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Sabbath: Worthy is the Lamb — 29 Comments

  1. Take the time to read Revelation 4 and 5 at the beginning of this week. I always find a reading of the whole passage under study sets the scene for the detailed study. If we lose sight of the big picture we often struggle with the detail.

    Are you up to the challenge?

    And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Rev 5:13

    • Hi Maurice

      This has always been my way of studying the lesson.
      I like to read all the scripture before going into the lesson. My wife always laughs at me for this but I believe there is value in it.

  2. Christ is at the center of this great controversy.
    It is very interesting Elder not an angel who proclaims the truth of Christ.
    Perhaps the significance is: they are (we are) the closest kinship to Christ.
    Tribe of Judah, root of David establishes his earthly relationship
    has prevailed - these words tipped eternity in the favor of the saints
    Ecclesiastes 7:20
    20 Surely there is no righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
    Thank you Jesus for overcoming this world.
    1 Peter 2:22
    22“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.”
    Thank God in Christ, there is no sin therefore, he is worthy to open the scroll.

    • I've been thinking a lot about overcoming. Jesus had persecution, misunderstanding, stigma, constant harrassment from His archrival and the church leadership which He had to overcome. But surely more difficult would have been His closest friends and their "wisdom." eg. Peter: "This (His core mission) will never happen to you." (Mat 16:21-23).
      How many friends have said to you, "don't let it spoil your relationship with Jesus," when you're busy addressing a conflict or confronting evil in the community?
      So I think overcoming sin is one aspect. Overcoming well wishers may be the other. Many followers unfollowed Jesus when He spoke cutting truth.

  3. The lion.

    1. God is described with a number of leonine features.

    - He is strong Isaiah 38:13.

    - He is fearless Isaiah 31:4.

    - He is stealthy in coming upon His prey. Jer 49:19.

    - He is frightening. Hosea 11:10.

    - Destructive jer 25:38; lam 3:10; Hosea 5:14.

    2. The lion figure is also used to describe Satan.

    -to be delivered from Satan. 2 Tim 4:17.

    -roaring seeking to devour. 1 pet 5:8.

    • I believe it is saying Jesus is worthy because He was slain - that is, He successfully accomplished His mission of redemption.

      I believe the word "worthy" here refers to Jesus (alone) being validly 'qualified' and able to undertake the roles being referred to. How was He worthy? Because He is the only one who reunited the severed connection between humanity and divinity that was/is essential to enable abundant, eternal life (Jn 10:10). Jesus was/is/always will be both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

    • Jesus is worth because of WHY He died, and it's eternal effect for all who will be saved, and includes the unfallen worlds who also were shown the love of God has they could have otherwise never known it. This was the ultimate price for ensuring a sinless eternity and the eradication of sin, hopefully from our hearts.

      (note: according to inspired counsel, the rebellion was about to break out on nearly every other world, then Jesus stood and said He would die in the place of Adam and Eve. Can you begin to imagine the impact of this?! From that point on it was Christ, restoring truth to a universe.)

  4. Actually, I find the letters to the 7 churches filled with symbols: lukewarm, white stone, Jezebel, candle stick, eye-salve, etc. In these next two chapters we are shown the Divine Source of this look into future events, and the One by which they are revealed. Look at the unfallen and the redeemed beings that surround the Throne of God, and notice their constant praise and thanksgiving. Doesn't this speak to the vital importance of the scroll to be opened, along with John's weeping when convinced the seals might never be opened on this most important Revelation from God. Jesus, once dead(in our place) and now alive in the midst of God's throne, is the one found worthy to “shew unto His servants”, and as in His earthly life/death/resurrection, seeks only the best for His people and their eternal salvation. Could any doubt the great importance of this study into what has been revealed for our benefit? What in this life could be of greater importance to the servants of God, especially at this hour?

    If it is our intention to one day dwell among those depicted in this great scene, shouldn't our interest equal theirs, especially being among those who will be directly affected by these events that “must shortly come to pass”?

  5. “The vision of chapters 4 and 5 takes places in heaven’s throne room. The scene of chapters 4 and 5 symbolically portrays God’s control of history and of the plan of salvation.” {Q1 L4 Worthy, Sabbath afternoon}

    In what way does God control history and in what way does God not control history? Are people puppets on strings that God pulls and makes them do what He wants?

    There is a difference between God being in control of history and God being in control of the plan of salvation? Why? Because the plan of salvation is God’s initiative, God’s action, God’s intervention and thus originates and flows out from God. It is God governing Himself.

    While God is not in control of what the people are doing, He remains in control of all the laws upon which the universe operates, that enable them to do what they do. One of those laws, is the law of liberty—God grants His intelligent beings genuine freedom—even if that freedom is a violation of His design, law, will and purpose.

    So, God is in control of reality—the laws and protocols upon which it all operates, but does not control the actual choices of people.

    “God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan's constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience, and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God."{GC88 591.3}

    So, in what way is God in control?
    • In control of Himself, His actions, designs, methods and the sustaining of His laws
    • Because His laws are the laws upon which reality exist, as people pass beyond the point of responding to the movements of God (truth and love) and God releases them to their choice, they suffer the results of being out of harmony with God and His design for life and ultimately, all deviations from God’s design (sin) will be eliminated and God’s perfection restored through God’s methods of truth, love and freedom.

    • Hi James, I am bit confused. I understand what you are saying about God being "in control Himself, His actions, designs, methods and the sustaining of His laws". But is the world left to run on its own at the desires and pleasures of the rulers of the earth? When does this all-powerful God step in and see to it that what He says the future is, happens exactly as He sees it? Is this predestination? Is the future already written?

      • Hi Georgia, thanks for asking that question. And I am going to add some questions and then a wrap-up statement.

        As we read about the rise and fall of nations as foretold in Scripture, does that mean God made it happen this way? Does it mean that the rulers of Babylon had no desire for conquest, for riches, for domination of others, but God inspired and moved on their hearts to incite them to war, pillaging, rape, killing, enslaving and abusing others as all nations did during war?

        So, if God did not inspire them to such acts, what do we mean by God being in control of history?

        But what about human history—does God control it? Has God made history happen the way it has happened? Was God in control of Adam and Eve’s rebellion into sin? Was God in control of the violence before the flood and the refusal of all but 8 to get on the ark? Was God in control of David’s seduction of Bathsheba and murder of Uriah? Was God in control of Egypt enslaving the Hebrews?

        Salvation is not forced upon us against our will. If
        we choose to oppose and resist God’s purpose, we shall
        be lost. Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination
        in no way exclude human liberty. Nowhere does Paul, or
        any other Bible writer, suggest that God has predestined
        certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost,
        regardless of their own choice in the matter.

  6. Thanks brothers and Sr for sharing. Indeed chapter 4 and 5 offers a new Horizon to us as believers to reflect on who christ really is.

  7. Continuing to extend the point you are raising, James, I wonder if there is a need within Christianity to consider more deeply what kind of 'control' God has/exerts.

    What do we know? We know that God's ways are "higher" than our ways (Isa 55:9) which suggests they could well be conceptually less rather than more similar to ours.

    Could it be that God is in control, but that the principles and laws of reality are the direct mechanism of control? If this is the case, could it be that we mistakenly subscribe to God as 'controlling' things - when it is instead reality that is doing so because that is the only way that works?

    Some people might see this as somehow limiting God's omnipotence because they are more used to an 'absolute' omnipotence. But I would propose that such 'absolute' omnipotence is in fact reflective of an autocratic and authoritarian conceptualisation of God. Rather, I would suggest that God operates in harmonious accordance with reality - a conceptualisation that is reflective of authoriative view of God (Mk 1:22).

    If so, this would mean that we are predestined by the effects of the reality we choose to pursue, rather than by God controlling an externally already written future.

    • When I studied logic I came across the notion of a logical contradiction - a situation that cannot occur because one predicate must always contradict the other. Consider this statement. God created a stone so heavy that he could not lift it. Obviously, which every way you look at it you end up limiting God's omnipotence. Or you have to accept that it is a logical contradiction - a statement that makes no sense because it can never be true.

      If we now extend that idea of a logical contradiction to God's creation of life. consider the statement: God created intelligent life without giving that life form the power of free choice. This statement too, is a logical contradiction. If he limits free choice he has not created intelligent life.

      That situation has implications for the notion of God's control. If God is controlling then he is limiting free choice. That is why we need to have a very clear understanding of the difference between "God in control", and "God controlling". Do I need to explain that more or is the difference obvious?

      • Thanks for your input Maurice.

        I agree that God is not controlling because if He was, that would be limiting free choice. And it would be against His nature - logical contradiction.

        I would venture to say that most people (Christian and non-Christian alike) actually conceptualise God as controlling - particularly with respect to 'subtle' expressions of such.

        I would agree that God is ultimately and Sovereignly in control - in the best possible way. And I would propose that at the same time reality exerts a controlling influence for good if I live in harmony with it - or for 'evil' if I live out of harmony with it. And while God operates in harmony with reality, I do not believe that this, by extension, makes God controlling. This would be an example of God's 'higher' way of being even if it may look like a logical contradiction.

        My reason for raising this consideration is that there are things that people ascribe to God that I would propose are instead due to the way reality operates. And we live within a very complex reality that is an interaction between abundant life reality (God's reality) and a sin-infected reality (Satan's reality). People often ask or wonder, "Why is this happening to me?" - meaning why is God causing or at least allowing this to happen.

        The realisation that we live within a context of complex reality, I believe, helps us reduce the 'fantasy' element that is often part of our (mistaken) expectations of God. And by replacing 'fantasy' with awareness and acceptance of the existence of reality, our disappointments in God can be reduced and our faith and capacity for perseverance increased via knowing and accepting that what we are facing is something we unfortunately have to go through because that is how reality operates - even when God is in control.

  8. God is absolutely in control (Daniel 4:35). Even with Job, God told satan "you can go so far but no farther." This is not to say that God controls our choices. But even our choices are limited by God.

    If God is not in control of the universe, who or what is?

    • So, I wonder, if God is absolutely in control, why did He even allow Satan to have any impact on Job at all? Would not a God who is in absolute control be able to say "no" to Satan in the first instance?

      And the suggestion that God limits our choices seems problematic. If it is God that limits our choices, then God is limiting freedom. And that is precisely what Satan accused God of doing in Gen 3:5.

      Or consider 2 Pet 3:9 where God is not willing that any should perish but that instead all come to repentance. Yet we know that this is not going to happen. So God is willing, but He can't control it so that it turns out that way.

      Does it bother us to consider the possibility that God may not be in absolute control of everything (especially under a sin-infected reality), yet at the same time be Sovereign over all?Is our faith tied to a God who controls reality, or to a God who in His Omniscience and Omnipotence works with, in and through reality?

      Your further thoughts?

      • Apparently to some the “god” who is in *absolute control* would not create a Lucifer/Satan or an Adam, knowing that each would rebel against Himself. God told Satan to have a go at all that Job possessed *but* his life. Who is in control there? God is, there, proving and confirming Job’s faith, which is from God. God is the Creator. He is in absolute control.

        • Thanks Kenny.

          Can you please explain a bit more detail how God allowing Satan to have a go at Job is evidence that God is in absolute control? I am having difficulty seeing why God would give Satan any access to Job at all if He didn’t have to - and therefore because He ‘had to’ would suggest the existence of something that is not under His direct/absolute control?

      • How could the Creator not be in control(while not being controlling)? Any amount of knowledge concerning human physiology or astronomy would tell a believer that God is always active in our existence. Our world follows a decreed course, never straying from the life-giving influence of the sun and moon. Nothing "consists" without God's direct involvement. Yet...He allows free will for those formed in His image.

        Satan was allowed to test/prove Job, but before Lucifer was formed, God saw the day when Satan would bring calamity to Job, who's faith was unshakable. Satan played into God's hands, who sees the end from the beginning, yet without His manipulation of anyone against their will.

        In all of Job's experience, God is glorified, and believers are encouraged. God has promised that He can be found by all who search with all their heart. The promise to the "pure in heart" is that they shall "see" God.

        • So why could God not disallow Satan to have any access to Job? Why did He have to allow Satan partial access?

          • A false claim was made(by Satan), and who better to prove it wrong than Satan himself? God is wise beyond even Satan's comprehension. Notice who it is that brought Job into the conversation! After Enoch and who knows how many others(according to Ellen), Satan should have known better, but sin blinds everyone who yields to temptation.

            Years ago, as children, we would play outside with the neighborhood kids. One day, a neighbor tried to pick a fight with my older brother, who towered above this kid. My brother would not give in to the temptation to silence this foolish boy, but only said; "my brother(ME!) could beat you up!". So guess who got all this kid's attention for the next week, trying to pick a fight with ME??! (Thanks brother!!!! HA!) No, the fight never happened because I had learned something by then, and truly, "a soft answer turns away wrath".

            So Job got in Satan's cross-hairs because God had pointed out how righteous Job was. Satan played into God's hand and was proven/exposed for what he was. While it took the cross of Jesus to seal the verdict of all the unfallen worlds, that episode with Job was surely a turning point for many. How wise is our Creator/Redeemer?

            Do we still wonder why this is one of the first books of the bible to be written? How vital is this whole ordeal with Job for getting to know God through the lives of those who trust in Him as Job did? I am grateful for all I have learned(so far) from this wonderful narrative, and will keep searching it for more.

            Bottom line in regard to your question Phil: God wants to save everyone, and this story is one of many open windows that declare the glory of God to any willing to search for Him with all their heart. How could God pass up this opportunity? The question now is: am I faithful enough to prove the love of God to others, and disarm the false accusations of the devil?

      • We need to think a little differently, to refrain from being caught in a loop of God in control vs freedom to choose. Is He in absolute control? Depends on what we think absolute control is. Reading Nebuchadnezzar’s acnowledgement of God it would seem to me that God is in control no matter if we make the choice to surrender to Him, turn to Him, to love Him, OR to turn back to self, love self, thus surrendering to Satan. Nebuchadnezzar choose God, he could have chosen a path back to sin, and and God is still in control. Nebuchadnezzar came to the realization, and acknowledgement of God in control. No God will not make our choices for us, He will though give us the power to follow through with the choice to follow Him all the way. Though the heavens seem to fall He is still there for us. Great is His faithfulness, even unto us. We have hope. Lamentations 3:22-26 “It is because of the LORD ’ S lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul; “Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word]. It is good that one waits quietly For the salvation of the LORD.”
        ‭‭LAMENTATIONS‬ ‭3:22-26‬ ‭AMP‬‬
        Now you don’t need to be rescued from seven years of eating grass to realize God’s miracoulus provisions. Is God in control. Absolutely. Your prospective of His control depends on wheither you chose life or death.

    • Some thoughts to ponder:

      God could have exercised absolute control and removed Satan as soon as Satan sinned/rebelled.

      Had he done so, doubt would have existed as a potential option in the angels' minds as to whether Satan was in fact 'on to something' and God didn't like it. Think about it: Satan makes an allegation/insinuation against God that God is being arbitrary and 'pooooofffff', Satan is suddenly gone. What conclusion are the observing angels to draw?

      So God could have exercised absolute control and made the angels mind's so they didn't doubt or that they had amnesia for the 'Satan-gate' event.

      Get the point? Absolute control is not something that can exist in a freedom-based reality.

      However, because of the beneficent/self-renouncing nature and character of God and the way that nature utilises Omniscience and Omnipotence, I see that it is entirely consistent that God is 'absolutely' (ie, without question) in control even though He cannot be in absolute control.

      Though this might seem like nothing more than semantics, I can say that it makes a huge difference when talking with survivors of childhood (and beyond) abuse. In response to the inevitible question as to why a loving God would allow abuse to happen to innocent children, the above perspective explains why, in a sin-infected world, God cannot stop abuse of the innocent at this point in eternal time.

      This is also related to the idea of how sin will end - by God destroying it or by God releasing the restraint that He has placed upon the natural self-destructive and self-annihilating trajectory of sin since its inception on this planet back in Gen 3. More about that when we get to Rev 7:1.

      The main point is that these details are vital when we relate to hurting and broken people who are trying to make sense of why very bad things have happened to them or to those they love.

      • Absolutely no disagreement with this general comment on God's wisdom and desire for all His creatures to know the truth about Him and to realize WHY sin is...sin. No one is benefited from sinning, even if they gain the whole world because of it. The life God has designed for His creatures will be far more meaningful, thrill all with joy, and provide perfect peace, more than a life of sin ever could, which always leaves pain, sorrow and death in it's wake, where peace is never found.

        Whether angels or men, any just action from God without the perfect understanding He has, could easily cause doubt. This is why all who are redeemed from this earth will sit in the judgment of the lost, where every question will find a perfect and just answer.

        I have recently come to believe that the final execution of God's "wrath" may be the "silence in heaven about the space of half an hour"(Rev 8:1; 20:9). Who among the sinless angels and the saved would be singing for joy over the final and eternal death of those who would not forsake sin?

        • "Who among the sinless angels and the saved would be singing for joy over the final and eternal death of those who would not forsake sin?"

          What you have said resonates deeply with me. To me, what you have suggested aligns more closely with the response of those motivated by self-renouncing love compared with those motivated by a desire to see that the unrighteous 'get what they deserve' so that things are 'fair'.

          • The condition you often describe as the life transformed, is the result of having the law written on one's heart.

            It's not a mere memorization, but an activation of the foundation principle in the daily life. If God is not willing for any to perish, those who have partaken of the Divine Nature will feel the same.

  9. Since God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and without beginning or end....alfa and omega, then He personally make decisions consistent with His plans for the government of the universe. Obvious the sin problem is but a blink in time, but a necessary blink to secure for the rest of universal time the fact that God is love, and has our best interests at heart!!!!


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