1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. Revelation 5:1-5 (KJV)
Really, when you think about it, this is the death knell of the Pre-Wrath theory, which is actually (to my knowledge) the most popular eschatological position among Independent Baptists. I guess most of those Pastors only read Marv Rosenthal and haven’t gotten around to reading their Bibles!
Rosenthal’s position is that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are all the wrath of Satan or the Antichrist. I’m not sure how he reconciles this belief with the Bible’s clear teaching that only Jesus Christ is worthy to open the seals. What, the Lord Jesus Christ knows that Satan is come with wrath, but isn’t worthy to open the seals – so He helps Satan out??? It’s not a logical position at all.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. Revelation 5:6 (KJV)
This is a case of Hebrew emphasis. Things in the Bible are repeated to let you know when to pay attention to something. The Lord Jesus repeats Himself on the Gospel of John for emphasis. There is some figurative language in the Bible. For instance, the Lord calls Himself the door. Is He really a door? No, we understand the language. Is the Lord Jesus Christ now a lamb, wooly and cute, but with horrible deformities??? Not at all. This is showing the number seven, which we understand to mean “Holiness” or “God” in Hebrew thought. Jesus Christ is both.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. Revelation 5:7-8 (KJV)
We need to keep this in mind. This is discussing the Lord Jesus Christ. I read quotes from people and I become convinced these people worship a different Jesus other than the Bible, like the quote about a Jesus dressed in fine clothes, smoking a cigar and listening to rock music on a boombox, tapping his foot and saying, “I love this stuff.”
The real Jesus Christ is the creator of the Earth. When we stand before Him in heaven, we’re going to be utterly struck with how Holy He is, and how amazing He is. We’re going to be on our faces before Him a LOT, because we’re going to realize this over and over again, how AMAZING is it that such a powerful and Holy Being loves us, cares for us, boasts about us, and sings over us. Think on that for a few minutes.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 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, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. Revelation 5:8-14 (KJV)
This ought to give you a feeling for the intensity of worship we wil experience in Heaven. Now, contrast this with the venom that is poured out on the throne of God by unSaved men – some of whom claim to be Christians. Well, they’ve figured it out by this point that (as the real Christians have been raptured and they’ve been left behind) that they weren’t saved.
Now, let’s dwell on this point for a minute. There are many in this world dwelling in a false expectation that they are saved. The Bible explains what it takes to be saved. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be saved.”
We’ve got two extremes of people trying to unsettle everyone – those that teach easy believism (“you don’t have to change your life, you just say the sinner’s prayer and you’re all set…”) and those that teach Lordship Salvation (“You’ve got to repent of every sin in your life, and Jesus Christ must be LORD of your life”).
The first one is vague, because you’re either trusting in a walk or a prayer to save you – and neither one can be found in Scripture. The second one is exceptionally vague, because let’s face it – the realization you are a doomed sinner condemned to Hell, unable to save yourself will drown out all rational thought. Can you recall every sin you committed today? Probably not. So, how are you to confess a litany of a lifetime of sins to a Holy God, and repent of every one of them?
The real gospel is simple. Recognize you are a sinner worthy only of eternal punishment in a literal hell of darkness, unending torment and flames. I reject the modern namby-pamby Gospel which calls Hell “eternal separation from God” – it makes it sound like you’ll be in a time out sitting in the corner forever!
Once you understand your fallen condition, recognize you need a saviour. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you of your sins. Believe upon Him, and ye will be saved. All it requires is a simple prayer of forgiveness. Repentence is a part of this. What is repentence? Recognizing you cannot save yourself, that you’ve lived a sinful life, and that you need to be saved. In other words, everything I just talked about before!
There are those in the easy believism group that claim there does not need to be fruits of repentence, and that your life does not need to change. This line of thinking doesn’t stand up to the Bible at all. Let me put this in the worst case scenario, because that always helps to show what I’m talking about.
Let’s say you’re a drug dealer. You engage in illegal, immoral activity to make sure you sell your cocaine, up to and including murdering your competition, or your mules who you find ripping you off. you stop by a church, hear the easy believism gospel. moved by the emotional music, you walk the aisle, say a prayer. You go home, feeling euphoric.
The next day in a rage, you shoot one of your thugs to death, and feel justified because he was skimming money from you. Then over the next few days, you plan,and carry out, the biggest cocaine deal you’ve done to date. and hey, it’s okay, because you’re a Christian. Despite the fact you never darken the doorway of a church again?
Is that the actions of a saved person?
Or rather, the drug dealer begins to be bothered by what he’s doing. He realizes its wrong, but struggles with his conscience. It’s money, and he doesn’t know any other way. After a while, he goes back to his pastor, tells him what’s going on, understands that what he’s doing is wrong, and sincerely wants to change. Just to make sure, the Pastor takes the drug dealer through the plan of the Gospel again, getting a more sincre prayer and confession of faith. the Drug dealer feels a need to start doing things he’s never done, like read his Bible. And get baptized.
He struggles with his old nature, losing more battles than winning, but always grimly trying to perservere. “God, I’m struggling! PLEASE help me!”
It takes years, and he’s regretting the loss of all that money. He’s struggling, but going to church – hit and miss, but still trying. He wars constantly with keeping from profane talk and cursing, knows he shouldn’t be watching those things on tV, and endlessly cries out to God.
Is that a saved person?
Sure sounds like it to me! He’s turning to GOD to help him. Did he do that before? He’s reading his Bible. Did he do that before? He’s struggling to control his mouth. did he do that before? He’s trying to get to church. Did he do that before? He gave up the illegal and immoral lifestyle. did he do that before?
Okay, Mr. “I’m so holy”, let’s compare that to your life! What are you struggling with? The Bible says we’ll war with the old nature constantly. Nobody is born again, and just quits everything cold turkey, and is mr. “reads 90 chapters of the Bible a day, has 13 hours of prayer time every day, and is a deacon in the church within 72 hours of being saved”. It takes TIME to become spiritually mature. It takes time for these changes to take effect!
See, the truth lies somewhere in between the easy believism group and the Lordship Salvation group. The Gospel needs to be simple enough that a sinner in their worst moments can comprehend, and repsond to. But it’s not so vague that a Columbian drug dealer who hacks people to death with a machete can still claim to be a Christian. We recognize the illogic of that right away, when someone involved in the worst forms of life continues in that, sees NOTHING wrong with that, and yet claims to be saved. We recognize that there’s a conflict there.
If you went to Jack Hyle’s church 20 years ago, did a sinners prayer, and haven’t been back but think you’re a Christian – I’d recommend some serious soul searching.
Are you saved? Are you trusting in a simple prayer to save you, or are you trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ? Get it settled today. Because you’re about to read about the opening of the seven seals, and I guarantee you DO not want to be part of that!!!