Thursday, July 12, 2012
FOUR MONUMENTAL PROPHETIC EVENTS In Matthew 24 Jesus explained “the signs” of both “the end of the age” and of His “return;” this came in response to His previous statement to the disciples that the Temple would be destroyed. To the Jew, the desolation of the Temple was synonymous with “the end of the age” and the coming of the Messiah (an hour of history referred to in the Hebrew Scripture as “the Day of the Lord”). Jesus explained the precipitous trends and events that would signal the nearness of His return in 24:4-14. And then in 24:15-31 he describes a timeframe of horrendous upheaval that He called “a time of tribulation such has never been nor ever shall be.” He explained how this “time of tribulation” would commence (24:15-16) and how it would conclude (24:29-31). In this article I want to show how important the information contained in 24:29-31 is and why you should understand it – especially in light of the various perspectives on Biblical prophecy. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31) Jesus describes four events that we need to understand: 1.The tribulation of those days – v. 29a 2.Cosmic disturbance – v. 29b 3.Jesus comes on the clouds in power and great glory visible by all the earth – v. 30 4.Angels gather the elect with a loud trumpet – v. 31 These four events bring this present age to a close. They unfold chronologically (which decisively destroys the theory of a pre-tribulational rapture). They are intended to be understood as literally as 24:15-28. And they occur “after the tribulation.” But not just any tribulation; the tribulation of “those days.” The phrase “those days” is critical. Jesus is connecting these great climactic events in 24:29-31 with the “time of great tribulation” explained in 25:15-28. These events explained in 24:15-31 are inextricably linked to one another in their appointed hour of fulfillment. They constitute “the end of the age.” They comprise what the prophets referred to as “the Day of the Lord” and what the apostles would call “the Day of God.” This is the very climax and consummation of history before the inauguration of the next age; the time of which Peter called “the restoration of all things” in Acts 3:21. WHY IS MATTHEW 24:29-31 IMPORTANT? Many believe that Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 24 was intended to describe the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD (they’re called “Preterists”). They say the “birth pains” of 24:4-14 (including the false prophets, earthquakes and global Gospel proclamation) and the “abomination of desolation” that ignites the “time of great tribulation” of 24:15-28 were fulfilled in the generation of the apostles. They argue that Jesus’ description of His triumphal coming on the clouds was merely metaphorical. To say it succinctly: These are metaphors for events fulfilled in the first century AD.  For example, world renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright argues that: “When Jewish writers spoke of the sun and moon being darkened; when they spoke of angels gathering people from the four winds of heaven; when, in particular, they spoke of a Son of Man who would come on the clouds of heaven – in each of these cases they were using language in this metaphorical way. It is flagrantly absurd to think that Jesus, in saying that sort of thing, envisaged himself of anyone else literally flying around in mid-air on an actual cloud” (Who Was Jesus? pg. 55). “…the ‘coming of the son of man’ does not refer to the [second coming] in the modern scholarly, and popular, sense of a human figure travelling downwards towards the earth on actual clouds…The ‘coming of the son of man’ is thus good first-century metaphorical language….” (Jesus and the Victory of God; pg. 359-60). Theologian Sam Storms writes: “Although this entire present age intervening between the first and second comings of Christ is one of tribulation, trial and distress, the so-called Great Tribulation mentioned in [Matthew 24] v. 21 (and described in vv. 15-28; and perhaps also in vv. 29-31) has already come and gone. It is to be identified with the siege on Jerusalem during the years 66-70 a.d., which culminated in the destruction of the city and its Temple by the armies of Rome (the latter being the “abomination of desolation” referred to in v. 15). Thus “The Great Tribulation” of Mt. 24:21 (called “days of vengeance” in Lk. 21:22 and “days of affliction” in Mk. 13:19) is not a future event but an established fact of past history.” (from, Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse Part 1) “This “coming” [described in Matthew 24:29-31] is not a visible, physical appearance by which Jesus returns to earth (although that will most assuredly occur at the end of history). Rather, they [Israel] will “see” him in the sense that they will “understand”, i.e., spiritually perceive that he is the vindicated and enthroned King.” (from, Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse Part 3) J.S. Russell, in his monumental book “Parousia” from which this perspective spawned wrote: “We are compelled, therefore, by all these considerations, and chiefly by regard for the authority of Him whose word cannot be broken, to conclude that the Parousia, or second coming of Christ, with its connected and concomitant events, did take place, according to the Saviour’s own prediction, at the period when Jerusalem was destroyed, and before the passing away of ‘that generation’” (The Parousia, [2nd. ed. 1887], 549). Theologian Kenneth Gentry writes: “This [passages in Matthew 24:29-31] actually refers to Jesus’ ascension [not his second advent]. In the destruction of the temple, the rejected Christ is vindicated as the ascended Lord and shown to possess great power and glory.” Brian MacLaren states that: “…[viewing Matthew 24 as a timeframe in the future is an] eschatology of abandonment….[that] has disastrous social consequences….on issues like…ecology, poverty, sexuality, etc.” (from, Preterist Planet interview) The problems with this perspective abound. Let me point out two: First, those that argue Jesus was speaking metaphorically in 24:29-31 believe 24:4-14 had a literal fulfillment. And they have no problem with this glaring inconsistency. But they should. To suggest Jesus switched hermeneutical gears mid-sermon is ludicrous. Jesus was doing what the prophets before Him did: prophesying about an eschatological military invasion of Jerusalem whereby all nations would level a bloody assault on the “center of the earth” (Ez. 38:8-12) and suffer the fierce judgment of God for doing so (Joel 3:2-21) as the whole cosmic order convulses (Joel 2:29-31; Zech. 14). Zechariah chapters 12-14 is the clearest example of this prophetic juxtaposition of end-time military invasion and cosmic disturbance. Zechariah uses the same straight forward language as Jesus in Matthew 24 to describe a literal military invasion of Jerusalem and then, just like Jesus in Matthew 24, seamlessly moves to describe heavenly shaking and the cosmic trauma. Joel chapter 2:28-3:21 we find the same thing: “All nations” engaging in a vicious battle for “Jerusalem” provoking God to “enter into judgment” with those nations as “the sun” ceases “to give light” and as “blood, fire and pillars of smoke” cover the face of the earth signaling “the Day of the Lord.” The military invasion and the cosmic disturbance of Zechariah, Joel and Matthew 24 must be subjected to the same measurement of interpretation. Jesus no more intended us to receive 24:29-31 as a metaphor than He did 24:4-14. Second, those that suggest Matthew 24 had its fulfillment in the generation of the disciples must of necessity deny the future eschatological nature of “the time of tribulation.” And to do this is to butcher the Scriptural teaching on the Day of the Lord. Let me explain. Matthew 24:21 is a direct quotation of Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 12:1-2. Let’s compare the two: “At that time…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2) For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:21) If Matthew 24:21 is the same event described in Daniel 12:1-2, those who insist on a historical fulfillment of Matthew 24 must overcome a number of insurmountable exegetical odds to maintain legitimacy. Daniel was told that this “time of trouble/tribulation” would conclude with two monumentally significant events: the deliverance of His Jewish brethren (12:1) and the resurrection of the dead (12:2). In addition to these two paramount events, Daniel was told the final tribulation of this age would occur at “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:35, 40; 12:6-12) and that it would be preceded by “the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:30, 36) and a gruesome battle for Jerusalem led by a cruel and sinister man (Daniel 11:21-46) who “divides up the land” (Daniel 11:39). Put it together and compare what Daniel is saying and Jesus is echoing: ■There will be a time of unequal trouble (Dan. 12:1; Mt. 24:21) ■It will end in the resurrection of the righteous (Dan. 12:2; Mt. 24:31) ■The Jewish people will be delivered at the end of it (Dan. 12:1; Mt. 24:30 with Rev. 1:7 and Zech 12:10; Mt. 25:31-46) ■It will be preceded by the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 11:30, 36; Mt. 24:15) ■It will include a gruesome military campaign on Jewish soil (Dan. 11:29-45 with Dan. 9:26-27; Mt. 24:15-22) ■The Jewish people in the land of Israel will be brutally assaulted and “shattered” (Dan. 12:7; 11:30-35; Mt. 24:16-22) If one wishes to argue that Jesus’ prophecy of the abomination of desolation, His visible coming on the clouds and the gathering of the elect in the resurrection is metaphorical and historically fulfilled he must also impose the same regulations on Daniel 11:21-12:11. Unfortunately, my library of commentaries is evidence that many are willing to do so. And its a great tragedy. CONCLUSION Matthew 24:29-31 tells us of four chronological events that occur “after the tribulation of those days.” And the “tribulation of those days” in Matthew 24 are identical to the “time of trouble” of “the end days” in Daniel 11:21-12:11. This time of trouble and tribulation, according to both accounts, includes the raising of the righteous at Christ’s post-tribulational return while Daniel’s people (the Jews) are also simultaneously “delivered” after being “completely shattered.” Therefore any past time of tribulation (including that associated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD) that did not end in the simultaneous events of the return of Jesus, literal cosmic disturbance, the resurrection of the righteous and the deliverance of Daniel’s people cannot be “the time of great tribulation” described in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21 (or Jeremiah 30:5-7 and Revelation 7:14 for that matter; where the same phrase is again found).  RC Sproul, Brian MacLaren, R. T. France, Rob Bell, N. T. Wright, Peter Walker, Douglas Wilson, David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar and Sam Storms are a number of preachers who hold this view.
Monday, July 9, 2012
WARRIOR ASSEMBLY OF GOD JULY 11, 2012 THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION “THE UNVEILING OF JESUS CHRIST” OVERVIEW/BACKGROUND I. GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN A. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN GOD’S PLAN TO HAVE A PEOPLE AND DWELL WITH THEM FOREVER. THEREFORE, AS I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES, GOD BEGAN IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION AND NOT IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS. SAID ANOTHER WAY, GOD BEGAN WITH THE END IN MIND. THE BOOK OF GENESIS WAS THE CREATION OF THE TIME AND SPACE UNIVERSE FOR THE PURPOSE OF MOVING ALL THINGS TO GOD’S DESIRED END IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION. ONCE AGAIN, THAT DESIRED END WAS THAT GOD WOULD HAVE A PEOPLE WITH WHOM HE WOULD DWELL FOREVER. 1.REVELATION 21:1-5 “THEN I SAW A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH, FOR THE FIRST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH HAD PASSED AWAY, AND THERE WAS NO MORE SEA. I SAW THE HOLY CITY, THE NEW JERUSALEM, COMING DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN FROM GOD, PREPARED AS A BRIDE BEAUTIFULLY DRESSED FOR HER HUSBAND. AND I HEARD A LOUD VOICE FROM THE THRONE SAYING, LOOK! GOD’S DWELLING PLACE IS NOW AMONG THE PEOPLE, AND HE WILL DWELL WITH THEM. THEY WILL BE HIS PEOPLE, AND GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM AND BE THEIR GOD. HE WILL WIPE EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES. THERE WILL BE NO MORE DEATH OR MOURNING OR CRYING OR PAIN, FOR THE OLD ORDER OF THINGS HAS PASSED AWAY. HE WHO WAS SEATED ON THE THRONE SAID, I AM MAKING EVERTHING NEW! THEN HE SAID, WRITE THIS DOWN, FOR THESE WORDS ARE TRUSTWORTHY AND TRUE.” II. THE PLAN BEGINS TO UNFOLD WITH THE FIRST MAN. A. AFTER GOD HAS CREATED THE TIME AND SPACE UNIVERSE, AND THEN FASHIONED THE EARTH TO BE HABITABLE FOR LIFE, HE BROUGHT FORTH THE CROWNING ACT OF HIS CREATION. 1. GENESIS 1:26-28 “THEN GOD SAID, LET US MAKE MANKIND IN OUR OWN IMAGE, IN OUR LIKENESS, SO THAT THEY MAY RULE OVER THE FISH IN THE SEA AND THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, OVER THE LIVESTOCK AND ALL THE WILD ANIMALS, AND OVER ALL THE CREATURES THAT MOVE ALONG THE GROUND. SO GOD CREATED MANKIND IN HIS OWN IMAGE, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD HE CREATED THEM; MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM. GOD BLESSED THEM AND SAID TO THEM, BE FRUITFUL AND INCREASE IN NUMBER; FILL THE EARTH AND SUBDUE IT. RULE OVER THE FISH IN THE SEA AND THE BIRDS IN THE SKY AND OVER EVERY LIVING CREATURE THAT MOVES ON THE GROUND.” a. IT IS CLEAR FROM THIS SCRIPTURE THAT GOD GAVE MANKIND DOMINION OVER THE EARTH. AND THIS WAS A DOMINION THAT GOD WOULD NOT REPEAL OR RESCIND EVEN THOUGH MAN WOULD REBEL AGAINST HIM. 2. GENESIS 3:1-7 “NOW THE SERPENT WAS MORE CRAFTY THAN ANY OF THE WILD ANIMALS THE LORD GOD HAD MADE. HE SAID TO THE WOMAN, DID GOD REALLY SAY, YOU MUST NOT EAT FROM ANY TREE IN THE GARDEN. THE WOMAN SAID TO THE SERPENT, WE MAY EAT FRUIT FROM THE TREES IN THE GARDEN, BUT GOD DID SAY, YOU MUST NOT EAT FRUIT FROM THE TREE THAT IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN, AND YOU MUST NOT TOUCH IT OR YOU WILL DIE. YOU WILL NOT CERTAINLY DIE, THE SERPENT SAID TO THE WOMAN. FOR GOD KNOWS THAT WHEN YOU EAT FROM IT YOUR EYES WILL BE OPENED, AND YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL. WHEN THE WOMAN SAW THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD AND PLEASING TO THE EYES, AND ALSO DESIRABLE FOR GAINING WISDOM, SHE TOOK SOME AND ATE IT. SHE ALSO GAVE SOME TO HER HUSBAND, WHO WAS WITH HER, AND HE ATE IT. THEN THE EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED, AND THEY REALIZED THEY WERE NAKED; SO THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES TOGETHER AND MADE COVERINGS FOR THEMSELVES.” a. IF YOU READ THE REST OF GENESIS CHAPTER 3, ALTHOUGH YOU WILL FIND THAT THIS SIN HAD DISASTOROUS CONSEQUENCES, GOD DID NOT TAKE FROM MANKIND HIS PLAN FOR THEM TO HAVE DOMINION OVER THE EARTH. b. HOWEVER, THE SERPENT OR THE DEVIL HAS NOW ENTERED THE PICTURE CONCERING THE RULERSHIP OF THE EARTH. 1. LUKE 4:5-8 “THE DEVIL LED HIM UP TO A HIGH PLACE AND SHOWED IN AN INSTANT ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD. AND HE SAID TO HIM, I WILL GIVE YOU ALL THEIR AUTHORITY AND SPLENDER; IT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME, AND I CAN GIVE IT TO ANYONE I WANT TO. IF YOU WORSHIP ME, IT WILL BE YOURS. JESUS ANSWERED, IT IS WRITTEN; WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.” a. THIS SCRIPTURE INDICATES THAT THE DEVIL USURPED THE AUTHORITY OF THE EARTH AWAY FROM MANKIND BY GETTING HIM TO SIN AGAINST GOD AND JOIN HIS REBELLION. 2. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 “THE god OF THIS AGE HAS BLINDED THE MINDS OF UNBELIEVERS, SO THAT THEY CANNOT SEE THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL THAT DISPLAYS THE GLORY OF CHRIST AS LORD, AND OURSELVES AS YOUR SERVANTS FOR JESUS’ SAKE.” a. IN THIS TEXT, THE APOSTLE PAUL SAYS THAT THE DEVIL IS THE god OF THIS PRESENT WORLD SYSTEM. AS SUCH, HE CURRENTLY HAS DOMINION OVER THE EARTH AND NOT MAN AS GOD ORIGINALLY PLANNED. b. THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER TO THIS APPARENT DILEMMA? GOD GAVE AUTHORITY TO MAN TO HAVE DOMINION OVER THE EARTH FOREVER, BUT SATAN USURPED THAT DOMINION AWAY FROM MAN BY GETTING HIM TO ENTER INTO HIS REBELLION AGAINST GOD. HOW THEN CAN GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN NOW BE CARRIED OUT? III. JESUS CHRIST—THE GOD MAN (THE SECOND MAN) A. GOD’S SOLUTION TO THIS APPARENT DILEMMA WAS THE GOD-MAN, THE SECOND MAN WHO CAME FROM HEAVEN. GOD THE SON WOULD COME TO EARTH AND BECOME A MAN. AS A MAN HE WOULD DEFEAT SATAN; REDEEM MAN BACK TO GOD BY SATISFYING GOD’S JUSTICE FOR MAN’S SIN BY DYING ON THE CROSS; RISE FROM THE DEAD AS THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW CREATION OF GOD! ASCEND BACK TO HEAVEN, BACK TO THE GLORY OF GOD; AND ONE DAY RETURN TO THE EARTH TO FULFILL GOD’S PLAN BY FULLY TAKING BACK THE DOMINION OF THE EARTH AS A MAN; AND SETTING UP THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF THE FATHER WHERE GOD WILL DWELL WITH MAN FOREVER! 1. PSALM 2:7 “I WILL PROCLAIM THE LORD’S DECREE: HE SAID TO ME, YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BECOME YOUR FATHER.” a. IN THIS MESSIANIC PSALM, A PSALM ABOUT THE MESSIAH-JESUS, THE FATHER SAYS TO THE SON, “TODAY I HAVE BECOME YOUR FATHER.” THIS DID NOT HAPPEN 2000 YEARS AGO BUT RATHER SOMETIME IN THE ETERNAL PAST. THERE WAS A TIME, ONLY THE LORD KNOWS WHEN, THAT THE ETERNAL FATHER BEGOT THE ETERNAL SON! 2. JOHN 1:1-2, 14, 18 “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD. HE WAS WITH GOD IN THE BEGINNING.THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US. WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY, THE GLORY OF THE ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO CAME FROM THE FATHER, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH. NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD, BUT THE ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO IS HIMSELF GOD AND IS IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, HAS MADE HIM KNOWN.” a. THESE VERSES MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD LEFT THE GLORY OF HEAVEN AND CAME TO THE EARTH AND BECAME A MAN. HE BECAME, IF YOU WILL, THE GOD-MAN. THIS IS RECORDED IN LUKE 1:26-35. 3. COLOSSIANS 2:13-15 “WHEN YOU WERE DEAD IN YOUR SINS AND IN THE UNCIRCUMCISION OF YOUR FLESH, GOD MADE YOU ALIVE WITH CHRIST. HE FORGAVE US ALL OF OUR SINS, HAVING CANCELED THE CHARGE OR OUR LEGAL INDEBTEDNESS, WHICH STOOD AGAINST US AND CONDEMNED US; HE HAS TAKEN IT AWAY, NAILING IT TO THE CROSS. AND HAVING DISARMED THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES, HE MADE A PUBLIC SPECTACLE OF THEM, TRIUMPHING OVER THEM BY THE CROSS.” a. GOD SATISIFIED HIS JUSTICE FOR SIN BY NAILING OUR SINS TO CHRIST ON THE CROSS, THE GUILTLESS DYING FOR THE GUILTY, AND AT THE SAME TIME DEFEATED THE SATANIC POWERS THAT HELD US IN BONDAGE BECAUSE OF OUR SIN. 4. I CORINTHIANS 15:20-28 “BUT CHRIST HAS INDEED BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. FOR SINCE DEATH CAME THROUGH A MAN, THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD CAME ALSO THROUGH A MAN. FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, SO IN CHRIST ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE. BUT EACH IN TURN: CHRIST, THE FIRSTFRUITS; THEN WHEN HE COMES, THOSE WHO BELONG TO HIM. THEN THE END WILL COME, WHEN HE HANDS OVER THE KINGDOM TO GOD THE FATHER AFTER HE HAS DESTROYED ALL DOMINION, AUTHORITY AND POWER. FOR HE MUST REIGN UNTIL HE HAS PUT ALL HIS ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET. THE LAST ENEMY TO BE DESTROYED IS DEATH. FOR HE HAS PUT EVERYTHING UNDER HIS FEET. NOW WHEN IT SAYS EVERYTHING HAS BEEN PUT UNDER HIM, IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE GOD HIMSELF, WHO PUT EVERYTHING UNDER CHRIST. WHEN HE HAS DONE THIS, THEN THE SON HIMSELF WILL BE MADE SUBJECT TO HIM WHO PUT EVERYTHING UNDER HIM, SO THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.” a. JESUS WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD AS THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW CREATION OF GOD. HE IS THE FIRST OF MILLIONS WHO WILL BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD WITH NEW BODIES. 5. ACTS 3:21 “HEAVEN MUST RECEIVE HIM (JESUS) UNTIL THE TIME COMES FOR GOD TO RESTORE EVERYTHING, AS HE PROMISED LONG AGO THROUGH HIS HOLY PROPHETS.” a. JESUS WILL REMAIN IN HEAVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER UNTIL IT IS TIME FOR HIM TO FULLY TAKE BACK DOMINION OF THE EARTH. 6. 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 THE 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 AND 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 BREAK ITS SEVEN SEALS. THEN I SAW A LAMB, LOOKING AS IF IT HAD BEEN SLAIN, STANDING AT THE CENTER OF THE THRONE, ENCIRCLED BY THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE ELDERS. THE LAMB HAD SEVEN HORNS AND SEVEN EYES, WHICH ARE THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD SENT OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH. HE WENT AND TOOK THE SCROLL FROM THE RIGHT HAND OF HIM WHO SAT ON THE THRONE.” a. GOD HIMSELF COULD NOT OPEN THE SCROLL BECAUSE IT MUST BE A MAN WHO TAKES BACK THE DOMINION OF THE EARTH. AND THE ANGELS COULD NOT OPEN THE SCROLL BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT PART OF MANKIND. THAT IS WHY THAT ONLY JESUS WAS FOUND WORTHY TO TAKE THE SCROLL AND OPEN IT! b. IN VERSE 9 OF REVELATION 5, THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE 24 ELDERS SANG A NEW SONG DECLARING WHY THAT JESUS WAS WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLLS. “. . .YOU ARE WORTHY TO TAKE THE SCROLL AND TO OPEN ITS SEALS, BECAUSE YOU WERE SLAIN AND WITH YOUR BLOOD YOU PURCHASED FOR GOD PERSONS FROM EVERY TRIBE AND LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE AND NATION.” c. JESUS WAS FOUND WORTHY TO NOT ONLY TO TAKE THE SCROLL BUT TO OPEN IT! HE ALONE COULD BE TRUSTED TO RIGHTEOUSLY AND JUSTLY RELEASE THE JUDGMENTS CONTAINED IN THE SCROLL. ONLY HE WOULD HAVE THE LOVE, WISDOM, HUMILITY, COURAGE AND TENACITY TO DO WHAT HAD TO BE DONE AND TO DO IT PERFECTLY! d. BUT COULD JESUS BE TRUSTED TO RULE AND REIGN OVER THE EARTH AS A MAN, FOREVER AND EVER, WITHOUT EVER MISUSING HIS POWER FOR SELFISH PURPOSES? WHAT WOULD CAUSE THOSE IN HEAVEN TO KNOW THAT? IT IS STATED IN THE NEW SONG THAT WAS SONG ABOUT HIM, “. . .YOU ARE WORTHY. . . BECAUSE YOU WERE SLAIN AND YOUR BLOOD PURCHASED FOR GOD PERSONS FROM EVERY TRIBE AND LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE AND NATION.” e. LET’S PROBE A LITTLE DEEPER TO DISCOVER WHY JESUS’ DEATH MADE HIM WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLLS AND THEN RELEASE THEM. 7. PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 “IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER, HAVE THE SAME MINDSET AS CHRIST JESUS: WHO BEING IN VERY NATURE GOD, DID NOT CONSIDER EQUALITY WITH GOD SOMETHING TO BE USED TO HIS OWN ADVANTAGE; RATHER, HE MADE HIMSELF NOTHING, BY TAKING THE VERY NATURE OF A SERVANT, BEING MADE IN HUMAN LIKENESS, AND BEING FOUND IN APPEARANCE AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF BY BECOMING OBEDIENT TO DEATH—EVEN DEATH ON A CROSS. THEREFORE GOD EXALTED HIM TO THE HIGHEST PLACE AND GAVE HIM THE NAME THAT IS ABOVE EVERY NAME, THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH AND UNDER THE EARTH, AND EVERY TONGUE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.” a. IT THE SIMPLEST TERMS THAT I CAN THINK OF, JESUS WAS FOUND WORTHY TO TAKE THE SCROLLS AND OPEN THEM BECAUSE HE CAN TRUSTED FOREVER TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND PERFECT. IF HE WAS WILLING TO HUMBLE HIMSELF AND GIVE UP HIS PLACE OF GLORY THAT HE HAD WITH THE FATHER—NOT HAVING TO DO SO— AND THEN DYING ON A CROSS SO THAT WE COULD SHARE IN THE FATHER’S ETERNAL PLAN--THEN IT CAN BE CONCLUDED THAT HE CAN ALWAYS BE TRUSTED TO RULE AND REIGN OVER THE EARTH IN PERFECTION! HE ALONE IS THE PERFECT MAN WHO WILL FULFILL THE FATHER’S ETERNAL PLAN TO LIVE AND DWELL FOREVER WITH HIS PEOPLE ON THE EARTH! b. SHOULD NOT THIS UNFATHOMABLE HUMILITY OF THE ETERNAL SON WHO GAVE UP HIS EQUALITY WITH GOD THE FATHER TO BECOME A HUMAN BEING AND DIE FOR US SO THAT WE CAN SHARE HIS GLORY THAT HE HAD WITH THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN MOTIVATE US TO KNOW HIM, LOVE HIM AND PURSUE HIM AS THE DESIRE OF OUR HEART? THERE IS NO ONE LIKE HIM. HIS BEAUTY AND WISDOM AND POWER SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF OUR WORSHIP AND OUR PRAYERS. WE SHOULD ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO REVEAL HIM TO US. AS PAUL SAID IN COLOSSIANS 2:3 “IN WHOM (CHRIST) ARE HIDDEN ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.”