Book of Revelation 2 The Lion and the Lamb

Book of Revelation

One - most loved / hated books.

Scares the pants off.


Offer a different way of looking.

A view very common : bible scholars.

Unfortunately : very rare when it comes to the 'popular' level.

The way that I'm showing you to read it :

  • Make it relevant to our life.
  • Transforming
  • Beautiful.

New perspective for most of us. Don't have to agree with me. Not into groupthink. Just listen. And see what happens.

Just a warning: you might start to love the book of revelation. B/C all of a sudden it applies to you.


Last week: 4 Principles - First 4 Verses

1. The book of Revelation is NOT a crystal ball.

While Revelation has SOME things about the end, it’s mainly about the present.

Shows us the beauty of Jesus, & what it looks like to live faithfully unto God.

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, (Revelation 1:1)

who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:2)

Everything written: is a testimony (telling) of the word of God, and a telling of Jesus Christ.

Everything in this book a telling of Jesus Christ.

Different than being a crystal ball about the future.


2. The purpose of the Book of Revelation is to show us Jesus Christ.

Word Revelation. - Greek: “The unveiling”, uncovering.

When John says ‘This is the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Literally translated: This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ.” - Character


3. The book of Revelation is Apocalyptic literature

We don’t read all kinds of books the same.

(Political Comic / Will)

Confused.

We honor books when we read them correctly.

Artistic

Symbolism - numbers.


4. The book of revelation was written to Seven first century churches.

to the seven churches in the province of asia. (Revelation 1:4)

That’s who the book was written to.

True - every book - bible:

Primary meaning book - meaning - original audience.

The book applies to us, just like all books of the bible.

Secondary


Concerning God's Character…

Problem: A lot of people interpret revelation in a way that's total incompatible with the Jesus that's we see in the rest of the bible..

If Jesus shows up and slaughters everybody, we've got a different Jesus on our hands.

“In Revelation, Jesus is a pride-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” (Well Known preacher guy.)

If that's true: and the book of revelation is a technical telling of the future : talking about nations being slaughtered.

  • I can't think of a picture of God that is more opposite to Jesus.
  • Jesus gospels - rather die at the hands of enemies, than kill them.

Jesus shows:

  • Love our enemies
  • Do good to our enemies.
  • Feed our enemies,
  • Serve our enemies,
  • Pray for our enemies,

Tell us - put down the sword, turn the other cheek when we're hit.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)

that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:45)

Criteria - child of God.

It weird to think - when Jesus shows up the 2nd time - exact opposite of that.

(Jesus) "Love enemies thing? Over! I'm gonna slaughter some people!"

Jesus breaking bad

  • 1st Jesus: good mood.
  • 2nd Jesus - ticked.
  • 1st Jesus - shows nice side of God
  • 2nd Jesus - shows us the vengeful side.

The problem: If that's true: it seems like Jesus wasn't telling the whole truth the first time.

"If you've seen me, you've seen the father." (John 14:9)

"Well maybe it was just one side of him."

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (Colossians 2:9)

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

God doesn't break bad.

His mood -oesn't send him into a killing mode.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Eschatology 101: avoid any end-times schemes in which the returning One is no longer "This SAME Jesus."

  • If he's about loving enemies 1st time - loving enemies 2nd time.
  • Turning other cheek 1st time
  • If he's about self-sacrificial love 1st time - 2nd time.

If we're finding a different Jesus in revelation - clue - that we're not reading it right.

"What about the final judgement?!" There will be - final judgement

1st Jesus describes - horrific. - But the question is: "How does God bring that about?"

How does he Judge sinners?
Defeat evil?

Luckily: How did he defeat the devil? - We believe that when Jesus died on the cross, defeated Satan. He didn't have to act violently.

He just manifested the truth of who he was. And that light dispels darkness.

In defeating Satan on the cross, Jesus didn't have to go against his character. Nor will he in the end.


A book for Martyrs

"The testimony of Jesus Christ"

Word : testimony - word we get 'martyr' from. - Bear witness by laying down your life.

This book is about Jesus Christ. - Crucified.

What John is doing - taking the revelation of Jesus Christ and applies it to what the audience is currently going through. - Time of persecution. Many of them will be martyred.

Retelling story - Jesus's martyrdom, to people that will soon be martyred.

Showing them Jesus Christ in a way that applies to their life.


Pivital scene in revelation.

What we're going to talk about is the pivital scene in revelation.

It gives the interpretive key for the rest of the book.

Sets the stage for the rest of the book.

Ever watched a movie, but missed the first 15 minutes. - WTH?!

Write down: The Lion and the Lamb

Remember the overview:

  • Chapters 1-3
  • Setting scene - slightly dull
  • John - prison - patmos.
  • Apocalyptic vision
  • Jesus comes - Takes him up - see some stuff.

Chapter 4

John arrives - enter this 'Throne Room'.

Full of symbolism. - No time.

Whole scene: answering this question: what is the character of God?

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. (Revelation 5:1)

First off: the scroll. - Ancient book. Didn't bind.

Held in the right hand of God : Throughout bible / apocolyptic literature - Power/Soveignty of God.

Moses - Exodus 15 - "We beheld the right hand of God."

  • Not - Monty Python Huge hand / sky.
  • 'Power' of God.

So scroll held in right hand - Holds the secret of God's power. God's rule. - How God overcomes evil. - How he defeats his opponents. - Ultimately it's about the character of God. How he rules.

Ultimately it's about the character of God.

B/C the question is:

  • How does God rule?
  • What's his character?

Huge theme in the bible. - Beginning w/Genesis 3 - Humanity was decieved with a false picture of God.

One of the ways the enemy holds us in bondage - Keep us thinking wrong things about God.

THIS scroll will show us who God really is.


But it's sealed. - 7 seals.

Numbers mean things. - 7 - completeness. Perfection. - Completely sealed.


And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (Revelation 5:2)

Interesting: 'worthy'. You'd think - strong enough. Smart enough.

He asks a character question. Who has the character to discern the true character of God?

Our ability to understand God. - Limited by our own character.

We reflect ourselves back into the picture of God.

But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. (Revelation 5:3)

I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. (Revelation 5:4)

Cries - no one has the character to understand Gods character. - Forever a secret.

"We'll never know the character of God"

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.” (Revelation 5:5)

This elder - chapter 4 - talks about 24 elders around the throne. - Remember the numbers!

So what's up w/24?

My opinion - many scholars believe -

  • Ancient Israel - 12 sons of Jacob became the 12 tribes of Israel. (12)
  • In NT - 12 apostles - our faith - founded on that.

12+12 = 24. The 24 elders represent God's people throughout the ages. OT/NT. All the people of God.

So one elders - "I know! The Lion of the tribe of Judah!"

  • Lion - symbol - messiah - All the way back from Genesis 49.
  • It's a symbol of the kind of messiah most people were expecting.
  • Ferocious beast. - Devour enemies.
  • Make Israel soveregn nation. - Rome.
  • That's what everyone wanted.

Don't worry guys! Ferocious, powerful, vicious, messiah

Open - scroll.

And IF God's character was like that, he would be the one to open the scroll.

BUT. WATCH.

John looks:

Then I saw a Lamb (Revelation 5:6)

(tiny lamb)

looking as if it had been slain

(slaughtered, freshly slaughtered)

standing at the center of the throne,

This huge amazing scene. The lamb is in the center.

encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Creatures - chapter 4 - references back to Ezekiel - "Cherubim" - represents the angelic world.

The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Revelation 5:6b)

He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:7)

This is the pivitol scene.

Guy says "The ferocious lion can open it!" - John looks - what he sees isn't a Lion but a tiny lamb that looks like it has been freshly slaughtered.

From this point on, we read about the Lamb, not the Lion. The lion's never mentioned again.


John is doing - brilliant - take a symbol and merges it to it's opposite.

Nothing could be more opposite: Roaring Lion / Sweet slain Lamb.

Lions EAT slain little lambs.

Brilliant - almost like he's divinely inspired.

Expecting - Ferocious Lion - Actually Slain little lamb.

He's referring to Jesus Christ - who was crucified.

He's Lionlike - mighty, victorious, warrior,

But the way that he's mighty is in the way of a slain little lamb. - Self sacrificial love.

He's not a roaring Lion seeking whom he may devour. - Satan.

He IS Lionlike

  • Ferocious - Powerful love.
  • Violently - forgiving
  • Powerful - in his humility
  • Relentless - willingness to lay down his life.

Victorious. How?

  • Not - shedding blood - others
  • But - shedding - own blood.

THIS is the one - worthy to open scroll.

  • He has the character of God.
  • The lamb - shows us the nature of God's rule.

7 horns.

  • 7 symbol of perfection
  • Horn - symbol of power.

John is saying: This lamb is perfect power.

He takes the scroll for God's right hand. Perfectly shows us God's power.

In the Book of Revelation, the perfect expression of God's power is this slain little lamb.

When God flexes his muscles - Looks like a slain little lamb.

  • This is how God is powerful.
  • This is how God rules.
  • This is how God overcomes evil.

Nothing could look weaker than a slain little lamb, yet nothing is more powerful.

Throughout history - we've always assumed God has the power that we create. We've always created God in our own image.

  • Defend ourselves
  • Force people to conform
  • Lion-like power
  • Pride-Fighter

Yet, Power of:

  • Laying down your life for your enemies.
  • Forgiveness

7 eyes.

  • 7 symbol of perfection
  • Eye - symbol of wisdom.

7 horns (power) & 7 eyes (wisdom)

The lamb has perfect power and perfect wisdom.

but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ (is) the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24)


The lamb = Jesus on the cross

On the cross:

  • Where God's rule was established.
  • Where his foes were defeated.

Revelation 5 is a symbolic expression of Jesus dying on the cross.

Jesus dying on the cross:

  • The scroll - opened.
  • The secret - God's character - opened.
  • Evil - destroyed.

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. (Revelation 5:1)

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (Revelation 5:2)

But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. (Revelation 5:3)

I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. (Revelation 5:4)

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.” (Revelation 5:5)

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. (Revelation 5:6)

He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:7)

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Revelation 5:8)

And they sang a new song, saying: “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. (Revelation 5:9)

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. (Revelation 5:11)

In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12)

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:14)


John saying this - not 'theology'.

A book for Martyrs

John is saying this: not just for 'theology'. A book for Martyrs.

He's talking to 7 churches in Asia. Many, many of them are soon going to be martyred.

"Remember the cross."

  • How God is victorious.
  • When it looks like you're losing, know that you're winning.
  • When it looks like devil's winning - all the Christians are being killed. - World will be rejoicing. (Later in revelation) - B/C they think the beast has devoured the lamb. - Know that you're really winning.
  • When you die, that's not a loss.
  • You're way of winning. By being true - loving creator. By "following the lamb wherever he goes" - How John puts it.

In the end, that love conquors everything.

Encouraging people - about to be sent to their death.

NOW we understand it. Apply it to our lives.

Here's how: Instructs us to always keep our eyes on the slaughtered little lamb. - Knowing that that's God's character.

Trust in the sacrificed little lamb to be the one who shows you the scroll - God's character. HOW he rules.

Here's how it applies to us: If God runs the universe by the power of self-sacrificial love, we're called to live our life with the power of self-sacrificial love.

Close:

Ask this question:

What do you think of when you think of 'power'?

Spend a little time - opening yourself up to God - let him show you the places where you resemble to roaring ferocious lion - and not the self-sacrificing lamb.

Or maybe: spend some time with God honestly asking yourself if you even WANT to become like the lamb.

Our culture: like the lion more.


Ask God to give us the character of the slain little lamb.

  • Humble,
  • Forgiving
  • Washing - feet - others.

"Follow the lamb wherever he goes"

Serve how he served - Lead

Forgive - Love


Communion

Come back to Jesus

As they pass out - Thinking about - Lamb.

(Pass)

When you think God is a vicious lion, you'll always be partially afraid of him.

No matter where you are, what you've done - He wants to win your heart - beauty of His love.

Spend a minute - In your heart:

Be honest

Invite him in

'I'll follow the lamb wherever he goes.'

Invitation:

This is the Table, not of the church, but of the Lord.
It is made ready for those who love Him and for those who want to love Him more. So come,
You who have much faith and you who have little,
You who have been here often and you who have not been here long,
You who have tried to follow and you who have failed.
Come, because it is the Lord who invites you.
It is His will that those who want Him should meet Him here.
Come to the Table.

Take a minute - take communion - own time.