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The Scroll and the Lamb 2

Revelation 5:8b-10
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.' (NIVUK)

The lamb was standing at the centre of the throne of God in heaven (Revelation 5:6). In his vision John saw the seraphs, the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders surrounding the throne in worship. In Revelation 4:8 & 11 they were worshipping God because of His creation; now they were worshipping the Lamb of God clearly showing the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ because of His salvation. Neither the seraphs nor the representatives of the church were mediators, they were worshippers; eagerly awaiting the unfolding of God's plans as the Lamb was fully qualified to break the seals on the scroll.

In addition to their harps for making musical accompaniment to their praise, they held golden bowls. These incense-filled containers are interpreted to us as holding the prayers of God's people. It is clear that the Lord delights in our prayers and retains each one as a precious perfume (Mark 14:3-9), reminding Him of our faith and reminding us that no prayer is wasted – they constantly ascend to Him until He answers according to His wisdom.

Now the song of heaven celebrates the salvation through Christ. His blood was the redemption payment to buy us back from the captivity of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26). That redemptive sacrifice was not just for the Jews, God's ancient people, but for everybody who trusts Him for salvation. The universality of the gospel extends to people from every tribe, ethnic group, language and national entity. This scene demonstrates the efficacy of world-wide gospel mission (Matthew 28:18-20). They are incorporated into God's new kingdom, as priests who have the right to intercede directly with God through Christ. He is the Mediator, and all who trust in Him can come to God through Christ alone (1 Timothy 2:5). After this life we will also reign with Him on the new earth (2 Timothy 2:12).

Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is worshipped equally as Father God. They, with the Holy Spirit, are God. This scene inside heaven reminds us of the great privilege we have in knowing Jesus. We know the One who will welcome us into eternity, not as miserable sinners but as redeemed saints. Along the way, we have a gospel responsibility. The gospel is not just for the Jews or the church; it is for everybody who will listen and receive Jesus Christ. Whatever the trials of life, we may be assured that the Lord has already secured our eternal inheritance. So, the purpose of these verses to the original hearers and to us is the same: do not stop trusting in Jesus. He is the only hope for the future and He will reward our faith.

Lord God. Thank You for the people who first told me the gospel that I can be redeemed by the blood of Christ. Forgive me when my faith fails and I lose sight of the place You are preparing for me in heaven. Thank You that, at Your time, You will call me to be with You for ever, and so thank You for giving me the gospel to share with others so that they too might be in Christ for ever. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams