Study Notes

Revelation 5:8-14


John, having been caught up to heaven, has seen the throne room of God. The Father on the throne, the four cherubim, the church (as represented by the 24 elders), are all focused on Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain.

The Lamb has been proven worthy to redeem the world, and as we left off last week, He has taken the seven sealed scroll, the title deed to the earth, out of the right hand of the Father.

5:8 Harps

When Jesus takes the scroll, the cherubim and the church fall down in worship. The harp has been used throughout Scripture as an instrument of praise and worship.

Ps. 144:9 I will sing a new song to Thee, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to Thee

Whether or not you can play an instrument now, you will certainly have musical ability to do so in heaven! And even if you can't immediately, you'll have eternity to practice!

Golden Bowls Full Of Incense

While the purpose of the harps might be obvious, what are these golden bowls of incense? John tells us that they are the prayers of the saints.

In the Bible, incense speaks of intercession. David wrote in Psalm 141,

Ps. 141:2 May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

The priests in the tabernacle would burn the incense before the Lord and pray intercession for the people. The people as well prayed for their nation while the priest burned incense. We see that during the days of Zacharias the priest, John the Baptist's father.

Luke 1:8-10 Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.

While the incense burned, the multitude interceded in prayer outside, and the priest interceded in prayer inside.

And here we see in the book of Revelation the church performing one of their priestly duties, burning the intercessory incense before God.

Did you know that God has a sense of smell? Dozens of Scriptures describe sacrifices as having a "soothing aroma" to the Lord. As you lift up your petitions, requests, praises, and worship, it fills His nostrils with incense, and it pleases Him.

How much of your prayer life is intercession?

5:9-10 A New Song

Another thing that God enjoys is a new song. One reason that I was never a fan of top 40 radio is that I get sick of hearing the same songs over and over again. I think that if I was all-knowing and all-hearing, I'd get sick of them even faster! Now, I'm not saying that God is sick of the same old worship songs, but it is evident that He enjoys new songs. Indeed, we are commanded to sing new songs to Him:

Ps. 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Ps. 40:3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God...

Ps. 96:1 SING to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Ps. 98:1 O SING to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things...

Ps. 144:9 I will sing a new song to Thee, O God...

Ps. 149:1 PRAISE the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song...

Now here the cherubs and the church sing a new song to God. And look at what they are singing - that the Lamb alone is worthy to redeem the world, because He was slain.

We talked in our last study about how the Lamb of God was butchered. Here, they say He is worthy because He was slain. The word "slain" there is "SFAD-zo," meaning "assassinated," "butchered," or "slaughtered."

They also sing of the fact that His being slain purchased people from every race and culture. Who purchased people with His blood? Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Is Jesus Christ God? Paul said to the Ephesian elders,

Acts 20:28 "...shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

Whose blood purchased the church? Jesus Christ, God Himself.

Will Reign Upon The Earth

They also sing of a great promise - that those who were purchased with the blood of the Lamb will reign with Christ in His millennial kingdom on earth. At His second coming, He will establish a thousand year kingdom upon the earth over which we will be civil authorities.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 19 about his leaving us on earth to build the kingdom.

Luke 19:12-19 He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and {then} return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business {with this} until I come {back.} ' But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.' And it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done. And the first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Your mina, master, has made five minas.' And he said to him also, 'And you are to be over five cities.'

You see, our faithfulness with the kingdom in this life will directly affect what we're entrusted with in the kingdom to come. What a blessing it will be to be in such a place of authority! Not to lord it over people as the rulers of this age do, but to be able to a blessing to God's chosen people! To demonstrate leadership by servanthood. To exercise the same kind of authority that Jesus demonstrated.

We will be not only authorities, but also priests! Do you look at the authority you have now as a priesthood?

You who are in authority now as managers, leaders, fathers, or husbands - do you realize that your authority is also to be treated as a priesthood? I think of the example of Boaz, who had many men working for him. We see his daily routine in Ruth 2:

Ruth 2:4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "May the LORD be with you." And they said to him, "May the LORD bless you."

Are you speaking blessings and the presence of the Lord to those you are in authority over? Will you go home and act like your children's priest? Like your wife's pastor? As your employees' minister?

5:11-14 Worship In Heaven

The church I was saved at had a regular weekly attendance in the tens of thousands. And though the "mega-church" has inherent problems, one of the things I just love about a packed church is that it gives us a taste of what worship will be like in heaven.

Here, the crowds are described as "moo-REE-as moo-REE-as and khil-ee-AS khil-ee-AS." Ten thousands of ten thousands and thousands of thousands. The minimum number possible with that description is 202 million. These hundreds of millions of voices all singing in unison ,

Rev. 5:12 ..."Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."

What a powerful worship service! I pray that as our church continues to grow, our services here will become hundreds of voices singing loudly in unison to our Lord.

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