Friday, March 1, 2013

The New Song

 


Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
   And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
   And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 
saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. 
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honour and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 5:8-12


The Scroll 


   When Christ took the scroll out of the hand of His Father, the living creatures and the elders fell down before the Son of God, to worship him.  This is the first time in The Apocalypse, that Christ is worshipped by the heavenly beings.  

   I believe that it is at this point, where the Father handed the scroll to His Son, that the weight of the government fell on Christ’s shoulders, as Isaiah had predicted in his prophecy.  We have been given a son who will be our ruler. ... His power will never end; peace will last forever.  9:6-7

  Daniel continued that thought, One like the Son of Man, ... came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. Dan. 7:13-14. It is after that transference of power has taken place that the living creatures and the elders begin worshipping Christ.

   Each one had a harp, and golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.  Considering the church's careless attitude concerning prayer, is it possible that the contents of the golden bowls of incense are being depleted?  Is there anything left in those bowls to please the Father and the Son?  Is there any sweet smell of prayer ascending to please the Sacrificial Lamb of God?  He wants us to praise, He wants us to give thanks, He wants us to ask for favours. However, we act so human!

   The duty of a priest is to intercede, and since Christians are a kingdom of intercessors, it surely is our duty to be positive that the bowls of prayer, in the Father's presence are never empty.


The New Song


   The four living creatures and twenty-four elders sang a new song.  This song was especially written for this occasion, even Christ had never heard it before, it was a new song.  It was a song of adoration to the Lion of the tribe of Judea; to the Root of David; to the Lamb of God.  They sang; You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.


  The reason that Christ is worthy of worship is because He was crucified on the cross and because He has redeemed us to God.  The wonderful beauty of this is that it is not just for the Jews, not just for the Greeks but for every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

   It seems strange that the living creatures and the elders are thrilled about the prospect of reigning on the earth.  It would seem to be anti-climatic after having worshipped in the actual presence of Jehovah.   Newer translations, (based on older texts), have reworded these verses so that in 5:9 it is not us, the living creatures and the elders who are redeemed, but men.  Then in 5:10, it is they, the humans, who shall reign and not we, the creatures and elders. 

   Here is a more plausible translation.  For, if this change is not made, we must believe that the 24 elders and the four living creatures (all heavenly beings) have also been redeemed from among the sinners of this earth.  Some Bible scholars, including Dr. McGee*, do believe that.  I, however, believe that sin is inherent in humans, due to Adams fall, but that fall does not affect any heavenly creatures!

   He has made us kings and priests to our God.  For a clarification of this phrase, see the notes on 1:6.
http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.ca/2013/01/a-letter-to-seven-churches.html  

  Then John saw and heard an innumerable company of angels.  Here the Scripture says that they spoke words of praise, not that they sang.  The angels spoke praise but they did not claim personal salvation, for angels cannot be born again; they cannot fully appreciate the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that will follow the rapture of The Church.  To them it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us, they ministered the things ... which things the angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:11-12.  Peter speaks of a salvation that the angels desire to look into,  but they cannot grasp it, because the gospel of salvation is not for them. 

   John was human, as we the readers of The Revelation are.  It helps to see the images the Bible presents in a humanly comprehensible form.  The idea is easier to grasp if we imagine that "seeing visions" is not unlike "watching videos".  John was watching the videos that God had made of future events.  In fact, Mr. McGee* likens “seeing visions” to watching TV. 

   Mr. Wilson in, Gods in Chariots and other Fantasies, says that visions could not be electronic images because they are called visions.  However, the word vision can refer to see, literally or figuratively. Strong#7200  This definition certainly takes all the strength out of Mr. Wilson’s argument that visions cannot be electronic images. 

   John writes, then I looked.  In other words he is watching another “video” that had started playing.  In this "video", ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands and every creature which is in heaven (the birds of the air) and on the earth (animals) and under the earth (worms) and such as are in the sea (whales) were saying.  

   The idea that birds and animals praise the Lord is not foreign to the Bible or to the Church.  Let everything that breathes praise Jehovah.  Psalm 150:6 

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* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.