The Seven-Sealed Book

Revelation

The Seven-Sealed Book

February 25th, 1962 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 5:1-14

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. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
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THE SEVEN-SEALED BOOK

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 5:1-14

2-25-62    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio, on television, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the eleven o’clock morning message entitled The Seven-Sealed Book.  In preaching through the Word of God, after more than sixteen years, we have come to the last and the climactic book, the Apocalypse.  And in our preaching through the Revelation, we have come to chapter 5.  And if you would like to follow the message this morning, you can easily do so by turning to the last book in the Bible and to chapter 5.  And the reading of the text is this:

 

And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book (a scroll) 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 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 cherubim, 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,

And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. 

And when He had taken the book, the four cherubim and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 

And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and every nation:

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

[Revelation 5:1-10]

 

I wish it were possible for us to be seated here and for me to preach the sermon that I have had to divide into three parts: the one today on the book; the one next Sunday on The Worthiness of the Lamb; and the one the following Sunday on The Song of Redemption.  There is no way to present this except as we look at it in that whole meaning; significant, all-important.  But I cannot do it in the small length of the time allotted for the preaching of one sermon.  So we begin this morning, and then next Sunday we shall continue it, and then the third Sunday speak of the song of redemption: what they sing, the doxology, the praises, the paeans of glory that are given to God in Christ in heaven.

Now chapter 4 and chapter 5 in the Revelation go together.  There is a chapter division in the midst of it, but the chapter division doesn’t divide it.  They go together.  The first verse of chapter 5 begins with "and" and it belongs to the chapter above.  Chapters 4 and 5 are the writing down of the scene that the incredulous eyes of John looked upon in glory.  He saw the throne of God, he saw the cherubim of the Lord, he saw the four and twenty elders, the redeemed of the Lord; and as he looks in wonder and in amazement, all heaven is astir with a coming scene, a development of vast significance and of celestial and eternal importance [Revelation 4:1-11].

And as that scene comes to pass, behold, it is so opposite of anything we might have thought for.  For the scene, as it develops, brings into focus an all-important scroll that is laid.  "And I saw in the right hand, I saw epi, upon the right hand of God a scroll, a book, written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" [Revelation 5:1].  On God’s extended right hand lies a scroll, a book, as if for the ones who could take it and open it and read it, and execute its mandates and its elective purposes.

There are several books in the Revelation.  There is the Book of Life [Revelation 20:12], a register of the names of all those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  There’s another book, the book of works, wherein God writes down all the deeds that are done in this human life [Revelation 20:12].  In the tenth chapter of the Revelation, there is the Book of the Testimony that is given to John, by which he speaks in prophecy to the peoples and the nations [Revelation 10:8-11]. 

But this book is altogether different and separate and apart [Revelation 5:1].  It is unique.  This book – and when we use the word "book" we refer to the book as it was in an ancient day.  The Christian people took the scroll, the book, the scroll, and cut it up and tied the back part of it together, called a codex.  And that’s what you know as a book.  It came to pass, this thing like we have today, a book like I hold in my hand, a book like you think of it in modern times, that book was invented by the first Christian preachers and martyrs and missionaries and evangelists, as they took the scroll and preached to the people, showing out of the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  But it takes time to roll a scroll, so the Christian people cut it up; they cut the scroll into columns, and they put the columns together.  They bound the back part of it, and what was called a codex, you would call it this kind of a book.  That was done so the Christian testifier and the Christian preacher could easily turn to a place in the Bible, that he might show God’s words presenting the Son and our Savior.  Now, the old scroll was what is called in the Bible a book.

A scroll: and this scroll that lay in the hand of God was sealed with seven seals.  It was really sealed "katesphragismenon sphragisin hepta."  You couldn’t write it any stronger than that.  It was sealed down with seals, seven.

Now the thing that John saw was this: there was a scroll rolled up.  A certain part of it then sealed; then rolled again and sealed; and rolled again and sealed.  So through all six seals, and the seventh sealed the entire scroll.  Then when it was unsealed, you went back the other way.  When the first seal was broken a portion of the scroll could be unbound and you could read it.  Then when the second seal was broken, another portion of the scroll unbound and you could read it, and so on down until when all seven of the seals were broken, the entire scroll was opened and could be read.

Now there is a significance in that book.  In fact, this, as we shall see in proceeding with these messages, this is the most important and the most vital and the most significant of all of the scenes that we are looking upon and that are depicted in the Apocalypse.

Now, what does that book mean? [Revelation 5:1].  There are fine suggestions concerning the meaning of that scroll that lies in the hands, in the extended hand of God.  For example, there are those who suggest that that scroll represents the investiture of the Lord Christ with the reins of sovereignty and government in the earth.  And that’s a fine suggestion.  Our Lord said in Matthew 28:18: "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." And this book represents the investiture of our Lord Christ with the authority that God hath given Him in heaven above and in earth beneath.  That’s a fine suggestion. 

There is another suggestion: it is said that that book represents the eternal counsels and decrees of the Lord God Almighty, His elective purposes in the earth.  And the reason it is written on the backside and on the inside is because those great decrees of God are so all-important, and they are so significant, and they crowd the pages of the scroll, they are so many.  In that event, the unsealed scroll, the unbroken book, would represent the unrealized purposes of God, the unknown and the unexecuted decrees of heaven.  Then the open book, the unsealed book, would represent the decrees and the purposes of God made known and executed and realized in the earth.  That is a fine suggestion.

Then there is another suggestion as to what that book might mean, which is splendid.  In the last chapter and among the last words of the prophecy of Daniel: "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my lord, what shall be the end of these things?  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed."  [Daniel 12:8, 9]

There is that same sphragizō, the same word when it is translated in the Septuagint, and the Septuagint Bible, the Greek Bible, which is the Bible the Christians used; there’s that same word that you find in the fifth chapter of the Book of Revelation [Revelation 5:1].  That sealed book, that katesphragismenon, a perfect past participle, sealed down.  And that’s the same word again; sealed till the time of the end [Daniel 12:9].  Then the book means, in the Revelation, that the time of the end has come, and the book is to be unsealed, and the purposes of God made known and executed in the earth.  That is a fine suggestion also.

Now, as I ponder, and as I read, and as I study, and as I do my best to understand what these things mean, this is what that book means to me.  As I try to present it, may I point out to you four significant things about it?  First: that book, it is that book that brings into the heavenly scene the Son of God, the Prince of Glory, the Redeemer of creation [Revelation 5:5], and the great architect of the events that follow, that ensue in the creation of the new heaven and the new earth [Revelation 20:1-5].  It’s a very significant thing.  That book brings into the scene of heaven the Prince of Glory and the great Author of the new creation.

A second thing about that book: that book, that book, when the great Redeemer comes to receive that book, and John turns to look upon Him, He comes in the character of a Lamb slain [Revelation 5:6], of a Lamb with its throat cut on the sacrificial altar, of a Lamb with its blood poured out upon the earth.  The character of the One who comes, the great matchless Son of God, is the character of the One who comes; when He appears to take the book, He appears as a sacrificial Lamb [Revelation 5:6].

A third thing about that book: when that one comes to take that book, He comes in a character and in a work from which all creation has shrunk away in unworthiness and in inability [Revelation 5:4, 7].  There is not a one in heaven and there is not a one in the earth and there is not a one under the earth that is able or worthy to take that book.  So the One who comes to take it from the hands of God, comes in a character from which, and in a work from which, all creation above, below, and around has shrunk back in unworthiness and in inability [Revelation 5:4, 7].

Now a fourth thing about that book: when that book is taken by the hands of Him who is the great Redeemer of the world, then all creation bursts into song [Revelation 5:8-9].  And that will be my third sermon: the doxologies and the paeans of praise and glory that are offered unto God, how they sing it in heaven.

When that book is taken, and when the Lamb holds it in His hands, and all the hosts above and the earth beneath, and all of creation, animate and inanimate, when it sings of the glory of the Lamb, its praises and its doxologies and its paeans and its adulations and its words of wonder and worship and reverence – they are all words of redemption.  "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by Thy blood" [Revelation 5:9].

Well, putting all of that together I know this: that the primary and the fundamental and the chief reference and significance of this book has to do with the redemption of God’s created universe; everything in it – you, and the world of life; this earth and the world of creation.

That book is a book of redemption.  It is a book of the buying back to God of a destroyed and cursed and ruined universe.  That book is a book of the judgment of God upon the alien and the usurper who now has cursed it and destroyed it and occupies it.  And that book is the book of the casting out of the usurper and the destroyer [Revelation 17:7-9].  That book is the book of the casting into hell of Satan, of the dragon [Revelation 19:29, 20:10], of the Grave, of Death, of sin [Revelation 20:14].  And that book is the book of the redemption of the whole purchased possession of God [Ephesians 1:14].

Now we have to understand, far more than we usually think of, we have to understand the meaning of that word "redemption."  When we refer to this book that lies on the hand of God [Revelation 5:1] as book of redemption; when we use the word redemption, our minds go back to the atoning sacrifice of our Lord.  That is the act of redemption, when He redeemed us to God by His own blood [1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9].

Now, that’s true.  The great root and the great fundamental basis upon which all redemption reposes is the sacrificial act, the atonement of Christ [Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 7:27].  But, the word redemption refers to far, far more than that.  The word redemption goes back in its meaning through the thousands of years of history, through the millions of the eons of creation.  It includes all of the story of God, of the ages past; all the dispensations of the past; all the marvelous theophanies of God of the past; the advent of our Lord into the world, this present age, the age of grace and of the church:  All of that is included in that word redemption.  But it also includes that vast consummation that is yet to come.  That word redemption also includes the dispensations that are yet to be.  It includes the glorious, incomparable, celestial theophanies of the Lord that are yet to be given to man.  And it includes a more glorious advent of Christ and the far more significant things that are yet to be wrought through the wondrous hands, the redeeming hands of our Lord Messiah, God’s Christ.

The blessings of redemption have hallowed and sanctified this earth through the generations.  It was the redemptive purpose of God in Christ that made Adam not ultimately die, that delivered the race from extinction, and upholds this world from destruction.  The redemptive love and mercy of Christ girdles this globe like a golden chain binding it to the heart of God.

But however great the seas and the oceans and the mercies of God in days, past and now, they are not worthy to be compared with the glorious things that God hath in store for this creation and for us in this future day.  There is a future in that word redemption that encompasses the entire consummation of the purpose and the elective decree of God for this universe. 

That’s why, just as an example, I had you read that passage out of the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Luke.  In the apocalyptic discourse of our Lord, He said: "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh"  [Luke 21:28].  There is a future in that word redemption.  It lies upon the great basis of the sacrifice of Christ; it is founded upon the atonement of our Lord.  But it reaches out to the great ultimate purpose of God for all creation.  And when this end time comes in which we are speaking in the Book of the Revelation, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, lift up your head; for your redemption draweth nigh" [Luke 21:28].

There is a future to our salvation far and more infinitely glorious than any we have ever known in the past or that we could experience now.  Paul will say, as much as he gloried in the cross of Christ, Paul will say in 1 Corinthians 15:19: "But if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

There is a future to it beyond what we have known now, or what we’ve ever known in the past.  In the first chapter of the Book of Ephesians, Paul will say: "God hath given us, sealed us with, the Holy Spirit," [Ephesians 1:13]  "But," he says, "that is but an earnest." It’s a token, it’s a small part of the inheritance that will be ours when God redeems the whole purchased possession [Ephesians 1:14].   

However much we may have now or know now, or experience now, it is but an earnest, it is but a token, it is but a pledge of the great, glorious entire redemption of all God has purchased, that lies out there in the future [Romans 8:23-25].  That word redemption includes the entire purpose, the elective choice and the decree of God for His entire creation.

Now, the inheritance belongs to somebody else now.  There’s an usurper that possesses it [2 Corinthians 4:4].  There is an interloper; there is an intruder; there is an alien; there is a stranger that has cursed God’s world; doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to us.  It was created for Adam, and it belongs to Adam’s seed [Genesis 1:26-28, 2:19].  It is rightfully Adam’s race [Genesis 2:23].  And someday, God will redeem back, will take back, the entire purchased possession, and He will cast out that interloper and that intruder [Revelation 20:10-15].  And the story of how that is done is revealed in that book [Revelation 5:1] as the seals are broken, one after another.

Now from the Word of God, may I seek to bring to our hearts why that book is like it is, and how it reflects so perfectly the manners and the customs of the ancient Jew as you read it here in the Bible?  "And I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a scroll written within and on the backside, sealed down with seven seals"  [Revelation 5:1].

Now, that seven-sealed book represented a forfeited inheritance.  That’s what it means in the Word of God.  You see, according to the manner and the customs of the ancient Jew, and according to the writing of the Mosaic law, the estates and the lands and the possessions of a Jew, of a Hebrew, in God’s land, in God’s Palestine, it could never be sold or given away [Leviticus 25:23].  Forever it belonged in that family and in that household [Leviticus 25:10, 13-16].

Here in the Word of the Lord, you read that at the Year of Jubilee – after seven times seven, forty-nine years, the fiftieth year was a Jubilee – and when the Jubilee came, the trumpet was to sound and every man was to return unto his possession.  "In the Year of Jubilee, you shall return every man unto his possession" [Leviticus 25:13].

So at the fiftieth year, every man was given back the inheritance of his fathers [Leviticus 25:13].  Now, if between those two Jubilees:

 

The land shall not be sold forever, for the land is Mine; ye are strangers and pilgrims with Me. 

But if thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. 

Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him.

[Leviticus 25:23, 25, ]

 

Now you have an instance of that – and we must hurry – you have an instance of that in the fourth chapter of the Book of Ruth.  Boaz, a kinsmen, a goel, a kinsman redeemer, Boaz redeemed the lost inheritance of Naomi and of Mahlon, the dead husband of Ruth [Ruth 4:1-10].  And how they did it is beautifully told in the story of Ruth.  The story of Ruth is a story of that redemption, how a goel, a redeemer kinsman, bought back the inheritance that had been alienated by the husband of [Naomi] and her son.

Now when I turn to the thirty-second chapter of Jeremiah, I read there how Jeremiah bought back the inheritance of his uncle.

 

So I took the evidences of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: and I gave the evidence of the purchase,

Then said the Lord, Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, of the redemption, both which is sealed, and the evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel –

 

                        against the day when I resettle the people in the land.

[Jeremiah 32:11-12, 14-15]

 

Now let’s apply that to this sealed book [Revelation 5:1].  According to the manner and the custom of the ancient Hebrew, when an inheritance was forfeited, and because of distress or anguish or poverty the family had to give up the inheritance of their fathers, they wrote two scrolls.  One was a scroll that recounted the reasons for the forfeiture of the inheritance, and that scroll was sealed.  And I have thought – this is just my guess, because I can’t find it in the Bible – I have thought the reason that the scroll was sealed was because the family wouldn’t want just everybody to read why the distress and the agony and the travail came that forced them to give up the inheritance of their fathers.  So it was written on a scroll, in a book, and it was sealed.  And that was a sign of the forfeiture of the giving up of the inheritance, that sealed book.  Then another scroll was written according to the custom; another scroll was written which was opened that anybody could see, and in that scroll were written the terms of its redemption if a goel appeared [Leviticus 25:25], legal.  By right if he appeared, this was the term of the redemption, what it would take to redeem it, and then the signatures of the witnesses.

Now as time went on, they didn’t make two scrolls.  They just used one.  And on the inside of the scroll was written the reasons, the secret reasons, the sorrowful reasons for the forfeiture and that was rolled up and sealed.  And then on the outside was written the terms of the redemption and the names of the witnesses.

And that’s the book that you have here in the hand of God [Revelation 5:1].  That book is a sign of the forfeiture of God’s creation.  It belongs to somebody else.  An intruder, an interloper, an alien, an enemy took it and cursed it, and damned it.  The Lord never made Adam to die.  Death is an enemy, God says [1 Corinthians 15:26], an interloper.  God never made the earth to groan and to travail in agony and in pain [Romans 8:22], where the animals ate one another, where the earth was blasted with deserts, with the burning of the sun and the cold of the wind.  God never intended this earth to be bathed in tears and in blood.  An enemy hath done this, said the Lord, an interloper [Matthew 13:28].  And a sign of that forfeiture lies in the hands of God.  These are the instruments, the mortgages, the bonds of our lost inheritance.  And the completeness of that forfeiture, and the terrible encumbrance upon it, is signified by seven seals – seven of them [Revelation 5:1], we have lost it altogether, Adam’s race has forfeited the inheritance altogether.

The breaking of those seven seals, as you will find as we follow through the book, the breaking of those seven seals is the restitution of the creation back to God and back to Adam’s fallen race.  Then at the breaking of those seven seals is the restitution of the inheritance back to the seed of Adam [Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1].  Then the sealing and the unbreaking of those seven seals represents the vast encumbrance that lies upon Adam’s inheritance.  It is lost.  It is completely lost.  It is lost to us.

Now this is the story of redemption.  And that book represents the forfeiture of our lost inheritance, and it lies on the hand of God [Revelation 5:1].  Who in heaven above, in earth beneath, who is worthy to take that book and to buy back the lost inheritance? [Revelation 5:4-7].  Who is worthy?  And that’s the sermon next Sunday morning, The Worthiness of the Lamb.

Now, may I conclude this sermon with just a word concerning that lost inheritance, what that book represents?  The lost inheritance; it is written within and on the backside [Revelation 5:1].  Inside, the story of how we lost it, the distress and the agony and the tears and the sobs by which we lost our father’s inheritance.  Then on the outside, written on the outside, the terms of its redemption, waiting for a kinsman redeemer to buy us back to God.

Now what that book represents in our lost inheritance: that book represents the entire creation of God; all of it, everything you see, everything you’ve ever read about, everything that your eye can behold at night, everything that your heart has ever experienced, the whole earth around us, the whole creation of God, all of it!  All of it lost to us.

Adam was cursed in death.  "In the day that you eat thereof, thou shalt surely die" [Genesis 2:17].  And being the federal head of the race, in him death passed upon all men, and we die [Romans 5:12].  We inherit that black drop.  The curse that fell upon Adam falls upon us, and the death that fell upon him falls upon us [1 Corinthians 5:21].  Adam was cursed.  He lost the glory and the beauty of his soul.  He lost the perfection of his mind and character.  He lost the wonder of the glorious celestial mechanism of his body.  And he became a prey to every evil thing, every wind of violence, every disease and death and age and senility; all of it fell upon Adam and fell upon us.

The house in which we live, cursed.  The mind with which we think, cursed.  The heart with which we feel all of it in God’s sight, destroyed.  The curse that fell upon Adam: the ground was cursed.  "And for thy sake," said God, "the ground is cursed" [Genesis 3:17].  Great desert waste, all of these things that are sterile and barren in this earth, the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake.  And the vegetable kingdom was cursed.  "And there shall grow up," said God, "briers and thorns and weeds and thistles" [Genesis 3:18], and the vegetable kingdom lost its glory and its beauty.  And the animal kingdom was cursed.  "And God said to the serpent: Cursed shalt thou be above all other of the cursed animals of the earth; the cattle of the field, the herds and the flocks.  Cursed thou above their curse.  On thy belly, crawling all the days of thy life.  Eating dust of the ground.  Cursed, cursed" [Genesis 3:14].

Adam, cursed; death, death, death: the ground cursed, the whole vegetable world cursed and the whole world of animal life cursed.  All of it cursed; our lost inheritance.  The stars cursed.  The planets cursed.  The whole creation of God, lost to an interloper.  Lost to an intruder.  Lost to a Satan.  Lost to a devil.  Lost to a dragon.  Lost to a serpent.  Lost to an enemy.  And he reigns [2 Corinthians 4:4], and death seems to be supreme [Romans 5:14].  And the grave seems never to be satiated.

And the whole earth seems forever to go on in its blistering heat in the summer time and in its cold in the winter.  But there is a decree of God, and there is a purpose of God to redeem the whole purchased possession.  Wasn’t that what I said?  Wasn’t that what I read?  "Ye are sealed with the Holy Spirit, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession" [Ephesians 1:13-14].

Just for a while we wait.  Just for a while in agony and tears now.  Just for a while in death.  Just for a while in this vale of tears.  But there’s coming a time, there’s coming a day when God in Christ shall redeem this whole purchased possession [Ephesians 1:14].  And that is the story of that little book [Revelation 5:1]: how God shall redeem it, and how God shall cast out the interloper, and God shall bring back to Adam’s lost inheritance.  How God shall bring it back to him, that’s the story of the opening of those seals.

And when that last seal is opened [Revelation 8:1], that last enemy is cast out and into hell, the grave and death and the false prophet and the false beast and the devil, all of them are cast out [Revelation 19:20-21, 20:10-15].  And God hath redeemed to Himself and given back to Adam’s lost race the inheritance that He purchased for them when He created the heavens and the earth [Genesis 1:1-31].

I haven’t time to delineate it.  But if I did, we would just take that book and we’d describe what God has to say about the redemption of our lost inheritance.  May I just name them until we go off the air?  May I just name them?  He is going to redeem our bodies.  "We know that if this house, this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" [2 Corinthians 5:1].  The redemption of our bodies: planted in the dust of the ground, raised in the likeness of His own glory [Romans 6:4]; the redemption of our bodies [Ephesians 1:14].  We shall have a new house, a new body.  The blind can see, and the crippled can walk, and the brokenhearted will be made well again, and the diseased will be strong; the redemption of our bodies.

Second, there will be a redemption of this earth.  Ah, the passages in the Book:  "And the desert shall blossom like the rose" [Isaiah 35:1].  And the waste places shall be gardens of paradise.  This whole earth shall be redeemed [Colossians 1:20].  The curse shall be taken from the soil of the ground.  Vegetables, the vegetation of the earth shall be redeemed, and I had passages to read about that; when God shall take away the curse from the fields and the grass and the flowers, when all of the vegetable creation shall be redeemed [Isaiah 35:1].

And the animal creation shall be redeemed, and I had passages to read about that.  All animate life shall be redeemed unto God. 

 

Then the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . . 

And the lion shall eat straw like an ox –

No longer carnivorous and vicious, wild with that curse that the interloper put in his heart –

But the lion shall eat straw like an ox. 

When the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 

When they shall not hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy mountain.

[Isaiah 11:6-9]

 

And finally, the redemption of the whole creation, as Paul writes incomparably in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans:

 

The creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

[Romans 8:21, 22]

 

Waiting for the redemption of God’s children: but when it comes, the whole creation shall be redeemed unto the Lord.  And how that is, is the book that lies on the hands of God [Revelation 5:1].

And who can redeem us? [Revelation 5:9].  And who can buy us back?  And who can remake us?  And who can create the new heaven and the new earth?  That is the worthiness of the Lamb.  And may God sanctify the message next Lord’s Day morning, as we speak of the Lion of the tribe of Judah who casts out the interloper [Revelation 5:5].  And when John turns to look, "Behold, it is the Lamb that taketh away the sin of this world" [John 1:29; Revelation 5:6].

Ah, whoever thought such things?  I never saw them before.  I never heard of them before.  But there they are written large on the open page.  As God shall give us spiritual eyes to see, and spiritual ears to hear, and a spiritual heart to praise and to love and to respond, God sanctify these words to our souls.

Now while we sing our song of appeal, in the throng in this balcony round, somebody you; in the press of people on this lower floor, somebody you; while we sing this song of invitation and appeal, come.  Give your heart to Jesus.  While we sing this song of invitation, a family come: "Pastor, this is my wife and these are our children; we’re all coming today."  As the Holy Spirit shall lead, and as God shall direct, and as the Lord shall press the appeal to your heart, would you come now?  On the first note of this first stanza, down one of these stairways if you’re in the balcony; into the aisle and down to the front, if you’re here on this lower floor, while we sing, make it this morning.  Come now.  "Here I am, preacher, I give you my hand.  I give my heart to God."  While we stand and while we sing.