Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Reading Through The Revelation #2 (Chapters 4-5)

Revelation WrightWe continue the read-through of the Revelation in this year’s devotional read through of the General Epistles of the New Testament, accompanied by The Early Christian Letters For Everyone by N.T. Wright. In chapters 4-5 John is taken into heaven, the throne room from which God runs the universe, and brought into the counsel of God (the 24 elders) to see the true reality of who controls the situation. I am posting from my reading in the New Testament accompanied by various commentaries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book. As usual my comments are in black and quotes from the book are in blue.

This vision of who is really in control will be great encouragement to the 7 churches as they prepare to go through a great period of persecution and does the same for all persecuted churches throughout history, especially the final and great one that will take place before the lion/lamb of Judah sets things right. God's throne is at the center of all things and he rules with complete power and knowledge. All creation, physical and spiritual, acknowledge his rule and wisdom with worship.

As John’s great vision unfolds, we will see how it is that these human kingdoms have acquired their wicked, cruel power, and how it is that God’s radically different sort of power will win the victory over them. This is the victory in which the seven letters were urging the churches to claim their share. We now discover how that victory comes about. Revelation 4.1-6

Revelation sets out the delicate but decisive balance. All creation worships God; we humans are called to worship him with mind as well as heart, recognizing that he is worthy of all praise as the creator of all things. 50, Revelation 4.7-11

A sealed scroll is introduced in chapter 5 with a challenge to open it. The scroll probably represents God's plan to set the world right or a "title deed" representing his right to rule. Only the lion of Judah is qualified as the God-Man to open the scroll and complete God's plan to rule through a "son of man." Surprisingly, when John looks at the lion he sees a murdered lamb. The victory was won over evil by the loving self-sacrifice of the Son of God. This results in all creation praising the lamb that he is qualified to rule and he is able to set things right.

The victory won by the lion is accomplished through the sacrifice of the lamb, and in no other way. But we are also to understand that what has been accomplished by the lamb’s sacrifice is not merely the wiping away of sin for a few people here and there. The victory won by the lamb is God’s lion-like victory, through his faithful Israel-in-person, through his obedient humanity-in-person, over all the forces of corruption and death, over everything that would destroy and obliterate God’s good, powerful and lovely creation. 54, Revelation 5.1-7

We discover, and celebrate, the divinity of the lion-lamb Messiah only when we find ourselves caught up to share his work as the royal priesthood, summing up creation’s praises before him but also bringing his rescuing rule to bear on the world. 59, Revelation 5.8-14

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