In Part 7 we saw that the blood of Jesus not only made it possible for us to be forgiven–totally forgiven, of the many individual acts of sin that we commit, but also the corruption of the sin nature that we are all born with at birth. We also learned that not only did Jesus die in our place on that cruel cross at Calvary, but His dying for us made it possible for us to die to ourselves. By dying to ourselves, and allowing Him complete LORDSHIP in our lives, we begin to take on the nature of Jesus Christ. Let’s see what Philippians 2:5-11 has to say about this:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is a description of the change of disposition as mentioned earlier in this study. Jesus gave the example of total humility, even as the very Son of God. We as believers and followers of Messiah Jesus, can do no less. Jesus lowered Himself to complete ignominy and shame…in total obedience to the will of the Father; finally requiring self-sacrifice! This demanded total humility, and He did it…for us. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah was given a special knowledge and insight into the scenario of what the Messiah would go through, hundreds of years before it came about. These are Isaiah’s words in chapter 53:
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken, and they made His grave with the wicked–but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of his soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This most magnificent account given by Isaiah 700 years before the actual events unfolded, and witnessed by many thousands in real time, shows the total humility and submission of the Messiah to the complete will of God. This incredible act of blood sacrifice on the cross, 2000 years ago, satisfied the heart of God. This in turn brought about the worship of the angels and the love and confidence of all the redeemed ever since. With the gruesome picture of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross fresh in our minds, let’s now look at this scene in heaven given to us by the Apostle John in Revelation 5 when it seemed no one in heaven would be found worthy to open the seven-sealed book of the Apocalypse:
And I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. so I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it has been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (verses 1-10)
It is difficult for us to get a true picture of what this scene really was in heaven. John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos, a small island used by the Roman Empire as a prison where there was absolutely no chance of escape. The old apostle had been confined on Patmos, only after several attempts to kill him according to oral tradition, including a failed attempt by the emperor to boil him in a pot of oil. On God’s timetable, it was not yet time for John’s death and He intervened. While on this island, John was lifted into heaven in the spirit and given a vision of the entire apocalypse. This scene before the throne of God in heaven involved the foretelling of the account of the Apocalypse which was sealed with seven seals. This account could not be accessed by just anyone. No man or angel was found worthy to open the seals of this scroll. Once these seals were opened, the entire saga would begin to unfold as Almighty GOD had laid them out. We see the gravity and absolute importance of this revelation being opened because without it, God’s end plan could not be completed. John well recognized how crucial this was and how it affected mankind’s eternity and so broke into tears of uncontrolled sorrow when the book could not be opened. This is when the Lamb of God who gave His Blood for the sins of the world made His appearance…as the only One worthy to open these seals.
We must keep in mind that the last time the Apostle John saw Jesus was during the days when He appeared to the disciples several times after the crucifixion and resurrection. John was well acquainted with the Man of Sorrow depicted so well by the prophet Isaiah but John had not seen Jesus in His glory until he had this astonishing vision. I believe it would be appropriate to add one more passage of Scripture at this point to show the contrast between the Man of Sorrows who had hung and died on the cross, and John’s first meeting with Jesus in all His glory at the very beginning of this vision. It is found in Revelation 1:9-19:
I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island of Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, ,saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”
It is no wonder that John passed out when He saw this vision of Jesus. John and Jesus had enjoyed a special relationship while Jesus was on the earth. Of all those that followed Jesus throughout His ministry, the twelve disciples were those specially picked whom Jesus spent most of His time with. Of those twelve however, three seemed to want to be closer than the others; Peter, James, and John. John however, was the one of all the disciples that proved to be the closest, and the most loyal. He was the only one who accompanied the women throughout the entire ordeal when Jesus was being tried, beaten, and crucified. John was the one who Jesus, while on the cross, asked to take on the responsibility of caring for His mother Mary. John had seen Jesus do incredible miracles during that three years of ministry on earth, including raising several dead. But, seeing Him as He really is was too much for his old body to handle. He passed out like a dead man…as would you or I having the same experience!
Jesus, the second personage of the Triune GOD, sacrificed absolutely everything, giving His blood, ALL for you and me! He set the example and we follow that example of humility. Salvation, although it cost Jesus everything, is FREE to us. We accept the free gift, repent of our sins, and submit ourselves to His Lordship. True discipleship however, also costs us everything. Each of us must take up his cross daily and follow him. We find Jesus saying this very thing in Matthew 16:24-27:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
By taking up our cross and “dying” with Christ, we actually become joint-heirs with Him. What a contrast between the eternal promises God makes for His faithful people and the empty promises of “self-gratifying” fleshly enjoyments offered by false prophets! Some religions don’t offer anything more than some mystical, ethereal transition into blissful eternal nothingness! NO THANK YOU! Our Messiah has promised those that would take up their cross and follow him, a position of being joint-heirs with Him…throughout eternity! Note what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:12-17)
This passage of Scripture points out some things that many have not come to realize. The whole creation of God, having been created in absolute glorious perfection, has been groaning to be restored back to its original perfect splendor. The entire creation is also anxious for the true sons of God to be revealed. Who are the true sons of God? They are the ones who have chosen to humble themselves before their Creator GOD, asked for His forgiveness, have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb of God, and have asked for His Lordship in their lives. These “sons of God” will experience the change from death unto life, corruption to incorruption. These sons of God will return to the Earth as immortals with Messiah Jesus when He comes to take control of planet Earth and set up His millennial Kingdom. What a glorious future it will be!
Being promised to be “co-heirs” with Jesus is something that is hard to comprehend. Yet, there are many passages of Scripture that tell us this is exactly what is going to happen. One of these is found in Galatians 3:26-4:7:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though He is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
In the book of James, we are reminded that this life we live on this earth is just a puff of vapor. Even the people in the Old Testament who lived before the flood of Noah, people who lived almost 1000 years, only just began living! What is a thousand years next to eternity? Today, people may live to be 80 or 90 years–sometimes even 100 years. No matter how long we might have allotted to us in this earthly life-span, how can we trade the glorious eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God for a few years here living for nothing more than slavery to our fallen sin nature? Yet, this is the inheritance most people on this earth are choosing every single day! I would like to add one more passage of Scripture as another reminder of the good things God has in mind for us. It is found in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. so when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
All of this through the mighty and powerful Blood of the Lamb of God. There is no more powerful eternal remedy; in fact, there is no other remedy at all! God’s love that He has poured out for us is beyond comprehension. I for one, have depended on this special blood to set me free and put me on the path that will soon have me being part of that great call from the Master, to come HOME! God’s true sons are scattered all around this dying world. They are in the middle of many deceivers, liars, pretenders, and false prophets. God’s Word tells us that we are like wheat that has tares mixed in with us. God will separate out the good from the bad; the false from the true; the rotten from the genuine. In our generation, the great delusion that the Bible speaks of will take over the minds and hearts of those who have refused to accept the genuine truth provided through the Word of God. Woe to those who reject God! But, what great things God will lavish upon His faithful ones! “The earth groans while it waits for the revealing of the true sons of God…”
Continued in Part 9