Looking For Security
Life seems so insecure and uncertain. At times it even appears to be downright dangerous. You can understand why people have panic attacks.
Everywhere you look you’re confronted by atrocities and man’s inhumanity to man. New wars seem to pop up daily and the old wars and hatreds become more ugly. Terrorists appear to hold everyone hostage. Wherever you look you see distress, oppression, suffering, and calamity. Much of it is man-made but there are many natural disasters. The intensity of these natural calamities can overwhelm you. Entire villages, cities, and societies can be wiped out or changed forever in a matter of a few minutes or hours. The uncertainty of the job markets and the financial markets compound matters. The shaky relationships many have add to their feelings of vulnerability.
By modifying an old adage we can state how many feel: If you can keep your head in such an insecure world, you don’t really understand the problem. Yet, Christians are called to do that very thing. The call to overcome was issued by the Son of God in Revelation 1–3. The correct perspective for overcoming was given to us in chapters 4 and 5. Now in the largest section of the book (chapters 6–22) the challenge in overcoming is laid out before us.
John begins by pointing out one of the biggest challenges believers face: The sin of the human race is worse than we can imagine. It’s so bad that people would rather die than repent (6:15-17). Our great hope is our Savior. He is stronger than we realize (7:14-17). The unifying factor in these chapters is the question found in 6:17, “Who can stand?” The answer appears in 7:9, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude . . . standing.”
What caused the question in 6:17 to be asked? John gives us the answer in 6:1 where we see the Lamb beginning to break the seals and to open the scroll he took from the Lord God Almighty in 5:7. John tells us in 5:1, “Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.” “In the right hand” is short hand for saying it’s under the control and authority of God. “It is written and sealed up, indicating the fixed unchangeable nature of these divine purposes; nothing can be added, nothing altered, nothing taken away. . . In His government, nothing is left to chance, to Him nothing is uncertain, no unforeseen contingency can arise”(Ramsey). The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account” (3:14-15). In Isaiah we read, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please”(46:9-10).
The Lamb “took the scroll”(5:7). “The Greek conveys a dramatic action in the tense of the verb ‘took’ (perhaps a dramatic perfect?): ‘He went and took it and now has it’”(Johnson). Then all heaven declares it is fit and proper for the Lamb to do so. He alone can open the scroll, explain its contents, execute it and carry forward its message. “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands”(Jn.3:35).
What is written in the scroll? “The scroll . . . is not only about judgment or about the inheritance of the kingdom. Rather, it contains the announcement of the consummation of all history – how things will ultimately end for all people: judgment for the world and the final reward of the saints (11:18). “Christ alone….is the executor of the purposes of God...He obtained this by his substitutionary and propitiatory death on the cross (5:9)”(Johnson). Consider Ephesians 1: 9-11, “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Its OT roots are found in Daniel 7:13-14, 28,
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed . . . Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”
Here is real security! There is no lasting security any place else.
May all of us be trusting in the Lamb who is worthy to open the scroll!
Elder Jim Gordon
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