John then sees, upon the right of the one sitting on the throne, a scroll. It had writing both on the inside and on the outside with seven seals.
A powerful angel appeared who called in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”
Dear James, May 2011
The powerful angel John saw would have reminded you, too, of Goliath of old and, how he challenged the people of God in the time of King Saul. Satan thought he had taken God’s King, as in the game, chess. Unbeknown to Satan, God had already made his move. Satan should have known better. He slipped-up when he entered Judas, the Iscariot, at the Last Supper. History repeated itself. In the Garden of Eden, he could not deceive the ‘first Adam’; he thought he won, that round, by deceiving Eve. He overlooked the fine print in the judgement passed on him, Gen 3:-15, “And there will be war between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed: by Him will your head be crushed and by you His foot will be wounded.”
Long before Lucifer had fallen from God’s kindness God’s blueprint was agreed upon and, sealed, 1Pe 1:17, “You say that God is your Father, but God doesn’t have favourites! He judges all people by what they do. Therefore, you must honour God while you live as strangers here on earth. You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. Nevertheless, you know that such things did not rescue you as silver or gold that do not last forever. The precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb, rescued you.
“Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, He did not come until these last days. Moreover, when He did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised Him from death and honoured Him in a glorious way. That is why you have put your faith and hope in God. You obeyed the truth, and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. However, you must keep on loving with all your heart. Do this because God has given you new birth by his message that lives on forever.”
If only, 1Co 2:8-, “The rulers of this world knew anything about this wisdom. If they had known about it, they would not have nailed the glorious Lord to a cross. But it is just as the Scriptures say, ‘What God has planned for people who love Him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!’ (Just as well, they did not know)
“God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. But God has given us his Spirit. That is why we do not think the same way that the people of this world think. That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.”
James, the main problem concerning the above is how one qualifies to be numbered one of the ‘we’. Said differently, how does one become ‘a person of this world’? According to Paul, one is a person of this world, 1Co 15:45, “And so it is said, ‘The first man Adam was a living soul. The last Adam is a life-giving spirit.’ But that which is natural comes before that which is of the spirit. The first man is from the earth, and of the earth: the second Man is from heaven. Those who are of the earth are like the man who was from the earth: and those who are of heaven are like the One from heaven.” A change of nationality is required. One can fall in love with some faraway place, far over the sea even acquire a visa to visit that land but one has to obtain citizenship. Jesus said it this way, “You must be born again.”
Paul explains, Phi 3:18-, “I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, that many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ. In the end they will be destroyed. Their own emotions are their god, and they take pride in the shameful things they do. Their minds are set on worldly things. We, however, are citizens of heaven. We look forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming from heaven as our Saviour. Through his power to bring everything under his authority, He will change our humble bodies and make them like his glorified body.”
The ‘thorn in the flesh’, for many, is the cross of Christ. Gal 5:11, “My friends, if I still preach that people need to be circumcised, why am I in so much trouble? The message about the cross would no longer be a problem, if I told people to be circumcised.”
Central, to the massage of salvation, stands the cross of Christ. It is there where Jesus died for the sin of the world and, the sin of the world is Adam’s eating of the forbidden fruit. When Adam ate, we ate, him being the father of all of us. The penalty for that sin is death. The embodiment of Jesus meant that Jesus was sinless; He paid the debt and that righteous deed is the answer to salvation; Jesus’ death on the cross.
The way out is to share Jesus’ righteous deed, to somehow ‘be in Christ’ when He died to sin. The beauty is it’s only a matter of faith. One must believe that Adam is the cause of one being ‘of this world’. Secondly, one must believe that Jesus’ death was the ransom. The proof, that Jesus was sinless, is God raised Jesus on the third day. This is why Jesus told Mary Magdalene, Joh 20:17, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” It was this meeting that John witnessed and described in Rev 5.
Firstly, Satan, that mighty angel of Rev 5 who thought he had ‘taken God’s King’, was made a spectacle of, Col 2:11-, “In Him you were also circumcised. It was not a circumcision performed by human hands. But it was a removal of the corrupt nature in the circumcision performed by Christ. And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death. And you–being dead in the trespasses (being dead to the trespasses) and the uncircumcision of your flesh–He made alive together with Him, forgiving you all offences. Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. And having disarmed principalities and powers, He mocked them in public, triumphing over them in it.”
Jesus, after his glorification and the opening of the seals, returned. He walked the Emmaus Road and, later that evening He appeared to the eleven and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been raised. Jesus blew over them the life-giving spirit with these words, “Receive a holy spirit” fulfilling Joh 7:39, “But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
The Holy Spirit was given 50 days later at Pentecost. Concerning that life-giving, 1Co 12:13, “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
This is what the Baptist said concerning the Lamb of God, Joh 1:33, “…He it is who baptises in a Holy Spirit (not the Holy Spirit).” James, you may, as did Nicodemus, wonder how can it be? The eunuch must have understood. Philip was still speaking when he cried out, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, ‘If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him,” Acts 8:36-.
Paul, too, says it is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. It is the good news, the word of faith of which we are the preachers, “If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved.” The problem however is, Rom 19:14-. “How can people call on Him if they have not believed in Him? How can they believe in Him if they have not heard his message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News?” So, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “All power has been given Me in heaven and upon earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age,” Mat 28:18.
Allow me to repeat: Believe, allow baptism moreover, and obey.
There is this trust worthy saying to keep in mind: Ask no questions and, you will hear no lies. I say this because it is written, 2Ti 4:1- “I solemnly implore you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is about to judge the living and the dead, and by His Appearing and His Kingship. Proclaim God’s message, be zealous in season and out of season; convince, rebuke, encourage, with the utmost patience as a teacher.
“For a time is coming when they will not tolerate wholesome instruction, but, wanting to have their ears tickled, they will find a multitude of teachers to satisfy their own fancies; and will turn away from listening to the truth and will turn aside to fables. But as for you, you must exercise habitual self-control, and not live a self-indulgent life, but do the duty of an evangelist and fully discharge the obligations of your office.
“I for my part am like a drink-offering which is already being poured out; and the time for my departure is now close at hand. I have gone through the glorious contest; I have run the race; I have guarded the faith. From this time onward there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who love the thought of His Appearing.”
John’s weeping ended; his Mary Magdalene experience, as he turned and saw Jesus. Jesus had laid down his deity, entered Mary’s womb, was given a body and now, 33 years later, the Lamb of God came forward and took that scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. A burst of song erupted, “Worthy are You to receive the scroll…” And the ‘mighty angel’? He left. Heads were to roll; how could they have allowed Him to escape? He is now prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour, 1Pe 5:8.