I decided to insert one extra post in this series. Just in case you’re not convinced that self-sacrifice is the mark of God’s character, and therefore his dominion and rule, I want to look at one more scene. Actually, it’s one scene in two passages. First, let’s look at Revelation 5.1-5
5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
So, what’s happening here? Well, we’re looking for a King. We’re looking for someone who has authority to unroll the rest of history. Particularly, someone who can usher in the New Creation. The 7 seals do point to perfection, but primarily because of the first use of 7 in the Bible, the perfect creation in Genesis 1 where, through his Word, God transforms a chaotic void into a very good creation! The person we’re looking for can bring in, by their authority, the perfect New Creation.
Luckily, a worthy one appears. The Lion of Judah (kingship is promised to Judah’s descendant forever in Gen 49.8-12), who also happens to be the Root of David (the coming, promised Davidic King!) has conquered! So, He can open the seals, He can rule the rest of history!
Where do I get that idea of authority or ruling? Well, besides the reference to Judah and David, we’ll see it in this passage in a moment, but let’s look at another passage that is recording this same scene – Daniel 7.
9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; and the books were opened.
13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
Look at that. We have the same heavenly throneroom. We have one seated on the throne, and we have books (SCROLLS of course). And in each, one approaches the throne, but in this Daniel passage we see what is given over to Him…Dominion, Glory, Kingdom!!! The right to rule all things forever!
Now, as we look back at Revelation 5, we’ll get a little more detail to round out our picture. Particularly, WHY IS THIS LION-KING, THIS SON OF MAN FIT TO BE KING FOREVER? Look at this!
5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (sphadzo). 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain (sphadzo), and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Wow! You are worthy FOR YOU WERE SLAIN!!! Because you gave your life as a sacrifice! To redeem the lost. You gave your life for theirs!
Friends, why is Jesus so utterly worthy of dominion and a kingdom? Why is He worthy to unfold the rest of history, to bring the New Creation in? My life for yours! That’s what makes Him the perfect King! And of course he’d rule this way because He is the image of the Invisible God…this is who He has always been and always will be! Or as Hebrews 2.9 puts it:
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.