Sermon #1846                                                                                                               Miscellaneous Notes

 

      Title:                                             THE THRONE, THE BOOK

                                                                                                AND THE LAMB

 

      Text:                                 Revelation 5:1-14

      Readings:                       Allen Kibby and Bobbie Estes

      Subject:               John’s Vision of Christ’s Glory

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — May 11, 2010

      Tape #                             Z-86b

      Introduction:

 

I want to pick up tonight right where I left off Sunday morning, at Revelation 5. The title of my message tonight is “The Throne, the Book and the Lamb.

 

In Revelation 5, the vision John relates to us conveys one message: Everything God has for men is in the Lamb, provided by the Lamb, revealed through the Lamb, and shall bring praise to the Lamb of God. All that God requires of sinners is in Christ. All that God gives to sinners, he gives through Christ. And all that God receives from sinners, he receives through Christ.

 

In chapter 4, John saw the sovereign majesty of the triune God in creation.

 

(Revelation 4) “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. (2) And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. (3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (5) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (6) And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. (7) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (9) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, (10) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

 

In chapter 5, John tells us how that he was made to see the sovereign majesty of the triune God in the redemption of sinners by Christ Jesus.

 

Divisions: John saw five things described in these 14 verses.

1.    The Throne of God

2.    The Book of God

3.    The Lamb of God

4.    The Song of the Redeemed

5.    The Purpose of God Accomplished

 

The Throne of God

 

First, he saw the throne of God. The central object of the vision John relates to us in chapters four and five is the throne of God. His vision was constantly filled with “him that sat on the throne” (v. 1). In these two chapters, he calls our attention to God’s throne seventeen times!

 

Š      In chapter 4, John describes the splendorous, incomparable glory of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in his sovereignty.

Š      In chapter 5, he describes the Mediator, the Lamb, whom he beheld in the midst of the throne, by whom the triune God makes himself known to men. And that Lamb is himself God, the Son.

 

As always, the throne of God is a symbol of his sovereignty. — It is a symbol of God’s supreme majesty and universal power, authority, and dominion. Let it never be forgotten that our God is God upon a throne. He rules all things in total sovereignty. A god without a throne is a worthless god, for such a god is no God at all! — “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3). — “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6).

 

The Lord our God, the one true and living God, is a God of absolute sovereignty. He always does exactly what he wills in creation (Revelation 4:11), in providence (Romans 8:28; 11:36), and in grace (Romans 9:11-24). Every believer has learned, and rejoices to know, “that the heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:26).

 

And we rejoice to know that God’s sovereign throne is a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

 

Grace originates at God’s throne. Grace is dispensed from God’s throne. And grace brings sinners to God’s throne. Our God is sovereign; and he is gracious. He is great; and he is good. He is almighty; and he is merciful. — He delighteth in mercy! God always exercises his sovereign power and dominion to accomplish his everlasting purpose of grace toward his elect.

 

The Book of God

 

First, John saw the throne of God, the throne of all sovereignty and grace. Then he saw the Book of God. In the right hand of the eternal God, John saw a book, a book written within and without, bound shut, and sealed with seven seals (vv. 1-4).

 

“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. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And 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.” (Revelation 5:1-4)

 

This book is the book of God’s eternal decrees. It represents God’s eternal plan and purpose of grace, his purpose of predestination, which includes all things. It is to this book that our great Surety referred when he said, — “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Psalm 40:7-8; Hebrews 10:5-10).

 

William Hendriksen said of this book, “It symbolizes God’s purpose with respect to the entire universe throughout history, and concerning all creatures in all ages and unto all eternity.”

 

Our God is a God of purpose, sovereign, eternal, unalterable purpose (Isaiah 46:9-11).

 

“Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)

 

God’s purpose of predestination includes all things (Ephesians 1:11) — “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

 

The object of God’s eternal purpose of predestination is the salvation of his elect (Romans 8:28-30).

 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)

 

Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity (Romans 11:36). — “For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.”

 

And the object of God in all that he does is the effectual accomplishment of the everlasting salvation of his elect. — In election, God chose a people whom he would save. In predestination, he sovereignly ordained all things that come to pass to secure the salvation of his chosen. And in providence, he accomplishes in time what he purposed from eternity.

As John saw it, the book of God was closed, a mystery sealed with seven seals. — These seven seals do not represent an imaginary “seven dispensations” of time. The writing within and on the backside and the seven seals simply mean that God’s purpose is full, complete, perfect and unalterable. Nothing can be added to it. Nothing can be taken from it.

 

THE SEVEN SEALS — The seven seals also tell us that God’s purpose of grace is unknown, unrevealed, a secret known only to God, until Christ reveals it. He revealed it at first in the types, shadows, and prophecies of the Old Testament. Then, in these last days, he has revealed it to us more fully in the gospel. And in the last day, when the restitution of all things is made, our Lord Jesus will perfectly reveal the purpose of the Triune God in all things.

 

THE CLOSED BOOK — The closed book indicated that God’s plan was both unrevealed and unexecuted. If the book should remain closed, God’s eternal purpose would not be realized. His plan would not be executed. The thought of God’s purpose being shut up, unrevealed and unfulfilled, caused John great lamentation and grief. And he began to weep.

 

If God’s book is opened, if the seals are broken, then the universe is ruled and governed in the interest of God’s elect, according to the purpose of his grace. Then God’s glorious purpose of redemption would be accomplished. But if it is not opened and fulfilled, then the purpose of God himself would be thwarted. The grace of God would be frustrated. The plan of God would go unfulfilled. God himself would lose his glory. But there is no cause to weep! Look at the next thing John describes.

 

The Lamb of God

 

Third, the Lamb of God appears to open the book (vv. 5-7).

 

“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. (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. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”

(Revelation 5:5-7)

 

One of the elders,” — One of those chosen of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and saved by grace, “saith unto me, weep not.” Why should he stop weeping? “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

 

In other words, Christ has conquered all his enemies and ours (John 12:30-32). By the shedding of his blood, by his death upon the cross, this Lion of Judah, this Root of David, has prevailed. He has removed the sins of his people, satisfied the law, crushed the serpent’s head, and conquered death. By virtue of his sacrifice, Christ has earned the right to open the book and to rule the universe in accordance with God’s eternal purpose of grace (Revelation 10:1-3). God has given him power over all flesh that he might give eternal life to his elect (John 17:2).

 

John beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as a conquering Lion, but also as a sin atoning, mediating Lamb. — He saw the Lamb in the midst of the four beasts and the twenty-four elders as a Lamb that had been slaughtered. That means that the virtue and merit of his sacrifice is abiding, perpetual, and efficacious (1 John 1:9; 2:1-2).

 

This Lamb, symbolically, has “seven horns.” Horns are emblems of power. Christ is the horn of salvation. As such, he has plenty of power. He is able to save his people (Hebrews 7:25), keep them in his grace (John 10:27-29), and to do for them all that they need.

 

He also has seven eyes,” abundant, perfect wisdom. These seven eyes represent the gifts, power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit which are dispensed to God’s elect upon the earth by virtue of Christ’s death, resurrection and exaltation as our Substitute (Psalm 68:18-20).

 

“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them]. Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah. [He that is] our God [is] the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord [belong] the issues from death.” (Psalms 68:18-20)

 

Then, as John looked on, Christ the slaughterd Lamb took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne (v. 7). — John Trapp said, “As a Mediator he took it, as God he gave it.” — Our Savior did not ask for the book. He took it, because it is his right to do so.

 

This is the significance of what John saw. — The Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator, received authority to rule the universe according to the will of God by virtue of his sin-atoning sacrifice (John 17:2). This is a picture of the coronation of King Jesus (Hebrews 2:8-9). As the Father’s reward to him for his mediatoral accomplishments at his ascension, Christ received for himself a kingdom (Luke 19:12; Philippians 2:8-11; Psalm 2; 110; Daniel 7:9-14).

 

(Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14) “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him…. — (13) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 

The Triune Jehovah has turned the world over to the rule of the God-man, the Lamb, our Mediator! God governs the universe, according to his own eternal decrees, through the Lamb. This is Christ’s reward and every believer’s comfort. — Blessed be his holy name forever, our all-glorious Christ has opened the Book! — (Revelation 10:1-3).

 

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” (Revelation 10:1-3)

 

The secret councils of the skies

A sealed volume lay,

For who was worthy to arise

And take the seals away?

 

The listening seraphs stood amazed.

And quiet were the throngs,

Who on the sacred volume gazed,

While silence sealed their tongues.

 

But, oh, when Judah's lion rose,

What shouts of praise resound,

For He was worthy to disclose

Divine decrees profound.

 

Worthy the book of life to read,

And count the worthless names

To everlasting life decreed, —

Secure from Tophet's flames.

 

Worthy to reign in Glory now,

Great Sov’reign of the sky,

While angels at Your footstool bow,

And lift Your glories high!

 

The Song of the Redeemed

 

Fourth, in verses 8-12, John records for us the song of the redeemed, as he heard it when he was in the Spirit before the throne. What a blessed, instructive song it is!

 

(Revelation 5:8-12) “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. (9) And they sung 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; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (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.”

 

As soon as the Lamb took the book in his hands, and accepted the sceptre of universal monarchy, a song of praise broke out in heaven. This song began with the church, the redeemed ones, and was taken up by the heavenly angels. This song is a celebration of Christ’s worthiness to rule the universe according to God’s purpose (Revelation 10:1-3), and to receive all praise, honor, and glory forever.

 

The basis of both his worthiness of such honor and the praise given to him by saints and angels is his effectual redemption. — Praise is not given to him simply because he was slain, (Many have been slain!), but because his slaughter was the accomplishment of our redemption.

 

The death of Christ, as the sin-atoning Lamb, was the accomplishment of a particular and effectual redemption. — The song does not say, “Thou hast redeemed every kindred, tongue, people, and nation.” That would mean either that his blood was shed in vain for the multitudes who are lost, or that all the universe is saved. Neither of which is true. This song says, Thou hast redeemed us OUT OF every kindred, tongue, people, and nation!

 

All those redeemed by Christ are saved by him as well (v. 10). — They are made kings and priests unto God, made to reign with Christ their King upon the earth, by the indwelling power and grace of his Spirit.

 

 

The Purpose of God Fulfilled

 

Having seen the throne of God, the book of God and of the Lamb of God, and after hearing the song of the redeemed, while he was in the Spirit before the throne, John saw the purpose of God fulfilled (vv. 12-14).

 

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (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. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”

(Revelation 5:12-14)

 

It is God’s ultimate purpose that everything and everyone in his creation bow before and bring honor to his dear Son. And God will see to it that his purpose is accomplished in the end (Psalm 76:10; Isaiah 45:20-25; Colossians 1:18).

 

“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45:20-25)

 

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

(Colossians 1:18)

 

He who made all things, sustains all things, and rules all things shall have the eternal praise of all things.

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!...For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36).

 

These are the things John saw when he was in the Spirit. He saw that the entire universe is governed by the throne of almighty God, and that God rules the universe through the Mediator Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. Having accomplished the redemption of his people by the sacrifice of himself, our Lord Jesus ascended back into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, exalted above all principality, power, and dominion. God the Father put all things in subjection to Christ, under his feet, and made him to be Head over all things to his church, which is his body, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Ultimately, all things will glorify Christ, our God and Savior. God’s purpose will be carried out in his creation. The throne of God is secure. The Lamb of God reigns supreme, without rival, by incontestable right. The kingdom of God is safe and secure. The glory of the eternal God is sure. — “The heavens do rule!” — Blessed are they to whom these things have been revealed!

 

Christ is Worthy

 

I have been trying to conceive in my mind, for forty-four years, I’ve been trying to conceive in my mind and in my heart something of the fact that Christ is worthy of all trust, and love, and praise. I’ve been trying to proclaim to sinners everywhere, “Worthy is the Lamb!” — Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory (magnificence) and honour (value) and power (might): for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) — “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power (authority), and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour (worth), and glory, and blessing (praise).” (Revelation 5:12) — Worthy is the Lamb! Worthy is the Lamb! Worthy is the Lamb!” — He who was slain for sinners, having obtained eternal redemption for us, is worthy!

Š      He is worthy to open the book of God.

Š      He is worthy to reveal God to man.

Š      He is worthy of God’s acceptance as our Substitute!

Š      He is worthy of Divine exaltation!

Š      He is worthy of universal dominion; worthy to rule the universe by the Book open in His Hand!

Š      He is worthy of your faith in him!

Š      He is worthy of unrestrained love and devotion!

Š      He is worthy of our everlasting praise!

 

Hear the Church triumphant singing, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Heaven with His praise is ringing —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Thrones and powers before Him bending,

Sweet applause from saints ascending,

Swell the chorus never ending —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

 

Souls from every tribe and nation,

Ransomed by the Lamb,

Join to sing His great salvation, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Loud as mighty thunders roaring,

Floods of endless praises pouring,

Prostrate at His feet adoring, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

 

Harps and songs forever sounding, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Sovereign grace o’er sin abounding, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

By His blood He dearly bought us,

Wand’ring from the fold He sought us,

And to Glory safely brought us: —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

 

O’er sin and death and hell victorious, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

At His resurrection glorious, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

On the tree salvation finished,

There the curse forever ended,

Then in glory Christ ascended, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

 

Sing with blest anticipation —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Through the day of tribulation,

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

Sweetest song, all songs excelling,

On this theme be ever dwelling,

Still untold, though ever telling, —

“Worthy is the Lamb!”

 

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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