“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break the seal?”

John finds himself in the throne room of heaven, surrounded by twelve elders and four winged beasts, representing the totality of all kingdoms both of animal and of man. An angel appears with a scroll with seven seals, asking a simple question, “who is worthy to bust this thing wide open?” (Revelation 5:2)

Despite their lofty status, none of those present in the room can open the seals. It’s like the sword in the stone, yet none are able to pull out Excalibur.

Then the Lamb arrives, bloody as if sacrificed. It walks right up, takes the scroll, and breaks the seals.

This is Jesus. Jesus alone is worthy.

Everyone in the room flips out and begins to worship Jesus, the once and future king.

Paul tells us that all creation waits and groans for a redeemer (Romans 8:18-25). Look at us. We age, we grow weary, we grow sick, we die. We are burdened by anxiety and regret. Then along comes Jesus. We find life and strength, healing and the promise of eternity in Him. He holds record of our sufferings (Psalm 56:8). We leave our past at His feet (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This Jesus, this resurrected King, gave His life so we could have all these things.

How could we not worship Him, who breaks our many seals, who reads our names loud and proud out from the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12)?

Jude and the Spiritual Realm

Right before the book of “Revelation,” there is an itty bitty book called “Jude.” Only 1 chapter, great for a quick Bible fix. But Jude is more than a scriptural appetizer. It is chock-full of Easter eggs and rabbit holes.

He fleshes out the character of Enoch, who got a mere 4 sentences in Genesis (5:21-24). Here we see him as a prophet of the most high God, a view we see repeated in the apocryphal book of “Enoch” (which are kinda like the deleted scenes in the Bible). The prophet speaks of the LORD coming with legions of angels to convict the ungodly. It also speaks of fallen angels bound in chains until the end of days for their rebellion in the heavenly realms.

We also see a scene where the angel Michael and Satan are battling over the body of Moses. We are told in the book of Deuteronomy (34:6) that God buried Moses in the land of Moab, but other than that we left to wonder where Moses’ final resting place really was. Perhaps God did want people going back to pay homage. He was always pressing the Israelites forward (in this case, into the Promised Land).

A very interesting thing comes out of that section, specifically in verses 9 and 10. It says that Michael did not fight Satan on his own terms, but rebuked the Prince of Darkness in the name of the LORD. In contrast, the verses tell us that, meanwhile, we humans blaspheme the spiritual realm willy-nilly.

If that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.

Reminds me of the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20). These would-be exorcists took it upon themselves to get rid of some local demons while Paul is off doing miracles and stuff. The demons turn on the sons, beat them up, and strip them naked, sending them home with their pride hurt just as much as their bodies.

Now, these fellows even invoked the name of Jesus in their attempted exorcisms, but it was not their Jesus. It was Paul’s. The demons paid no lip service to someone lacking that personal relationship with the LORD.

Jesus in fact warns us in Matthew 12:43-45 about the danger of improperly casting out demons, telling us that often a cast out demon will leave for a time but come back with seven more of its friends. Imagine how miserable the offender will be then!

It’s like a fad diet. When diets are done improperly (without grounding in our daily life and routine), the diet lasts for a bit, but then snaps back and we end up even less healthy than before.

All that to say, Jude reminds us over and over again in its little book that there is a big spiritual realm out there. If we don’t give it proper heed, if we don’t face it armed with an intimate relationship with the LIVING and POWERFUL GOD, we can soon find ourselves in a heap of trouble.

Think about all the people who come face-to-face with it in the Bible. Moses, Isaiah, Mary, John, Old Testament, New. It doesn’t matter. One look at Jesus and everyone falls to the ground. One day every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (Romans 14:11).

Jude also reminds us never to underestimate the little guy, the lesser known Scriptures. Everything in the Bible brings something to the table, just like all of us.

 

 

 

Seeking the Face of Christ

David is called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

It’s a wonderful title. What earned him it in the first place?

I love David’s sentiment in Psalm 27. More than anything else in all creation, he would love to see the face of the LORD.

We talked yesterday about looking the temple. Again and again, David kept his desire on the court of God.

When his eyes wavered, that’s when he got in trouble.

God, keep our eyes fixed on you. May we see You always as we go about our day.

Psalm 23: God, a Friend in the Midst of Our Sorrows

We all know the “Lord is my shepherd” chapter. It’s a famous passage, right up there with the Lord’s prayer and John 3:16, but did you notice the slight shift that comes in verse 4?

In verses 1-3, David speaks nicely of God. He feeds me, He quenches my thirst, He finds me a shady spot to rest my head. Very idyllic. But look what happens in verse 4! When we enter into the Valley of the Shadow of Death (an actual place, so I hear), David stops referring to God as Lord and starts referring to Him as You. You are with me. You comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the midst of my enemies. When things get hard, David’s relationship with God becomes very personal. Not until David speaks of heaven does he return to speaking of God as by His kingly title of Lord.

Jesus invited us to refer to God as Abba, Daddy. David holds his Savior tight. We too are invited to hold tightly to our Father in the midst of trouble. We need Him always, but especially in those times. Our knee-jerk reaction is to estrange ourselves from Jesus when times of trouble. God invites us to draw closer than we have ever been.

 

o, Sweet the Blood of Jesus

Oh the sweet, sweet blood of Jesus

Cleansing and nourishing

to the body and soul

His sacrifice is our atonement

His suffering is our joy

for now He stands as king and LORD

above all the nations and angels and Universe

All of us call out His praise

For He is glorious and wonderful and good

His blood flows free through my veins

Lord Jesus, Maker of Heaven and Earth

Lord Jesus, Maker of all things,

we are Your people. You are our God.

With a single Word, You created existance

With a breathe, You made us alive,

crafting us individually with Your mighty hand.

With the fingers that transcribed the Commandments

into stone,

You write Your law upon our hearts,

a law of Grace and mercy and justice and righteousness and holiness and love.

You are indescribable, though I aspire to catch the faintest glimpse of You.

You befuddle me God, and that is good.

I long to spend eternity in Your arms.