Witness the greatest real estate transaction in history. How did Satan gain control of the world and how did Jesus get it back? Also, the church’s first worship service in Heaven.
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This study is Revelation 5. I always think we’re going to get farther than we do; when I was reading this over again in preparation for this study I was saying, “My gosh. How are we ever even going to be able to get through these next few verses?” At this rate, of course (one study per month) we’ll just have to hope John finishes it up for us once we get up there because I don’t think we’re going to make it before the end of the age. [laughs] Maybe he’d be willing to take the last few chapters and give us his take on it. But we’ll do what we can here.
Revelation 5 is a passage that requires some background and so what I want to do is to take the time to provide that background and then we will see what’s going on here because what we have here—if any of you are in the real estate business this will be familiar to you, a lot of it, because what you are going to see here tonight is the biggest real estate transaction in history. The title deed to Planet Earth is up for grabs, and so we are going to see what happens there.
So let’s read a verse or two and see what trouble we get into right off the bat and then we’ll go from there.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “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.”
Let’s stop and figure out what this is all about.
First of all, the fact that there is a scroll here with writing on both sides. I want you to know that, as we go through this here, you will see that this scroll is, as I said a minute ago, the title deed to Planet Earth. And so we’re going to have to figure out what has happened in all of this and why has this become an issue; and then, before we do that I want to address this issue of its being written on both sides.
There are two other places in Scripture where we see a scroll that is written on both sides. That’s unusual, you know. Usually a scroll is only written on one side, and then you roll it up together, and as you unroll it you read it. Of course, if it was written on both sides you couldn’t do that so by definition a scroll almost had to be written on one side—but here we have one written on both sides.
Let’s look at the other places where we have seen that so that we can kind of get a feel for why this might be.
The first one is in Ezekiel 2 so we’ll go there. Ezekiel 2, and I’m just going to read to you in verse 9:
Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
The first thing we see is the fact that in Ezekiel, the scroll written on both sides wasn’t a happy message. That sort of sets the scene. Any time you see something like that for the first time in Scripture you usually see from the passage around it, you get some context, you get some perspective on it. In Ezekiel 2:9, the first time a scroll written on both sides is mentioned, we find that it is full of words of ‘lament and mourning and woe.’
Now I just can’t resist—in a few weeks here, when we get to a little further in the Book of Revelation (I think about chapter 8 or 9 or so) we are going to see John receiving another little scroll and he’ll be told to eat the scroll.
It’s interesting that in Ezekiel 3:1 it says:
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Ezekiel, of course, was a priest; he was in Israel at the time of the period just before the Babylonian captivity which would have made it around—the Babylonian captivity began around 605 B.C, so it would have been in a period just before that. Ezekiel was in one of the two groups of hostages taken. Daniel and his friends were in one of the groups and Ezekiel was in another group, and Jeremiah (the other major prophet alive at the time) was left in Jerusalem. So the three of these guys, all on the Earth at the same time, three of the most major, major prophets of the Old Testament, surrounding the time of the Babylonian captivity.
Ezekiel spent most of his life in Babylon. It was Ezekiel who developed the synagogue system of worship because obviously being in Babylon there was no temple, so they had to have a different form of worship. So with the Lord’s direction, Ezekiel converted the nation of Israel into the synagogue form of worship. Then after they came back from Babylon, they maintained that, and they maintain it to this day. Ezekiel’s called the Father of the Synagogue.
But here’s the first place where we see this. Now, what happened was the thing that was going to come about from this scroll (these words of lament and mourning and woe) was a foretelling of the judgment that would come in the Babylonian captivity. That’s the first thing we see, is a scroll written on both sides speaks of judgement. The reason when Ezekiel ate it was sweet as honey in his mouth is because he’s a priest. He saw the terrible condition of the nation of Israel, he knew that God’s righteousness required a judgment.
And so the reason that he described the scroll being as sweet as honey in his mouth is because he recognizes that the judgment is necessary and God is finally going to act to bring His people back into compliance with the law. That’s why that came about that way.
I mentioned that we would see a scroll in the Book of Revelation down further and John is given the same direction, he’s given a scroll and told to eat the scroll. And again, when he eats the scroll he said, “The words tasted like honey in my mouth.”
But then I’ll paraphrase it a little bit because he said, ‘When after I swallowed it, it made me sick to my stomach.’ Because you see, John is seeing a scroll that also is also telling of very serious and severe judgments. And nobody—even those who know the judgments are necessary, even though they know that it is for the greater glory of God—nobody in his right mind would wish that on anyone else. The severity of the end time judgments far exceed whatever happened to the Israelites in Babylon. And so, in John’s case, he said, “It upset me to see what was going to happen,” even recognizing that it had to be that way.
All right now, we go to Zechariah 5 for the next view of a scroll written on both sides. Here I’ll give you a little something interesting that you can use to win a Bible trivia contest with, in case this question ever comes up.
Zechariah 5, the second place where we see a scroll written on both sides.
I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.
He asked me,
(This ‘he’ is the angel that has been taking Zechariah through a series of night visions that make up the first six chapters of the Book of Zechariah). This guide of his says:
“What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”
(Or, thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide, which happens to be the footprint of the Holy Place.)
And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’”
Once again we have a scroll written on both sides, foretelling of judgment. Now here the interesting thing is about this; it said in verse 3, ““This is the curse that is going out over the whole land.” Now, this doesn’t have anything to do with the context of the passage, or anything like that. But I just give it to you because it’ll give you some food for thought. You can follow this and see whether it means anything to you or not; but the word “curse” there—the Hebrew word for curse used in that passage is the word allah. And so, whether there is any connection there between what is going on in the land today, who knows? But the Hebrew word for curse used in Zechariah 5:3 is the word allah.
So the next thing you see is that the scroll is written on both sides and on one side it says, ‘Every thief will be banished’ and on the other side it says, ‘Everyone who swears falsely will be banished’.
Of course, those are two of the Ten Commandments and the one, ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is written on the first tablet and the one that says, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’ is written on the second tablet. So some people think it’s representative of the entire ten. The scroll written on both sides; one side representing the first tablet of the Ten Commandments, and the other side representing the second tablet. That’s another thing that is just speculation, that’s what people think that might come but one thing we do know is that’s the second time the scroll written on both sides appears again as a foretelling of judgment.
When we get into Revelation 5 and we see that there is a scroll written on both sides we understand that according to the other two references to a scroll like that, there is going to be some judgment coming and that’s exactly what we are going to see happening.
That’s a long way to describe that little thing I know, but I wanted you to have that perspective.
Then we get down to Revelation 5:3:
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.
Now who does that cover? ‘No one in heaven or on earth or under the Earth.’
What’s under the Earth? It’s the underworld, Satan’s world, his dominion.
No one in heaven, no one on Earth, no one under the Earth—that pretty well is all inclusive, wouldn’t you say? What is happening here is that nobody can do this, there is no one capable, no one qualified to do this.
So, John says:
I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
In the actual Greek it says, “I wept convulsively.” I mean, the guy is—you can see him—he is just agonizing over this because he knows what the scroll is. He knows it’s the title deed to Planet Earth. Is the planet irretrievably lost? Nobody can take the scroll! And John sees an absolutely hopeless situation there until one of the elders said to him:
Then one of the elders said to me, “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.”
That means that, in all of creation whether you are looking in heaven or on Earth or under the Earth, there is only One who is qualified to open the scroll and look inside it.
Now, why is this important to us? Well here is the reason for it:
Do you understand the concept from Leviticus 25 of the Jubilee? Is that concept familiar to you?
Once every fifty years, according to Jewish law, once every fifty years three things happened. First of all, all debts were forgiven; secondly, all slaves were freed; and third, all the land that had changed hands went back to its original owners.
And so, you see, this law—I’d love to argue this law in an economics class because this law, had it been obeyed, would have changed our world so dramatically because every fifty years all debts were forgiven. What’s that do to long-term money? It’s like the slate is wiped clean! Once in every generation, basically, all debts are wiped out. Wouldn’t that change society? Wouldn’t that have made both the borrower and the lenders’ life unimaginably different?
And then, the second thing: all slaves went free. Are you a slave? Yes, you are. You are in a worse condition of slavery than any people in the history of the world as far as the freedom of your life is concerned; the freedom that we think we enjoy is pretty much an illusion. We are permitted to feel this way because it’s so profitable for the people who have enslaved us. It is such an insidious little trick because they’ve got us feeling like we’re free, but we give up half our income every year to stay this way. And so, if we were truly free, we would have no oppressive government. We would have no rules or laws that curtail or constrain us except for the common good. This would be a remarkably different world and if that were the case, there wouldn’t be any motivation for anyone to try and oppress us because it would only be for a short period of time.
The third one: the same way, all the land went back to its original owners. No empire-building. No king-making. No Donald Trumps, that’s right. Because what would be the motivation to acquire a whole bunch of land by fair or foul means if you knew you had to give it all back anyway? The motivation to take someone else’s land, to deprive someone else of his land would be gone. There wouldn’t be any motivation to do it, so people wouldn’t try.
There would be no poor among us. If this one law of God’s, of all the laws we’re supposed to obey, if this one law was obeyed there would be no poor among us.
In fact, the Lord promised in Deuteronomy to the Israelites that they wouldn’t have any poor people. He says, “There shouldn’t be any poor people among you if you follow My laws.” Everybody got a fair distribution of land to start with, they got the ability to support themselves, they got the ability to multiply, have families and there was land for their families to support themselves. Everybody had enough and more than enough.
If we had followed this one law there would be no poor among us. There would be no need for welfare. There’d be no oppressive taxation because, first of all, you wouldn’t have the need for it, and secondly, you wouldn’t have the motivation for it.
You understand—that one little law, just that one—would have so changed society that it would have prevented the changes that we’ve made to society.
I’ve probably gone way too far off on that already, but I want you to understand that this transaction is based on that Jubilee law. Because what did happen in the interim in those fifty years between the times when the Jubilee came around, every now and then someone would have some ill-fortune; maybe he’d be sick or be hurt in an accident, or something like that and something would happen that he wouldn’t be able to care for himself, take care of his land. So, what did happen is, in those days you could volunteer yourself into servitude to either pay off your debts or to earn a living. You’d voluntarily become a servant. It was called being a bond-slave, a bondservant, a voluntary servitude; and that happened from time to time.
In other cases a person would, maybe through fair means or foul, would lose his property. Maybe he mortgaged it to do something, and his venture didn’t turn out and he had the property securing the mortgage, so he lost the property. And that could happen.
In those cases, it was the obligation of his next of kin to come and redeem him. The next of kin had to come and buy the land back from whomever he had lost it to. It was the family’s responsibility, in other words, to buy the land back from whomever they lost it to, but it had to be the next of kin.
Leviticus 25 speaks of a title called the Kinsman Redeemer. We’ve come to know Jesus as the Kinsman Redeemer. The Kinsman Redeemer was the next of kin who came to redeem the land somebody had lost. The Kinsman Redeemer was supposed to buy the person out of servitude if he’d fallen into servitude for some reason. The Kinsman Redeemer had to come and get him.
Now here’s why you need to understand that law. That’s Leviticus 25 and you should study that chapter because you’ve got the Sabbath in there, you’ve got the Jubilee, you’ve got all these things that governed the very fabric of their existence of their legal system, in Leviticus 25.
He did say in the New Testament, when the issue came up about when the disciples were complaining because Mary broke the perfume and anointed Jesus for His burial with it. That perfume was so expensive, by the way, a person saved up their whole life to be able to buy a little bottle.
I think it was Judas who said, “Wait! We could have sold that and used the money for the ministry!”
And His response was, “You’ll always have the poor with you, but you’ll only have Me with you for a short time.” She did the right thing in other words, He was saying.
But the reason He said that was not because the society was set up so that some would be rich, and some would be poor. It was because man was evil and was violating the Law which in turn produced rich people and poor people. And so, you’re right, it did happen but it was not God’s plan for that to happen.
In Deuteronomy 15 He says, “There need be no poor people among you,”
Not just anybody could do it.
(Ken, if you went and got yourself in trouble and became a voluntary servant to somebody, I couldn’t come—even if I wanted to—and buy you out of that. It had to be your next of kin. If you lost your property through some property investment that went sour or something like that, not just anybody could come; it had to be next of kin. It was the family’s responsibility to do this.)
All right. So we’ve got this law of the Jubilee that says once every fifty years this was supposed to happen. Now, the Law, as you know, is a shadow of the real thing, right?
In Hebrews 10:1 the writer says:
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming
The fact that this would happen in every generation, in terms of the law, was a foreshadowing of the one time it would happen forever because Christ is the fulfillment of the Law, the Bible says, right? And so, that meant both in the spiritual sense and also in the physical sense, when He came, it would be the last Jubilee and He would fulfil this law once and for all.
So, what happened? When He died at the cross, He purchased your freedom from slavery to sin, is that correct?
When He died at the cross, He cancelled your debt. Is that correct?
He did these things. The third thing He did was He paid to redeem the land, we learn that in Romans 8. The creation itself has been groaning up to the time, waiting for what? Waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. In other words, waiting for the kingdom age to come when it could be freed again, purchased out of the bondage it was put in at the Fall.
The creation wasn’t designed the way we see it today. You think about this for a minute—I don’t know if we’ve covered this before or not—but think about it: if you were God and you were perfect, would you create the world in such a way that the seasons were all screwy, where you had to have a change in the calendar to correct it every few years because if you didn’t it would go so haywire that the summertime would be in winter and backwards? If you were God and could do things perfectly, would you do that? Wouldn’t that be considered sloppy workmanship if you were able to do this right?
Because God didn’t create the world that way, He created it perfect. There were no killer storms back in Adam’s day, there were no hurricanes, there were no snowstorms, there was none of that stuff. There was no weather; every day was perfect. Every month had thirty days in it and every year had 360 days. They didn’t have to have any corrections to the calendar every now and then.
The Earth wasn’t all crooked over on its axis so that you had some places on the Earth that were too cold to live in and other places it was too hot. It wasn’t like that at all, it was sub-tropical everywhere. They’ve dug up animals in the tundra up in the Arctic Circle and they’ve found undigested tropical food in their throats that was there when they died. Tropical food, in the tundra, north of the Arctic Circle. That tells us that the Earth at one time was sub-tropical all over. Every part of it was like Hawaii, without the bugs. [laughs]
In those days the rain came up out of the ground. It was a giant sprinkler system that operated worldwide and at night the water came up out of the ground and irrigated everything. They didn’t need any rain. That’s why Noah, after he came out of the boat, God said, “It’s going to rain from now on, but don’t worry when it does because I know the only time you’ve ever seen rain, Noah, is we had a huge Flood here and everybody died but you and your family.” He said, “But don’t worry. When you see rain coming again look for the rainbow and that will be My commitment to you that I’m not trying to destroy the world again. So you’re going to have storms every now and then.”
But those storms didn’t come along, that crazy weather didn’t come along until after the Flood. Before the Flood, everything was perfect; just the way you’d expect God to do things.
All the stuff that we see around us that speaks of the imperfection of creation, whether it’s the fact that you and I are falling apart almost faster than we can do anything to prevent it, or whether it’s that you go to some places and—well look how it is here. Some people think that there are some times in the year when it’s too hot to live here and other people think there are some times in the year when it’s too cold to live in Utah, where I come from.
But that’s not God’s fault, He didn’t do that. When He put the Earth on its axis it was zero degrees. Absolutely vertical. That meant every day was perfect, it meant every season was the same. It meant everything was perfect.
And then, somewhere along the way the Earth’s axis got tilted 23 degrees, making some parts of it uninhabitable, whether too hot or too cold. God didn’t do that. The creation has been subjected to bondage and it needs to be freed. The reason it’s been subjected to bondage is because of sin. And because at the time that sin came into the world, the world came into new ownership. Right or wrong, by fair means or foul, somebody got control of this Earth and has messed it up substantially.
I can prove that in two places; the first one is in Luke. We’re going to look at chapter 4, the Temptation in the Wilderness. But as you’re going there, I want you to remember the first couple of verses of Psalm 24. Does anyone know the first verse of Psalm 24?
It goes like this:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
Psalm 24; that’s how things started.
Back when He created it there was no question of ownership. There was no rival claim, there was no rival theory about how it came to be. God created it, He owned it. When Adam came along, He gave dominion to Adam. He said (in Genesis) to Adam and Eve, “Take dominion over the Earth.” One of the first things they did was to lose it. When sin entered the world, Satan took charge. Now here’s my proof.
In Luke 4—the particular verse we’re looking for here is in verse 5 I think—but I’ll just summarize this for you.
In the temptation wilderness, Jesus is out there, He’s been fasting for forty days. The devil comes to see Him, and he says, “I know You can turn these stones into bread. Why are You out here starving?” What was the Lord’s response?
“It is written, ‘man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Did He dispute Satan’s claim? Did He say, “Satan, you know I can’t make bread out of stones, no one can do that!” Did He say that? No. He admitted that Satan was correct in what he was asserting. “But,” He says, “Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.”
Now, you understand that the whole concept of this temptation was to simply get Jesus to take back His creative power to become God again because if He did that, He could not redeem us because of Leviticus 25. So what Satan was trying to do was to get Jesus to bypass Leviticus 25, the Kinsman Redeemer.
And he said, “I’ll give you everything anyway. You just worship me. Don’t worry about those people. They don’t deserve You anyhow. Most of them aren’t going to understand what You did and a lot of them would laugh at You for doing it. So, let’s just skip that stuff. I’ll make You in charge of everything. Just worship me.”
That was the real intent of the temptation in the wilderness. The first thing Satan did was to say, “Turn the stones into bread.”
Jesus said, “No.”
The second thing he says is, “Look.” He took Him up to the highest point in the temple and he said, “Jump off! Because it is written, ‘He will guide you and carry you,’” And he quotes the Psalm. He misquoted it but he quotes it anyway. And again, the Lord responds how?
“‘It is written: thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test.’”
Did He dispute Satan’s claim that if Jesus jumped off the temple somebody would come and save Him? Did He dispute that? No. And, by not disputing the claim He gives it legitimacy right?
And so, the third temptation.
Satan takes Him and he shows Him in a flash all the kingdoms of the Earth and he says this, “These are all mine. They’ve been given to me and I can give them to anybody I choose. Worship me and they’re Yours.”
Did Jesus say, “These are not yours! You can’t do that! This doesn’t belong to you!” Did He say that? He did not say that, did He? And by not disputing the claim, He gives legitimacy to it.
By not disputing the claim that He could manufacture bread out of stones, He says in effect, “Yes. I know I could do that.”
By not disputing the claim that if He jumped off the temple that the angels would come to save Him, He said in effect, “Yes. I know they would.”
By not disputing the claim that Satan made that he owns all the kingdoms of the Earth, He is saying, “Yes, you do. I agree.”
You see, if I came to you tonight and wanted to sell you one of these casinos downtown, wouldn’t you want to know if I really owned it? Because, you’ve probably heard about who owns some of these places down here and if I happened to mention one of the ones that you know—suppose I tried to sell you the Wynn. Who knows who owns the Wynn Casino? Mr. Wynn! And you know this. So, if I said, “No, I own it and I’m going to sell it to you,” you’d want some proof before we did anything, right?
Jesus didn’t ask for proof. And by not contesting Satan’s claim, He lends legitimacy to it, because He knew what happened in the Garden. He knew with Adam’s sin that Earth’s ownership had changed hands. Foul play? Yes indeed. But nonetheless. Have you ever been on the wrong end of a real estate deal? The land still changes hands; you know you got cheated but the land still changes hands.
So that’s my first proof. The second one is in 1 John 5, it’s a clearer one. I saved it until last in case you didn’t believe me on the first one.
1 John 5:19. It says:
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Now, that’s John, the same guy that wrote Revelation.
We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Is that clear enough? You don’t have to speculate. It doesn’t have to be done by inference now. This is John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (he says) telling us this, clearly.
This is why this same John, is weeping convulsively when the Lord is handing around the scroll and nobody can touch it because what it means is, Earth is lost.
Then one of the elders said to me, “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.”
So, at the last minute, there is a Savior. Now, we’ll find out who that savior is in just a second, but I want you to look for a minute at this word “triumph” because it appears in one other place in Scripture concerning Jesus and it tells you a little bit about how He triumphed, and that is in Colossians 2. I just love this passage. The first time I heard it I couldn’t believe it! I said, “I’ve got to go get my Bible. I can’t believe it. He must have misquoted this! This can’t be true! This guy must be starting a new religion!”
Colossians 2:13. It says this:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
That part I could buy. But look at this next verse, 14:
having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Do you know what that means?
When it says “He cancelled the written code” do you know what the written code is? It’s God’s Law. Was God’s Law stacked up against us? How do you get God’s Law stacked up against you, what is the behavior that does it?
Sin. Sin is a violation of God’s Law, right? And what is the punishment for that, what is the punishment for the violation of God’s Law?
Death; the wages of sin is death.
So, according to God’s Law—and remember, Jesus said, “I did not come to abolish the Law. I came to fulfil it.” According to God’s Law, you and I are under indictment on a murder charge because our sin has caused us to be in violation of His Law which is punishable by death.
Now, Jesus did not come and say, “I forgive you.” He did that; but He did so much more.
What did He do?
He took every single paragraph, every single sentence, every single item on that bill of indictment against you, and He nailed it to the cross. So, when He is hanging there on the cross dying, in the spiritual world what they see is the indictment that is against you, hanging there with Him! And, in essence, they see Him bearing the sentence that your indictment called for you to bear, and that’s how it got cancelled. Even He cannot acquit you of His laws because even though He loves you enough to do it, He is also absolutely righteous, and He is absolutely just. He cannot break even the law that He Himself wrote. He has to obey His own law. When you sin, somebody has to die. Your next of kin can redeem you but only if He is willing to bear the punishment that is due to you.
And that’s what He did. That’s why He had to become human. That’s why He had to withstand Satan’s temptations. That’s why He could not make stones into bread. That’s why He could not jump off the temple, and that’s why He could not bow down and worship Satan. Because that would have left you without a Kinsman Redeemer. Your next of kin is the only one who could save you. He had to become a man.
Now, how did He become a Kinsman of yours? He became the Kinsman of Adam.
And so, through all of Adam’s progeny we, being related to Adam, are related to Him. Do you understand that, do you understand how that genealogy works?
I’ll tell you what: look in Luke 3 and let’s look at the first part of that chapter and I’ll show you something here you might not have looked at just exactly this way before. In Luke, starting in chapter 3, you have the genealogy of Jesus. But unlike Matthew’s genealogy it doesn’t come forward from Abraham, this one goes backwards and it goes backwards all the way to Adam. What does it say in the very last verse in chapter 3?
Verse 38. It says that:
Kenan, the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.
Was Jesus the Son of God? Yes. When Jesus became a man, as the Son of God, He became Adam’s next of kin. Is that clear to you?
Go to Romans and let’s go to chapter 5 in the Book of Romans. Verse 18:
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people,
(Whose trespass is he talking about? Adam’s.)
so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
So, he is talking about Jesus redeeming what Adam had lost.
Where does it talk about Jesus being the last Adam? Is that in Corinthians? I think it is. I think it’s in 1 Corinthians 15. Let’s take a look. For some reason I didn’t write that note down.
Let’s look in 1 Corinthians 15:45:
So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
The first Adam became a living being. The last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.
Who are they talking about here? The first Adam, dust of the Earth, right? Who is the second Adam, the man from heaven? Jesus. Is this a new thing for you?
You see, it is all because of Leviticus 25 that this had to happen. Jesus did not become an angel to redeem angels, He did not become a king to redeem kings, He became a man to redeem mankind. Because in Leviticus 25, God’s Law, says it takes a next of kin to do this. Jesus could not be your Redeemer unless He was your next of kin because He wouldn’t have the right to be your Redeemer. That’s what these two passages we just read said.
The first man lost everything, his next of kin had to come and gain everything. His next of kin had to be another Son of God, because in Luke 3 we learn that Adam was a son of God. He had to be a son of God—but he had to be a man like Adam. So He had to be both God and man in order to redeem what Adam had lost.
Now one thing Adam lost was all of his progeny. Lost into slavery to sin. We were all sold as slaves to sin at the moment in Genesis 3:15 that Adam sinned. We had to be redeemed back from that, and only Adam’s next of kin was qualified because of Leviticus 25.
What else did Adam lose? He lost all of his progeny, what else did he lose? He lost all his rights, yes; we’ve already talked about this—what else did he lose? It’s the subject of Revelation 5. The Earth, he lost Planet Earth, because Adam had been given Planet Earth and he lost it. The devil says, “Jesus, I own it. I’ll give it back to You. Just worship me.” Remember?
Jesus did not dispute that, remember? And so that tells us that Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim to Planet Earth.
1 John 5:19:
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
When Satan goes before God, he says, “Planet Earth is mine, I stole it fair and square.” [laughs] That claim does not get disputed. Earth has to be redeemed and it takes a next of kin to redeem it. That is why there could be no one ‘in heaven, on Earth or under the Earth that could take the scroll, or even look inside it’ because there is only One in all of created history that is qualified under Leviticus 25 as a Kinsman Redeemer. There’s only One.
Now, does that make sense to you?
I want you to see that everything that happens here that results in your salvation is done specifically, and with every ‘T’ crossed and every ‘I’ dotted according to the Law of God so there can be no reversal on appeal. You, when you give your heart to Jesus, you become a child of God.
John 1:12 says:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
When you place your faith in Jesus, He gives you the authority to become His next of kin so that He can redeem you; and there can be no reversal on appeal because it is absolutely iron-clad law.
You are saved, not just because God says so but because the Law makes you so.
You don’t have to worry if He is going to change His mind. You don’t have to wonder if He really did it. You can go hire a lawyer and you can prove under the law that you are saved. Now, I don’t know if that’s ever worried you but if it ever does, you can do that.
Now, when it comes to Planet Earth, we are talking real estate here and everything gets a lot more serious when you start talking real estate, right? [laughs] The same happened for the creation as happened for you. The creation was redeemed—bought and paid for at the cross. And it has only been waiting for its new, rightful Owner to step forward and claim that which He has paid for.
It’s the same with you. When you got saved, He put a down payment on you. He calls it the Holy Spirit, sealed within you, that’s your down payment.
In Ephesians 1:13, it is an earnest money deposit guaranteeing your inheritance. But, you haven’t received it yet. The down payment’s been made, the price has actually been ‘paid in full’ but you have not received it yet. You are on layaway, waiting for Him to come and claim you. He has already bought you and paid for you. Nobody else can buy you, nobody else can have you. You are off the market. But He will come one day and claim you, having bought you and paid for you, and He will then fulfil the balance of the agreement because again, in Ephesians 1:13, He is legally obligated to do so. Having made the earnest money deposit, He is now legally obligated to fulfil the transaction. He’s the only one that can; He is the only one that could buy you, He is the only one that could redeem you, He is the only one that could claim you. You are off the market.
So, when we get to Revelation 5 that’s what’s happening. He has come to claim that which He has paid for at the cross. Understanding Leviticus 25 is your key to that.
There is one more passage, way back when, that confirms it and that’s in Genesis 49. It is a prophecy that Jacob, on his deathbed, was making over the sons who would inherit the promise.
When he gets to his son, Judah, he says in Genesis 49:9:
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
And then when he gets to verse 10, he says:
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
Now, here’s what that means. When, in the Book of Revelation, John is talking about the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he is talking about this prophecy and he’s talking about the fulfillment in the prophecy which says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come.”
Who is the ultimate Lion of the Tribe of Judah? The Lord Jesus.
All down through the ages, the kings were from the tribe of Judah. Only they could serve as kings, and the prophecy said that will always be until the ultimate King comes. So when John the Revelator calls Him in Revelation 5 ‘the Lion of Judah’ he is speaking of this prophecy.
To give you an idea of the state to which the nation of Israel had fallen, just before the Lord came, when the Romans, having been invited by Israel to help throw off the Greeks, (the Syrian branch of the Greeks under Antiochus) the Romans agreed to do this but when they did, they just took the Greeks’ place. So now, instead of being in bondage to Greece, Israel was in bondage to the Romans.
The thing that the Romans said to Israel was, “You can live your own lives, you can have your own religion, you can follow your own laws as long as you stay at peace. If there is ever any trouble, we are going to come in and stop you.” The famous Pax Romana, or, ‘the peace of Rome’ which was a very oppressive kind of peace which said to people, ‘as long as you behave yourselves and don’t make a fuss about anything you can live your life. But if you ever get unruly or out of order, we’re going to send the legions in, and we will restore order.’ So, people lived in fear of this peace.
The state to which Israel had fallen, relative to its Word, is that when the Romans did this, they said that there was one exception to the Law that, ‘We reserve the right ourselves to implement it.’ And that’s capital punishment. ‘Israel, you cannot put anyone to death, regardless of the crime, unless we approve it.’
The Jews saw this as a violation of their sovereignty and to them it said, “We are not a sovereign nation anymore.” And here’s the way they said it.
According to the Deposition of Archelaus and confirmed by Josephus and also spoken of in the Babylonian Talmud, here was their response to this: The priests went wailing through the streets of Jerusalem tearing their robes and throwing ashes on their heads, saying, “The scepter has departed from Judah and Shiloh has not come.” (Shiloh being the name they gave to the Messiah.)
They knew the prophecy from Genesis 49 said that the only time the scepter could depart from Judah was if the Messiah actually came and took it Himself. And here we were, a few years before (what we call a few years ‘B.C.’) and they are saying, “The Romans have deprived us of our sovereignty. The scepter has been taken from Judah. We no longer have the right to our own sovereignty and the Messiah has not come.”
The really tragic thing was, up in Nazareth there was a little boy learning the skill of carpentry in His father’s shop. Instead of saying “The scepter has departed from Judah. Must be, the Messiah has come. Let’s go find Him!” They said, “The scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come. God’s Word has been broken.” That was the state that the nation was in in those days, no longer willing to depend on God’s Word to be true. And that showed you, that what had to happen was that somebody had to come and redeem them, they could no longer depend on themselves for anything. Genesis 49.
When John in Revelation 5 calls this person who is qualified ‘the Lion of Judah’ he is referring back to that prophecy, and so he is saying, “The One to whom it belongs has come.”
By the way, the whole Book of Ruth is about this very subject as well. If you’ve ever wondered why the Book of Ruth was in the Bible, other than the fact that it is an incredibly beautiful story, it teaches us the concept of the Kinsman Redeemer. Even though it is an actual happening, an actual event, it also tells the story of Israel, the Church, and the Messiah, where Israel is represented by Naomi, the Church is represented by Ruth, and the Messiah is represented by Boaz the Kinsman Redeemer.
I’ll just give you a quick summary of the story.
Naomi is a Jewish woman. She and her husband and their two sons live in Bethlehem. There is a famine in the land, it puts everybody in a state of destitution. Naomi’s husband loses his property over this; this is one of those cases where a husband can lose his property because he becomes destitute and can’t hang onto it. The famine doesn’t go away. The family is driven out of the country and they find themselves over across the Jordan in Moab (what we would call Jordan today) where things were a lot better.
So Naomi and her husband, whose name is Elimelech, and their two sons settle in Moab. Each of the two sons takes a wife from among the Moabites, one of those wives is Ruth. She happens to be the daughter of the King of Moab, so she’s a Gentile princess.
While they are in Moab, Naomi’s husband dies, Ruth’s husband dies, and the other son dies. This leaves Naomi, and the two daughters-in-law (I think the other daughter-in-law was named Orpah) and Ruth. So, you’ve got the three women, and they are all widows now—Naomi, Orpah and Ruth.
Naomi hears that things are improving now back in Israel, so she decides to go back to Bethlehem and tells the two young daughters-in-law, “You stay here, find other husbands. You both are still attractive; you both are still young. You’re both well qualified to have other husbands.” Orpah agrees and so she goes off.
Ruth says, “No way, I’m not leaving you.” She says, “Don’t try and make me leave you. Wherever you go I will go. Wherever you stay, that’s where I will stay. Your God will be my God, and may He deal with me ever so harshly if anything, but death ever separates us.” It is a beautiful promise and commitment used in many wedding ceremonies, even today.
So Naomi and Ruth go back to Bethlehem, destitute. When they arrive, Ruth goes out and starts looking for ways to support them. It is the time of harvest and she hears that there is a landowner who is hiring harvesters and she goes and applies for a job. The landowner happens to be a man named Boaz.
Boaz is the brother of Naomi’s dead husband. He takes a liking to her; she takes a liking to him. He tells her not to go to work in any other fields but stay there with his girls and work there in his fields and at night he takes care of her, gives her extra food and stuff that she takes home to Naomi.
She tells Naomi about this. Naomi knows Boaz and knows who he is and knows he is a brother of her dead husband, and she says to Ruth, “He can redeem us! He’s my husband’s brother!” One thing leads to another and Ruth asks him about this, and he says, “Look, I’ll be happy to do it. But there is another brother, and he is closer in kin to Naomi’s husband than I am. He has to turn it down first before I am qualified because it takes the next of kin.” (Remember Leviticus 25, it takes the next of kin.)
Boaz says, “I’ll go and see the man myself.”
So he goes and sees his brother and his brother says, “You know what? I will redeem Naomi’s land.” Boaz says, “When you do, you also acquire Ruth, and she must become your wife.” (Under another law in Leviticus called the Law of the Levirate Marriage where, a woman who dies without a son, it is the job of the next of kin to bear a son with her so that her estate will not be lost.)
And at this point, Boaz’s brother says, “I can’t do that. That might endanger my own estate.” He says to Boaz, “You go and redeem her.”
(I’ve really summarized this story. You need to go and read the whole thing, it only takes about twenty minutes; it’s only four chapters long).
Boaz goes, he agrees to marry Ruth, he agrees to redeem Naomi’s land. And so, on his way to redeem Naomi’s land, Boaz takes a Gentile bride and saves her.
It’s the story of Jesus. On His way to redeem the land that was lost, He took a Gentile bride and saved us. It’s a beautiful story; it’s called the Romance of Redemption.
I commend it to you, now that you know that Naomi stands for Israel, Ruth stands for the Church, and Boaz stands for the Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. Read the Book of Ruth now and you’ll see it makes sense in a whole different light.
Alright now with those three passages, Leviticus 25, Genesis 49, and the Book of Ruth, are we now ready to do chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation? [laughing] We’ve got just a few minutes to go here now, but we might be able to make it.
Verse 6—Just to prove to you just who this Kinsman Redeemer is, John looks, and he says:
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain,
In your Bible, like it is in mine, the word “Lamb” is capitalized. In John 1 and in John 2 when Jesus is first introduced to the nation of Israel as an adult, John the Baptist is doing the introducing and he calls Him, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He was identifying Jesus as the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb whose blood saved us from our sins. When John says, “I saw this Lamb looking as if it had been slain,” it means He still bears the scars; He still is in human form.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is today, seated upon the throne of God, a Man! He didn’t just become a man when He agreed to be born to Mary, and then stop being a man when He died.
He agreed to become a man forever. He forever gave up a part of Himself so that He could have you because, according to Leviticus 25, He had to become a man to redeem man. And, according to John, standing there in heaven at the end of the age, He is still a man.
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes,
Fifty-two times in the Book of Revelation, John is going to use the number seven in a symbolic way. Seven is a number that denotes divine completeness. “Horn” when used symbolically throughout the Scriptures denotes power or authority.
When it said He had seven horns, it meant He had complete power. And when it says He had seven eyes, it meant that He had complete vision, He could see everything. He is omniscient. These are characteristics that apply only to God. And yet, He is standing there, a man. John is saying once again, “Here He is. Here is your Savior, your Redeemer; all man, and all God.”
The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God
(This is an Old Testament construction for the Holy Spirit, based out of Isaiah 11. We talked about this last time.)
sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons 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.”
Now, your Bible may say something different from that, does it? Okay; some Bibles do. Mine happens to say something different from this because my Bible is a translation that was done by the Christian Reformed Church in America, which is an amillennial church. They don’t believe in a literal millennium, they believe the millennium is an allegory. There are many major denominations that view the millennium as allegorical, not real. I happen to disagree with that. I’m reading you what the King James says, and if your Bible is based on the King James it will say the same thing.
Three out of four times the word used, translated “men” there in chapter 5:9 is translated “us.” The word in verse 10 translated “them” is translated “us,” and “they” in the last line of verse 10 also translated “us.” It’s in the first person, not in the third person.
And who is saying this? These twenty four elders that last time we said are representative of the Church. So, this just adds weight to our analysis last time that the twenty four elders there are representatives of the Church in heaven. They got there in Revelation 4. The first two verses of chapter 4 show John in the rapture of the Church. The Church does not appear on Earth again until it returns with the Lord in chapter 19.
Okay, let’s keep going here. We’ve got a few more verses and we’re actually going to get through this.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
(Do you remember this from Handel’s Messiah?)
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
And so ends chapter 5.
Okay. Now remember this as you are reading this: this is a passage that in time has not occurred yet. John is writing this, having been transported to the kingdom of God, to the very throne of God, at the very end of the age. So, this is something that, like everything from hereon in the Book of Revelation, has not happened yet in time. So he’s looking ahead in time and saying this is what is going to happen.
There will come a day when the Lamb of God reaches out to the Father and takes that scroll, and that will tell us that the time has come for Him to go and to claim Planet Earth. He bought it, He paid for it with His own blood, and now is the day for Him to claim it.
The rest of the Book of Revelation describes the battle that takes place and the judgements that God brings upon Planet Earth to accomplish two things:
One is to accomplish the salvation of as many as possible who are still left on the Earth after the rapture so that they will have an eternal destiny with Him. He could just snap His fingers, and have it all done, right? But no, He lets it stretch out for all these years to get as many as possible through the signs and wonders that they’ll see on Planet Earth and the judgments that they see take place in fulfillment of these prophecies to give their heart to the Lord while there is time. That’s the first purpose.
The second purpose is, of course, to restore Planet Earth to its rightful owner in fulfillment of the Laws of the Jubilee under the provisions of Leviticus 25.
Now when we start reading chapter 6 next month, we start in the first cycle of three judgments to take place. I would like you to be very aware of this chapter 6 when we talk about it next time because I believe from what I have been reading lately is that chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation will very likely be fulfilled in about seven years because in seven years from now, there’s an event coming on Planet Earth that has everybody in the scientific community wondering, and that event is called a magnetic polar reversal. Have you heard about it? Magnetic Polar Reversal. We’ve talked about it here a couple of times.
Essentially, what will happen in—they predict this for the year 2012—What will happen is the South Pole and the North Pole (the magnetic poles) will switch. The South Pole (magnetic) will become the North Pole (magnetic) becomes the South. If one’s plus, it becomes minus; the other—you know how magnetics work like that. And the odd thing about it is that the same thing will happen at the same time on the Sun, they’re predicting a magnetic polar reversal on the Sun at the same time.
This could create incredible upheaval on Earth. Earthquakes, tidal waves, floods, and things the like of which you’ve never seen. All electrical power on Earth will cease to function because electric motors run on the basic magnetic field, and when you reverse the polarity, the motors will start running backwards. A generator becomes an alternator—and so it could be remarkable. It could be cataclysmic changes. The specific kinds of changes that can be caused by this magnetic polar reversal—there hasn’t been one on Earth since Adam was here.
Scientists say (those who are proponents of an old Earth view) that there have been four magnetic polar reversals on the planet that they can see. Because you can tell by researching the iron ore deposits in the ground, you can tell because they line up with the magnetic fields and when the magnetic field switches, they bend. And so they, scientists claim—some scientists, I won’t say this is a consensus among scientists. I don’t know if there is any real consensus among scientists—but some scientists say that they can see traces of four of these magnetic polar reversals. They claim that one of these brought on the Ice Age, the last one brought on the Ice Age.
Now, I have differences with the scientific community about the age of the Earth. I, of course, have differences with them about the age of society, about the age of humanity. I’m okay with the old Earth but I’m not okay with old society. I don’t believe mankind is any older than six thousand years, just like the Bible says it is.
My view is, God was the only one here when it happened. He wrote it down. What possible reason would we have to dispute it unless you were trying to deny the existence of God? I mean, what’s the point? He wrote it down, He did it. He’s always told us the truth. If He said He did it this way, why don’t we just accept it? Nobody was here to witness this except Him, so take His word for it. If you’re not willing to take His word for that, how can you possibly trust Him to save you? He might be lying about that too!
And so, I can’t see any point—and I realize I’m pontificating here a little bit—I can’t see any point in arguing creation; you can’t prove it, and the only One here says this is how it happened. So, if you believe Him for your salvation, why don’t you believe Him for this? What’s the harm? It just doesn’t make any sense. To me it’s just a tempest in a teapot.