Summary: Revelation 6-7 answers some vital questions about what our journey toward glory looks like. The path is paved with tears, until we meet the one who wipes them all from our eyes!
From Crisis to Celebration
With each step into this book we see God at work in the events of history. Our text today covers the opening of the first six seals of a scroll that only Jesus can open. He alone is found worthy and he is acknowledged in heaven with worship and adoration along with Him who sits on the throne.
Last week we looked at chapters 4-5 where John tells us about his call to come up into heaven to witness the never ending worship of God. The scriptures reveal to us that those closest to the throne of God are in constant awe of his presence and continually responding in words of praise and adoration to him as they fall down and worship. In the right hand of him who sits on the throne is a seven sealed scroll. John doesn’t tell us what it means or why it is there, just that it is, and that no one is found worthy to take it and open it. No one, that is, except the Lion of Judah who is the Lamb of God who was slain. As I have thought more about this, I broke my own rules and got distracted by this scroll. Everyone else seems to have an interpretation as to the meaning of this scroll and so I’d like to take a stab at it and add my best guess to the mix. Perhaps this scroll represents the redeeming works and qualities necessary for our salvation. If it is left unopened, we are all left without hope and doomed. I don’t know. I do know that John was certainly disturbed when no one could open it, and I know that the first words of praise for Him who is worthy to open it are these: (Rev. 5:9-10)
And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
Jesus the Lamb is the only one found who has overcome! But again, don’t let the scroll get in the way of the main event: Jesus Christ IS the Lamb who is worthy and He receives worship right along with Him who sits on the throne. What this reveals about Jesus is actually quite astounding. The man of Galilee who died on Calvary is worshipped in glory alongside the Almighty God and Father in heaven. Jesus is indeed divine. What is more: Jesus also indeed shared in our flesh and blood. Jesus fulfilled all that was necessary for the redemption and salvation and justification of sinners… that would be you and me. He took all our sins upon himself and overcame them all! What is even more, Jesus has made us to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God to serve our God and rule with Him even on this earth. Jesus the victor gives us this same victory!
So… one might think that everything would be easy, right? I mean, if we are royal priests of God serving with the Almighty and the Lamb, one might think that our earthly experiences might be above trials and tribulations, right? One might think that, but one would be wrong. What follows as we see in the opening of the seals is at least this message: throughout the trials and tribulations we encounter here on this earthly pilgrimage, God is working. But that does not remove our responsibility. The challenge to us is that we must remain faithful, because there is an ultimate unending glory for all who remain true to the testimony of Jesus Christ. The assurance is that we are not left alone to make this journey. And it is a journey, a pilgrimage, a race, wilderness wandering toward a promised land. Images of which we see all through the Bible, and perhaps especially here in Revelation 6-7.
The path from here to heaven is not just bumpy, it can even be filled with danger and death.
Listen to Revelation 6 as the first six seals are opened and follow the progression of developing difficulty and trouble. Notice what it says about the saints and what has happened to them and what will happen. Finally, notice what it says about all who are unprepared for the coming wrath of Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb. You might also consider how these early Christians heard this. And particularly the Jewish Christians who Acts 21:20 says have believed and are all zealous for the Law. Many of whom are surely hoping for God to restore the fortunes of Israel as the apostles asked in Acts 1:6. These are about to experience the crushing blow of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans. This Jesus has prophesied and Revelation helps explain.