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Wednesday: Worthy is the Lamb — 28 Comments

  1. I remember the first time I heard Handel's Messiah. It was in 1963 at the first Avondale College graduation I attended. The chorus that impressed me the most was not the "Hallelujah Chorus", but "Worthy is the Lamb"

    Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,
    and hath redeemed us to God by His blood,
    to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength,
    and honor, and glory, and blessing.

    Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,
    and hath redeemed us to God, to God by His blood,
    to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength,
    and honor, and glory, and blessing.

    Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him, be unto him
    that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,

    Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him, be unto him
    that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,

    For ever and ever and ever and ever. Amen.

    I was a country lad, exposed for the first time to the sound of a full orchestra and large choir combining to give an experience that went far beyond auditory stimulation. There was something in the simplicity of the words, and the depth and power of the music that captured the essence of what John experienced.

    John had been Jesus' friend on earth and now he was transported into Jesus' place in both history and the universe. The transition from an itinerant country preacher who was martyred to the ruler of the universe was an explosion of ideas and understanding that moved John to tears. It makes the lamb/lion motif used for this series of lessons very meaningful.

    What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Pet 3:11

  2. The four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb.- is this bowing down touching the earth with their foreheads as our Muslim brothers do or is it kneeling down as we do?

    Each having a harp... This passage started the idea that people in heaven will have harps. Is it true or only the four living creatures and the 24 elders?

    The combined worship of the father and the lamb is a strong testimony of the deity of Jesus.

    Will the devil and his followers join in this worship? No. Can God force people to this worship? No.

    So,this kind worship that involves every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea,is possible at the time of the end when sin and sinners will have been destroyed in the lake of fire.

    • I wonder why, when Revelation uses so much symbolism, the “lake of fire” is typically interpreted literally?

      • It is symbolic too! You see, God is consuming fire Heb 12:29. So, the lake of glass as though mingled with fire (Rev 15:2) really is a reflection of the glory of God!

        John is standing on this end of the earth, the lake of glass in intervening between him and the throne, where God is sitting, but God's glory reflects off this sea of glass.

        There is the second lake of fire into which death and hades shall be cast into. Light casts out darkness (2 Cor 4:6), and God, consuming fire, therefore consumes sin in sinners and God, who in His very essence is life, consumes death! He also consumes hades/ the grave, by consuming death.

    • We might ask, What part did culture play in helping John understand enough of what he saw to be able to write it down? There are many Bible verses in which people bowed with their faces to the ground. It was a sign of great respect.

  3. Jesus Christ picks up the scroll and sits down at the right side of God to rule the universe because he is worthy, and he accepts the worship of all because he is divine. This is ultimate proof of Jesus Christ's Divinity and equality with God the Father.

  4. The EGW quote from Tuesday's lesson said the scroll contains the entire history of the church. I really liked the way today's lesson built on that: "When Christ takes the scroll, it shows He holds the destiny of all humanity in His hands."

    Christ symbolically holds the entire history of the church at that moment, reminding everyone He's been in charge the whole time. That's a great mental image.

  5. “You are worthy to take the scroll,
    And to open its seals;
    For You were slain,
    And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
    Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
    10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
    And we shall reign on the earth.”

    You are worthy to take the scroll, why?
    You were slain - He who was one with the Father became separated for the redemption of humanity
    Have redeemed us to God - the great gulf of separation had ended in Christ Jesus
    By your blood - the life of every creature is its blood Lev 17:14
    Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation - God is not respecter of person
    And have made us kings and priests to our God - clay pots becomes the kings and priests to our God
    And we shall reign on the earth - God himself shall dwell among men on this earth

  6. Once again I see as this lesson implied on Monday that the four beasts are some exalted beings or angels. This is based upon the use of a faulty translation. The received text makes it clear they too are redeemed from the earth.

    “8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts AND four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of THEM harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 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; 10 And hast made US unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)

    Only those who have gone through the trials of this earth, the Great Controversy, have a song of redemption to sing, not some exalted being, or angel. Also as you can see they too have been made kings and priests.

    AS I've researched some of our BEST commentaries, Uriah Smith's book "Daniel And Revelation," SN Haskells' "The Story of the Seer of Patmos," Mrs. White's Comments, "Revelation Reveals Jesus" by Kenneth Matthews Jr. they ALL are in agreement.

    The four faces represent four different characteristics of Christ! AND those four faces are found representing the tribes of Israel AS they were laid out around the wilderness sanctuary by their ensigns! Judah to the east - a Lion. Ephraim to the west - an Ox. Reuben to the south - man and Dan to the north - an eagle!

    Could it be those four creatures represent God's people who finally have the character of Christ perfectly manifested in them?

    • Your name is Daniel. The tribe of Dan could not be restricted to the land they were assigned and asked for more on the North side of the others. See all the things named for "Dan" as a result of their expanding influence in the world... Danube river, Danmark... etc.

      We are called to exercise our talents and glorify God in the process. Romans 12, Eph 4, 1Cor 12. So also we see in the heights of Heaven, that we who are looking for that great day of His appearing have pressed toward the throne of grace!

  7. Though John sees this vision decades after Jesus has ascended to heaven, having once laid down His life for sinners, John is shown the change in heaven following the acceptance of this sacrifice, thus the “new” song being sung by all creatures. Notice how widespread this praise and thanksgiving is found, even on this earth. But as we look around, do we see such praise and worship of Jesus here? Can any sing this song if not following the Lamb where He has led His people through His counsels and testimonies faithfully brought to them? Can we praise and worship the Lord while the stain of sin is on our hands? Doesn't this scene that John is witnessing show us what manner of persons we ought to be on this earth and inspire us to unsullied devotion?

    Every subject given to us in the Revelation is for our eternal interest and thus our edification and salvation. Though we might marvel at the scene depicted, discuss and analyze it's meaning, does our distant proximity leave us less inclined to “sing” unceasingly with the heavenly hosts?

  8. in comparison to the comments made yesterday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who said "...the world is going to end in 12 years..." from the affects of climate change....the words of Revelation provide me comfort and confidence in my future in the New Earth with the LORD.

  9. Phil,I have read your comments.I do not think that we believe in a literal lake of fire.Do you not believe that one day God would destroy this world by fire? I do not believe in cause and effect.I believe what the Bible says that fire will come down from heaven and destroy the wicked.

    • Thanks for your perspective and your question. I provide the following dialogue, but I am not trying to get you to adopt my position. I am just sharing what I am learning.

      I personally know of many people who believe in a literal lake of fire and that God will literally throw sinners into it at the end of time. I personally actually only know of a handful who don't believe that.

      With regard to your question about God one day destroying the world by fire, I personally no longer believe that God destroys anything. It is contrary to His nature (Ex 34:6,7 but according to the original languages, not the English mis-translations). God doesn't stop destruction at this point in history, but God is not the source of destruction - the Kingdom of Darkness is. Jesus statement in John 10:10 is rather blunt - stealing, killing and destruction are exclusively ascribed to "the thief", while God/Jesus are exclusively linked to abundant life. If God does do some destroying under some circumstances, Jesus would not have been entirely truthful in John 10:10.

      As to precisely what process will transpire from the dissolution of this current world and the recreation of a new heaven and a new earth, I can only speculate. But I do know that any destruction will be the effect/result of sin and any restoration will be the work of God. That is their respective nature and character.

      I absolutely believe in cause and effect. Cause and effect is a relationship that is innately embedded in all natural laws. For example, if I were to stop eating (cause), what would be the inevitable effect?

      As for fire coming down from heaven, that term is often linked by commentators to lightening. On the one hand, some would believe that God sends lightening. Yet we know from science that lightening is the result of the right atmospheric conditions. We have a saying "all hell broke loose". I believe this saying actually has a rational basis in that when the 4 winds of strife (Rev 7:1) are finally and completely released, nature will (under the influence of sin) go into chaos and basically tear itself apart: all hell breaking loose.

      Please feel free to respond further if you wish...

      • Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

        Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

        Isa 29:6 Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.

        Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

        While I am not about to pour scorn upon your idea, for it does seem to have merit, there is a sense throughout scripture that God indeed visits His judgements upon wickedness and uses fire as His medium of preference in many cases, Sodom and the cities of the plain one example, and ...

        2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
        2Pe 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

        ...being examples.

        • Thanks for your response Brendan.

          True, the Bible does have references to fire as you noted in your first group of verses. People tend to assume this references are to literal fire. Have a look at, for example, the continuance of Isa 33:14 where the question is answered in verses 15 and 16. What do you notice?

          With regard to the events such as Sodom and the cities of the plain, it is assumed that it is God sending the fire. While this is the most popular view within Christianity, scriptural interpretation also supports an alternative view whereby the default state in a sin-infected world is chaos as opposed to order and death and destruction as opposed to life.

          For example, Rev 7:1 talks about 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth - that is, restraining inherent destructive forces already in the earth (under sin). God is restraining the default state of destruction, not creating it. And what happens when restraint is released? See Rom 1:18,24,26,28.

          Note also Jn 3:16 and 2 Pet 3:9. Note the use of the word perish rather than the phrase have to be destroyed. The Greek Word for perish means to die away from conveying the idea of dying as a result of disconnection from something.

          This, we run into problems when we literalise what is presented as symbolic, when we read the Bible too superficially, and/or when we simply accept Biblical translations without questioning the the word choices of the translators (translation is an interpretive process and as such is influenced by the world view of the translators, many of whom were trained in law and the underpinning world view and assumptions associated with that discipline.

          Your further thoughts and responses?

          • 2 Pe 3:7,10, symbolic? Would that be an assumption or a clear and perfect interpretation? If God's glory alone will melt the very elements, will He need to hide is glory so the new earth will not also melt away from the fervent heat?

            Using Ex 34:6,7 to prove God does not destroy seems to be an incorrect application if other passages of scripture are considered as well as Ex 34:7, where God states concerning Himself; "and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation]."

            Did Elijah bring down the fire upon the captains and their 50 soldiers without the aid of Divine power? Did God approve? Does scripture only symbolize the "fire" that fell on Sodom and other cities of the plain? Have you considered Jude's comment in verse 7? How is Satan to be reduced to "ashes"(Eze 28:18) if God does not intervene, as He claims He will? Phil, you have much to explain don't you, given your comments above? Don't you need more than one or two verses to overthrow the many witnesses of scripture on this subject?

            p.s. those who argue the wicked will live eternally, and not die, use the same reasoning you are sharing here.

          • Wind, chaotic circumstances, etc. to cause the world to disappear? The effects of sin remains. External fire, no trace of sin will remain. For eternity, there will be no sin. I believe in in literal fire s final judgement for sin eradication. All texts above by Brendan are literal affirming John's message.

          • “Phil, you have much to explain don't you, given your comments above? Don't you need more than one or two verses to overthrow the many witnesses of scripture on this subject?”

            Yes, Robert, you are correct on both counts. I do have much to explain and I do have more than a couple of verses. If you put together what I have been saying over time, you will see that I am building a picture that is much bigger than the segment I have shared above. However, there are time and writing space limits and at the end of the day, perhaps all I can do in this forum is to spark someone’s interest to study more deeply for themselves rather than just take traditional views of things without critically appraising as the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

          • Mmmmm, this deciding to interpret symbolically or literally is a thorny one huh. I have had such discussions on other sites with non-Adventists, particularly dispensationalists who take many things very literally and end up with many confusing conclusions. While I can see that volcanic activity may certainly account for much destruction, all permitted by a sovereign God withdrawing His protection from a rebellious race, I cannot help but to harbour an expectation of direct action by the Lord Himself and being a witness to God's just wrath upon sinful mankind. The plagues of Egypt for example were not ordered by natural causes. And while the flood was contributed to by a great springs erupting from beneath, the overall magnitude of the event speaks volumes of supernatural intervention above and beyond what nature provided...and I see the future destruction of the wicked, particularly at the end of the millennium and at the second coming, being of likewise nature...direct from heaven.

          • Thanks Brendan for your response.

            "I cannot help but to harbour an expectation of direct action by the Lord Himself and being a witness to God's just wrath upon sinful mankind."

            Hypothetically, if you got to 'Judgment Day' and this didn't happen, what would bother you most about that?

          • Phil, have you considered that perhaps some of the "tradition" is not incorrect? (I agree that much has been incorrect) Do you imply that any not agreeing with you are not studying "to show [themselves] approved unto God"? Also, do you assume that your understanding will never grow past this idea if you continue to search the word of God with all your heart?

            Think about this: God has created a physical universe, which sin has effected. Peter points out that as God used water(real, not symbolic) to cleanse the world once, so will He use fire for it's final cleansing. Is this claim of Peter also symbolic? Is it possible that God's glory IS a consuming fire? Most fire will never be able to melt the very elements, which is why many were skeptical of the Bible, until nuclear "fire" was discovered. Well, God is the source of even nuclear fire, which, from our sun gives life to our world. That same sun that gives life to a delicate flower could also scorch an entire world by it's energy.

            However, I believe the real point of this thinking is the reality of God's part in sin's eradication at last. I have concluded that you are saying "God has no part" in sin's destruction(or have I misunderstood?). What has God said about it?

            (p.s. If I have not mentioned this to you before, I have been through this decades ago when some were claiming "God does/will not destroy". So yes, you got my attention when making similar claims.)

  10. Why is the Lamb worthy because He was slain, yet Peter or Stephen who were slain are not worthy?

    Jesus not only was slain, but had all power available to Him, the others did not.

    What did Jesus do with this “power” and “authority”? Did this “power” corrupt Him? Have you heard that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

    Power corrupts those who operate on Satan’s principles of fear, selfishness and imposed law with coercive inflicted punishments. And Satan has alleged that God is just like this, requiring sacrifice from others, but not willing to sacrifice Himself.

    “In the light of the Saviour's life, the hearts of all, even from the Creator to the prince of darkness, are revealed. Satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of Christ reveals the Father's heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Jeremiah 29:11. {DA 57.1}

    Jesus’ death reveals that not only is God willing to sacrifice Himself for the good of His creatures but that all power does not corrupt Him. That He would even allow His creatures to torture and kill Him rather than use His power to stop them.

    In another scripture we’re told that Jesus knew that the “Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” John 13:3-5 NLV

    What did Jesus do when all power was given Him? He washed dirty feet symbolizing the washing away of sin. What do you think Jesus does in Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 & 5 when all authority is given Him? He is in His heavenly sanctuary and begins washing away sin.

    Does this mean He begins removing recorded history? No! He cleanses hearts and minds preparing us to meet God face to face. This is what Jesus does with His authority or power.

  11. *Worthy is the Lamb.* He has all the records of our life since birth to the first phase of our death. The wrong and right deeds of our lifestyle are contained in the Scroll. The seven seals representing the seven churches throughout the history records every suffering Christians went through due to their faith in Jesus Christ.
    The righteous will be with Jesus as the jury during the judgement time. The scroll will be opened to provide evidences as the righteous people will be witnesses.c

  12. Interesting how the author of this lesson makes reference to the universe but then he or she also indicates that there is apparently a throne room somewhere out there. The Apostle John mentions absolutely nothing about a throne room. Yes he mentions a "Throne," but then he also mentions 24 more thrones around that one for the 24 elders, then he mentions many, many angels were there too. This is why I personally feel that the universe is God's Throne or throne room if you please. I mean really, how can there be a "throne room," and then also be 24 other thrones around that too? One main throne and then 24 more thrones around it makes no sense to me for it to be a room at that point. Now for this imagery to refer to the universe makes more sense to me.

    • Pete, as you said, the vision of the throne scene is a symbol of the universe. There is, of course, the mention of a door in Rev 4:1 and the implication that John was taken through that door, so it is not surprising that some people refer to what he saw as a throne room. However as I have said on previous occasions, these visions are not about heavenly geography but are a representation and explanation of the good/evil battle and the plan of salvation. Please understand the apocalyptic metaphor.

    • if I can imagine a throne, then why not a very large room with 25 thrones in it? The sanctuary as Moses was instructed to build was built upon a pattern. That pattern is the one to which Jesus went upon His resurrection. There are two thrones in that sanctuary, the throne of grace or intercession in the first room also called the Holy place. It is to this throne that we daily send our prayers to ask God to intervene in our daily struggles, not only for ourselves but for those other fellow pilgrims. The second throne is the throne of judgment, symbolized by the shekinah glory over the ark of the covenant which contains the law, sits in the Most Holy Place. Above the law, above all reproach, our prayers find their fulfillment in His judging of the wrongs done on Earth. Two thrones. But we see an open curtain in Hebrews 9, and the priest is ushered into the MHP with a censor, skipping the altar of incense. This only happens on the day of atonement. The preparation for the MHP room happens in the HP, which is a very big and important room/process.


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