Here in Revelation 5 we have a New Song sung by every tribe and nation!
Hands down, my favorite contemporary praise song is Andrew Peterson’s
Is He Worthy? It was inspired by the dialogue we will study this week in Revelation 5.
Here’s a beautiful rendition of it done during this pandemic by many artists.
And for those of you who are interested, here’s a short story behind the song.
As most of you already know, we have our own “Lamb” story, when my daughter Sally, nearly twenty years ago, endeavored to capture “Aslan” the Lion, the Christ-figure from Narnia. She was trying to get the answer to the age-old question: “How can a good God be reconciled with all the evil and suffering in the world?”
For Sally, the answer God gave her was so personal. She had been living in Poland, visiting the scenes of horror from World War II, where her own paternal Jewish grandmother’s family had perished. 90% of the Jews in Poland were exterminated under Hitler.
Then, her husband denied the faith he had so vigorously proclaimed, broke his marriage covenant with her, and divorced her to marry another.
Sally came home devastated, her faith shaken, yet, thank God, not destroyed. She went to Covenant Seminary in hopes of recovering her bearings. There she attended the Francis Schaeffer Institute where she studied the relationship between art and faith. A year later she did the painting that we consider to be a miracle. Very shortly after that, her dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The painting was a balm to our whole family. Eventually, it found its way to be on permanent display at the Wade Center at Wheaton. Two years ago Sally was asked to speak there. For those of you who are interested, click here. and scroll down. The first video is of Sally’s explanation of the miracle twenty years ago, the second is of her speaking at the Wade center two years ago.
There are so many beautiful things in this chapter, and in Dr. Campbell’s commentary. I’m eager to hear what stands out to you, and I will share what stands out to me too. I love doing this with you. I love it that our own Bing said Revelation is getting clearer to her. Our numbers are dwindling, but I truly believe those who persevere will be blessed, as He promised in the beginning of this book!
As we contemplate that He is Worthy, my heart is full. I love each of you, His Word, this world He made, and yes, the gifts He has given us of fellowship. I prayed a long time for Sally’s healing and rescue, and she is with me this week, as well as her sister Annie — and their families. Last night my heart was so full in the “gloaming” (the hour before the sun begins to set), watching my grandchildren swing, and basking in my Father’s amazing world. All this is possible because He is Lord over all, He gave us life, and new life. He is worthy!
Sunday: Getting Started
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Read Revelation aloud and share anything that becomes radioactive and explain why.
Monday: Who is Worthy to Open The Scroll?
Dr. Campbell shared this from G. K. Beale’s longest and academic commentary on Revelation in answer to some of my questions and I think it will be helpful to you as well.
The “book” is best understood as containing God’s plan of judgment and redemption which has been set in motion by Christ’s death and resurrection but has yet to be completed…God promised to Adam that he would reign over the earth. Although Adam forfeited this promise, Christ, the last Adam, was to inherit it. A man had to open the book, since the promise was made to humanity. But no person was found worthy to open it because all are sinners and stand under the judgment contained in the book (5:3). Nevertheless, Christ was found worthy because he suffered the final judgment as an innocent sacrificial victim on behalf of his people whom he represented and consequently redeemed (5:9).
- Read Revelation 5:1-5 and describe the dialogue — the question, the plight, and the answer.
- Read the opening 3 paragraphs under “The Lamb is Also Glorified and Has Taken Up His Rule” in Mystery Explained:
A. What was Daniel ordered to do in Daniel 12:4&9? (Paragraph 1)
B. When was this scroll unsealed according to Campbell and why?
C. What did the scroll represent? (Paragraph 2) Why was it important it be opened?
D. What are the titles given to Christ and what do they speak of? (Paragraph 3)
5. Why do you think Dr. Campbell says that His victory becomes our victory? What is the pathway of victory for us, if we follow the Lamb? (If not clear, read on to the beginning of the 4th paragraph.)
6. Does anything else stand out to you or confuse you in these three paragraphs?
Tuesday: Golden Bowls Full of Incense
“….golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints…”
I still feel great emotion as I look back at all the prayers that were answered for Sally when she was being persecuted for her faith by her husband in Poland. It is tangible evidence to me that our prayers for the persecuted matter, that they are right within the will of God, and go straight to His heart. I know this isn’t the kind of persecution people in many countries are facing, but still, there was an unseen battle going on to steer Sally away from her faith. I sensed that early on and was praying without ceasing. Here are just a few of those answered prayers: I prayed she would stay strong, and even when her husband asked her to stop going to church, she continued. When he took her to a marriage counselor who said Jesus was not the only way to God, she knew that was a lie and stopped going. When she was desperate with no one to help her, and I prayed for God to send someone “to be the kindness of God” to her, He sent her Polish teacher who sent her home to us. Her Polish teachers name, Bogomewa, means “the kindness of God.” He gave her a godly counselor in Jan Silvious in America. And then God gave her the painting of Aslan in answer to her own haunting question. It has such the ring of the way of God, who seldom tells us why He is allowing so much pain, but rather, reminds us of who He is. He told Job He was the one who set the stars in place, He told John the Baptist, who was in prison, that He was healing lepers and giving sight to the blind, and He told Sally He was not only a lion, but the lamb who was slain. I have also seen God bring her out of the pit of depression, restore her faith, her passion, and even give her a good man and two precious daughters. She lives in the 2nd most agnostic city in America (Albany, N. Y.) yet her witness for Christ is strong. She told me recently how God gives her joy in the night. What makes us have more joy than to see our children walking in the truth, whether they be physical or spiritual children? 7. Read Revelation 5:6-8
8. Describe the lamb John saw in verse 6.
9. In Campbell’s 4th paragraph that beings with “The vision continues” he makes a point that the phrase “as slain” is a perfect participle, meaning He was not only slain, but continues to exist as slain.” How does Campbell apply this to us?
10. Read all of Campbell’s 4th paragraph and explain what the seven spirits, seven eyes, and seven horns each represent.
11. Read Campbell’s 5th paragraph and explain what the bowls represent.
My friend Greg Scharf, who was the back-up speaker for John Stott, uses a globe to pray for the persecuted church on a daily basis. For whatever reason, recently, God has put North Korea on my heart, and I am praying for the persecuted believers there and also that the gospel could get in, for they are in such darkness and being told such terrible lies. If you have not been praying regularly for the persecuted church, might you ask God to give you a burden for a people group or a passion to help you remember to pray?
12. . What does today’s study mean to you personally and how can you apply it?
Wednesday: A New Song
Andrew Peterson tells of the troubles he went through to get a singing group together for his first video of Is He Worthy? As it turned out, though his audiences are racially diverse, those who showed up on his third try to get enough singers, were all Caucasian. But he went ahead, though he sincerely regretted doing so, because, as he explained, the whole scene in Revelation 5 represents the song of ransomed people from every tribe and nation. Here is his apology, which I respect him for, though I also wish he could have been given more grace, but perhaps if I was black or Asian I might feel differently.
13. Read Revelation 5:9-14
14. In verses 9-10, what praise is given to the Lamb and why?
15. Who else joined in the chorus and what did they say? (11-14)
16. Read the rest of Dr. Campbell’s comments and share anything that stands out to you and why.
Thursday/Friday Optional Sermon from Norm Funk
This is the other pastor from the church we heard last week — he is just as gifted.
17. Share your notes and comments.
18. What is your take-a-way and why?