The Book of Revelation

Program # 9 
  

by: Ronald L. Dart


"And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book, a book written within and on the backside and sealed with seven seals, {2} And I saw a boisterous angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof," {3} And no one in heaven. No one under the earth. No one in the earth was able to open the book, or even to look in it, {4} And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon."

What is this book? We are reading from chapter 5 of the great book of Revelation.

John is in vision. And John doesn't even know what's in this book, and he is weeping uncontrollably because no one is found worthy to open it. Not one of the elders, not one of the Cherubim, the angel standing about there, not even apparently, the one who is sitting on the throne holding the book.

Now if you read our previous broadcast article, you will know this, the One sitting on that throne is none other than God the Father, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the eternal, the great God and He's holding it, and they are weeping and looking about and saying, "Who can open this book?

The book will turn out to be the book of the end of history. The seven seals that are going to be opened, starting in chapter 6 of Revelation, are the events that close out this age. Each seal, open in its turn, ushers in events. It is as though the opening of the book is what makes it possible for the final set of circumstances to begin, which will finish everything.

There are seven of the seals and when the seventh seal is opened, it will open 7 last trumpets that culminate in that return of Christ, because Christ returns at the time of the seventh of these trumpets, and this seventh trumpet will be composed of the seven vials of God's wrath and so what this book is going to be about, is the beginning of the end. The opening of that seal starts a clock, if you will, it starts a countdown to the very end of man's misgovernment on this earth, a countdown to the moment of the beginning of the government of God on this earth, of the rule of God on this earth. And so everyone is wondering, who will be able to open this book? Who will be able to start all this in motion?

John Is In Vision

Now remember John is in vision. I've never had a vision, but they seem to be much like a dream, but much more vivid than a dream, and in vision, as oftentimes is in the case in a dream, time has no meaning. All sorts of physical laws are suspended, you can be trying hard to run in place and run down the road and you are not making any progress at all. You can be talking to one person this moment, still carrying on the same conversation with what seems to be the same person and it is somebody totally different. People come, people go, people are there, people are not. So John is in vision. Time has no meaning here, he is neither future nor past, he is not even present. Now the reason I say all this is, because in this vision, one moment no one is qualified to open this book, no one is found worthy, and the next moment someone is!

Who Will Open The Book?

"One of the elders said to me," verse five of Revelation chapter 5, "Weep not: behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Now you don't need to be a Bible scholar to realize that the one spoken of here is the risen Christ, the Messiah, who was of the house of David, so the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, is the one who's going to open the book and start the ball rolling.

Now this being so, you would expect then, John to look and to see the one he saw earlier in his vision, the one whose eyes were like a flame of fire, whose feet were like burnished brass, who was clothed in a white raiment, and girded with a golden girdle, whose eyes shone like a flame of fire. Now that is what you would expect.

"But John looked," {6} "and lo in the midst of the throne, were the four beasts in the midst of the elders."

Now right in the middle of this open area, where the throne is, there are four great living creatures there and the 24 elders are there, where once before, there was nothing, now there stood a Lamb. A Lamb, a young sheep.

A Slain Lamb

"There stood a Lamb," Revelation 5 verse 6, "as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes."

Oh, that's grotesque, a Lamb with its throat cut and seven horns and seven eyes. Now back off. This is a vision. It might sound a bit like a nightmare but it's a vision. And the things that John is seeing are symbolic, horns are basically symbolic of power, seven horns means what? Well seven is number of completeness, horns are the symbol of power, what it means is that this Lamb had all power!

Well, that goes with Matthew 28 verse 18, where Jesus told His disciples, "All power is given to me in heaven and earth." And this was not long after Jesus had been slain and raised from the dead, and seemingly as a result of that, had been granted all power.

Now back to Revelation 5 verse 6, we have a Lamb as it had been slain. Now a slain lamb, first of all, to slay something means to kill it with violence. We have a Lamb which is the image of innocence and harmlessness, sweetness, cuteness, whatever you want to say. The Messiah is a Lamb? The Messiah is a Lamb slain? Now you couldn't get much further from the idea of a conquering king Messiah than the imagery that is here laid out for us in the book of Revelation of a Lamb, a helpless Lamb, an innocent lamb that's been killed.

You know the word Lamb occurs 31 times in the New Testament. All but one of them refer to Jesus and 27 out of the 31 of the times that word occurs are in the book of Revelation. The imagery of the slain Lamb permeates this book. It is important all the way through the Bible, but it's dominant in the book of Revelation.

Now this Lamb that had been slain, verse seven, "Came and took the book out of the right hand of God the Father that sat upon the throne."

Now you are a little troubled with the image of this, aren't you? Here's a Lamb on all fours with hooves, who goes over to the one that sits on the throne and reaches up and takes a book out of His hand. Somewhere in all of this, this Lamb image must become more like the risen Christ in John's mind, because here now, we find the slain lamb being the Christ, being qualified and coming to the One sitting upon the throne and taking the book out of His hand.

They Fell Down Before the Lamb

And when He," Verse 8 of Revelation 5, "had taken the book, the four creatures and the 24 elders, all fell down before the Lamb."

Now, in the previous chapter, we find the living creatures and the 24 elders all falling down before the one that sat upon the throne and casting their crowns before Him and singing praise and honor and glory to the great God of all the universe and the great Creator.

Now, something new happens, with the appearance of this Lamb, who a moment before was not there, these same beings fall down before the Lamb.

Prayers of the Saints

Continuing in verse 8 of Revelation 5, "Every one of them has a harp, a musical instrument, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints."

What an interesting image! You know, when you go to your knees and you pray and you talk to God, you feel as though, you can feel as though that God is sitting there and you are kneeling before him and that He is hearing the words as you speak them and I think that is, each as it is so, but the imagery in this vision is, each one of the 24 elders, has a vial, a total of 24 vials and they are filled with a perfume, and the perfume is symbolic of the prayers of all the saints.

Now one wonders sometimes about how our prayers come before God? One wonders about the fact that we are all praying at the same time. I'm praying here, you are praying down in Australia, somebody else is praying in England and we all are praying to God and He is hearing our voices at the same time and they must mingle together. But of course it poses no giant problem for us to imagine an all-powerful God being able to sort it all out or hear it all at the same time and respond to each of us personally. But the image is, that these prayers are like perfume around the throne of God, a pleasant thing to him and no doubt they mingle and combine and sometimes, scents `that are combined create new scents and odors and that we ourselves are like a symphony before God of praise and of honor and of petition and it is all like sweet smells coming to God.

24 Elders Sing a New Song

But back to the image of the throne. Continuing again at verse 8,

"The 24 elders all fall down before the Lamb. They have harps and they have golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints, {9} And they sang a new song."

So they play on their musical instruments and they sing this new song, saying "You are worthy to take the book and to open the seals of it, for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every kindred, and tongue and people and nation."

Theology of the Slain Lamb

The whole world has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Not one people, not one tribe, but everyone. You are worthy. All right, one moment the Lamb is worthy. The moment before no one was! What is the defining event that makes this one worthy to reach for the book, to take a seal, and to crack that seal and to open up the events, that begin to take place at the end of this world? What is it? It is the fact that Christ was slain! He didn't die of old age, He died with violence. Before He was slain, Christ was not qualified to open the book, after he was slain He was qualified.

Now we are going to encounter this Lamb again and again in the book of Revelation, We know it is Jesus Christ. But why a Lamb? What does it mean and where does it go? Well brace yourself because this is going to take a little time to explain. But nothing is more fundamental to understanding what God is doing and knowing who this Lamb is, why this Lamb was slain, and what the book of Revelation is really about. There's no one place in the Bible where the theology of the slain Lamb is laid out, so we are going to have to work a little to pull it all together.

Redeemed

"And if you call on the Father, who without respect of partiality judges according to every man's work, past the time of your sojourning here in fear, for as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition of your fathers, you were not redeemed by these things. You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." These words from first Peter one verse 17 and the following verses.

What does Peter mean when he speaks of our being redeemed, bought back? To redeem something is like when you have gone down to the pawnshop and you pawned your watch and got some money for it so you could have a date that evening and then a week later you get paid, you go back to get your watch. What you do is, you redeem your watch.

As its used here in Peter, the idea relates to slavery and it is a very old idea indeed. The idea was in old times you bought and sold slaves. A man could be sold into slavery for many reasons.

For example, let's say you are a thief, you had gone out to some guys sheepfold and you helped yourself to about 4 or 5 of his sheep. Drug them off with you, sold them to somebody else, spent the money in a drunken orgy and the next thing that happens is, you are arrested. Well, they didn't throw you in the slammer in those days, they didn't take you off and put you in jail for six months where you didn't have to work. You can eat and sleep and do whatever. No, they sold you. If you didn't have the money to pay back the sheep and I think you had to pay back four sheep for one sheep and it depended on some circumstances, to exactly what you had to pay back.

But here you are. You don't have anything. They just take you up on the auction block, they sell you off for enough money to pay for the sheep and you're gone. You go work for this guy for maybe seven years, or however long it takes to work those sheep off. That's what you're going to do.

Slavery was, well it was kind of a substitute for prison. There were no prisons as such, in that society. They just sold you to somebody and he worked you unto your debt was paid off and then you were either let go or if you still had to pay the debt off, you could even be sold to somebody else. But there was at the end of all of it, a year of release.

The language of being redeemed, as you find it in the Bible, is that of being bought back, out of having sold yourself into slavery. It's all covered in the law.

There's an interesting passage back in Leviticus the 25th chapter. If you begin reading along about verse 47 in that chapter, it tells you that you can have a rich stranger living next door to you or down the road from you and your brother, some near kinsman of yours, could have waxed poor, really messed up his life and gotten poor and wound up either because he was a thief, or because he needed money, sold himself to the stranger or the sojourner to work for him.

The book of Leviticus says that after he has been sold, he may be redeemed again. One of his brethren may redeem him. It could be his uncle, his uncleís son could redeem him or anybody who is near of kin to him of his family may redeem him or if he is able he can even redeem himself, if he's got the money, but the idea is, if I'm the guy that bought you and somebody comes along with the value of the money and they want to buy you out of slavery, I have to take the money and let you go. I can't say, "No, keep your money, I am going to work this guy to death." No, not in Israel, it wasn't allowed.

So the idea of redeeming someone, is that a person through his sin has sold himself, and you go and buy him out.

So Peter says this in 1Peter 1 verse 18, "For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold, from your vain conduct."

In other words, somebody didnít come along with a sack of banknotes or some coins or a bag full of gold and buy you out.

You were redeemed {19} "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

Now the imagery of this for anyone of Peter's readers back at this time would've known that he was making reference to Old Testament laws that had to do with the lambs that were offered in the temple and how that those lambs had to always be offered without blemish and without spot.

Jesus, you see, lived a perfect life. He was not a sinner himself. He did not deserve to die. He was not slain because of something that He had done. The lamb was always to be perfect without blemish and without any spot.

Now we have sold ourselves into sin, we will die there, but we have been redeemed. That is bought back with the precious blood of the Lamb.

But Peter has more to say about that. He says {20} "This lamb who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."

So God intended, from the very beginning, to have this take place to make provision for you. He knew you would sin. He knew that you would ruin your life. He knew that you would have to be bought back.

You know Peter is not at all the only apostle to develop the slain Lamb theme. Paul, when he is writing to the Corinthians in chapter 5 of the first letter to the Corinthian says this in verse 1, "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and yet it's such fornication is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that a man should have his father's wife, {2}You people are puffed up in your own minds. You haven't mourned, that he that is done this deed might be taken away from among you, {3} I verily, as I'm absent in body, but I'm present in spirit, and I have judged as though I were present, concerning him, who has so done this deed. {4} In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the next time you people get together, and my spirit is with you, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, {5} You are to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

Now I don't know what that was, but I don't want any part of it. To be turned over officially by the church to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh.

Then Paul says, {6} "Your glorying is not good, don't you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump."

Sourdough Bread

Now the imagery here is to the making of sourdough bread, you have a little bit of starter left over from the last time you made it, just a little bitty ball of it, and you have a whole lump of unleavened dough and you take the starter, you put it in it, you work it all up together and you set it aside. Leave it for a while, then you work it some more, and pretty soon the leavening that's in that little lump will take care of the whole thing and you have a nice fresh loaf of sourdough bread.

And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 6, "You're going to allow this sort of thing in your midst, youíre going to tolerate this in your midst, and pretty soon you're all going to be just like that." He then said, {7} "Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."

Now if you have read the Bible very much, you will tumble to this very quickly, but in case you haven't, you need to understand that the Passover was a very old, in fact, it may be one of the oldest religious ceremonies known to man.

In its origins the people of Israel were told to pick a lamb in the 10th day of the first month, the lamb was to be without blemish and without spot, they were to keep it up to the 14th day of the month, and on the 14th day of the month, they were to kill this lamb, and they would take some of its blood and they would put the blood on the door posts and the lintel of their house. They would cook the lamb and then into their houses they went to spend the night. They ate the lamb in the house and nobody went out of his house until morning because the Death Angel was going to come through Egypt that night and kill all the firstborn of every family, except where the blood was, of the slain lamb.

There is an old hymn that says, "When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you." This reaches back to the old Passover, when the blood of the slain lamb was put on the door post of your house and God says, "When I see that you have accepted this, when I see that you have applied the blood of the slain lamb to you and your family, I will pass over you and you will not die!"

The Passover, that Paul is talking about, is the Passover Lamb. Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is further identified as the Passover Lamb. That's what this slain Lamb of Revelation really is.

Paul then says, verse 8 of 1 Corinthians 5, "Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

It appears that the early Corinthian Church, Gentile though they were, were actually observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, by putting the leaven out of their houses. The old leaven was gone. But not only that, they had to have the leaven of malice and wickedness that was symbolized by the leavening of bread, that had to be out of their lives as well.

So the lamb in question is identified with the Passover lamb.

Doubting Thomas

Now there is also a fascinating encounter between Jesus and Thomas, you know doubting Thomas.

In John 20 and verse 24, John tells, "Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came, {25} The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord," but he said to them, (Well you know, you would've thought he would say, "Well I'm not going to believe until I have seen the Lord just like you have seen the Lord," but he went further than that.) He said, "No, no. Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and unless I put my finger into the print of the nails and thrust my hand into his side. I will not believe."

Now Thomas had seen Jesus nailed to the stake, the cross, he saw those nails driven in there. He had seen Him killed violently by the soldier. He had seen the lifeless bloodless body prepared and buried, and what Thomas is saying is, "I want to see the man that was slain. Don't bring me in here to a Jesus that's whole, so that I think this is somebody else or it's a trick, or in some way playing some joke on me. I know he was dead and I want to see him alive and I want to put my finger in the nail print and I want to put my hand in his side. I want to know."

"After eight days again," {26} "His disciples were inside, gathered together, and Thomas was with them this time. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be unto you." {27} Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger and behold my hands, put your hand out here and stick it into my side, and donít be faithless, but believing." {28} And Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God."

Thomas had seen and had experienced the resurrected slain lamb. The lamb was slain! It did not just die. He did not just get up on that stake up there and just sort of finally pass away. He did not just die of a broken heart. I'm sorry, the Lamb was slain!

Consider if you will, the moment of Jesus death. "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar," John 19 verse 30, He said, "It is finished," and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

In other words, His spirit left him. Now that does not mean that His heart had stopped beating at that moment. The expression he gave up the spirit simply means that the spirit had left Him.

Then verse 32, "Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first and of the other that was crucified with Him, {33} But when they came to Jesus and saw He was dead already, they didn't break His legs. {34} But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side and out came blood and water."

Now dead men don't bleed, the heart was still beating and so when he pierced His side, Jesus then bled and bled to death. The truth is, the Lamb was slain!

Millions of Angels Sang Praises to God

Letís return to Revelation 5 verse 11, "And I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and around about the beast and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was 100 million plus a few million, {12}And they all sang before God with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing, {13} And every creature which is in heaven, every creature on the earth, under the earth, everything in the sea, and I heard all of them saying, "Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto to Him that sits upon the throne and to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

I hope that somewhere in all this praise there will be one small voice singing in a baritone voice, "Worthy is the Lamb." For if the great whales must praise God then so must I!

Until next time, this is Ronald Dart reminding you, "Learn to Sing!"

This article was transcribed with

minor editing from a Born to Win Radio Program by: Ronald L. Dart

Titled: The Book of Revelation -Program #9

Transcribed by: bb 12-3-23


Ronald L. Dart was an evangelist and is heard daily and weekly on his Born to Win radio program. 
The program can be heard on over one hundred radio stations across the nation.

In the Portsmouth, Ohio area you can listen to the Born to Win radio program on 
Sundays at 7:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. on WNXT 1260.

You can contact Christian Educational Ministries at
P.O. Box 560 Whitehouse, Texas 75791 
Phone: (903) 509-2999 - 1-888-BIBLE-44

 



Return to ICOG Newsletter Page