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Notes for

The Revelation

Chapter Five


1. "and on the backside" = it is crammed with writing on both sides of the material. Normally pages were written on one side only. Books had come into existence two or three hundred years before John saw this one. Over the centuries the clay tablets used by Babylon had been replaced by papyrus scrolls which were made in Egypt, but a difference of opinion between Egypt and Pergamos about the year 150BC (the king of the south versus the king of the north again) saw an increase in the use of vellum or skin pages in the latter city. These were eventually made into a book form called "codex". Pergamos did not invent books but developed the "paper of Pergamum" called parchment.

In an age when the number of books in the whole world could be numbered only in hundreds of thousands, for all were hand written, this book was exceptional.

"seven seals" indicate that it is divided into seven major sections requiring opening one by one.

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2. Isaiah 41:21-24 Accurately foretelling of the future is one ability of God

Produce your cause, says the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be (history) , that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them (destiny); or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. Behold, you are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooses you.

This book contains the details of the future as well as the past and no creature can know that, not even Lucifer who became Satan. Only He who is equal with God can accurately tell what the future will be.

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3. John really wanted to know what was in the book. Like Daniel, he had a great desire to know the future and be of help to those who were to come. This is what caused The Revelation to come into existence. He was thinking of our comfort and knowledge and Jesus honoured his desire.

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4. Revelation 22:16 One who became man can do it

I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.

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5. Romans 1:3-4

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead...

There IS one Man who can do it, the Son of God and the Son of man, the "Lion/Lamb". He has been revealed as being different from all other creatures by His ability to rise from the grave and thereby conquer sin and its wages. Romans 6:23.

"Lion" shows His power – "Lamb" shows His love

He is described as just "been slain", because His eternal sacrifice in taking the sins of the world upon Himself has recently been completed by the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore this scene will really take place in its fullness after the 2nd coming. Crucifixion was normally a slow lingering death and effectively illustrates the agony Christ has borne over 6,000 years of sin. Yet even now His infinite sacrifice is not ended, for infinity has no end. For eternity He will bear the marks as a witness to creation that sin (rebellion) kills.

Habakkuk 3:4, margin.

"He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding [or concealment] of His power."

One reminder alone remains. Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. This is what the prophet saw, beholding Christ in His glory. That pierced side from where flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God (John 19:33-34) - there is the Saviour's glory, there "the hiding of His power."

We are told that doubting Thomas saw the marks a week after the resurrection.

John 20:24-29

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus [twin], was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be to you. Then said He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.

And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God.

Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

"Mighty to save," through the sacrifice of redemption (Isaiah 63:1), He is therefore strong to execute righteous justice upon them that despised God's mercy and this is illustrated by His opening of the book. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honour. Through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.

Matthew 28:18 "seven horns" = completeness of His power

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.

Zechariah 3:8-9 "seven eyes" = all-seeing through the Spirit

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My Servant the BRANCH. For behold the Stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one Stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the engraving thereof, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day [the Day of Atonement].

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6. Isaiah 41:8-10 Christians were once servants

But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from the chief men of it, and said to you, You are My servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away. Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness. [The Old Testament people kept their distance from their God. Exodus 20:18-19].

John 15:13-15 But now all are friends!

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known to you [in this book].

2 Chronicles 20:7 He has always been our Friend

Are not You our God, who did drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the seed of Abraham Your friend for ever?

James 2:23 But it has taken time for us to reciprocate

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

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7. Leviticus 2:2 A small portion of the offering is burnt with all the incense

And he [the offerer] shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he [the priest] shall take thereout [from it] his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with ALL the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it [this handful] upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour [a nice thought] to the LORD:

The offering of incense at 9am and 3pm was the most important part of the sanctuary service from God's point of view. He did not want thousands of His beloved creatures to die as an illustration of the death of Jesus Christ when it could be kept in our minds instead. That is why we, as Christians, no longer offer earthly sacrifices.

The temple of God is now open in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with the glory which is for every one who will love God and keep His commandments. We need to study, to meditate, and to pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight (eyesalve) to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion (the bride of Christ) shall arise and shine (Isaiah 60:1), her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints. Murmuring and complaining over little disappointments and difficulties will cease. As we apply the golden eyesalve we shall see the glories beyond. Faith will cut through the heavy shadow of Satan, and we shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. When we see this as it is, as the Lord desires us to see it, we shall be filled with a sense of the immensity and diversity of the love of God.

God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit us who are the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. John 14:1-3. There we will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Isaiah 66:23.

Revelation 8:3-4 In reality prayers are mixed with Christ’s righteousness which makes them acceptable

And another Angel came and stood at the [incense] altar, having a golden censer [as the High Priest]; and there was given to Him much incense [His righteousness], that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar [of incense] which was before the throne [in the sanctuary]. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel's hand [and wafted over the curtain].

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8. Psalm 42:8 There is singing up in heaven

Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer to the God of my life.

Isaiah 30:29 In heaven singing allows group communication and participation

You shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept [a special religious meeting]; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a pipe [flute] to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel.

They sang "a new song". It was new because of their recent experience. They had just been redeemed from the earth as the resurrected ones.

1 Peter 1:3-7 The reason for the song

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively [living] hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [the last days].

Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold [many] temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

 

How to handle temptation

We must always remember that temptation is NOT sin. An accepting response to a temptation can lead to sin, but the temptation itself is not the sin.

Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man or woman is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action; and, knowing that he, or she, can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power.

1 Corinthians 10:13 A promise we should never forget

There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man and woman. In his closing hours, while hanging on the cross, He experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin. He realized how bad mankind may become by yielding to sin. He realized the terrible consequence of the transgression of God's law; for the iniquity of the whole world was upon Him.

"shall reign on the earth" = not yet reigning on earth because they are to be in heaven for a period.

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9. Daniel 7:9-10 There are always angels around the thrones

I beheld till the thrones were cast [or set] down, and the ancient/ of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand [angels] stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Then the angels join in the chorus with the redeemed, proclaiming that Jesus is indeed God, not a created being as He had appeared to be when He lived among them. Before His incarnation on earth as Mary's child, He lived among the angels as one of them but this was not the reality. Angels have the ability to appear as men (Genesis 18:2, and Jesus was one of those men), and He also had the ability to look like an angel when required. However, when He was born of Mary He took human nature and combined it with His divinity and this was a permanent combination. He became our brother. Hebrews 2:11.

Isaiah 9:6-7 There shall be no end of the gift

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

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10. "Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth..." is John's way of describing the universe. If you picture the earth as a sphere hanging in space, then the term "under the earth" makes sense.

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11. Revelation 12:11-12 Mention is made of the others living in the universe

And they [the saints of God] overcame him [their accuser] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

Now the rest of the creatures of the universe join in the singing, for there are representatives from every inhabited world present on this unique occasion.

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12. Philippians 2:5-10 By being the lowest He has become the greatest

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross [a despised, criminal, death].

Wherefore [because of this] God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth...

He who once looked like an angel, and who now was a man, is seen as God, but separated from His Father as Eve was separated from Adam. This eternal separation is the price He and our Father are willing to pay for our salvation. They have broken up their loving closeness to allow us to become part of their family in a way no other creatures can. As He took our nature and raised it to the equal of His, so He has taken us and raised us to sit on His throne as His equals. Wonder, O heavens, and be amazed O earth!

When the Saviour finally appeared "in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7), and began His earthly or public ministry of grace, Satan could only bruise His heel, or slow Him down by hindering His witness in the eyes of men, while by every act of humiliation or suffering Christ was bruising the head of His adversary, giving him mortal wounds. (Genesis 3:15).

In carrying out his enmity to Christ until He hung upon the cross of Calvary, with wounded, bruised body and broken heart, Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe. It was then seen that God had in His Son denied Himself.

The anguish that sin has brought was poured into the heart of the sinless One; yet while Christ endured the contradiction of [or hostility from, NKJ] sinners against Himself (Hebrews 12:1-3), He was paying the debt for sinful mankind and breaking the bondage in which humanity had been held. Every pang of anguish, every insult, was working out the deliverance of the race by exposing Satan and his principles to those who were confused.

Could Satan have induced Christ to yield to a single temptation, could he have led Him by one act or even a thought to stain His perfect purity, the prince of darkness would have triumphed over man's Surety and would have gained the whole human family to himself. But while Satan could distress, he could not contaminate. He could cause agony, but not defilement. He made the life of Christ one long scene of conflict and trial, yet with every attack he was losing his hold upon humanity.

In the wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4), in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:40-46) , and on the cross (John 19:30), our Saviour measured weapons with the prince of darkness. His wounds became the trophies of His victory in behalf of the race. When Christ hung in agony upon the cross, while evil spirits rejoiced and evil men reviled, then indeed His heel was bruised by Satan. But that very act was crushing the serpent's head. Through His death He destroyed "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14). This act decided the destiny of the rebel chief, and made forever sure the plan of salvation. In death He gained the victory over its power; in rising again, He opened the gates of the grave to all His followers.

In that last great contest we see fulfilled the prophecy, "It [His righteousness] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." (Genesis 3:15).

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13. Having seen Christ in this way, (Power and Love, Truth and Mercy, Male and Female, God and creature, combined), John was now prepared to witness the events that were to come, the future from his point of view. Only by keeping this picture of the balanced character of Jesus in our minds can the events revealed make real sense.

This book that Christ has opened, has two meanings and fulfilments.

One shows God's view of the future in seven different sections for His people who were to live from 90AD to the second advent, and this is what John wrote for us. It includes some sub-sections, such as the seven trumpets. However, not only God's people on earth were involved, but also the inhabitants of the universe. They were intensely interested in what was going to happen, and so we are told that they were looking into it as well.

1 Peter 1:10-12

Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify [or mean] , when it testified beforehand [of] the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to us they did minister the things, which are now reported to you by them that have preached the gospel to you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

But the opening of the book again after the second coming means also explaining to the newly redeemed what has already happened, that is, the past.

This other unfolding will show God's view of history for those who participate in the viewing of the book when they get to heaven. It is like the passover ceremony. That pointed back to the exodus from Egypt as well as looking forward to the exodus from this world into the next.

What John SAW (the book is not read but seen and heard, like a video) will be to the redeemed of God a revelation of the whole story of the controversy that has been going on since the death of Jesus. None of the redeemed who lived before Calvary, and very few of them since that time, have understood the history of the Christians as explained in this video. Only the last generation who will be translated at the second coming could know the full story and even that will be clouded in their minds by the propaganda of the historians. It will take a long time to clear the thinking of such a mixed-up group. There is also the problem of so many differing views of the Bible and its doctrines which will need harmonising. Only after that is accomplished will the redeemed be able to start their work.

As the two streams come together in our experience and understanding, the 2,000 year future view with the 2,000 year history, we will find ourselves living some of its pages, with others yet to come! As each seal is broken and each section opened, we should be able to pinpoint which verse or verses we live in, and what will happen next in that context.

In the same way, those who had an ear to hear what the Spirit said to the churches would have known where they were in the great scheme of things. Any individual could have known in which church period they were living, what had occurred in the past, and what was sure to happen. Remember, God's prophecies can be delayed but they cannot be stopped, except for individuals who "die" and become Christians.

Paul wrote that the end could not come "except there be a falling away first", and reminded his listeners that he had warned them of this from the Scriptures. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 5.

The original Protestant leader in Germany, Martin Luther, whose name is remembered in the Lutheran church, "protested" about 1517, and is on record as saying some time after that,

"I persuade myself verily, that the day of judgment will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, cannot, suffer this wicked world much longer." Quoted from Daniel T. Taylor in his book, The Reign of Christ on Earth: or, The Voice of the Church in All Ages, page 158.

Three hundred years places his estimation for the judgment day in the 1800's. How did he come up with such a figure?

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