament. A will is a testament. The Old Testament was completed in Christ. The performances.

The New Testament is written in His blood so to speak. Having no power, until Christ dies. But rather than leaving all that He wrote and planned to mankind to the distribution and authority of other people. He died and rose again so that everything written on that will would be executed. He didn't leave it to anyone else. He is that authorized agent.

Whether you believe it or not, doesn't change the truth of it. We come to the truth. Jesus Christ, is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus says that when a man believes in Him and dies, he will have eternal life. We don't have to understand everything in the Bible, it is by faith that we do. He gives us evidence of that truth every day.  God gives us each day the ability to make that choice and only You are responsible for the decision to accept or reject Christ and that will have eternal consequences. That is a choice you want to ensure is the right choice.

Tomorrow we will continue this study and I hope you will continue to join me into our in-depth study of the Book of Revelation.

1 comment:

David C Brown said...

Very interesting study, although I can't keep up with you!

Grace be with you.

"Creation and redemption's glory known
Celestial host break forth around the throne -
Worth art Thou! We join the great refrain ..."