When Downcast, Look to the Throne

Put yourself in this situation. It is somewhere between 70 and 95 AD, and the church is under siege by the world. You have seen Nero take some of your brothers and sisters in Christ, tie them to poles, cover them in tar, and set them on fire to light his parties. The enemies of God have even killed some of the apostles. It seems as if evil is winning and the church will be destroyed, but the Lord is about to give them hope by reminding them of their destiny. To do this, he will provide them with a vision of his throne room.

The apostle John is facing fierce persecution and is living on the Isle of Patmos when the Lord gives him a revelation. This revelation would paint a picture of the cosmic battle and the consummation of all things. At one point, the vision takes us to the throne. Our heavenly Father is seated there, and four beasts with six wings surround him, much like Isaiah’s vision. With them are twenty-four elders. We are not told who these elders are, but a reasonable guess is that they consist of twelve faithful prophets from the Old Testament and twelve apostles of the new, but there is a problem.

The Father is holding a scroll in his right hand, and no one is worthy to open it (Rev. 5:1-3). The scroll contains the divine plan for the destiny of the church and the judgment of those who reject God. The scroll has writing inside and on the back, like a legal will of that time, and is sealed with seven seals. For a church under persecution, this vision of the divine plan was knowledge they needed to be complete and prepared for every good work in times of darkness, but no one could open it. In seeing this, the apostle John began to weep.

As John is weeping, one of the elders says, “Weep no more; behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5). John had been looking at the throne but had not yet seen the conqueror, but there he was. The one who loved him so. He is human, of the tribe and lineage of Judah, and he is divine. He had seven horns, which speak of his omnipotence, and seven eyes which tell of his omniscience. Both of which are the seven spirits of God. He is complete in his divinity; he is the God-man, the root of David. Not only David’s son but David’s Lord. Then the Father hands him the scroll.

As soon as the scroll was in his hands, the four creatures and twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped him, and they sang a new song which tells us why he is worthy to unfold the glorious destiny of the people of God. It is because he was slain. He had been killed, but he was now standing in full glory before them, yet he still bore the scars (Rev. 5:8-9).

It was by his blood that he ransomed a people for God of every tribe and language and people and nation. The fall was cosmic in its scope and plummeted all of humanity into ruin regardless of ethnicity. Christ’s redemption was so complete it included people from every tribe. Those among the redeemed of every tribe were now of a new Kingdom and priests to our God (Rev. 5:9-10). Not only were they under his rule, but they also have access to him. His commands are not burdensome because he is with them. They can speak to him, and he can minister to them. Even amid harsh persecution, his commands are not onerous because of his love for them and their love for him.

Only the slain lamb was worthy to open the scroll, which leads us to an interesting question. Would God be able to open the scroll if he had no son who was slain? The answer to that question may seem blasphemous, but a God who has no son who died for the sins of his people would not be worthy to open the scroll of the glorious future of sinners who had been set free from their sins and granted eternal life. This inability is because there could be no eternal life without payment for their sin. Our only destiny would be eternal punishment, but here is why that answer is not blasphemous. That god, who had no son who was slain, does not exist. It is a false god of cults and fraudulent religions.

The true God is triune in nature as he has always been, and the Son was slain before the foundations of the world for our names were already written in his book (Rev. 13:8). This knowledge of the lamb’s diety is why the living creatures and elders around the throne worshipped him, saying, “Worthy is the lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12). The Son is as much God as the Father. At that point, every creature in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and under the sea all say, “To him who sits on the throne and to the lamb.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God in three persons, all on the throne, and this God deserves all blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever. For they work in concert to save us.

I am not sure what you are facing. I do not know what hardships or persecutions are bringing you down or what sins have caused you to mourn, but I know you can look to the throne. In looking at the throne, we see the one who sits upon it, and he loves us. Weep no more, for there you will see your Father and his Son who was slain for your sins, and he holds the scroll to your marvelous destiny; he will unfold his glorious divine will for you without fail. And the Spirit of God is with you right now to bear you up under any temptations. Upon hearing this truth, may we all say, “Amen,” and fall down and worship him.

-D. Eaton 

2 thoughts on “When Downcast, Look to the Throne

  1. Chris Tomlins recent song “Is He Worthy” is the apropos hymn to accompany this article. Thank you for a blessed read.

    Liked by 1 person

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