Summary: I think that for a majority of Christians the Book of Revelation is one of the most neglected books in all the Bible. It has a message for Christians today, & yet many never even open it.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH, BROWNSVILLE, TX
I am going to read the 5th chapter of Revelation in its entirety. It is short, & yet it is such a majestic chapter that there is no place conveniently to stop. (READ Rev. 5.)
A. I think that for the great majority of Christians the Book of Revelation is one of the most neglected books in all the Bible. It has a message for Christians today, & yet many never even open it.
The reason, I imagine, is because they have concluded that the Book of Revelation is not for them. They shrug their shoulders & say, "Well, I’m just an average Christian & I’m not sure just what the book means." So they leave it to the scholars to interpret the symbols & figures & then tell them what it all means.
Yet, God caused John to write this book for it to be a wall of encouragement & strength to the church in difficult times. And it can be an encouragement & strength for us today if we’ll read it, & just see what God has to say.
B. A case in point is the chapter that we have just read. I don’t know how anybody could read it without feeling a tinge of awe. There is something thrilling & exalting about this glimpse of heaven.
Here is the throne of God, with Almighty God Himself seated upon it. Around it are the elders & the living creatures & the angels. In God’s right hand there is a scroll, a book, sealed with seven seals. And the eyes of all who are there are fixed upon God, & the scroll that is in His hand.
As John looks upon this scene an angel speaks with a loud voice & asks, "Who is worthy to break the seals & open the scroll?" But no one, in heaven or on earth or under the earth, was able to open the scroll.
Behind those seals were the mysteries of the future, & the answers to the questions of life itself, & yet there was no one able to open the book. So John said, "I wept & wept."
But one of the elders spoke to John & said, "’Do not weep! See,…’ there is one who ‘is able to open the scroll & its 7 seals’”(Vs. 5). Then John saw One, "as a Lamb that had been slain," stepping forth to open the scroll & break its seals.
At this, there is great rejoicing in heaven. They all gather around the throne & sing a new song saying, "You are worthy to take the scroll & to open its seals, because you were slain, & with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe & language & people & nation" (Vs. 9).
C. Now, we do not have to be theologians to understand that. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain, & everything depends upon Him. He is the only one able to break the seals & reveal the secrets there. He is able, & He is worthy of all our worship. When we realize this, then we will understand a great deal of what the Book of Revelation has to say to us.
Now, in my opinion, I believe that the mysteries hidden behind those seals were basically prophecies of the things which were going to come to pass in the history of the church & in its battles against Satan & all his forces.
But at the same time, I think we ought to realize that there are some things that would be sealed up beyond our understanding if it were not for Jesus, the Lamb who went to the cross & died for our sins. If it were not for Jesus, there are at least four areas which would make no sense to us at all.
I. THE SEALED BIBLE
First of all, the Bible would be impossible for us to understand if it were not seen in the light of what happened on Calvary.
A. Look at the Old Testament for example. If we began to read in Genesis, & read every word in every book all the way through Malachi, without any knowledge of Jesus, I suggest that the Old Testament would mean very little to us.
In fact, I would go a step further & say that if it were not for Jesus, the OT would be virtually a forgotten book. It might be consulted by a few for its literary value, but for the most part it would be unread & totally ignored because it only has real meaning in light of what happened on the cross.
Now I say with all respect & reverence that I do not believe even the Jewish people of today understand the OT. You can read it & say, "My, there are inspiring stories there." You can say, "There are great prophecies there." You can say, "There are great examples of faith there." But apart from Jesus the OT doesn’t mean much today.