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The Secret Scroll

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 12:00 am

The Secret Scroll

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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February 6, 2024 12:00 am

Listen to the full-length version of this message, or the other messages in this series here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/the-first-hymns-of-heaven.   Why is it that the things we run from – pain, discomfort, friction, etc. – are often the best things for us? In this deeply practical look at Psalm 23:5-6, Stephen show us again why we are just like sheep.

 

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See, John has ushered into the future and there's no one to bring about final redemption. There's no one to administer the will of the Father on earth. There's no one from Adam's ruin race, the billions that have lived for all time, not a man or a woman from all of the billions who've lived on earth, not one fit worthy to reclaim the universe. No one can conquer evil. No one can usher in the future kingdom. No one can deliver heaven and earth and clothe mortals with immortality.

And he's struck with that. When the Apostle John was given a glimpse of the future, he became aware of a serious problem. He learned about a secret scroll in heaven, which is sealed with seven seals. Then he saw an angel calling out, who is worthy to open the scroll. No one came forth. Abraham, Moses and David are all there, but they aren't worthy.

Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon are there, but they aren't worthy either. Is anyone in heaven or on earth or under the earth worthy to open the scroll? Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart.

Stephen Davey describes what John saw next. People not only want to know about it, they want in on some secret about the future, what's going to happen and how we can be on the best side of it and how we can manipulate it, how we can control it. Everybody wants to know the secrets of the future of the universe, and we've got it. We've got it. We actually have a secret scroll. You've got it in your lap. You don't have to go to the bookstore. It's been $29.99.

You don't have to go on anybody's website. There it is. Turn to Revelation chapter 5. We're going to see the secret scroll revealed along with the person. The person.

Note that. The person. Not a mystical force, not a mystical consciousness, but a person who will be able to open the scroll and sovereignly control the future of the planet who manages the universe. Revelation chapter 5 verse 1. Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back sealed with seven seals. Now let's stop. We're not going to get anywhere near as far as you read earlier, so that wasn't a suggestion.

Let's find out here as much as we can. In fact, this is so significant because it helps explain so many things. In the ancient world going all the way back to the second century AD, literature was written on a scroll made of papyrus or leather. Leather was a little more expensive and required more work. Papyrus produced, the inside was a pith and they'd cut it out and they'd lay it in strips and they'd lay it this way and then they'd hammer it and they'd roll it with a stone and it would come out looking a lot like our current brown paper, coarse brown paper.

You could make it any length you wanted by just adding more strips. God the Father is holding one of those. The scroll, the text tells us in verse 1, it is written on both sides, the message is full, and sealed with seven seals.

Now there were two primary documents in the ancient world of John and he would have immediately understood it and his audience would have, we don't. Sealed with seven seals. One of these documents was a will, last will and testament. A Roman will was sealed by seven witnesses and each of the witnesses affixing his unique seal to the scroll. It couldn't be opened unless all seven witnesses or their representatives showed up, otherwise it stayed sealed.

Was that significant? So in a way, the scroll here in Revelation chapter 5 is the will of triune God. It is his will, sealed by the perfect witness of his sevenfold spirit. Listen, the future of the universe is not the will of puny people like you and me and that's good news.

All you heard today was that, that's good enough. It is not by the words of mortal flesh, no matter how much you love yourself and adore yourself, it is the will of God. In fact, the fact that the will of God here is written further implies that it is established.

It's fixed. It's unchangeable. Even today, ladies and gentlemen, his future will for the universe is fixed by his sovereign power. I want to mention one more of the two typical scrolls that had seven seals. Not only were wills written in this form, but title deeds as well. In fact, in Jeremiah chapter 32, God told Jeremiah to go buy a piece of land and to buy it from the region of Benjamin, which was foolishness because Nebuchadnezzar at that moment had besieged Jerusalem. The land was worthless. But he told Jeremiah, go buy a piece of it and that will be my symbol that we're coming back.

That land will be given to my people. So Jeremiah goes and he puts out the 17 shekels of silver and he buys the land. Two scrolls, which was common in this day, were created. They produced the contract of the purchase. One scroll became public record and it wasn't sealed. The other scroll was sealed with seven seals, put in a jar, kept, reserved in the temple until the day the owner could come back and reclaim that and redeem the land to himself.

This is a wonderful and fitting analogy. Jesus Christ is receiving, as it were, the will of the Father representing the Triune God. He's also receiving the title deed to creation. It's been kept safe, as it were, in the hand of God. Adam's sin had lost it, as it were, to the curse and to Satan's dominion.

But Christ redeemed creation at the cross, even when it was under siege by the enemy. And one day, Christ will call for the title deed, which he purchased with his blood, and he will claim rightful ownership of the land and all land. It belongs to him. He is the heir of all things. This is his will.

This is his title deed. Only someone with this kind of power can answer the challenge now delivered in verse 2. Notice, I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals? I mean, who has this kind of authority? Who was the witness?

Don't read ahead. Who was the witness to the original document? Who knows the will of God? Who has the power to fulfill the contents of this contract and reclaim the sieged earth? So they begin a search, verse 3.

They start among all the redeemed, both Old and New Testament Saints. It then races down through humanity, a living on earth. It even goes to the depths of Hades, and the answer comes back, no one is worthy! No one! No one is capable! Now think for a moment.

Imagine that. Slip into the sandals of John. Abraham, he is not worthy. He is silent. So is Isaac, and Jacob, David, King David, unworthy, silent, unmoving. How about Joseph, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, unworthy.

So was evidently the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter. They remained silent. Martin Luther remained silent, as does Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon, and Hudson Taylor. Well, if you want to believe, which I don't believe, but if you want to believe like the universalists that everybody's in, well then would you notice that Muhammad is silent, and Confucius, and Buddha, and Joseph Smith, and everyone else who's ever claimed to be a prophet. No one in heaven, on earth, in Hades, no one can speak for God. There is no one capable of knowing the mind and will of eternal God. There is no one who is heir to the planet. No one can claim ownership of the universe. No one powerful enough to reclaim a creation. No one could speak for God the Father, whose Spirit at this moment is blazing like seven torches and the throne of God is flashing with lightning, shaking the universe with thunder. No one stepped forward. Now would you notice in verse 2 that God the Father did not ask, who is willing to open the scroll?

Who was worthy, and no one moved. And in verse 4, John the Apostle begins to weep. He bursts into tears, and he weeps. Why is he weeping? Why is he dissolving in tears?

Let's stop here for a moment. John MacArthur quoted in his commentary of this text the words of a man now with the Lord, W.A. Criswell, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, who eloquently wrote, John's tears represent the tears of all God's people through all the centuries. Those tears of the Apostle John are the tears of Adam and Eve, driven out of the Garden of Eden as they bowed over the first grave, as they watered the dust of the ground with their tears over the still form of their murdered son, Abel. These are the tears of the children of Israel in bondage as they cried unto God in their affliction and slavery. These are the tears of God's elect through the centuries as they cried unto heaven.

These are the sobs and tears that have been rung from the heart and soul of God's people as they experienced trials and sufferings, heartaches and disappointments indescribable. Such is the curse that sin has laid upon God's beautiful creation, and this is the damnation of the hand of him who holds it, that usurper, that intruder, that stranger, that dragon, that serpent, that Satan. John weeps for the failure to find one to open the scroll of our redeemed future. This earth now consigned forever to death.

It would mean that death, sin, damnation and hell should reign forever and ever and God's earth shall remain forever in the hands of Satan. No wonder John dissolves into loud weeping. See John is ushered into the future and there's no one to bring about final redemption. There's no one to administer the will of the Father on earth. There's no one from Adam's ruin race, the billions that have lived for all time, not a man or a woman from all of the billions who've lived on earth, not one fit worthy to reclaim the universe. No one can conquer evil. No one can usher in the future kingdom. No one can deliver heaven and earth and clothe mortals with immortality. No one.

And he's struck with that. According to the secrets of this divine inspired scroll, there is no one who can manage and manipulate direct order, suggest or entice or even wish the universe into doing their will. There's no one.

No one steps forward. But then there's one. Verse five, one of the elders said to me, weep no more. Behold, look, look.

He missed it earlier, John. Look, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. These are messianic titles.

One more clear sign that Israel is coming back to the center stage as the tribulation is about to unfold. Now just who is the one worthy to open the secrets of the scroll? He gives us five clues. Number one, the one worthy is called a lion. This references his majesty.

He is the majestic and fearful lion and his roar is terrible and it will cause the hearts of mankind to melt with fear the world over. Wonderfully portrayed by C.S. Lewis in his Tales of Narnia as the beavers are describing to the children who've come in through that mysterious amour. They're referred to by all of the speaking animals of this world as the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, a wonderful analogy to children on earth. They are describing to these children Aslan who illustrates Christ.

Listen in. As the beavers describe Aslan to the children, Susan says, is he safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion. Well, that you will and make no mistake, said Mrs. Beaver, if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly. Then he isn't safe, said Lucy. Safe, said Mr. Beaver. Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe?

Of course he isn't safe, but he is good. He's the king, I tell you. The one worthy to take the scroll and reveal its secrets is a lion which speaks of his majesty. Secondly, the text tells us that this worthy one is from a tribe.

He's a lion which speaks of his majesty. He's from a tribe which speaks of his humanity. He was born on earth. He was a little baby boy. He grew up 100% human, a member of the tribe of people, humans. He will have half brothers and half sisters. Matthew 13 55 says Mary and Joseph had several more children. He was in a family, belonged to a tribe of people. He didn't go around with a halo, visible. He was a normal, ordinary looking Jewish man, so ordinary that when he finally announced that he was the great I am, everybody looked at him and said, you, God?

There's no way. In fact, at one point in time his half brothers came to take him away thinking he had lost his mind. Third, the text tells us that he is specifically from the tribe of Judah. This gives us his nationality. The term Jew is phonetically derived from Judah. It's from the tribe of Judah. We learn in Genesis 49 verse 10 that the Messiah will come. The text tells us that the worthy one is called also the root of David.

This is a reference to his royalty. He is the descendant of David, and so the genealogies of the Messiah must prove he descended from David physically in order to physically claim the physical, literal throne of David in a physical place of the New Jerusalem. That's why Matthew, writing primarily to Jewish people, began with what? Is that part you skip as you read through the New Testament?

The what? The genealogy. He is to prove that Christ is related to David. The title, Son of David, is a messianic title used frequently in the Gospels of Jesus Christ.

So John hears these descriptions that reveal the worthy one's majesty, his humanity, his nationality, his royalty, and one more, his deity. The root of David can also refer to his pre-existence. You can understand the idea of the root of David communicating two truths. He's the offspring of David, and he is the predecessor of David. He who came after David was the son of David. He who existed before David is the root of David.

Think of it this way. As far as his humanity is concerned, he had his roots in David. As far as his deity is concerned, he is the root of David.

Both are emphasized, by the way, at the end of the book in Revelation chapter 22 verse 16 where Christ calls himself, I am the root and also the descendant of David. Okay, so who is it? It's the only person who could be both fully human and fully God. It's the only person born on the planet as a Jew to a tribe and family of David who could also be a predecessor at the same time of David. The one who could say to that audience as he established his claim, before Abraham was born, I am the pre-existent one, also born in time and space as a Jewish boy belonging to a family and to a tribe.

This is the one, the only one. It is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ. John makes four observations about this sovereign Lord. Notice verse 6, and between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, then I saw a lamb standing.

That's the first observation. The lamb is standing. He's risen to take the scroll and begin directing the machinery of wrath that will pour out upon the whole world. John's second observation is that the lamb has suffered. He writes in verse 6, he looked like he had been what?

Slain. This is a reference to the fact that Christ still bore the scars of his crucifixion. Frankly, we don't know how many of the scars. We do know his hands inside because he invited Thomas, you remember? In that post-resurrection appearance, Thomas had doubted him and the Lord said to him, look, see here. We know he has those.

He may have more. He may have kept a prince in his brow, but it's obvious that he has been wounded severely, in fact slain, now standing as the ascended Lord at the right hand of the Father, signifying by the way equal authority with the Father. Christ is seen as the lamb who was slain. I bumped into this story in my research. A Sunday school teacher once asked her children what she thought would be a trick question. She was going to catch him and she taught them a little bit about heaven. Only she was the one left speechless. She asked her class, children, is there anything man-made in heaven? To her surprise, one of the young boys spoke up and said, yes, ma'am, there is.

She said, oh well. Now what could possibly be in heaven that is man-made? To which the young child responded, the nail prints in Jesus' hands.

Yeah, I thought about that a while, but it's true. The lamb has suffered for the ones he will save. The lamb that suffered and stands is also supreme. John sees him further in this text with seven horns, symbol of perfect and complete power. Seven meaning he is supremely powerful. It's interesting that between the Old Testament and the New Testament, those 400 years of silence when the Maccabees revolted and the great Jewish heroes fought for their liberation, it's interesting to discover that their banner was a lamb with horns. The lamb will ultimately liberate his people.

He has suffered, he is standing, he is supreme. Furthermore, he has seven eyes, John sees, which are the seven spirits of God. This is a picture of sovereign omniscience.

I believe they have figurative meaning. In fact, I think they are going to disappear because very quickly here his figure is going to change and he is going to reach out and take with a hand the scroll. But this picture here is wonderful. He is omniscient. He sees everything.

You can put it this way. You cannot pull the wool over this lamb's eyes. He knows everything and sees.

He doesn't miss anything. Now notice the climax of this scene in verse seven. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. He took the scroll. We can't even imagine the ceremony and the significance and that awesome moment.

The word took is intensive perfect. It emphasizes the permanence of his grip. This is his scroll. It is his abiding possession. Roman reliefs from the ancient days show emperors holding scrolls as a symbol of their power and their authority and handing the scroll to another signified what is signified here that the father is transferring the authority and power to God the son is the lamb who is about to unleash upon earth the wrath is fully in control.

It is the future of the universe at his beck and call. So stop weeping, John. You don't need to weep. You can start singing. No wonder the redeemed and the hosts of heaven sing one of the great hymns of heaven. We've rehearsed this morning. We're going to look at it carefully because we've got to get to the end here.

So we'll look at it more carefully but at least look at the lyrics again. Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals. We're singing to Christ. For you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation and you made them a kingdom and priest to our God and they shall they shall they shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the lamb.

John dries his tears. The lamb is the leader. Sovereign is the savior. Not a mystical spirit but a person who bears scars as symbols forever of his love and grace. God is not you.

He's not me. Isn't that good news? I rode behind a vehicle driven by a woman this past week and on the back of her car was a sticker that read goddess at work. 20 years ago that would have been an attempt at humor. Today that woman is probably dead serious. In Erwin Lutzer's manuscript he referenced a woman in his church who had become a Christian. She was a university professor nearby. She'd studied religions, all kinds, along with the current New Age beliefs. She, by the grace of God, came to understand and recognize the truth of the gospel. She made the comment that she recognized as well that all the other religions in the world basically told her she was a god. Christianity told her she was a sinner but that's part of the good news.

She said Christianity offered me the truth of who I was and forgiveness for the sins I knew I committed. Ladies and gentlemen, the best-selling book The Secret, along with it the laws of attraction, will ultimately lead to despair because we can't satisfy ourselves. We cannot. What's more, all those who follow it will one day come to terms with their own insufficiency, either on their deathbed or on their sickbed, or even more tragically, standing before the one we've sung of today who's holy, holy, holy. The tragedy for them is multiplied now through life and we're here to deliver the gospel to our world. For if we are gods, there is no one to guide us. If we are sovereign, there is no one who can save us.

If we're part of a force, there's no one who can forgive us. But here's the true secret as the scroll is about to be unfurled. The Lamb is sovereign.

The Lion of Judah is the pre-existent creator of the past and the sovereign Lord of the future. And He is willing to become your savior and mine. I hope it thrills your heart to remember that the sovereign King of the universe loves you, seeks you, and offers you eternal life with Him. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart with author and teacher Stephen Davey.

Stephen calls this message the secret scroll. As you were listening today, maybe you thought of a person or two who would benefit from hearing it as well. You'll find this message posted at wisdomonline.org. You probably know people who need to know and understand the offer of salvation that God makes them and we have a resource to help at wisdomonline.org forward slash gospel. I hope that tool will help you share the good news with others. Join us next time on Wisdom for the Heart. You
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 12:06:38 / 2024-02-10 12:15:58 / 9

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