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The Power of Prison

October 13, 2012

It is the endless sameness of prison that gets to the prisoner. John was no exception.

On a Sunday, while yet a prisoner, he is taken up to see things that others have never seen. He is invited to see the grandeur of Jesus, but with it comes a report that five of the seven churches in his charge have gone off the rails in one way or another.

After the report that he is given, he is allowed to see worship around the throne, how majestic the praise of God in heaven and when that ceases, he sees the one who is seated on the throne with a scroll in His hand, sealed seven times.

At this point, a mighty angel stands up and loudly inquires if there is anyone who is worthy to take the book and open the seals:

“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.”  -Revelation 5:3-4, KJV

I don’t believe that you can fully understand this passage without entering into John’s state of mind. It seemed to him that he was being brought to the edge of revelation and was being told that that revelation was to be withheld from him. He has been living a life of extreme privation given him by his enemies and now God was going to do the same. and he breaks down. If you can weep with John for the estate he found himself in then, perhaps you can understand the release that he is going to obtain by the end of the Revelation.

This is no mistake, no flaw in the love of God that allows John to come to this point. He needs to come to this point.  He must not be allowed to dig himself out in his own efforts. He must not be able to offer God a whit of his own strength. He must be carried all the way to rejoicing in the arms of God. And when he is spent and poured his tears upon the ground, he is consoled.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, 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. -Revelation 5:5-7

     John might well have thought that he was a weak as he could be before he was emotionally overcome. Yet there was more that was required for the full revelation that was to come. He needed to be completely sure that all true revelation had to come through his Savior first before it could be his. So must I. And what of you?

     It is tempting to think that we might go another way.

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