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November 19, 2020 7:00 am
Look into the final studio radio and Internet Ministry of finance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study hours preparing you to think and act biblically going to talk about worship this morning because her study in Revelation 4 and five.
That's what's going on in those chapters quench our first introduction of this book to what heaven is like begin by describing rather extraordinary worship service. The place on a day that had been set apart as a festival to worship God than a miracle which was the occasion of the special worship time on the leader planned everything carefully.
People rose early and offered sacrifices and lay enjoyed what we would call fellowship meal. Everyone took part great ethnic gathering and I were so involved in their worship that they then began to dance before God in celebration. That sounds like anything you've heard or witnessed or worship services like that today. Only problem is that that worship by describing us to worship the people of Israel around the golden calf and times when Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law from God and God was not pleased with that worship is a matter of fact he was extremely displaced because what he told Moses was leave me alone so that my anger may burn against him and that I may destroy them.
Lesson of the story clearly that not everything that passes for worship pleases God.
We have the idea today anything we may do is please God, because after all, we're the ones that are doing it and probably we think our hearts are pure so God be pleased when the offering we might make to learn anything from the story we should learn that not all kinds of worship please God and on the contrary, God is very displaced sometimes worship is how we learn what worship should be kind of worship is that it really pleases them lots of places in the Bible we could go to get the answers to that of the Psalms.
For example, Psalms certainly provide patterns are how our thinking worship should go to come together as the people of God to worship him to raise prices to his name, but surely there's no better section of the Bible to do that in Revelation 4 and five because Sharon door is opened in the heaven and we get a glimpse of the entire creation, joining together in the worship of the Almighty's level off in chapter 4 by Kim son by what are called for living creatures who praise God day and night what they say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. The chapter begins with a picture of the door standing open in heaven. Verse one voice calling John the author of this book saying come up here and I will show you what must take place after this third door. So far in Revelation was a door mentioned in Christ letter to the church in Philadelphia. Jesus said, I set before you an open door that no one can shot it was a door of opportunity is also the door mentioned in the letter to the church of Laodicea was a door that the black church and closed against Christ was a door of fellowship you have a door of Revelation. John is invited to come up and be shown the first of the visions that are going to continue throughout the heart of this book. Now this is the point at which the various interpretations of Revelation begin to diverge very seriously horse or have been diversities of view. Up to this point that I referred to them wherever it's important, but here they get increasingly serious and raises a number of very important questions of the interpretation of the book. The questions would go like this. What does the imagery of these visions signify winter they sing supposed to occur. How does John Hughes parts of the Old Testament that he obviously draws on in Revelation use them in the same sense that they occur in the Old Testament or does he give unique meanings as he unfolds them and uses them in his book, which of these things is symbolic on his literal including how we might interpret it comes from Hebrews 923 which says that the parts of the earthly tabernacle were copies of the heavenly things that should suggest to us is that we can study what is said about the earthly tabernacle for a clue as to what the images that we find here in the visions of heaven represent one of these interpretations we all handle right away, and it's a view of dispensationalism, see John's being taken up into heaven. At this point is a picture of the supposed rapture of the church before the tribulation, the dispensational us are quite dogmatic about that JA Zeiss is. She says that door opened in heaven as the door of the ascension of the saints John Wahlberg is not quite so dogmatic. He admits raptures in exactly plot the beginning of Revelation 4, but he does find it represented here is a type when asked the question why do the dispensational us want to regard John's being taken up into heaven is a picture of the rapture of the saints is an obvious reason for dispensational us are committed to the idea in the rapture of the saints on other grounds from other passages of the Bible, particularly from the Thessalonian letters and ever going to fit it into the book of Revelation.
It all seems to be the best place to do it according to their way of thinking the letters to the churches give a four caster view of the entire history of the church from the beginning of the end we saw earlier there serious reasons for questioning that all in itself, but if you assume that in all of the judgments that move on from this point. Don't refer to the present age of $0.90, but that which is going to come at the end of history. So if you're going to have a rapture has to come between the two may argue on this basis. When you have the phrase after these things, which is how John begins the chapter what he must be meaning varies after the church age before the final events of the great tribulation and judgment of a problem with that of course is that there's no reason for taking any of the words in that sense, John's experience of being caught up to heaven is not the rapture of the saints, even assuming there is such a thing as a rapture experiences his alone.
Meaning that he alone is given the revelation that he is now communicating to us and as far as the phrase after these things goes just doesn't have that kind of chronological weight in the book of Revelation occurs many times, but it really just refers to a sequence of the disclosures that John himself is experienced here it means is that after John and received the letters to the seven churches. He heard a voice summoning him to happen which he tells us about chapter 4 of the sequence.
Here is the sequence of John's experiences, not historical events, we have to remember is that the book of Revelation is trying to give us a way of looking at all of life and history from God's point of view. So the vision of the throne room in chapters 4 and five which were studying now is to remind believers of all times and all places holy, omnipotent and omniscient God is control history over censuses also will worship Satan's way of telling us that our primary duty and responsibility all things along the whole of the creationist worship and glorify God. We have to do that here and now, as able as John see when is caught up in the heaven and the spirit as he says, and passes through that door he sees or softens the throne of the Almighty word throne is important occurs 17 times in these two chapters in about 40 times overall. In the book of Revelation's throne is mentioned in every chapter of the book of Revelation, except chapters to eight in mind introduces a magnificent same amazing thing just have to begin to try and put yourself into the frame of these chapters and begin to visualize it in some way seems to live inspired George Frederick Handel right that masterpiece, the Messiah, because what he was asked on one occasion, how we came to write the oratorio's reply was I saw heaven opened, God, upon his great white throne.
I have to say say it again and again as we go through this book we are not to take this necessarily is a literal description of what John is sharing with this submission.
Something like a dream not usually to be interpreted literally. Evidence of the drain would be necessary to imagine a literal throne in heaven with a physical deity seated apartment, surrounded by 24 literal material throne slip. Jesus is introduced in the next scene in chapter 5 actually looks like a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes soon as you begin the stated that way understand you're getting off track image like that is absurd. This is symbolic language supposed to teach us things about Jesus and about God. What these chapters are actually doing is describing the universe from a heavenly point of view.
Hendrickson puts it well. He says the purpose of this vision is to show us in beautiful symbolism, all things are governed by the Lord on his throne for healthcare also by the flow of the book I mentioned that earlier goes from earth to heaven last two chapters, letters to the churches.
We missed the church on earth. We sought with all its problems.
Here are real people engage in real struggles being persecuted from outside in various ways being troubled from within by false doctrines and also by distantly carry around in their own part.
Some are energetic, some of lost their first love. Some warm we say of these people what's going to happen to them.
What's the future going to be are they going to be overcome by the powers of this age is Caesar going to be triumphant. John does is take us from Lansing to heaven show us all things are in the hands of Almighty God and that victory is here so sewer threatened by Caesar's throne are to know that there is a greater throne. Caesar's the path of history is being determined by the one who is able to turn even the hearts of kings to do his pleasure. We need to look at it bit by bit.
First of all, the throne of God is interesting that John doesn't describe God. If you notice that it doesn't describe God because God can't be described always says that he saw someone sitting on the throne, who had been said, the appearance of jasper Milligan. Jasper is an unknown stone, even though we have a son called Jasper today is later in chapter 21, said to be clear as crystal also suggest something like a diamond and carnelian is a deep red colored Joule want to find ourselves saying that God is hard like a diamond. It's not what John is saying simply saying that God is valuable in radio in his glory uses images that we can understand describe what is ultimately beyond our comprehension. Several more descriptive features God's throne is surrounded by a rainbow, resembling an emerald first rate emeralds greeting.
That's not the color you normally associate with a rainbow green doesn't have any special significance that I know of, but the only other biblical reference to a rainbow is a rainbow that was given to Noah after the flood business on sign of God's covenant is eternal covenant.
The covenant of grace must be referring to that. What is saying is that God who appears here at the end of the Bible. The same God was there at the beginning of the Bible and that this character is not shame the gracious God, where he makes covenant with his people. He keeps the covenant first five moves on from Genesis to Exodus. When it speaks of flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder that calls the appearance of God on Sinai in the days of Moses and the Exodus's words appear almost unchanged. In Revelation 811 16 in each case there in connection with a series of judgments. What this is speaking of is the holiness of God reminds us that is the one who gives the law on his lawn doesn't change on his holy and he will judge evil deed. That's what much of the book is about the sea of glass, number six, the heavenly model for lattice collaborative solids.
It's the model for the lab of Solomon's Temple lever Solomon's Temple was a place for ceremonial washings purification cheer Revelation that said Crystal city and that would seem to suggest, at least, it suggests to me that in heaven there is no longer any need for ceremonial washings because sin has been abolished and judged all over there and haven't been made holy by the blood of Christ. Later on, say, of the heavenly city chapter 21 verse 17. Nothing impure will ever enter into it nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. The first thing John is telling us about here is the nature of God and the nature of those who were in his presence, who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord here has clean hands and a pure heart.
None of us have clean hands and a pure heart were to join in that heavenly chorus and be part of that worship, saying it has to be by the blood of Jesus Christ, which alone is sufficient to cleanse us from our sin of you been washed in my blood. This is a serious thing. This is reality. This is heaven. The destiny of those who know Christ is not the destiny of those who don't know him very important that you get that settled in to get it settled now thing John talks about at least 24 thrones and the 24 elders were countless theories about who these elders are without going into them in detail.
It seems to me the obvious view is that they represent the entire people of God of both the Old Testament and the New Testament dispensations recall that in the Old Testament you have the 12 patriarchs of Israel. Fathers of the Jewish nation, the people of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament. You have the 12 apostles representing the people of the new dispensation probably do something like that. Furthermore, the way the elders are pictured makes them unnatural link to the previous chapters of a follow-up to the promises given their some of the churches the effect that the one who overcomes will reign with Jesus on his throne.
That's what these elders are doing. Furthermore, they have white blouse which signifies their holiness now in glory, and crown's crowns symbolize their victory over sin. Jesus told the church in Sardis. He who overcomes will be dressed in white told the believers in Laodicea.
To him who overcomes I will get the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my father on his throne. So these are the ones who were victorious one's workload with the righteousness of Christ is a perfect picture of the church is this an expanding picture of the worshipers in these chapters 1st four living creatures, and then the 24 elders and then third, innumerable angels and finally verse 13.
Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth on the safe. All it is in Numbers 13 chapter 5 the elders represent the church are mentioned first in verse four of chapter 4. Why is that because we alone people of God are able to testify.
He was grace and redemption that is a great manifestation of God's glory of God. It was the only righteous one. Nevertheless, for grace is reached down to say the simple people like ourselves. Although the Angels closer to God and never known sin worship about their perfections. We have something to praise God for that. Even the angels don't know we been saved from sin brought from death to life regarding be able to do that and do it forevermore. One of the striking pictures in Revelation is this description of the four living creatures in the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes in front and back first living creature was like a lion, the second is like an ox, the third had a face like a man. The fourth flying Eagle of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings versus six through eight variations in the details, so these creatures, but they must be the same creatures that are described by Isaiah chapter 6 verses one through eight, and also in Ezekiel 1st chapter on passage there and again in chapter 10 there called Seraphim and Isaiah Heather called cherubim and Ezekiel must be the same thing Hendrickson went mentioned a moment ago points out, these parallels between the creatures of Revelation and the others are all called living ones are four of them compared to a man a lion unlocks Eagle where connected with the throne of God.
Fire moves to and from among them there covered with eyes, rainbow circles, throne don't know a whole lot about them. But Lucifer was one of these creatures before he fell became Satan. The first of the five worship patents of these chapters occurs here are five of them in all the song of the four living creatures is the first is recorded in verse eight we are the only hymns in Revelation.
I come to many more as we go throughout the book. These are splendid hymns is also a progression of the hymns may be a notice that the first two are praise to God the father versus the holy and eternal God, and then is the creator next to him as her address to Jesus Christ, the Lamb first is the Redeemer of mankind, and secondly is the one that was worthy to receive all power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise in in the last of the five hymns is addressed both to the father and the son.
That is, to him, sits on the throne and to the Lamb. This first one is an obvious echo of what Isaiah heard and recorded in his book, which is another reason for identifying these four living creatures with the Seraphim. He describes, and that prophecy there there singing, holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty whole earth is filled with his glory point of the sentence out. One point is to show how worship should be done focusing our attention on the worship of God in heaven but they also show the meaning of the vision of God was seated upon the throne of God is the utterly exalted one, that is the focal point and ultimate object of the worship of all creation, other words, remember the first question of the Westminster shorter catechism. What is the chief end of man answer is man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever is exactly what the elders and the four living creatures and the Angels and all the other creatures are doing so we come to the question that I race at the beginning.
How should worship be done. Both of these chapters. The song Seraphim is echoed by the praise of the elders represent the church and that that praise of God the father at the end of chapter 4 at night going with the four living creatures in chapter 5, and in the final praise chorus verse 13 there last persons mentioned in these two chapters of the elders fell down and worship 14 of chapter 5. So there are pattern particularly the question is how they worship.
And do we worship as they do and we echo the song that they say even as they echo the song of the mighty angels well here some features about worship it, and the passage first of all, true worship is the worship of God alone anything in these chapters more obvious than this year. In this worship.
The entire creation is focused utterly on God and so must we be for ship focused it were truly worshiping the complaints I have about so much that goes on in contemporary alleged worship services is that the attention is focused on people or the worshiper, rather than on God possible to come to church go to church, heard all sorts of encouraging things feel good for what you've done and never have had a serious thought about Almighty God.
Have in their thinking about God what they're doing is fulfilling their first and greatest of the 10 Commandments God said you shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them again. We could put it this way, we could say what they're doing in heaven is fulfilling what Jesus called the first and greatest of all the commandments love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind if we come to church, however valuable that may be focusing on something else rather than on God himself were not worshiping whatever else we may be doing second true worship honors God for his godlike attributes. Because this is what worship really is so signing to God is true worth will never do this exhaustively. Of course, because God is the infinite one throughout all eternity.
We can be finding out about God and praising God.
But the fact we can praise God exhaustively doesn't mean that we shouldn't praise God as best we can, or that I worship has no value would does is valuable for us as valuable as a testimony to the world and can we say it this way, it is valuable to God because this is what God desires the attributes of the four living creatures as they speak about God. Well, that is praise for being holy, holy, holy, holy is praise for being Almighty or sovereign is the Lord God Almighty's praise for being eternal was and is and is the calm that's not a bad place to start one more things you can say about God were going to find it as we go on to praise him for his grace.
Certainly the redemption the desires through the work of Jesus Christ. To begin with the holiness and the sovereignty and eternity of God the place of humbles us and directs our thinking as it should be directed third.
The best worship is ceaseless worship because Weber told verse eight is that it's offered to God day and night's day and night, day after day, year after year.
We can do that by ourselves.
Of course, except in the sense that our entire lives should be ordered to God's glory. But we can worship ceaselessly, literally, along with others and we do all around the world people worship God in such a way that we can say praise from this planet goes up to God literally day and night and year after year.
We have a part of an integrated opportunity and then fourth Phyllis worship follows on that because it's with others with the entire creation should worship God individually.
Of course we should you read the Bible and praying your own times of Bible study, you should be worshiping God. You certainly want to respond was teaching by praising him for the glorious gospel of grace. We mustn't forsake the worship of God with others, either because or something in the corporate worship of God by the assembled people of God that is right enhanced and beneficial, especially beneficial because worship with others keeps us on track reminds us that God really is God and that he is in control of history and that we are his people and it's our chief responsibility duty of joy to praise him. I was repairing the study I came across two wonderful paragraphs on worship by Craig Keener the remind us of exactly that.
Read them to you is late first century Christians gained courage to declare that the Emperor had no close, we must declare the same for the idols of our generation. Caesar did not create and is not eternal, nor did he redeem us by his blood. He had no control over our ultimate hope in view of present knowledge in the narrow parameters essential for the formation of life in the universe we can see God's loving design and creation today in greater detail than those who came before us only in the depths of worship as we stand in awe of God's majestic glory. All other competing claims for affection and attention.
Receipt of their right place. God alone is God and he alone, merits first place beyond every other love every other anxiety.
Every other fear that comes God's grandeur dwarfs the Emperor's majesty. It also challenges in a different way than mumbling rightness of modern Western culture.
God's greatness summons our attention. We who are overwhelmed by the mortal Emperor or our present trials that God is Lord of history and has everything under control helps us do everything else in life the way we should praise puts persecution, poverty, and plagues into perspective.
God is sovereignly bringing about his purposes in this world's pains are merely the birth pangs of a new world. That's why worship matters. You don't gather with the people of God to worship God's the world is going to form you according to its mold and its value were living in a politically active time as candidates are competing with one another to become the President of the United States is hard to hear a worthwhile word spoken by any of the candidates, I might say except for Alan Keyes, who alone tells it right but mom got elected. Somebody said you listen to the political debates today. It sounds like those who are running a running position of mayor of a small town rather than to become president of the most important country in the world present time trivial trivial and trivial values world being caught up in television things that only the last 15 minutes long 15 years that's going to be your value system is going to be your way of thinking that your way of life must you learn what it is to order your thinking in your life from the perspective of eternity. How would you do that, read the Bible, yes, of course, what you need to do is gather with the people of God and worship God is God alone must be will be worshiped.
You do that.
The other things will fall into place find that you're already living in this world is one who, like John has had a taste of heaven.
Nothing on earth will ever have the same appeal for you again.
Let's pray our father, we confess we live, trivial, mindless, and even idolatrous times and we get caught up in that forgiveness for it by your grace with this from man to see you as you are, at least in part, to grow and that knowledge of the growing obedience to have our character formed by that which we see no place your hand upon us good. We pray that you might receive glory in our lives and in the church now and throughout eternity.
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