Revelation 5: Where the church belongs.

“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 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 or 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 its seven seals.’Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre 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. 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. 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.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.’

11 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. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honour and glory and praise!’

13 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 honour and glory and power,
for ever and ever!’

14 The four living creatures said, ‘Amen’, and the elders fell down and worshipped.” NIV

Where does the church belong?

  1. At the feet of Jesus: We have seen previously that ‘’the four living creatures and the twenty four elders’’ represent creation and the church respectively. Here we see both the created order, and the whole people of God down at the feet of Jesus (8a); falling before ‘’the Lamb’’ who was slain – the One who has triumphed and is ‘’worthy’’ to open the scroll. History is in His Hands. Do we have any idea how big Jesus is, or how small and weak we are? Do we get it that we belong with John at the feet of Christ? (1:17)
  2. In the place of praise: ‘’Each one had a harp…’’ (8b). We get to join in with the ‘’new song’’ (9, 10; see 1:5b, 6).
  3. In the place of prayer: ‘’…and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints’’ (8b). As someone put it, there is an umbilical link between earth and heaven. The ordinary, every day prayers of believers make a difference. They do reach heaven. Be encouraged. Consider these quotes: ‘…the prayers of God’s people play a vital part in God’s governing of the world.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.850. ‘Those are your prayers in the bowl of incense! Isn’t that awesome? We get to be part of this unbelievable scene.’ Francis Chan: ‘Letters to the church’, p.40. ‘If the veil of the world’s machinery were lifted off, how much we would find is done in answer to the prayers of God’s children.’ Robert Murray M’Cheyne.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus for shedding your blood, to buy an international people for God. Thank you that I’m a part of it, with work to do today, and a glorious hope for tomorrow.