Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
The aged Apostle John received this vision from God at a very significant time in history. By the end of the 1st Century things were looking fairly bleak for those who had identified themselves as followers of Jesus. For the first few decades after the death and resurrection of Christ, and the amazing experience at Pentecost, their main opposition came from the Jews; but after the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD their biggest and most dangerous threat came from the Roman Emperor and his officials.
How were they to read the times? Was the Jesus some of them had actually seen and heard really God’s promised Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, who would rule over ALL nations FOR EVER? If so, why was the exact opposite happening to them?
The Risen Lord answered all these questions for John by giving him a vision of how things REALLY were from GOD’s perspective, as opposed to what he and his fellow believers were experiencing on earth. All human history, past, present and future, represented by the ‘scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals’ (1), was securely in God’s sovereign hands, and it had a clear, specific, predetermined purpose. It is only when we see what that purpose is, and interpret everything that happens in the light of it, that the complex and often contradictory course of history starts to make sense.
No-one could be found to open the seals on the scroll (2-3) – a situation that caused John to weep and weep (4). But for his comfort there was found One who was worthy to open them: a LAMB who had been slain and now ruled in heaven as the ‘LION of Judah’ (5-6, 12); One whose blood had been shed to bear the sins of people from every nation under heaven and provide a basis for their being able to have fellowship for all eternity with their holy God!
This vision, given to us through John by the Creator himself, renders false – and therefore inadequate – every worldview that is not CENTRED on the historical death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We can try our hardest to explain where we came from, why things are the way they are, and where we are heading in a complex universe, but if we ignore JESUS and leave him out of our reckoning, nothing will ever make sense; when we include him as the ruling, slain Lamb, everything does make sense. Is Jesus essential to, and at the centre of, your worldview? … and therefore of your life?