I believe one of the shortcomings of the church in America over the past 100 years has been our tendency to focus, to fixate on heaven. That may sound a little strange, being that we do hope for a future day when things will be set right, when God's Kingdom will fully come. But as the church, we have often spoken of the Gospel, and what Jesus accomplished as only having a bearing on what happens when we die. It's as if we are to simply sit back, pray and hope for that day, while trying to get as many others to do the same. Don't you have a deep seeded sense that there is more to the story? Don't you long for something different today, here, in our world? I think chapter five gives us just a glimpse of something more.

God is holding a scroll, which could represent His-story, the story of the world. Imagine that this scroll contains exactly what God had planned when He spoke our world into existence and breathed life into Adam and Eve. Think back to the Garden of Eden. Whose role was it to carry out what God had intended? It was humanity's role, right? But because of humanity's choice to walk away from God's intent, everything changed. Now, when John, in Revelation 5, looks around and sees that no one can open the scroll, could it be that all of humanity has walked away from God's plan (some would say that all of humanity has sinned)? God could open the scroll Himself, but that would be undoing everything He had originally done. A human must open the scroll. Enter the Lion (I know, a lion is not a human...but the lion represents Jesus). Jesus is worthy to open the scroll. Look closely at what was sung when the Lion, Jesus, opens the scroll:
"For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." (go back and read Isaiah 53 next to this passage)
Jesus ransomed humanity. 2 Corinthians says this: "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." You and I have been made right with God through what Christ accomplished on the cross. Most of us have heard this message, and to some extent, we get it. But has Jesus done this only so that we can go to Heaven when we die? I think there is more. Keep reading in Revelation...the song continues:
"And You have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth."
Here is the beauty of this passage and this vision from John. Because of what Jesus did, because we have been made right with God, the scroll (God's story, the story of the world we live in) is being opened. And if God's purpose was for His ways to be known in our world today, here and now, and if God's purpose was for humanity to live out and spread His Kingdom in the world, who is it that can do this? You guessed it...the church. We are the ones who are to write God's story, to write His-story, in this world. Heaven isn't just about the future - you and I are to bring Heaven into our world today. The scroll has been opened by Jesus, the Lion. And because of the righteousness we have through Christ, we are to be "a Kingdom of priests for our God. And [we] will reign on the earth."
This chapter is a beautiful picture, and a challenging call to live the reality of the Kingdom today, wherever we are, whatever we may do, for the time we have life. Yes, there is a day coming when our present lives will slip away, and we have a hope for resurrection because of Jesus' resurrection - but there is too much to be lived here and now than to just sit back, hope and wait.

So...what do you think?


  1. when i read, i visualize everything. And this was quite the picture! first, john weeping and weeping for it seemed there was no one worthy to carry out God's plan. Then, Jesus as the Lamb that was slain, our redeemer, born out of God's love for His creation, taking the scroll from His Father's hand. Because of Jesus and what He did for us, to save us, we will have the overwhelmingly, amazing, words-can't-describe opportunity to join in and sing with the thousands upon ten thousands of angels and encircle God's throne and sing praises to Him someday!
    whew! goosebump city! what a vision, can you see it? can you imagine how powerful, and mighty and sweet the thousands of voices wil sound like singing in unison?
    here on earth, we have the desire, and the need to show Christ to others, to introduce Him to all we can, so they may have the joy of knowing Him, and praising Him. Here on earth and in heaven, Revelation really is the happy ending to the Adam and Eve story that started long ago in the garden.
    After all is said and done, our Prince, our Groom, will come and take His bride and we will live forever happy.

  2. "To the King! To the Revolution!"

    Thank you, Matt for that perspective. That's cool.