Revelation Chapter 5 – The Title Deed to Earth

To help us fully appreciate and understand the scene that unfolds before us here in Revelation chapter 5, it is necessary for us to go back to the Old Testament – to the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah.

One of Jeremiah’s main prophecies was that of the fall of Jerusalem. He also prophesied, though, of the eventual restoration of the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. For his prophesies, Jeremiah was imprisoned. During his imprisonment, God commands Jeremiah to do something that – to most – would have seemed ridiculous especially given the circumstances. Read Jeremiah 32:6-15.

God instructs Jeremiah to redeem property from his cousin – property that was currently under the control of Babylon. This was to serve as a sign – a picture – that, even though the nation of Israel was being destroyed and the Israelites taken into captivity, that one day, God would restore them in the Promised Land.

While the nation of Israel is, once again a nation, their full restoration has yet to be experienced. Their full restoration, as God spoke of to Jeremiah, will not take place until the time of the Tribulation which now brings us to Revelation chapter 5.

The Title Deed to Earth is Produced

The book which God holds in His hand (5:1) is the title deed to earth. This book is really a scroll that, as it was rolled up, was sealed at various intervals with a total of seven seals. The earth is permanently God’s possession by right of creation. Nothing can ever alter that fact. But, just as an Israelite could sell or lose his land for a time – as in the case of the Israelites when they were taken captive by the Babylonians – so apparently Adam lost his God-given dominion over the earth. Satan became the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) But this is only a temporary situation. As we see in Revelation chapter 5, The time has come for the Rightful Owner to take possession of that which is rightfully His!

The question is asked, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (5:2) In other words, “Who has the legal authority to claim possession of the earth?

John wept when the rightful owner was not found.

The Rightful Owner is Found

Do you know which king of Judah had Jeremiah imprisoned? Read 2 Chronicles 36:11-21.

Zedekiah was the last king to sit upon the throne of David. There has not been a king to sit upon the throne and rule the nation of Israel since that time. The throne of David has been empty since that time. Now, here in Revelation chapter 5, Jesus Christ, “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David,” has stepped up as the rightful owner and taken hold of the title deed to earth!

Proof that the Rightful Owner has been Found.

What gives Christ the right to take possession of the earth? Read Revelation 5:8-10. Christ was slain and has redeemed mankind by His blood.

Daniel saw this same event that we have recorded for us in Revelation chapter 5…

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

Read Revelation 5:13-14. Jesus Christ is worthy to claim the title deed to earth and He is worthy of our worship now. With our whole lives we should worship him.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

Are You Tolerating Sin?

Have you ever considered the life of an individual – a Christian – who you once knew to be “on fire for God” but who now very seldom even darkens the door of church? Have you ever wondered how that happened? Maybe you are that Christian who finds themselves in just such a condition. How did you get there? What can be done about it? We can find some of the answer as we consider the church in Thyatira.

Take a few moments to read Revelation 2:18-29.

The Condition of the Church

As you read through these seven letters and become familiar with the condition of each of these churches, I believe that you can see a dangerous, downward trend.

  • The Church of Ephesus had left its first love. (2:4)
  • The Church in Smyrna – while never chastised by God – did face tribulation. They were faced with the blasphemy of those who were of the synagogue of Satan. (2:9)
  • The Church in Pergamos had begun to compromise. The wall of separation had begun to come down and worldliness was slowly creeping in. (2:2:14-15)
  • The Church in Thyatira takes things a step further.

While vs. 19 tells us that there were those within this church who had some wonderful qualities…

“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.”

“Notwithstanding” They were not only allowing worldliness in the church, they were now allowing worldliness to take control of the church. (2:20)

“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

I don’t believe that it’s a stretch to say that this same downward progression can happen in the life of a Christian.

  • The Christian leaves their first love.
  • Tribulation comes. It always comes. Yet, without that steadfast love for their Savior, that tribulation begins to wear them down.
  • The next step leads this Christian to begin to compromise. They begin to “dabble” in things they never would have dreamed of before.
  • Next, this Christian begins to tolerate sin in their life while at the same time trying to maintain some veneer of a Christian testimony.

This progression takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Often it happens so gradually that the Christian is completely unaware of the changes taking place within their heart and within their lives until it is too late.

Where did it all begin? When they left their first love! Can the trend be reversed? I believe we find the answer in the character of Christ.

The Character of Christ

There is so much within this passage of Scripture that tells us of Christ’s character but we will simply focus on vs. 18…

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;” (2:18)

The description of Christ gradually has become more antagonistic toward each church.

As you were growing up, did you ever find yourself a little fearful to stand before your father because of something that you had done. No longer was it your “loving father.” It was now Dad, the disciplinarian! As you stood before him with your head down, afraid to look at him, you could feel his eyes going right through you. You knew what was coming – punishment – and you knew that you had no one to blame but yourself!

That’s exactly how Christ describes himself to the church in Thyatira.

Remember Who He is! He is the Son of God.

This is the only church to whom Christ explicitly identifies Himself in this way – the Son of God.

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31

Thyatira was known for its indigo trade – their ability to dye cloth purple. Purple was associated with royalty!

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13

When you begin to tolerate sin in your life it means that you have removed God from the throne of your heart! Jesus Christ is Lord and He deserves to be Lord of your life. He will not share His glory with anyone or anything!

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

Remember what He knows – Everything!

He has eyes like unto a flame of fire.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13

We stand completely exposed and vulnerable before the sight of an all-knowing God.

Christian, you may tolerate sin in your life and be able to hide it from others but you can never hide it from God. He knows. He always knows!

Remember what He must do – Judge sin!

He has feet like fine brass.

Brass, in God’s Word, is always associated with judgment. God is holy. God is righteous. God must judge sin! God will judge sin!

Take a moment to read Revelation 19:11-16.

The Challenge to the Church

We must remember who He is – He is God? We must remember what He knows – He knows everything. We must remember what He must do – He must judge sin. So, what must we do? Well, A church that finds itself in this condition – a Christian that finds themselves in this condition – has but one option – REPENT!

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:21-23

Christ gave these in the church in Thyatira the opportunity to repent and the time to repent but they did not repent!

  • Repentance is not only “feeling sorry” for what one has done or is doing.
  • Repentance is a “change of mind” coupled with a “change in direction.”

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief. Proverbs 28:13-14

Christ’s only option – if they did not repent – was judgement! Ladies and gentlemen, we must either love the Lord so much that we “fear” to displease Him and thus will not tolerate any sin in our lives or we will tolerate sin and then one day “fear” Him when judgement comes.

The story is told of a man who sold his house for an incredible bargain with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding over the door.

After several years, he wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell it. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.

If we leave even one small sin in our life Satan will hang his rotting garbage on it. Christian, don’t tolerate even the smallest of sins in your life. Remember who He is – He is the Son of God. Remember what He knows – everything! Remember what He must do – judge sin. Repent and turn from your sin today!

“In God We Trust” or Do We?

“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand, Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation. Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’ And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” were the words of the last stanza of a poem written by Francis Scott Key, an amateur poet and attorney at law. At the time, the United States once again found itself at odds with Great Britain and were engaged in a war that has come to be known as The War of 1812. Mr. Key and Mr. John Stuart Skinner had been commissioned by then president, James Madison, to negotiate with the British for the release of some US citizens who had been captured by the British. The negotiations took place in the Baltimore Harbor on board the British flagship. During the negotiations, Key and Skinner learned of the British plans to attack the city of Baltimore. Because of that, the British held Key and Skinner until after the attack was over. Throughout the night of September 13, 1814, Key could do nothing but watch helplessly as the British ships attacked Fort McHenry. Finally, on the morning of September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was able to see that the flag of the United States of America was still flying!

In that last verse, Francis Scott Key wrote, “And this be our motto, in God is our trust!” As a young nation, the United States of America, in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, found itself outnumbered by a much superior British force that was better equipped and better trained than they were. In those early years our country could not rely upon its superior military. They could only relay upon one thing – Almighty God!

Even though Francis Scott Key said that “In God is our trust” was “our motto,” it was not until July 30, 1956, that President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the national motto of the United States of America. Dwight Eisenhower also signed a law adding the words, “under God,” to our Pledge of Allegiance. In 1954, in speaking about the adding of those words to our pledge, President Eisenhower said…

“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Salmon Chase, instructed the director of the Philadelphia mint to prepare a motto to be placed upon the country’s currency. Secretary Chase wrote,

“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”

The words, “In God We Trust,” were first stamped upon the two-cent coin in 1864.

However, if you were to walk into a bank today, to cash a check, you will find a sign with the initials, “FDIC,” printed on it. “FDIC” stands for “Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.” You will also, on that sign, read, “Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” The FDIC was created in 1933 during the Great Depression to restore trust in the American banking system. In the years leading up to the creation of the FDIC, nearly one third of US banks failed – people lost their money!

So, even though our money says, “In God We Trust,” we are told to trust the United States Government for the worth of that money!

So, can we really say, “In God We Trust?”

If we are truly trusting God, it will show!

“Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey!”

  • Noah trusted God…He built the Ark!
  • Abraham trusted God…He offered up Isaac!
  • Moses trusted God…He chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season!”
  • Joshua trusted God…He marched around the city of Jericho!

If you and I truly trust God it will not only be seen in our obedience to Him but it will also be seen in two areas of our lives:

“Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [is] everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4

Our trust in God will be seen through the peace in our lives. (vs. 3)

A mind “stayed” upon God will result in a mind trusting in God. A mind trusting in God will result in a mind at peace.

“Like a river, glorious is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious in its bright increase;

Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it growth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Christ Jesus, hearts are fully blest;

Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”

 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly bin all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Ladies and Gentlemen, what is your mind “stayed” upon? What do you find your mind constantly dwelling upon? Is it the Word of God or the things of this World? It should be no wonder that you are unable to enjoy the peace of God when you find yourself constantly consumed with the cares and worries of this world!

“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:18-19

Our trust in God will be seen through the stability of our lives. (vs. 4)

Isaiah goes on to challenge his readers to trust God for in Him – and Him alone – is found everlasting strength. Literally, He is the Rock!

The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide, A shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide, A shelter in the time of storm.

 Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land, A weary land, a weary land;

Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land, A shelter in the time of storm.

 A shade by day, defense by night, A shelter in the time of storm;

No fears alarm, no foes afright, A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat, A shelter in the time of storm

We’ll never leave our safe retreat, A Shelter in the time of storm.

O rock divine, O refuge dear, A shelter in the time of storm;

Be Thou our helper ever near, A Shelter in the time of storm.

In a world that is only one news cycle away from utter chaos, we need stability.

  • Your pastor cannot give you stability.
  • Your spouse cannot give you stability.
  • Your employer cannot give you stability.
  • Your government cannot give you stability.
  • Your family cannot give you stability.
  • Wall Street cannot give you stability.

Recently, I received a phone call from my mother. My father, who is 79 years old, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. When I asked my mother how she was doing she responded, “God’s in control.” My father is at peace; he hasn’t gone all to pieces. Why? Because in 1969 my father accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. My mother and father are trusting God with what is a very uncertain future because they know that their eternity has been secured by Jesus Christ! How about you? – Pastor Joseph Campbell

In the Beginning

The Bible begins with 10 words…

“IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

  • These are 10 of the most powerful words in all of Scripture. In these 10 words all of the universe comes into being.
  • These are 10 of the most profound words in all of Scripture. All of the questions of mankind can be answered in these 10 words.
  • These are 10 of the simplest words in all of Scripture. These 10 words are quite simple to understand. In fact, even the youngest of children can understand these 10 word.
  • These are 10 of the most concise words in all of Scripture. What has taken countless authors to do in thousands of volumes of written material; God sums up in 10 words!
  • These are 10 of the most provocative words in all of Scripture. Volumes of literature have been written seeking to disprove and discredit these 10 words. These 10 words have been fiercely debated for years going all the way back to May, 1925 in the now famous, “Scopes Monkey Trials,” and continuing into the present day with the debate between Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and the “Science Guy,” Bill Nye.

And yet, these 10 words form a foundation upon which the faith of countless thousands of Bible-believing Christians rests. It is these 10 words that we want to consider this morning.

In the Beginning…

Genesis is a book of beginnings. The word, “Genesis,” literally means, “Beginning.”

Within the pages of Genesis you will find the beginning of many things:

  • The Universe (1:1) and all that it contains and all that you see around you each day.
  • Marriage (2:22-24) and the Family (4:1-2)
  • Sin (3:1-7), Pain (3:16), Death (3:10) and the promise of a Savior (3:15)
  • Civil Government (9:1-6), Cities (4:16-17), Nations (11:8-9), Many Languages (11:7)

Moses wrote the book of Genesis – he was the human penman – but it’s authorship is Divine. It is the Word of God. It is as much the Word of God as is John 3:16!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21

The Authorship of the book of Genesis is a point that you must be rock solid upon. Otherwise, you are going to have difficulty with everything that I preach upon and present to you in the coming weeks!

God

Within these 10 words, one word stands out above all others – God!

  • Genesis 1:1 does not make an argument for God’s existence.
  • Genesis 1:1 does not seek to reason God’s existence.
  • Genesis 1:1 does not debate God’s existence.
  • Genesis 1:1 does not seek to prove God’s existence.
  • Genesis 1:1 simply makes a declarative statement, “In the beginning God…”

Although the book of Genesis is a book of beginnings, God had no beginning; He has always been. He is eternal!

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Psalm 90:2

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:20

Created

Although God has no beginning, His creative works did have a beginning. We have those creative works recorded for us in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 1:1 answers for us the question, “How did we all get here?” We were created.

The most “popular” alternative to Genesis 1:1 is what is known as “Evolution.”

“Approximately 375 million years ago, a large and vaguely salamander-like creature plodded from its aquatic home and began the vertebrate invasion of land, setting forth the chain of evolutionary events that led to the birds that fill our skies, the beasts that walk our soil, me writing this chapter, and you reading it…We could go back much earlier, 4 billion years or so, to that fateful day when the first molecule replicated itself, an important milestone in the origin of life and the beginning of the evolutionary pageant.” From the Princeton Guide to Evolution http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i10100.pdf

However, I have questions?

  • How do they know it was 375 million years ago?
  • How do they know that it was a “large and vaguely salamander-like creature?”
  • How do they know that this creature went from water to land? Could it have gone from land to water instead?
  • How do they know that the first molecule replicated itself 4 billion years ago?

The problem is, they don’t know the answers to those questions. No one was there to observe the process of evolution. Even so, the evolutionists will tell you that they can prove evolution by science.

“…The scientific data for evolution is overwhelming. Just like the composition and structure of genomes, many other biological phenomena are explicable only in an evolutionary context. Why, if evolution had not occurred, would whales have tiny vestiges of a pelvis buried deep within their blubber? Why would cave fish and crickets have eyes that are missing some parts and could not function even if there were light? Why do human fetuses develop, and then lose, fur and a tail? All these, and many other phenomena, are easily understood as a result of the evolutionary heritage of species but are inexplicable in the absence of evolution.” From the Princeton Guide to Evolution http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i10100.pdf

In other words, if you are not willing to accept the first 10 words of the book of Genesis than you need to somehow be able to answer the question, “How did we get here,” and their answer is, “We evolved!”

I am going to make a bold statement: Evolution cannot be proven scientifically. However, Creation as well cannot be proven scientifically.

“Pastor Campbell, How can you dare to make such a statement?”

What is science? Well, look the word up in a dictionary!

Science: “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”

In school most of us took science – observational science. There are two aspects of observational science which must be true for it to actually be science. It must…

  • Be observable – You must be able to witness it or watch it happen.
  • Be repeatable – You must be able to replicate it over and over again.

Neither Evolution or Creation is…

  • Observable – None of us were there to actually view creation taking place. Regarding evolution, there’s not a single scientist who was there 375 million years ago who was actually able to view that “large and vaguely salamander-like creature” crawl from the water onto land!
  • Repeatable – We cannot, in a scientific lab or anywhere else for that matter, repeat Genesis 1:1. The act of creation, by God, was a one-time event! Regarding evolution, it too is not repeatable. No one has been able to replicate the process of evolution – one species evolving into a new species.

So, if you cannot prove either evolution or Creation with “science,” how do you prove them? (Or disprove them?) You’ll have to come back in two weeks for my next message!

The Heaven and the Earth

Read Colossians 1:12-18.

God is the Creator of “the Heaven and the Earth.” God is the sustainer of “the Heaven and the Earth.” (He holds it all together!) Because of this, God should be preeminent in all of His Creation. In fact, Revelation 4:11 tells us that all things were created by Him and they were created for His pleasure – not ours.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

Instead, mankind has sought to remove God from every aspect of society and from mankind’s collective consciousness. In so doing, they reason, there is no need for the Gospel message and they are free to live as they choose.

“If all the animals and man had been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there had been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no fall, then the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement … collapsed like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells

Unfortunate for those who believe that there is no God, however, is Philippians 2:10-11…

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

As Christians, we can stand confidently upon the first 10 words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.” We do not need to be ashamed of those words. Instead, we must boldly proclaim that the God Who created our universe is the same God who loved us – wicked, rotten sinners – so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die upon the cruel cross to pay the penalty for our sins!