Summary: This message from Revelation 4-5 comes in 3 parts and is threaded throughout the service interspersed with music and responsive readings (some of which are included in the sermon)
Revelation Series #3 From Rev. 4-5
PART 1: Revelation 4 - 5:7
THE LION AND THE LAMB
Revelation 4 and 5 describe an amazing Worship Service in Heaven. Instead of just talking about this Heavenly Worship Service today, we’re also going to JOIN IN WORSHIP. Today we will share in Apostle John’s heavenly vision and take our places around the heavenly throne. We will sing the songs of the angels and of the redeemed. We will worship the Father and the Lamb upon the Throne. Let us turn our attention to the text in Revelation 4 and 5.
Revelation chapter 4 is the beginning of the Apostle John’s Heavenly adventure: After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Revelation 4:1
If you’ve ever tried to imagine what Heaven is like, Revelation chapter 4 is a great place to start. John says, At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Rev. 4:2-3
From the throne came flashes of lightning and peals of thunder. And before the throne was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
It must have been hard for John to find human words to describe what he saw in Heaven. In the book of Revelation, John used earthly terms to describe eternal reality. The best he could do is to compare what he saw in Heaven to the most dazzling jewels and the most powerful manifestations of nature.
I am drawn to the heavenly scene and amazed to hear about the rainbow that surrounds the throne of God. You can recall that it was a rainbow that God used as a reminder, after the worldwide flood. The Rainbow sealed God’s promise that he would not ever again destroy the world by water.
This rainbow surrounds God’s throne. He literally wraps himself up in the sign of His promise.
You see, God is the original promise keeper. He always keeps his word. He can be trusted to do what He says He will do. The rainbow around the throne is the symbol of God’s promise-keeping nature. But the scene in chapter 4 is only half of John’s heavenly vision. The scene shifts as John continues to describe what he saw.
In Chapter 5, the action begins. John sees a scroll with 7 seals. This image was familiar to John’s readers. Important documents were usually stamped with an official seal. That seal could only be broken by a person with authority.
This particular scroll contains information about the future of planet earth. The seals need to be broken to make way for the triumphant Second Coming of Christ. But no one can be found who is worthy to break the seals.
John is so anxious to know the secrets contained in the scroll that he begins to weep. Then one of the elders comforts John and says, “…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.” Revelation 5:5
But notice that when John looks, he does NOT see a Lion. Instead John sees “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne.” Revelation 5:6
The elder saw a Lion, but John saw a Lamb.
This makes sense when you understand that the elder knew Jesus in His Heavenly glory. The Lion of Judah represents Jesus in his second appearance when He will “rule with a rod of iron.”
John knew Jesus from His FIRST coming: the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
• The Lamb refers to His 1st coming. The Lion refers to His 2nd coming.
• The Lamb symbolizes His meekness. The Lion symbolizes His majesty.
• As a Lamb He is Savior. As a Lion He is Sovereign.
• As a Lamb He was judged. As a Lion He is the supreme Judge.
• The Lamb represents God’s grace. The Lion represents God’s government.
• The Lamb offers perfect peace. The Lion demonstrates perfect power.
Isaiah 11:6 gives us a prophecy that in the coming Kingdom of God the lion will lie down with the lamb. John’s vision shows that on the throne of God, the Lion IS the Lamb. John was looking at the Lion of Judah who is also the Lamb of God.
Think of Jesus – the LION and the LAMB as we worship him together.