The cross of Christ and the resurrection of Jesus will still be our focus in eternity. This rare glimpse of heaven displays the victory of the Lamb who was slain.
1. Jesus – the Centre of Heaven v. 1 - 4
You have come to heaven at last. You are in God's presence. So this is what it is like, it was nothing like you expected but everything you dreamed, and much, much more. Nothing you heard or saw or imagined on earth prepared you for this moment, yet you feel strangely at home. At home with the Lord.
An angel cries out, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" There is silence in heaven. No one steps forward. No one in the universe is worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. What a strange sight this is. A scroll that no one can open.
2. Jesus – the Victorious Lord v. 5, 6
As you look toward the great throne, a lamb stands in the centre of the angelic creatures and the 24 elders. But not an ordinary lamb. This lamb appears to have been offered as a sacrifice. He seems meek and gentle yet there is about him a power and greatness that seems more like a lion. He is standing, which means he is alive but he appears to have been slain, which means he once was dead. The Lamb bears on his body the marks of death, but he is alive. Anyone who looks at him knows that he was once offered as a sacrifice, and because he is standing, they know that he has come back from the dead.
The theme of “the Lamb” in Scripture presents the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer. OT question, “Where is the lamb?” was answered by John the Baptist who cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world”. The choirs of heaven sing, “Worthy is the Lamb!”
Jesus is in heaven. He is not in the manger, in Jerusalem, on the cross, or in the tomb. He is ascended and exalted in heaven. What an encouragement this is to suffering Christians, to know that their Saviour has defeated every enemy and is now controlling events from glory! He too suffered, but God turned His suffering into glory. We do not worship a Babe in a manger or a corpse on a cross. We worship the living, reigning Lamb of God.
At that moment the silence in heaven is broken as millions of angels begin to sing together: v. 12, 13. "Amen!" cry the four living creatures. You fall on your face before the Lamb, lost in wonder, love and praise.
The Lamb who was slain is now the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He has triumphed over death and hell and all the forces Satan could throw against him. Only a worthy victor could take the scroll and open it. He has fought the fight, won the battle, now the spoils of war belong to him.
He was born in weakness and He died in weakness; but He is the recipient of all power. He became the poorest of the poor, and yet He owns all the riches of heaven and earth. Men laughed at Him and called Him a fool; yet He is the very wisdom of God.
He shared in the sinless weaknesses of humanity as He hungered, thirsted, and became weary. Today in glory, He possesses all strength. On earth, He experienced humiliation and shame as sinners ridiculed and reviled Him. They laughed at His kingship and dressed Him in a mock robe, crown, and scepter. But all of that is changed now! He has received all honor and glory! And blessing! He became a curse for us on the cross, so that we can never be under the curse of the broken Law.
Stop and think about this great point. The Lamb has already won the battle. It's over. He's won. The victory is His. From God's point of view, Satan is already defeated.
3. Jesus – the Lion who is a Lamb
Who is this Lion who is a Lamb? He is standing because he is alive from the dead. He bears on his body the marks of his suffering. He is in the centre of the throne and thus equal with God the Father. He is surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders and is the object of their worship.
Who is this Lion who looks like a Lamb? He is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
He is a Lion in that he is the mighty King of All Kings. He is a Lamb because he was offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. A mighty Lion! A meek lamb! Christ the Lion is victorious because Christ the Lamb made the perfect sacrifice. Once again we are reminded that all of life is in God's hands. When the very worst happens, we may ask, "Where is God?" But he is there, where he has always been, on the throne of the universe, watching over every detail of life. Nothing escapes his gaze.
In the midst of perplexing circumstances, let this thought bring you hope. The Lord controls the destiny of the nations. Nothing is out of control. Everything-even the most despicable evil-is under his control.
4. Jesus – the Lord of All Nations v. 9, 10
Song of praise - Jesus Christ had to die and his blood must be shed, but it had a definite purpose. The blood of Christ purchased a great host of men and women for God. He will not be defeated! He has already won the battle! Right now we see the harvest of men and women coming to Christ and around the world.
5. Jesus – the Glory of Heaven
The glory of heaven is the Lamb – Jesus Christ, whose victory is celebrated without end. John is very specific - He saw the Lamb standing "in the centre" of the throne. Jesus is the focal point of heaven and the centre of all attention. Without Jesus there would be no heaven at all. And without him none of us would ever have a chance to go there. "When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing his praise than when we've first begun."
The glory of heaven is Jesus. As the long ages roll on, we will never tire of singing his praise. We will see him still bearing the marks of his suffering on our behalf. In that day the redeemed saints of God will sing with one united voice, "All hail the power of Jesus' name, let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all." Let the song begin in your heart this very day.