Holy, Holy Holy – Revelation 15. RBT Notes, 19th February

Revelation is a vision which should leave us exhausted, and then, by grace, exhilarated. It is a vision of God’s absolute holiness, and a vision which must overwhelm us. In John’s book we face up to pictures of a perfectly wise, perfectly loving and perfectly wrathful God. We cannot turn away unchanged, nor have our views of God unchallenged. He is God, He is holy. That means, He is utterly different from us in His absolute perfection. And, as we’ll discover, His holiness, terrifying as it is to sinful people like ourselves, is in fact our only hope.

hqdefaultAfter the previous visions of the Woman and the Dragon (12.1-3), here is the third, of the Presence of God Himself. In line with what Moses and Ezekiel saw, John records a dazzling sea of glass (v.2), symbolising God’s dwelling-place. Standing there are God’s servants. They have “been victorious over the Beast”, through their suffering witness, and most likely through their martyrs’ death (v.2). Like no one else, they worship God as they know Him to be, as the Holy One (v.3). Reflect on their song, and sing it yourself. It is a song of a mighty and majestic Lord!

A holy God has dealings not only with those who embrace His covenant-love, but with those who reject it. As John sees the heavenly place of worship, he calls it the Tabernacle of the Testimony, the word “Testimony” reminding us that God has spoken to His people, charging them to be faithful to them. John’s heart is heavy with the fact that the people of the unbelieving generation who heard Jesus’ words and rejected them, were in covenant with God. Now they must meet the covenant judgement of the God they rejected, as all sinners will once day. The bowls of God’s wrath are made ready to be poured out against sin (vv.6-9).

For bowls, think cups. And then think of how one cup brings you to the Holy God. Jesus drained the cup which was prepared for our sin. He took it, and emptied, not pouring it out on others, but drinking it down for them. Love took the punishment which holiness demanded. Jesus drank wrath, that you might drink grace. No one would take wrath for us. Jesus did. We call it the Gospel. It’s from heaven, and it will bring us into heaven.


A Prayer to Pray

Lord, Your love is astounding, just as Your purity is amazing. How I praise You that I am free from the guilt of all of my sins as I see it taken by Jesus. Put in my heart a song of holy praise to my God, for in the Gospel Your righteous acts have been revealed. Amen.

Heaven’s Song – Revelation 5. RBT Notes, 8th February

And God said, “let there be worship, and there was worship”. When God the Spirit opens the eyes of sin-blinded people to see His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, the result is worship. This is God’s will, and it is the joy and ultimate purpose of every redeemed life. We can’t help ourselves from worshipping!

John’s vision of God’s community is of a people enraptured with the glory of God, falling down in awe-filled joy before His majesty (ch.4). Now John sees the Lamb, central to all of God’s purposes. He bears the symbols of power (enthroned with multiple horns and eyes, vv.6-7). The leaders of God’s people bring their prayers to Him (v.8). They worship the Lord of all the nations, and of all the angelic company (vv.9-12). His is the glory nee day all creation shall acknowledge (v.13).
We worship Him because He is God’s Lamb, slain as a sacrifice for our sin (v.6). Nothing and no one can save us, but Jesus alone. And we worship Him because He is God’s Leader. The scroll image takes us back to Ezekiel’s scroll (Ezekiel 2.9). The vision here teaches us that no one but Jesus can open up God’s purposes, be they to judge or save, curse or bless. Jesus is the Lord. And He has triumphed (v.5).
This vision urges us to join heaven’s worship. Worship is not escapism, it is reality. Do it – it’s what you were created and redeemed for.
A prayer to pray.
Lord God, who will not worship You, or give You the glory for Your saving love in Christ? Fill my heart with admiration for Jesus, and grow my excitement about His lordship. May praise for Him be my life theme. Amen.