With eyes of Joy, we will become Like what and WHO we Worship. The Lion who is also a Lamb. Revelation 5:1-14.

Revelation 5 Amplified Bible

The Scroll with Seven Seals

I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy [having the authority and virtue] to open the scroll and to [a]break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] was able to open the scroll or look into it. And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. Then one of the [twenty-four] elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look closely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and [break] its seven seals.”

And there [b]between the throne (with the four living creatures) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain, with seven horns (complete power) and with seven eyes (complete knowledge), which are [c]the seven Spirits of God who have been sent [on duty] into all the earth. And He came and [d]took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people). And they sang a new song [of glorious redemption], saying,

“Worthy and deserving are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 
“You have made them to be a kingdom [of royal subjects] and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

Angels Exalt the Lamb

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), 12 saying in a loud voice,

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

When Jacob the patriarch was an old man, he gathered his twelve sons together and gave each one a prophetic blessing—and in some cases a dire warning.

Interestingly, he compared several of his sons to animals that fit their character: Judah, a lion no one would dare to rouse; Issachar, a stubborn donkey; Dan, a snake waiting to strike; Naphtali, a doe that bears beautiful fawns; and Benjamin, a ravenous wolf (see Genesis 49).

Moved by the Spirit of God, Jacob also prophesied that the Messiah would be born of the tribe of Judah:

“The scepter will not depart from Judah . . . until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his” (Genesis 49:10).

So, the Messiah came to be called “The Lion of the tribe of Judah.”

But Jesus the Messiah was also likened to a lamb.

John the Baptist said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Jesus was a sacrificial lamb, whose blood would take away the sins of people from all nations. And people from all nations would learn to obey him.

When Jesus, in anger, drove the moneychangers from the temple, he was a lion.

When he hung, uncomplaining, on the cross, he was a lamb.

What a perfect union of opposites in our Lord—and yet without contradiction!

I believe an underlying premise of The Revelation is that all humankind has a devotion to one God or another and we do become like that which we worship.

Think back to High School, these herds of teenagers reflect and resemble their friends and peers. Whether it is through polo shirts, jackets, jeans, shoes, back packs, smart phones or whatever, there is the tendency, temptation to conform.

What we see in growing, maturing children continues into well into adulthood. We imitate, devote, reflect; sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.

Yes, all of us have the very natural tendency to reflect who we are around. We reflect things from in our culture, society, family, friends, and the list goes on.

In Genesis 1 We learn why.

GOD created humans to be “Imaging Beings.”

Particularly, we are intended to be imaging beings who only reflect His glory; however, if we choose not to do that, we will reflect the glory of something else.

That is a presupposition of this devotion; GOD has made humans to reflect Him,

But if they do not commit themselves to Him, devote themselves to Him, they will inevitably reflect and devote themselves to something else in creation.

It is not possible to be neutral on this revelation: we either reflect the glory of our Creator or we reflect, magnify, the glory of something else in HIS Creation.

Martin Luther’s larger catechism discussion of the first commandment (“You shall have no other gods before me” [Ex 20:3]) included:

“Whatever it is which your heart clings to and which your heart relies upon, that is your God; trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and idol. The idol is whatever it is which claims the loyalty that belongs to God alone.”

There is a very real principle in the Hebrew (Old) Testament that supports this.

People become like the idols that they worship.

I will not take the time to show you a lot of Biblical examples of this, but I will try to show you one or two which I sincerely hope and pray illustrates how the worshipper begins to take on the characteristics of the object(s) worshiped.

In the Old Testament, we discover that idols are described in a certain way, and then those who worship the idols are described in precisely the same manner.

The worshiper, rather than experiencing an expected very positive, life-giving blessing, receives a curse by becoming as spiritually hollow, empty, rebellious or shameful as the idol is depicted to be.

Example, when idols are portrayed with eyes and ears which cannot see or hear; the worshipers are described as having eyes and ears but not seeing or hearing. 

Isaiah 42:17-20 reads:

“But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ’You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame. “Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD? You have seen many things but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.”

Psalm 135:15-18 emphatically teaches this principle:

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. THOSE WHO MAKE THEM WILL BE LIKE THEM, AND SO WILL ALL WHO TRUST IN THEM.” (My Emphasis added)

IT IS TRUE … WE BECOME LIKE WHAT WE WORSHIP.

But, the good news is that the positive inverse is also true.

In Isaiah 6, for example, the prophet has an encounter with the living God.

In verse 7 YHWH touches Isaiah’s mouth to symbolize that Isaiah has experienced the forgiving and purifying grace of God.

Isaiah is declared holy by the God who is holy, and Isaiah’s life is lived “imaging” the glory of God. ISAIAH IS ONE WHO REVERES GOD AND, THEREFORE, RESEMBLES GOD’S HOLINESS (ISAIAH 6:5-7).

When we worship (pursue, surrender our loyalty, devotion, and adoration) items that are by their nature spiritually numb – we become spiritually numb.

When we give our lives that to material things, we become materialistic.

When we pursue earthly ambitions, we become worldly and ambitious

And when we give our lives in “our last and fullest measure” of Devotion to the ONE LIVING AND LOVING GOD, we become filled with maximum life and love!

Having said all this, we turn our attention to the Book of the Revelation.

You see, The Book of Revelation is all about loyalties and adoration. It is about allegiances and consequences. As does the Hebrew Old Testament, it works off of the presupposition that we strive to become like what and WHO we Worship.

That is probably why John is so hard on the seven churches in chapters 1-3 … by tolerating evil around them and also compromising with the world they become compromising, evil, sinful and worldly.

John stresses that if they will faithfully (and fully) give themselves back to Jesus they will become Christlike.

This is an underpinning, an assumption that runs throughout the book.

For example, John has a very common idiom that he uses to describe those who do not follow the Lamb.

It is “The inhabitants of the earth” or “earth dwellers” he uses it frequently (3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 9:20; 11:10; 13:8 and 12; 14:6-9; 17:2 & 8)

and I believe it has a very specific meaning … I believe it refers to unbelievers who have devoted themselves to and substituted worship and service to God.

They are seeking and trusting the kingdoms of the earth.

This expression is reserved for such people because they cannot look beyond this earth for their security.

This means they devote themselves to trust in some part of the creation instead of the Creator for their ultimate welfare.

They have become part of the earthly system in which they find their security-they have become devoted to it. They have become earthbound, earth conscious.

Here is more food for thought

… the reason that the ungodly, earthly empires/powers are called beasts in The Revelation, in the Old Testament, is to indicate such rulers have so perverted Genesis 1:26-28 commission to reflect God’s image and rule over the beasts.

They have given themselves over to serving the earthly, beastly creation instead of the Creator.

Consequently, they have come to identify themselves with the creation instead of identifying themselves with the Creator. They’ve become “worldly savages.”

Thus, the idolater’s identification with their object of worship is not only they live under the power of the world and will participate in its destructive destiny, but they also share in its character …

-devoid of God, the Father, the Son, the Spirit, hell bent on opposing God’s will.

Please now contrast this with how John talks of Christians in the book; they are characterized as exiles in a foreign land and are those who have come out of [Babylon] the ungodly earthly system, their home is in the coming new cosmos.

And that brings me, to these verses from Revelation 5.

Read the text carefully to yourself.

Ponder and meditate about this simple fact …

WE BECOME LIKE WHAT WE WORSHIP.

Revelation 5:1-14 Amplified Bible

The Scroll with Seven Seals

5 I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy [having the authority and virtue] to open the scroll and to [a]break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] was able to open the scroll or look into it. And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. Then one of the [twenty-four] elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look closely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and [break] its seven seals.”

And there [a]between the throne (with the four living creatures) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain, with seven horns (complete power) and with seven eyes (complete knowledge), which are [b]the seven Spirits of God who have been sent [on duty] into all the earth. And He came and [c]took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people). And they sang a new song [of glorious redemption], saying,

“Worthy and deserving are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 
“You have made them to be a kingdom [of royal subjects] and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

Angels Exalt the Lamb

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), 12 saying in a loud voice,

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].

Throughout The Book of Revelation, worshippers of God and the inhabitants of the earth are stamped with the image, character, name, and “number of the name” of their object of worship.

In other words, you can tell who they serve by what they think (foreheads) and what they do (hands).

This idea begins in chapters 2 and 3 (c.f. 2:7, 10, 17, 28; 3:5, 12) and builds up steadily throughout the book.

In chapter 7 (v. 3) God places a mark on the foreheads of His followers: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

• The beast out of the earth does this to the earth dwellers.

Chapter 13. Verse 16-17 read:

“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

You see, everyone bears the image and mark of the one they follow.

Let me close with some observations and questions that you can use for personal inventory and spiritual motivation.

QUESTION: If Jesus Christ is depicted as a vulnerable and innocent lamb for slaughter, who redeems / liberates humankind by suffering for them (rather than using coercive force, political manipulation and power like the world’s empires do), what will the demeanor of those who worship Christ be like?

QUESTION: Are we not called to worship and serve – become a living sacrifice, “reign through servanthood” in the same manner as He does? (Mark 10:35-45, 46-52, Luke 14:25-35, 16:19-31, 20:20-26, John 10, Romans 12, Ephesians 5)

QUESTION: If we devote ourselves to worship of the ONLY One whose true character and true actions define the Kingdom of God (Jesus Christ) ……

does that help us understand why He calls us a Kingdom and how that Kingdom functions (consider very well Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7)?

QUESTION: If we devote our worship the ONLY One who is frequently referred to in Scripture as a HIGH priest who stands before God on behalf of the people, before man as a righteous representative of God (i.e., the book of Hebrews),

does that help us understand why we are each called to such priestly duties?

Jesus is not asking us to do anything he has not modeled for us.

Here is what I am really asking you today …

QUESTION: Is the “image” of your “god” stamped on you?

QUESTION: Is the image of your GOD stamped on you?

QUESTION: When people look at you, what do they see as being your God?

Never ever forget … WHAT YOU REVERE YOU RESEMBLE, EITHER FOR RUIN OR RESTORATION. YOU WILL BE LIKE YOUR IDOLS OR LIKE JESUS CHRIST.

He who has eyes, let them see ….

He who has an ear ……

Let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Let him who has voice …. declare only God, the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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