The Sudden Appearance of Christ in Heaven in 33 A.D.
Lo and behold, the scenery and celebration of Heaven is suddenly changed! The loud ovations of praise are instantly redirected! The shift of Heaven’s extolment of God’s worthiness happens at the appearance of Christ in Heaven!
“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the Throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the Throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the Throne.” – Rev. 5:1-7
In an ongoing sequence of heavenly events from Revelation 4-5, and with John looking on, the unusual bystander is made to see a book in the right hand of the Father. Then, the angelic proclamation, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Rev. 5:2)! John, the unusual bystander, is made to see the situation and hear the proclamation: a universal call for a man who has proven himself worthy! The question, voiced by a strong angel, reaches all peoples in existence both dead and alive! The utterance, implicit of a divine search, goes unanswered by all! “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon” (Rev. 5:3). Then, on behalf of mankind… John weeps!
Due cause compels Heaven’s personages into the ongoing worship of God the Father in Heaven, as seen in Rev. 4:9-11, but with respect to mankind on earth below: a Heaven without the incarnated Christ is a cause for strong weeping! In other words, a Heaven without “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David,” is a cause for great mourning! Lo and behold, the prophet weeps! “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither look thereon” (Rev. 5:4). Take it all in, my reader. Reflect upon those moments of timeless eternity in which the unusual bystander, John, wept tears in the place of Paradise! Why? The full cause for the weeping, and for the weeping being relieved, is incomprehensible except by understanding what is accomplished at the ascent of the Christ into Heaven at 33 A.D. In other words, one must understand what is impossible without and made possible by the ascent of Christ into Heaven.
The unanswered call and, consequentially, the unopened book, is a testament to the unworthiness of mankind! Why? What is this angelic call? Why did it go unanswered? What is the book in the Father’s hand and what does it have to do with mankind’s unfitness and unworthiness? The answered call and, consequentially, the opening of the book, is a testament to the worthiness of Christ! Why? How did Christ triumph to open the book? And, what happens when the book is opened? My reader, to fully realize the message being conveyed we need to understand the purpose of Christ’s ascension in Heaven.
In exploring this magnificent rise of Christ “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:21), a categorical approach is needful. Categorical, I say, because the Book of Revelation unveils never-before-seen accomplishments of Christ’s ascension into Heaven; however, the things revealed shed light beyond where the Epistles left off pertaining to the salvific objectives of Christ’s ascension. The objectives of Christ’s ascension can be categorized into one initial goal and manifold present-progressive and future goals: the initial goal being the substantial redemption of mankind and the present-progressive and future goals being, in summation, the Book of Revelation. If you prefer, this delineation could also be made in saying that Christ’s initial goal at the ascension is the lawful & actual redemption of mankind in Heaven while, speaking of ongoing and future goals, they are everything else Christ is and will do having assumed the eternal offices of His ministry in Heaven. In a broader sense, these two approaches of understanding the objectives of Christ in the ascension can be understood as the Law and the Prophets. Remember, Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17).
The Lawful / Substantial Redemption of Mankind
As for the initial goal, the substantial redemption of mankind: hereby the New Covenant was formally / lawfully sanctioned from Heaven and thus begun on earth at the day of Pentecost. The shadow-to-reality transition, moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament, means a shift from animal blood to Jesus’ blood; in other words, this means a shift from an insubstantial atonement to a substantial atonement. In other words, the sins of mankind were unsuccessfully remitted by animal sacrifices. Paul explained this in his own words (under inspiration), saying,
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all [Jew and Gentile of every age] have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” –
Though authentic Old Testament Jews were saved by faith, with faithful Abraham (), the Old Testament was problematic and insufficient to mediate a lasting and eternal forgiveness before God (). According to the superior operation of redemption offered in the New Testament – insomuch that it is the reality of the shadows and the essence of typological and metaphorical figures () – it is the sole means of forgiveness whether in the OT or the NT. “HIS BLOOD” is the eternal provision (). “His blood” is the benefactor because “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (, ). Though the LORD honestly declared the words “atonement” and “forgiven” in the Old Testament (atonement: , , , ; forgiven: , , , ), the atonement of animal’s blood was ultimately insufficient! The truth of this begs the question answered in regarding the righteousness of God’s forgiveness of past sins unsuccessfully remitted by animal blood.
Indeed, if the OT saints were atoned for and forgiven without their sins being legally remitted in truth, how was God righteous to forgive them!? This seeming complication is answerable by recognizing the merits of Christ’s blood existing as an eternal provision which was in pastime delivered to the OT saints by promise and illustrated by shadow, to wit: “These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received NOT the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (). On this wise, the OT saints were atoned for and forgiven while the provision whereby this is made possible had not yet been offered, therefore, as Paul mentioned, the unremitted sins were forborne until “His blood” was shed, the blood of Christ Incarnate ().
Necessarily so, these unremitted sins were forborne by God, but, righteously so, these unremitted sins were forgiven based upon the vindicatory arrival of Jesus Christ the righteous (“to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God”-). In this one Offering, every sin committed since the beginning of the world was atoneable for real, in reality, because the very substance which the shadows existed to portray did finally manifest (“for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the First Testament”-). Therefore, purposefully, those who had faith in the shadows were also believers in the reality declared by the shadows, and without contradiction, Paul affirmed, “Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law” ().
The Insufficiency of the OT Law
The Sufficiency of the NT
The Insufficiency of the animal’s blood for remission and atonement was that it purified the flesh and not the soul (, ). The emptiness of the shadow left a man unperfected as pertaining to conscience and unprepared for Heaven () because the “carnal ordinances” of the Old Covenant, like a powerless shadow (their earthly personage, sacrifices, ceremonies), were unfit for the infrastructure of Eternal Redemption located in Heaven (the location of the very “image” and “reality” from whence cometh salvation)! My reader, did you know that the infrastructure of Eternal Redemption is located in Heaven? Most people don’t. They’ve never looked beyond the cross, or the resurrection, to behold the wondrous glory of the ascension of Christ into Heaven! Ah, this glorious moment in 33 A.D.!
Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day (), He appeared unto his disciples and over 500 others over a space of 40 days (), He spoke of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in a glorified human body which still hungered and thirsted (, , ), a body by which He ate and drank alongside his disciples just as other humans do (), “until the day in which He was taken up”, scripture states (). What day? The day of the Lord’s ascension into Heaven! Jesus Christ had theretofore been resurrected, but not ascended. Speaking of this, Christ disallowed Mary to touch him after she had just been wandering among the graveyard (a thing which would be improper and offensive, considering the circumstances of Jewish Law and, furthermore, the ceremonies the Lord was soon to perform in His human body; see , , , ).
You see, my reader, while the body of the Lord Jesus was affixed on The Cross, the ceremony of salvation could not be accomplished. While Christ did reside among earth-dwellers after his resurrection, the ceremony could not be performed. He must – in human body – pass into the Heavens via the ascension (, ), enter the Gates beyond which a human body had never traversed (, ), walk through the courts and into the Holy Place of the first and original Temple not made by human hands (, ) – a Heavenly and Holy Place never before tread by the soles of human feet (, , )! The ceremony of salvation that Christ was to perform on behalf of humanity was not located on earth, but in Heaven. According to scripture, it was necessary that a High Priest of an Eternal Priesthood called, the order of Melchisedec (, , , ), enter into the Heavenly Courts of the Most Holy Temple to sprinkle the “heavenly things” with the blood of Jesus Christ, The Sacrifice (). Seeing that this was on behalf of mankind, this Priest and the Sacrifice must also be a Man… and until “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah” did prevail, humanity was left without the hope of redemption ()!
After the Lord Jesus did prevail, He became “The Forerunner” behind which all humanity can follow. Positioned in Heaven right now in His human frame with its scars and all, “He ever liveth to make intercession” (), therefore because He “passed into the Heavens” …so can we ()! Having such a High Priest over the House of God (, ), redeemed humanity has “boldness to enter into The Holiest by the blood of Jesus” (, )! Having accomplished the full ceremony of salvation which was expected of Him in the Heavenly Arena (the reality of the typological similitude declared by the Old Testament Ceremonial Law; , , ), it was written that Jesus Christ did, last of all, sit down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on High (, , ). With the entire ceremony accomplished whereby mankind could be fully redeemed, the mode of redemption did thenceforth begin: The Kingdom of God. This mode of redemption began with the enthronement of Jesus Christ, the seed of David (a Human), as King and Lord of visible and invisible creation (), soon to appear on earth yet again (, , )! Upon this enthronement, The Kingdom of God began, and after this enthronement the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Day of Pentecost to mark the beginning of New Testament redemption on earth (; i.e. The Kingdom of God on earth).
The Ceremony of Salvation
The Old Testament passed away because it lacked eternality and sufficiency, specifically because its ceremonies were earthly instead of heavenly (for the earthliness and carnality of the OT see , , , , , ), but these shadows do declare and explain the attributes of NT realities (which are heavenly and eternal), realities which are unfathomable without their shadows (see , , ). When Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the edicts of Old Testament Ceremonial Law, he saw the Heavenly Temple/Tabernacle, Heavenly Altars, Heavenly Incense Censers, Heavenly Instruments, Fixtures, and Furniture, Heavenly Cherubims, and a Heavenly Ark/Throne, and upon seeing all of these things the Lord instructed Moses to manufacture an exact pattern (shadow) on earth. In reference to manufacturing and establishing an earthly shadow of the heavenly figures, the Lord said to Moses, “look that thou makest them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the Mount” (). Moses saw the glorious and Heavenly Scenery in which Jesus Christ would eventually perform the ceremony of salvation on behalf of humanity, just as Aaron performed it on the Day of Atonement (). Speaking on this wise, the writer of Hebrews affirmed,
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens; A Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the True Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the Law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of Heavenly Things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the Tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” –
This passage confirms the purpose of the Law in comparison to the Heavenly Things whereabouts the Jesus of Nazareth does now Minister. This is, yet again, confirmed by the writer of Hebrews in another place, saying, “For the Law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect” (). Yet again, in , the word “figure” is used exactly as the word “shadow” has been cited and used:
“While the first Tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure [a shadow] for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a Greater and More Perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood he entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God.” –
All this being affirmed and confirmed, let us understand that the Old Testament is a Covenant agreement between God and man via earthly shadow – shadows which were passing away – but the New Testament is an agreement between God and man via the heavenly realities (the substance that the earthly shadows declared). The difference between the two is emphasized in one point, foremost of all: that which is earthly is by essence, passing away, but that which is heavenly is by essence, eternal and undying. Hebrews chapters 7-9 are devoted to make plain this glorious attribute of the New Covenant, that its eternality is the victory of the “reformation” (). That now Christ, who is our Perfection (), Sacrifice (), Intercessor (), Priest (), and King (; ), is eternal in His Person and His Work, and therefore the Covenant agreement is eternal.
An Earthly Environment
A Heavenly Environment
A Lesser and Imperfect Tabernacle
The Old Testament is found “faulty” () for all the reasons above, and more - every reason centering around the earthliness and carnality of the Old Testament. The “law made nothing perfect” () because it was a “carnal commandment” () of “weakness and un-profitableness” (; Note: compare this passage with , , , , , ). The “heavenly calling” () and heavenly commandments given by a Testator who is a Heavenly Man, effectually reforms the former law by a “disannulling of the commandment” given in the Old Covenant (). Christ is the eternal Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and with this change of “priesthood” there must be “a change also of the Law” ().
The shadows that were pastime practices in the Old Testament were disannulled “for the weakness and the unprofitableness thereof”, for they were temporary, physical, or “carnal commandments” (, ). These carnal / earthly ordinances were needed for men to “draw nigh to God”, but they were a rigorous bondage to complete in the fear of God, at the danger of death, and in the solemnity of carefulness (). These ordinances, which served as prerequisites for redeemed humanity to draw near to God via the Tabernacle / Temple courts, were fittingly called by Paul, “bondage under the elements of the world” (). This “bondage” was, in another place, called “the yoke of bondage” (). These earthly things said to be of “weak and beggarly elements” are in other words just mere shadows of the heavenly realities to come.
All these things served as a yoke of bondage to the Israelites making the process of drawing near to God difficult, meticulous, and rigorous, for it was only after an Israelite had completed all ceremonial prerequisites that he could have confidence to draw near to God without the danger of DEATH. Freedom from this yoke would therefore be described as a liberty to draw near to God without the requirements of carnal, physical, or earthly ordinances ()… right? Indeed! Thus, the writer of Hebrews declares the rising of another Priest for a greater Priesthood to perform a more glorious and perfecting ceremony of salvation via the Heavenly Things!
“If therefore perfection were by The Levitical Priesthood, (for under it the people received the Law,) what further need was there that another Priest should rise after The Order of Melchisedec, and not be called after The Order of Aaron? For the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning Priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another Priest, who is made, not after the Law of a carnal commandment, but after THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. For He testifieth, Thou art a Priest for ever after The Order of Melchizsidec. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” –
In and through the Son of God, WE ARE SAFE! As Old Testament Israel cared for earthly ordinances without which they dare not draw near, we look unto Jesus with boldness and draw near with freedom! Where Old Testament Israel was fastened in the yoke of earthly things which could never save, we are basking in a heavenly reality which can effectually and everlastingly save! Their focus, which was one of multifaceted and innumerable earthly ordinances, was BONDAGE, but our freedom, which is an all-out-gaze upon Jesus Christ’s perfect fulfillment of all things, is FREEDOM! Very specifically speaking, my reader, this freedom was a liberty to draw near to God without any reference to any obstacle of any earthly sort! This removal of redeemed humanity from the Old Testament Ceremonial Law was a removal of humanity from earthly things, and this redemption of humanity according to the Testament made possible by a Heavenly Man, is an ushering-in of humanity into the Heavenly Things! It behooves earthly men to be in bondage to earthly things, they are bound thereto! But if earthly men die to themselves and the world (, ), and are born into the Family of a Heavenly Man (“not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”-), then these formerly earthly men are freed from the Old Testament Law and released into otherworldly glories of heavenly consecration! Speaking on this wise, it was written,
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the Law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the Law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the Law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that Law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to Another, even to Him Who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” –
spoke of a marriage/union unto Christ who was risen from the dead. This Jesus has become our Husband, High Priest, and King, and the ceremonies by which He attained this honor were “not after the Law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (), namely because He was risen from the dead! Only death can lawfully separate us from earthly bondage and liberate us into the substance of heavenly realities (, , , ), but upon this liberation we are joined unto the Him whose life is everlasting in Heavenly reality – therefore we, through Him, by ceremony, live forever (“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” – )! Hallelujah!
The Priesthood of Christ was sworn in by an oath, which the scripture states, emphasizes how He is a surety for a better Testament… but why? Because the oath () signifies that He is an everlasting Man (“He ever liveth to make intercession for them”-), and therefore His Priesthood is not as the nominal, earthly, and meager ones in the Old Covenant (comparatively speaking; see ). For this reason Christ’s is in an “unchangeable Priesthood” (), specifically because, shockingly, He is caught up in the “Heavenly things” ()! Christ is “consecrated” -- “there” -- behind the “veil” of Heaven (), standing in office as a High Priest “for evermore” ()! This, my reader, is so much greater and better a Covenant than that which is earthly! Of necessity according to The Priestly Order, and of necessity according to the Man, and of necessity according to the arena of His Ministerial Office – Jesus Christ “abideth a Priest continually” ()! [For more information on the Moral and Ceremonial Law being fulfilled by Christ, see: “” & .]
The Wherewithal to Fulfill Divine Foretelling
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither look thereon” - Rev. 5:4
Indeed, mankind is unworthy! …that is until the Man, Jesus of Nazareth, was born! Indeed, a Heaven without the incarnated Christ is a cause for strong weeping! For, a Heaven without Christ means that mankind lacks ! However, the question remains: is this the explicit reason for John’s weeping? Is this the predominant message of the prophetic experience revealed in Heaven? John wept! Yes. But what forced tears down his face according to the actual sight revealed in Revelation 5? My reader, if you saw what John beheld… would you weep? John saw the book in the Father’s hand and the unanswered call! - an unopened book and a role unpossessed by man! – the content of the book unread and its plan unimplemented! A Heaven without the incarnated Christ is indeed a cause for strong weeping, but in the terms of the vision that John beheld, I ask, what was John weeping about?
Granted, the answer is foundationally connected to the lawful / substantial redemption of mankind in Heaven going unaccomplished by Christ, but when reading onward in the Book of Revelation we see the book, its seal-breaking, and its final opening bringing about the End of the World which coincides with the 2nd Coming of Christ, the salvation of the Jews, the Millennial Reign, the eradication of all sinners from the Earth, and the creation of the New Heaven & New Earth! My reader, this much and more is meant to be conveyed by the vision. Explicitly, the vision speaks to the wherewithal of Christ to fulfill divine foretelling! In other words, a Heaven without the incarnated Christ is a cause for strong weeping because no one else has the wherewithal to fulfill the ancient and more recent prophecies that have been compounding through the ages!
It is certain 1st century Christianity understood the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but how much was known of the ascension of Christ? Remember, the last they saw of the bodily presence of Christ was in 33 A.D. when “He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Then, in the duration of the next 27 years or so (as discussed at length in the ): the Jews largely forsook Christ in rejecting the testimony of the apostles, the Gentiles were chosen instead and scores of them continue to receive Christ, and meanwhile the foretold scenario of divine judgment advanced on the horizon in 70 A.D. Then, at the passing of 70 A.D., the 1st century Christians were baffled to discover a deviation from the prophesied events to wit the 2nd Coming of Christ that coincides with the End of the World didn’t manifest! As stated before, though many unanswered questions were born through this perplexing chain of events, neither , , nor any of addressed the heart of the matter from a prophetic standpoint. Granted, the Epistles bore witness of the substantial redemption accomplished by the ascension of Christ, but they were largely silent concerning how and in what way the unfulfilled prophecies would ultimately be fulfilled. The latter subject dominated the minds of 1st century Christianity. They were astute observers of the old-time prophecies. Exemplifying this, Paul affirmed their learning in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, saying, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:1-2). Their proficiency in is so apparent that Paul described them thus. However, this can hardly be said of Christians today! In modern times, the masses are disillusioned while the saints are divided & conquered, and mostly backslidden.
Being thus minded, the 1st century saints were being carried in the momentum that the prophetic calendar did occasion and, understandably so, they felt they were lunging into the End of the World. However, this feeling wasn’t new. Like John, the Jews wept! Or, like the Jews …John wept! Repeatedly and generationally, the Jews wept as they discovered how redeemed men were unable to fulfill divine foretelling. This discovery was made after the fact that God called upon redeemed men to fulfill the word. Their failure to fulfill the call is the crushing blow. Moreover, on several of these occasions the Jews were left with a feeling of lunging into the End of the World, and then it didn’t happen! Painfully, repeatedly, and in the throes of divine chastisement because of the unanswered call, the Jews wept! This is the story of Biblical Church History.
The general degeneration and unto the desolation of the Temple, the City of Jerusalem, and the scattering of the Jews is a cause for weeping. In other words, from the Temple of God to the abandonment of the people of God and the destruction of Jerusalem is a cause for weeping. The totality of these events are the complete undoing of the promises and prophecies of both the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants. (Lamentations, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)
The inability of redeemed men to fulfill divine foretelling was proven through the ages: redeemed men were authentically called by God in Covenant Relationship, and sin was committed resulting in the breaching of the Covenant promises and prophecies. Thus, we observe repeated instances of repentance in the heart of God () throughout the ages of redemption. Many other examples of this could be cited, like the corruption of that led to the End of the World by a flood (Gen. 6:5-6), or the corruption of that led to the dividing and scattering of men across the face of the earth (Gen. 11), but the aforementioned list of instances stands out among the rest as the foremost reason for the unworthiness of redeemed man in the heavenly vision of Revelation 4-5. John’s weeping in paradise commemorates the agony of the Jews looking for the fulfillment of the word spoken, and all men being found wanting… until Jesus of Nazareth!
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Literally, for the unfulfilled words of God Jesus of Nazareth was born! The Word became flesh. In commemoration of this momentous occasion the calendar of time on earth was restarted to 1 A.D. (Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7)! The preincarnate Christ, who is an uncreated and eternal Person of the Godhead, descended from Heaven to Earth via the incarnation. “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16). Fittingly, scores of Holy Angels were there to shout the high praises of God in that the Son of God was born (Lk. 2:8-15)! Fittingly, the assembly of Heaven erupts with praise and worship at the Son of Man’s triumphant ascent into Heaven in 33 A.D. (Acts 1:9)! This vision is exhilarating to 1st century Christians! They, hoping to peer into the future, are hearkening to the focal point of the vision:
Lawful / Substantial Redemption: Revelation 5:9
The Consummation / The End of the World: Revelation 5:10, 12-13
Of course, Heaven praises God for Christ in that mankind is redeemed by the blood (Substantial Redemption), as seen in Revelation 5:9. However, the fullness of Heaven’s adoration pivots from substantial redemption unto the unfulfilled content of divine foretelling in Revelation 5:10, 12-13. Namely, that the saints have been made into Kings and Priests for the service of God and that they shall reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10) as a part of the Lordship of Christ which is endowed with all the power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing of Heaven (Rev. 5:12) and hereby made universal (Rev. 5:13; Php. 2:9-11, Rom. 14:11, Heb. 1:6)! Christ’s ascent into Heaven was for the substantial redemption of mankind, of course, but the substantial redemption of man is for the consummated redemption of mankind! In other words, the substantial redemption of mankind is for what we behold happening in Revelation 7-22; namely, the book, its seal-breaking, and its final opening bringing about the End of the World which coincides with the 2nd Coming of Christ, the salvation of the Jews, the Millennial Reign, the eradication of all sinners from the Earth, and the creation of New Heaven & Earth! Lo and behold, the Book of Revelation!
Christ’s whole ministry on Earth or in Heaven can be summed up in the saying, “It is written”. The word was made flesh on earth through the incarnation to fulfill prophecy. The word was made flesh through the resurrection of the body of Jesus to fulfill prophecy. The word, being flesh (a glorified human body), ascended into Heaven for the fulfillment of prophecy! Hence, Christ has the wherewithal of Christ to fulfill divine foretelling! This is what is meant by Christ’s worthiness to take the book and open the seals thereof! What is the book? It is the divine plan of God committed to the King of Israel to bring about the consummation of redemption from the seat of power in Heaven. The divine plan, in the book, is a divinely ingenious fulfillment of the mystery of human redemption. The book is a divine record of what needs to take place for the restitution of all things and not only this, but how it will take place through the government of Christ from the throne of Heaven.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” – Isa. 9:6-7
At the helm of universal power, Christ executes the plan of the book and the Book of Revelation tells the story! For the fulfillment of unfulfilled prophecies, Christ ascended to power in 33 A.D.! The exhilarated readers of 96 A.D., to whom the revelation was first sent, are compelled to revisit the memory of the last 63 years and, of course, pivot from there in hopes to gaze upon the future as they go from Chapter to Chapter through the Book of Revelation. Truly, “blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy” (Rev. 1:3)! And, how meaningful a reading it must have been for those early saints! They read in hopes of an explanation providing closure to problematic events of the past that led into 70 A.D. They read in hopes that the period of silence was over in that a divine utterance is revealing the state of things at present, interpreting them, seeing that the saints were 26 years removed from the last prophesied event. They read in hopes that the mystery of redemption pertaining to the future fulfillment of all things would be unveiled. With this in mind, they read how the word became flesh so that a man’s flesh, of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5), would ascend to the power of Heaven for the government of the Kingdom of God unto the consummation of human redemption as it was foretold – which means, a fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants and, as extensions from these Covenants, the fulfillment of the restoration prophecies concerning the Jews! Firstly, let’s conclusively realize the present estate of things in the right terms.