THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Pastor Mark Nysewander
REDEMPTION AND ORIGINAL OWNERSHIP
To understand Revelation you have to understand the term "redemption". It was a legal term for restoring the original ownership of property. Here in the US, private ownership holds a very high value. If you own property it is yours to do with as you please. In Israel, because the original distribution of the Promised Land was important, original ownership, not private ownership, held the highest value. If the original owner or his descendents lost their land through sale or punishment or debt, they could get it back at any time if they had the means to buy it from the present owner. It didn't matter if the present owner wanted to sell it or not. ORIGINAL OWNERSHIP ALWAYS TRUMPED PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. Redemption was this legal means for the restoration of land that had been lost to the original owners.
1. THE EARTH IS IN NEED OF REDEMPTION.
When God created the earth he gave it to the family of man as the original owner. But the family of man lost possession of the earth. The earth went from being owned by the family of man to being owned by Satan.
That is why Jesus calls Satan "the prince of this world" in John 12:31. And that is also why Jesus didn't dispute Satan's words when Satan was showing Jesus the kingdoms of the world and said, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me it will all be yours." (Luke 4:6-7)
2. NOT ONLY DOES THE EARTH NEED REDEMPTION BUT YOUR SOUL NEEDS REDEMPTION.
The reason the family of man lost ownership of the earth is because we gave it to Satan. When Satan said to Jesus, "it has been given to me…" you need to understand that God didn't give the earth to him, we did. Listen, when you or I first sinned, we didn't just do something wrong or bad, we gave our life over to the authority of Satan. Jesus said to the family of man in John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires." Because we gave our souls to Satan he got everything under our authority, including the earth.
3. REDEMPTION OF THE EARTH FROM SATAN
Revelation is about the redemption of the earth from Satan. The gospel is about the redemption of your soul from Satan. These two experiences of redemption have a lot in common.
Previously in chapter 4, John is taken into heaven and there he sees God who created the earth in all his brilliant glory surrounded by all the people who have died and gone to heaven. Also he sees mighty angelic being worshiping before the presence of God. Now in chapter 5 John makes out something in God's right hand. "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals." (1)
John is seeing a title deed. Title deeds for original ownership of property were written on the inside with specifications, terms of sale, etc and on the back were written the signatures of witnesses. It was then rolled up and sealed and held by someone in authority. When the property is ready to be redeemed, the title deed is given to the family member of the original family who buys back the property the family had lost. This person is known as a redeemer. The unrolled title deed gives legal right for the redeemer to take possession of the property from the present owner whether the present owner wants to give it up or not. The redeemer can do it by force if necessary.
3. GOD HOLDS THE TITLE DEED OF ORIGINAL OWNERSHIP FOR THE EARTH.
At this time in heaven John sees God extending it for a redeemer to take it and redeem the earth from Satan. GOD NOT ONLY HOLDS A TITLE DEED FOR EARTH, HE HOLDS THE TITLE DEED OF ORIGINAL OWNERSHIP FOR YOUR SOUL. He is extending the title deed for a redeemer to come, take it and redeem your soul from Satan.
4. EARTH NEEDS A REDEEMER
Now let's pick up with verse 2. "And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?'" As John is looking at the title deed in God's hand an angel asks in a loud voice that has the right and the ability to take the title deed of original ownership and reclaim the earth? HERE IS THE SECOND POINT: THE EARTH NEEDS A REDEEMER. Who has the right to be the redeemer of this property called earth?
In Jewish law, for someone to redeem a piece of property three qualifications were necessary. (1) Relationship -The redeemer would have to be related to the original owners of the property. (2) Resources - He would have to able to pay the just price for the land. (3) Power - The redeemer would have to be strong enough to force off the occupiers of the property if they refused to leave.
5. CONDITIONS FOR REDEEMING
For someone to redeem the earth from the satanic squatters they will have to meet those conditions.
- Relationship - The redeemer of the earth must be from the family of man. Only a human can redeem the earth.
- Resources - Next this redeemer of the earth would need to be able to pay the price for the earth. Only a human who is sinless and rich enough in holiness absorb the penalties for the sins of the world can be the redeemer.
- Power - Then this redeemer would need to be stronger than Satan. If Satan wants to put up a fight this man would have to be able to force him off the earth.
"But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside." (3&4) Unfortunately, no such human could be found in heaven, on the earth or buried in the earth. There was no human that met all these conditions. When John saw that no one was responding, he wept in uncontrollable sobs because the earth would never be bought back from Satan and his demons and given back to the family of man.
6. THE EARTH NOT ONLY NEEDS A REDEEMER BUT YOU NEED A REDEEMER.
Maybe you think you can be the redeemer of your soul. You believe that through your good living or religious activities somehow you can get your soul back from Satan. I'm sorry but you don't meet the requirements for your soul's redemption.
- Relationship - You do not even meet the first qualification, because you are not of the family that originally owned your soul. God created your soul for himself. He owned it and then he gave you the freedom to take it away from him and you did.
- Resources - Because you have sinned and are a slave to the present owner, Satan, there is no way you can pay the price for your soul's redemption.
- Power - You are not stronger than Satan and can't force him off the property of your soul. If it is up to you or me there is no hope for the redemption of our soul from Satan because none of us meet any of these qualifications.
7. DRAMATIC CHANGES
But what seems a hopeless situation dramatically changes. "Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and it seven seals.'" (5) One of the inhabitants of earth who is now in heaven said to John that he shouldn't be upset for the earth has a redeemer. He has relationship to the original owners. He comes from the family of man, a Jew from the tribe of Judah and the linage of King David. He has the resources of holiness. He has triumphed because he lived on earth without ever sinning.
There's more of John's description of this man. "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." (6) This sinless man has marks on his body that indicate he had been slain to pay the price of redemption with his blood. Yet this Jewish man is now very much alive and standing right in the place where only God dwells. In other words he is divine. Because he is divine this man is strong enough to drive Satan off the earth. Listen to me, THE EARTH HAS A REDEEMER AND HIS NAME IS JESUS.
8. WE HAVE A REDEEMER
Now, here is more good news. NOT ONLY DOES THE EARTH HAVE A REDEEMER BUT YOU HAVE A REDEEMER. This same man, Jesus, can redeem your soul from Satan. He is related the original owner of your soul, God, because he is the Son of God. He is sinless, so he is not under the bondage of Satan. He has a holy life and sacrificed it to pay the price for your redemption because he is the Son of Man. He is stronger than Satan because he is not only a man, he is divine. He meets all the requirements for the redemption of your soul.
9. THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT
Next John observes the sinless man's action. "He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne." (7) REDEMPTION WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT TO HAPPEN TO THE EARTH. When Jesus takes the title deed and begins to break the seals it signals the end of this present evil age and the beginning of the earth's redemption. All of heaven will go wild when Jesus takes the title deed to redeem the earth. In chapter 10 of Revelation a huge angel comes to earth with the open title deed to serve notice to Satan that it is all over.
The most important event in your life is a reflection of the most important event in history. THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT OF YOUR LIFE IS THE REDEMPTION OF YOUR SOUL FROM SATAN BY JESUS CHRIST. If you haven't asked Jesus to redeem your life from Satan it will not happen. Jesus is the only one who meets the conditions to be your redeemer. Hebrews 12:2 says, "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." The only hope for the redemption of your soul now is the same one who will one day redeem the earth. His name is Jesus Christ.
10. FINALLY, THERE IS A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE REDEMPTION OF YOUR SOUL AND THE REDEMPTION OF THE EARTH.
The scriptures indicate that the time to redeem the earth is not a decision that Jesus arbitrarily makes. You have a part to play in when it happens. In 2 Peter 3:12 says, "You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming." This passage says you can speed the coming redemption of the earth. How can we speed its coming? Look at Revelation 5:11-10. Here is a song sung about Jesus when he takes the title deed of the earth. It gives us a clue as to why he could now come and take the title deed. "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
In other words, before Jesus can redeem the earth from Satan, he must redeem a large portion of the family of man from Satan. Jesus, himself, told us in Matthew 24:14, "And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." We speed the redemption of the earth by getting redeemed and by leading others to the Redeemer. When the earth has redeemed inhabitants from every tribe, language, people and nation then Jesus will return to redeem the earth.
Listen to me. We don't do Alpha simply to increase of attendance. We don't go on mission trips simply to help other people. Student, children, men and women ministries are not just about growing a church, transforming a community or raising up missionaries. What we are doing here is cosmic in its scope. It has to do with speeding the redemption of the earth through increasing the redemption of the family of man. If you are in bondage to Satan will you invite Jesus to redeem you? If you are redeemed will you invite others to the Redeemer? Your greatest calling is the redemption of the inhabitants of the earth for the redemption of the earth.
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Pastor Mark Nysewander