Last week, we studied the first half of Revelation chapter five, in which all of Heaven was seeking for one who was worthy to open the scroll with the seven seals. Remember, the scroll represented some sort of title or deed that proclaimed the opener the ruler of Heaven and earth. None was found who was worthy, until they saw the Lamb that was slain. Of course, this lamb was Jesus, and this passage also called Him the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the Root of David. The passage concluded as Christ took the scroll from God the Father, and the four beasts and the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped the lamb. Now, little refresher quiz, who can remember what the twenty-four elders represent? Yes, our best guess is that they represent the twelve apostles and representatives from the twelve tribes of Israel. Now, who can remember either of the two main theories about the four beasts? Yes, they could either represent the word of God, because of the four gospels, or they could represent the entirety of creation. All right, let’s pick up where we left off last week by reading chapter five, verses nine through fourteen.
“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; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’ 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; 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.’ 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 honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’ And the four beasts said, ‘Amen.’ And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever.”
While normally there is so much to explain from the book of Revelation that we don’t get much of a chance to sit back and really dwell on what the Bible is trying to communicate to us. But tonight, we are going to get a chance to do that very thing. We are going to look at some technical things about these verses, but the main thrust of tonight’s study will simply be on dwelling on the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
The overall breakdown of these verses is that there are three different songs sung by three different groups, all of which are about how great Jesus is. The first song is seen in verses nine and ten. Look again at what these two verses say. “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; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’” The first question I had when I read this was “Who is the ‘they’ mentioned at the beginning of verse nine?” Well, verse eight mentions that the elders and the beasts fell down before Lamb, and then says that they sang a new song. And so it could be the beasts and or the elders. Later on the verse says that Jesus has redeemed them to God by His blood. Now, we know that the four beasts were not being redeemed by Christ’s blood, so that means that this first song must be sung by the twenty-four elders.
Another question that arises is what is meant by the phrase at the end of verse nine, “Out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” There are different theories what this means, but I will give you two theories, and then tell you which one I hold to. The first theory is that this verse is talking about the Jews and the Gentiles. Here’s why: The word that says “kindred” in the King James Version is the same as the word “tribe.” Do you think that “tribe” would refer to the Jews or the Gentiles? Yes, the Jews, because there were twelve “tribes” of Israel. Then, the “tongues” refers to the Gentiles, because of all of the languages in the world. The “people” was a common phrase the Jewish nation used to describe themselves. And the “nations” was a common way to describe the Gentiles. So that is one theory. If this theory is correct, then this verse is essentially saying that there will be Jews and Gentiles in heaven. And praise God there will be Jews and Gentiles in Heaven. As Brother Morris has mentioned in Sunday school, unless you have Jewish ancestry, then you are a Gentile.
The second theory is that this verse is taken more literally, and that there will be at least one representative from each people group on the face of the planet. That means that every tribe from the four corners of the globe will be impacted by the gospel. Now, we view “nations” as political entities with leaders, militaries, and fixed boundaries. But the biblical concept of a “nation” is of any group of people that has their own language or culture. In other words, there can be hundreds of nations within one country! Would anybody like to guess how many people groups there are in the world today? By the way, this number fluctuates on a regular basis. The most scholarly estimates say that there are between sixteen and seventeen thousand people groups. And of all of those, there are nearly 7,000 that have virtually zero Christians in their population. So if this theory is correct, then the end will not come until someone from every last one of these people groups has become a Christian.
While I could be wrong, I hold to this second belief. I believe that Jesus Christ will not come back until the Great Commission has been accomplished by preaching the gospel to each and every culture on our planet. 100 years ago, this would have sounded like a mere pipe dream, but with the current paces of evangelism, it could very well happen within the next one or two generations. Praise God that His gospel is going forth all over the world!
Let’s now look at the second song. This song is seen in verse twelve. “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.’” Verse eleven reveals to us that this song was sung by angels. And not just a few angels. On no, this song was sung by millions and millions and millions of angels! And just to give some sort of visual, imagine a target. At the very center would have been the throne of God, and Jesus Christ standing next to the throne. Circling around the throne is the twenty-four elders and the four beasts. And beyond this inner ring is this immense throng of angels. And look what the angels are proclaiming about the Lamb. They are saying that the Lamb is worthy of all power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Now, someone that is good at counting, please tell me how many things that they say Christ is worthy of. Thank you, they say that He is worthy of seven things. Seven is a very significant number in the Bible that refers to perfection or completeness. So these angels are pouring accolades on Christ, essentially pointing out that He is wholly perfect in every way, and He is deserving of all glory and praise.
At least in my life, this is not something I dwell on enough. How often in our prayers do we focus on the absolute majesty of Christ? I often pray about different issues in my life and in others’ lives, and obviously I should do that. But in my own personal prayer life, I do not spend nearly enough time just praising Christ. Isn’t that what we are here on earth to do? We have been called as Christians to give God the glory through our words and through our actions. And one way we give Him glory is when we just stop everything we are doing, and just praise God for who He is and for what He has done.
And now, as if the prayers could not get any more triumphant, all of creation joins in the song in verse thirteen. Let’s look at that verse once again. “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 honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’” Now, the singing is not just done by the angels and the elders. Now, all of creation joins in the song. Every creature in Heaven, on earth, and even in hell joins the song that Christ is worthy. Isn’t it a strange concept that even the souls in hell will sing a song that says all blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever? And while this is a mystery, the Bible is very clear that every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Unfortunately for these people, they will realize the truth all too late. But even in the torments of hell, they will come to the realization that Jesus Christ is absolutely perfect, and they are absolutely evil. So Christ will be glorified even by the people who die and go to hell. Now, our Calvinist brothers and sisters would say that Christ desired for them to go to hell, and He is pleased that they are there singing His praises. On the contrary, we know that while Christ will be glorified by everyone, He desires for everyone to not be praising Him from under the earth, but He desires for us to be praising Him while we are gathered around the throne room of God.
Now, we’ve talked about how I, along with the vast majority of evangelical Christians, interpret the book of Revelation as a recording of future events with applications for the present day. That being the case, this song in the throne room will be a very real event that will happen in the future. And so, church, do you realize that we will be a part of this massive throng singing to the Lamb? We are in the Bible! While we do not know if John saw vivid images in his vision, or symbols of what is to come; do you realize that it is possible that John saw you and I in that crowd singing to the Lamb? Wow! Oh, that thought will have me excited for a long time!
Verse fourteen records how the four beasts respond to the song by saying, “Amen.” Remember, “amen” basically means, “It is true.” And then the chapter concludes with the elders once again bowing down and worshipping our Lord and Savior.
Church, I hope that tonight you have realized anew with me how wonderful and amazing and magnificent Jesus Christ is. He is the Lamb that came down to earth and died so that you and I could have life. As a congregation, I pray that we will be blessed with a glimpse of the glory that our God contains. When we gather here together, we are a congregation of people who were born sinners. We continually rejected God’s rules and commands, instead choosing to rebel against Him and join Satan’s kingdom. But then, the God of the world allowed us the privilege of hearing the gospel, and He allowed us to leave Satan’s kingdom and become a part of the Kingdom of God. When we gather here together, we are not a group of people that is somehow perfect. No, we are a group of people who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb, and we come together to worship the God who died for our sins. I pray that this church is always focused on Jesus, and how truly amazing He is. Our God is good!
Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
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