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History's Greatest Real Estate Deal - Revelation 5:1-7

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9/1/1996
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History's Greatest Real Estate Deal
Revelation 5:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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66 Revelation - History's Last Chapter - 1996

The book of Revelation exalts Jesus Christ as the soon-coming Lord over the earth. Skip Heitzig explains the amazing and mysterious prophecies that form God's final word to mankind.

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My father was a real-estate broker, a developer, an entrepreneur of sorts. He would take property and develop roads and subdivide it and sell it and build model homes. His claim to fame is that he subdivided a piece of property for Roy Rogers; I don't know if Roy ever developed it after that, but he sold it to him anyway. He had an interesting opportunity at one point early on to buy a piece of property in Orange County, California called Lemon Heights, which was simply a hilly area filled with lemon groves. And it was early on, you'll see why as I unfold the story to you, but he wanted to buy this piece of agricultural property and build homes on it. And so he approached the fathers of Orange County with his plan and, at that time, the thinking is far different than it has become in Southern California. They said, what do you plan to do with the property? He said, I'm going to develop it, trash all the lemon trees, and build homes. And they said, you'll devalue the land if you build homes on it. That was a time when lemon trees were more valuable than homes in that part of the country. Of course, things have changed. He didn't get to go ahead with his plan. But if you go to Lemon Heights today, it's a beautiful area filled with homes that he never developed. But the value has increased over the years. Recent history is filled with real estate opportunities; great real estate deals, you might say. Walt Disney, for instance, purchasing property 25 miles from civilization where cows moo-ed and there were a few little shacks out in the field and it became Anaheim and Disneyland later on. Or we think of Manhattan, a little island in New York that was purchased by Peter Minouette, the general director of the Dutch Colony of New Netherlands, from the Native Americans for goods of the equivalent of 60 guilders or $24.00. Imagine. I bought Manhattan for $24.00. That's a great deal. Or we think of the Louisiana Purchase. Now there's a great real estate deal. Cost a little more, 15 million dollars. Thomas Jefferson in 1803 purchased it from Napoleon Bonaparte--800,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River. Of course, we're grateful for that, it changed the course of this country. But hands down the greatest real estate is here in Revelation 5, the real estate at stake is the earth. And even in heaven, we see the effects of sin upon the earth and an earth that is groaning to be delivered as Paul the apostle said from the effects of sin. Our sin. The sin of all the ages.

A preacher was once preaching on a message for his Sunday morning message and he was preaching out of the text Jacob's ladder in the book of Genesis. You know the story where Jacob is running from his brother, camps out at night and he sees a vision of this ladder going up into heaven and angels of God ascending and descending on it. In the audience that day was the pastor's young son who was impressed with his message and came to his dad about a week later and he said, dad, that message really impressed me. But I had my own dream. He said, I also dreamed that I saw a ladder going up into heaven. And I wanted to climb it but at the bottom of the ladder there were several pieces of chalk and everyone who wanted to climb it had to take chalk and mark on the rungs of the ladder the sins he committed in his lifetime. So I wanted to climb it, I grabbed the chalk and I started walking up and as I was climbing up, somebody was climbing down the ladder. He said, who would be climbing down the ladder? He said, dad, this was only a dream, of course, but it was you. I was climbing up the ladder, you were climbing down the ladder. He said, what was I climbing down the ladder for? His son said, for more chalk. What we're going to be grateful for in heaven is that the blackboard has been erased. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, prevails to deal with the great issue of sin. And they are not kept to our account. As David even said in the Psalms, 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity. We can all be grateful for that this morning.

Let's begin and read from verses one to about verse seven. We'll read a little bit further and then we'll pick up the remainder of the chapter next week: "And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."

I've given this message the title "The Greatest Real Estate Deal in History," and we'll see why as we go through it. First of all, in verses one and two the deed is presented. It's in the hand of Him who sits on the throne. Then in verses three and four the dilemma is presented. There's a problem with it. There's a problem with the transaction. And finally, after John weeps, the deliverer prevails in verses five through seven. But let's first of all notice in verse one, "I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals." This is the first item of notice in chapter five. It's a scroll; it's got to be important because it's in God's hand. It's a very comprehensive writing. It is not only written on the inside as a scroll of Scripture say would be written, but it's written on the outside. So there's lettering all around it. There are also seals that keep this thing shut. A scroll was sealed either on the very edges of the scroll or on the inside of the scroll. When a scribe in those days would write, and by the way, we're talking ancient times, pre-Guttenberg press. There were no books, there was no binding, you couldn't flip to page whatever. You had a long scroll and if it was a long book, it would be a very long scroll. And so when a scribe would write, he would write his words upon the scroll and then he would roll up the scroll to cover the lettering that he had just written and he would take wax heels and either on the edges or on the inside, he would seal that section. Come back to it later, write a little more. When that section was done, he'd roll it up a little over the writing, seal it and go on. This would assure that whoever would read the scroll would read it in predetermined sections and that only the person with authority, who had the right to break the seal, could read that document. We know that when the emperors Vespasian and Caesar Augustus left their wills to their successor in the Roman Empire that they put it on scrolls that were rolled up and sealed with seven seals. But the context of chapter five, in fact most of the Bible, is Jewish in background. And for anybody reading this in the early church, they would think of the ancient real estate transactions. The title deed of the property which was written on a scroll and sealed with seven seals.

This is how it worked. If you bought property, you had two deeds. One that was kept in storage; one that the seller would keep himself. If you owned the property and you ever had to sell the property, or let's say you lost it and had to forfeit it for whatever reason, there was the possibility you could get the land back if all of the requirements were fulfilled. For in the Old Testament there was what's called the redemption clause to buy back the land. Because if you had to sell the land or forfeit it, the land could never be sold permanently. So that your family, your tribe, would have an allotment in the land of Israel. So when the deeds were drawn up, a seller kept one and one was kept in storage. On the inside of the scroll the assets and the liabilities were written. On the outside of the scroll, all of the conditions necessary to get the land back if it was lost were put on the outside. Then it was sealed. And let's say later on, after losing or selling your land, you wanted it back, if you could fulfill all of the requirements, you had then the authority to take the scroll, break the seals, and read what was written inside. It was your property. If you could not fulfill the conditions, it wasn't lost. A relative of yours could do it. The Bible calls him the goel, that's the Hebrew words, the kinsmen redeemer. The kinsmen redeemer had to meet three qualifications. He had to be a kinsmen, he had to be related to you, he couldn't be just a guy who said I'm his brother, he had to be related and prove it. Number two, he had to be able to do it; he had to have the money. Number three, he had to be willing. He didn't have to do it. If he didn't want to fork out the bucks to get the property for you, he didn't have to. That was the kinsmen redeemer. Now there are a couple notable examples of this in the Bible. One was very familiar: the book of Ruth. Remember the story? Lady named Naomi was married to a guy named Alemelach. They lived in Bethlehem; that was the breadbasket of Israel. A famine hit the land, they had to leave, they probably sold or got rid of the land. Somehow they lost it. They moved to Moab to start over, put down new roots. They fell into trouble. Alemelach died so Naomi's a widow. Her two sons who were married to Moabite gals--they also died. So now you've got three gals without husbands. Naomi says, I'm going back to Bethlehem. Ruth, a Moabite daughter-in-law says, wherever you go, I'll go, your God will be my God, your people will be my people. So Ruth goes back to Bethlehem with Naomi. And they work the land, not their own land. Ruth starts working in the fields of a guy named Boaz. And she works for whatever is left over and brings it home to support her mother-in-law. The good news, they find out, is Boaz is related to them and he has a lot of bucks. And if he wanted to he could perform the rite of the kinsmen-redeemer. He was related, he was able, the question, is he willing? What made him willing? Ruth. She was a beautiful gal and Boaz noticed her and thought, she's cute. I'd like to marry her. And it was a package deal. Perform the rite of the kinsmen-redeemer, get the gal, and get the land and bring it back to the family. Another example of this is Jeremiah himself, a prophet. In chapter 32 of Jeremiah, he is in prison. He is in prison not because he was an evil man, but because he was a godly man and he preached the truth and people didn't like him and the government threw him in prison. And while he's in prison, God speaks to him and says, your cousin Hamameel is on his way to see you in prison. He wants you to buy the land that he has lost for the right of redemption is yours. Now Jeremiah had just predicted that the entire land will fall into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. So you might say he's not going to buy the land right? I mean, it'd be a dumb purchase. If the land was going to fall captive to the Babylonians anyway, you don't buy something that's going to be lost. But Jeremiah said, we'll be in captivity 70 years but God will be faithful and will bring us back to this land. It'll be ours once again. So by faith, it says he signs the deed and seals the deed. That was the scroll. And the scroll was kept in an earthen vessel until the time they got back from captivity.

So the scroll here in chapter five. What is it? We know it's highly significant, first of all, because it's in the right hand of God. And right hand is always the hand of authority, in the Bible anyway. Secondly, in verses three and four, it involves the fate of all the earth. Notice they weep and they wail when no one is found worthy to open the scroll. And then look what happens when finally somebody comes forward who is worthy to take and break the seals of that scroll. In verse eight, "Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." It would seem that this scroll is nothing less than the title deed to the whole earth. The earth that God created, the earth that God sustains and maintains. But also, it is now the earth that God must reclaim by redemption and the Lamb steps forward to fulfill the obligations.

We're going to see in chapter six that the earth, this property that God is redeeming now, goes through incredible changes. Not good changes. Lots of things and lots of people die during the time of judgment called the tribulation. But given all that, in the end of the tribulation, God foresees the day when Jesus will come back to the earth and rule and reign for 1,000 years and redeeming the earth from the curse of sin is the question here. He sees what can happen in the future. Dr. James Gray, who was a theologian, once said that when he was in college, I think, he had a friend whose dad had a lot of bucks and he went out and bought a huge parcel of land in one section of Manhattan Island in New York called Harlem Flats. And one day the kid said to his friend James Gray, let's go see the property that dad purchased. And James Gray wrote, "I remember how I laughed when I got there. He couldn't show me a single spot of dry ground. The property was completely covered over with tidewater. I didn't see much of an investment for anybody in that. But of course his father did not acquire it for what it was worth then but for what its value would be in decades to come. You go there now, there are lots of people living there, it's worth billions of dollars. And the idea is that I can take this, it will be mine, I can redeem or reclaim in a sense this land that is lost. God does this here to the earth. So the scroll is the title deed of the earth.

Now there's a dilemma that is presented in verses two through four. This angel cries out, 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals?' And then as if a search was made in heaven and earth and everywhere to find someone who was worthy, finally it says, 'So I wept much,' verse four, 'because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll or to look at it.' You might have a question at this point. Wait a minute, if God is the Creator of the earth and the maintainer of the earth, why does He need to reclaim what's already His? After all, doesn't the Bible say, 'the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.' Well it does say that. But there was a guy who came onto this creation named Adam to whom God gave dominion to tend of the earth. And Adam was sort of like the Benedict Arnold of this universe. And when he fell to temptation and sin pervaded, the earth was also affected. God cursed the ground, cursed the earth, and that curse remains upon the earth. As Paul said, 'All of creation groans and travails until now waiting to be delivered.' The curse that is over the earth still remains until a future time when God will remove it. Romans 5:12: 'Therefore as through one man's sin entered the world and death through sin, so death spread to all men.' A couple chapters later, he says in Romans 8, 'For all the creation was subjected to futility. And we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pains together until now.' We also know that Satan is given the title in the New Testament, the god of this world. And when he tempts Jesus on the Mount of Temptation, one of the things he does, he takes Him to a mountain and shows Him all of the kingdoms of the earth. And he says to Jesus, if You will bow down before me and worship me all authority, he said, I will give to You and their glory for this has been delivered to me and I give it to whomsoever I wish. Look Jesus, I know why You've come. You've come to shed Your blood to buy people back to God; to buy the earth, to redeem it. Ok. You don't have to go to the cross. I'll just hand it over to You if You'll just indulge me and worship me for this instant. Of course Jesus spurned that temptation and He did go to the cross and He shed His blood. So the scroll is the title deed to the earth. The dominion of the earth was lost in the garden. The fall of man brought sin and brought a curse upon the earth. That makes Satan a usurper. It's not his place. He just sort of moved in and usurped authority. He also knows that he's going to lose, by the way. It's not like he thinks, I can win this one. But he also knows that his time is short and he will try his utmost to rip people off until the final day of judgment. If you turn with me to Revelation 12, skip ahead, and look at chapter 12 verse 12: "Therefore rejoice o heavens and you who dell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you having great wrath because he knows that he has a short time." In other words, he's ticked off because he knows he's going to lose. And in the interim time, he tries to steal the idea of even coming to Jesus Christ from the minds and hearts of men. It's sort of like, as one author put it, the kingdom of darkness is like a sinking ship and Satan is the captain. He's the captain and he gives messages like, ok everybody, they don't know the ship is sinking, only he does, if you're in second class you can now be upgraded free to first class. And if you'd like to you can go and have free drinks in the bar and you can play soccer or football or basketball in the estate rooms and ballrooms. If you break something, don't worry about it, I'll take care of it. Do whatever you like. And the people on board go, this guy's great, he'll let us do whatever we want. But they don't know they'll be dead in five minutes. And so Satan knows his time is short and he'll lie to people trying to rip people off. And people go, why should I serve God, I have a lot of fun now? The devil lets me do whatever I want to do. Right. For a short period of time. He knows that his time is short.

So back to the question in verse two: who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose the seals? In other words, who has the right, the authority, the power to rule the earth and fulfill God's plan and purpose for it? That title deed to planet earth. Now there have been people who were willing to do it. Alexander the Great, he was 31 years old and he wept in Babylon before his death because he thought there were no more lands to conquer--I've done it all. He wanted to rule the world. Adolph Hitler would have loved to do it. Ayatollah Khomeini. There've been presidents and prime ministers that would've loved to rule the earth. But the question is not who is willing but who is worthy. And no one, that's the reply. It's an astonishing reply. Who's worthy? The answer is no one. No one in heaven, on earth, under the earth can be found. There's not one human being in all humankind who's worthy. Think about that. Think of all the people. Think of Abraham, the man of faith. Moses, called the meekest man in all the earth--wasn't worthy. Samson was the strongest man--he wasn't worthy. Solomon was the wisest man, but he wasn't worthy. John the Baptist, Jesus said, was the greatest man who ever lived. He wasn't worthy. Mary, the mother of Jesus, wasn't found worthy. Peter wasn't worthy, Paul wasn't worthy. No one. John said, 'And so I wept much,' or literally, I sobbed aloud in abundance. Who could blame him? The earth with the curse that is left on it and no one is found worthy, hopelessness would have overwhelmed him at that point. Have you ever been in a situation where, for the time being, you're blinded by the situation, it looks hopeless, you're in despair, you wonder is there even a plan to this, is there a purpose. Could God ever fulfill His plan? I don't see how He could! And you weep in despair.

Dr. W.A. Criswell from Dallas said, "John's tears represent the tears of all of God's people through all the centuries. They're the tears of Adam and Eve as they view the still form of their dead son Abel and sense the awful consequence of their disobedience. These are the tears of all of the children of Israel in bondage as they cried to God for deliverance from affliction and slavery. They are the sobs and the tears wrung from the heart and soul of God's people as they've stood beside graves of loved ones and experienced the indescribable heartaches and disappointments of life. Such is the curse that sin has laid upon God's beautiful creation. No wonder John wept so fervently. If no redeemer could be found to remove the curse, it meant that God's creation was forever consigned to remain in the hands of Satan." Oh how wonderful it is then that the story doesn't say 'the end' right here. But as John is sobbing convulsively would be the idea, an elder comes by and taps him, hey, you, don't cry. There is One who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals. And now the hero of the story is introduced beginning in verse six, the deliverer prevails. Let's read it. Verse five actually one of the elders said, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."

Notice the names that this deliverer is called by. Number one, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. If you were an Old Testament reader, scholar, or had a Jewish background, you would immediately think back to Genesis 49 where the future ruler of the world, God's Messiah King, it was predicted He would come from the tribe of Judah, who was called a lion's whelp. The scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes, said the Scripture. And the insignia, the sign, over the tribe of Judah was the lion. And every good Jewish person then would say, the Lion of the tribe of Judah will be the Messiah. Secondly, He is called the Root of David. Again, this is Jewish. As most idioms in Revelation go back to. Listen to Isaiah 11:1: "There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse," that was David's father, "and a Branch shall grow out of his roots." So the Root of David. Again, a prophecy of the Messiah who would come. Ok. John's weeping, he's sobbing, the elder comes by and says, chill, well this is paraphrased, don't weep. Look! The Lion of Judah, the Root of David! Now John turns, looking for a lion. But he doesn't see a lion. He sees a Lamb. He sees a Lamb as though it had been slain. Now immediately we think of Jesus Christ because John the Baptist, when Jesus came at the beginning of His ministry, what did John say? Behold, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. If you were a Jew and you wanted your sins atoned for, you'd bring a lamb to the temple. You'd lay your hands on the lamb. You'd confess your sins over that lamb. And the priest would slit its throat and drain its blood and you'd watch it. And that would mean something to you. It would mean your sin had been transferred, so to speak, and the guilt upon this innocent lamb that would be slain to atone for your sins. So Jesus here, the Lamb, in heaven, as though it had been slain. It's a word that's used 29 times in the book of Revelation to speak of Jesus.

But this was not an ordinary looking lamb in this vision of John. We read in this verse that He had seven horns. Horn, in the Bible, is a symbol of authority. We read it very, very often in the Old Testament. It's a symbol of authority. You can understand why, animals with big horns had big authority. But He had seven horns. This is complete, or perfect, in authority. This speaks of His omnipotence. Then we read that He had seven eyes. Eyes speak of omniscience because there are seven. He's complete in what He has insight into, what He says, what He knows. Which are, it says, the seven Spirits of God. If you want to trace that down you can, on your own, look up Isaiah 11:2. It tells you about the seven Spirits of God. It's the presence of Jesus Christ. He is perfect in His presence--He is omnipresent. But I want to draw your attention to that next part where it says, 'A Lamb as though it had been slain.' Stop for just a moment. Consider where John is when he sees a wounded lamb. He's not on earth. He is in heaven. He's just seen the brilliance of the throne of God and a rainbow around the throne and these heavenly creatures. Yet in heaven is the Lamb, Jesus Christ, still bearing the marks of His crucifixion. In glory. In heaven. It was a Lamb as though it had been slain. Now we know that when Jesus rose from the dead He still had marks on His hands, feet, side, and brow from the crucifixion. Because when He rose from the dead and Thomas didn't believe He had rose from the dead, He said, Thomas, here look. Put your fingers in these wounds. See that it's Me. We know that Jesus, that same state, ascended up into heaven at the right hand of God. And here John sees Jesus in heaven with the tokens of His sacrificial love in eternity.

You read and you think, I don't know if I want to see that. You see, my idea is that I'll be in heaven and I'll see just perfect radiance but do I want to be reminded of what my sin did to my Savior for eternity? I don't think that's the idea, to make us feel guilty. I think bearing the marks of crucifixion is part of the glory of Jesus Christ for all of eternity. I was able to purchase you, is the idea. I was reading about a policeman in northern England who was doing his beat late one night, walking the streets of a small town, and he heard the sobs obviously of a youngster. It was a young boy sitting on the steps of some little house, weeping. And the policeman found him and the child said, take me home, I'm lost. Not knowing where his home was, he started asking him questions. What street do you live on? I don't know. He started naming all of these streets. None of them rang a bell to the kid. He started listing of different businesses, hoping the kid would say I live by that bakery or this, to no avail. Finally the policeman, knowing that there was a huge church in the center of the town with a big white cross that was a landmark over the horizon, pointed to the distant cross and he said, do you live anywhere near that cross? The boy saw the cross and he lit up and said, that's it. Take me to the cross and I can find my way home. It's that way for us in heaven. There will be the reminder of the cross and when we see Jesus with His wounds, we'll be able to say, I know I'm home. Otherwise you'd say, well, you know, I was a pretty good person and that's how I got here. Of course you know you won't get to heaven that way. And there will always be the reminder that it was God's grace that got you there. The Man with the wounds that will be seen. It's interesting, is it not, that the only work of man that is seen in heaven is the marks that we put upon Him in crucifixion. And yet it was His glory to purchase us.

Verse seven, the greatest moment of all, "Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song." This is the greatest moment of all. He takes the title deed. They were weeping and now there is rejoicing. Why? Because the kinsmen-redeemer, the goel, is going to take the property that was lost and forfeited in the Garden, the curse that was placed upon the earth, and it will be redeemed. He will fulfill the redemption clause. Does He qualify as the kinsmen-redeemer? Remember he had to be related, he had to be able, and he had to be willing. First of all, He was related. Jesus Christ, it says in Philippians, emptied Himself of the glory and came to this earth to become a man. A blood relative of the human race. John says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." That's Jesus. He's the Creator of all, it says. Then in verse 14: "And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us." Jesus stepped out of time and eternity into the earth to be placed inside of the womb of a peasant girl from Nazareth to be born in Bethlehem. To be a blood relative of you and I. Charles Spurgeon, commenting on this, said, "How great a stoop from the height of His throne to a dunghill of the earth." You see, the virgin birth was necessary for redemption. If Jesus was only divine, redemption couldn't take place. He had to be related to us.

Secondly, you have to be able to pay the price. Was Jesus able? He sure was. What did He have to purchase it with? Blood. Verse nine: "And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll [they will tell you why in a moment], and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." It was His blood. When Jesus hung on the cross with His hands outstretched, the second to the last statement that He made was a one word statement in Greek. In English it's translated in three words: "It is finished." But in the original, He said tetelisti, translated 'it is finished.' Tetelisti is one of those words so pregnant in meaning. Tetelisti is what was stamped over a receipt of debt once somebody had gone to jail and served their sentence and paid off their debt to society. You have been punished adequately. If you owed something to a merchant and you finally paid your bill, the word tetelisti was written across the page. When a servant did his master's bidding and finished the work, tetelisti, it's finished. Well that's the idea here is that we are sinners and we are bankrupt. But Jesus paid our debt. The wages of sin are death. Jesus paid the debt. It is finished.

Third, He must be willing, right? That's one of the requirements of the kinsmen-redeemer. You have to be willing to do it. Was Jesus willing? Well there are some who say, it was a horrible accident that Jesus fell into. He didn't mean to get Himself crucified. No. You know what? He gave His life--it wasn't taken from Him. In John 10, Jesus said, 'I am the Good Shepherd. I lay My life down for the sheep. No man takes My life from Me. I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again.' He was a willing sacrifice. Now stop and just muse over that for a moment. You and I are sinners and we're bankrupt and Jesus was willing to come to this earth to buy you and me. Don't you wonder at the love of God? Do you ever wonder why God loves you and me so much? I do. Just the marvel that He does love me. When I get into the question why does God love me, I have to confess there's really no good reason other than the character and nature of God Himself. It's not like God said, well I looked on you, Skip, and just couldn't pass you up. Believe me, that's not the case. It lies solely in the character and nature of God, for God is love. Scripture tells us that we are justified freely, which means we're justified without a cause. There's no reason. Without a cause. It's freely given to us. But He was willing.

Jesus gave a parable of this whole episode, I believe, in Matthew 13. He said the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that was hid in a field and when it was found he hides it and for joy goes and sells all that he has and he buys the field. Now some will read that and say that's a picture of mankind selling everything to get the greatest gift, which is God. That's nonsense! You have nothing of worth that you could sell to gain salvation. And it's not for sale anyway--it's a gift. It is a picture of God giving all His best. Jesus divesting Himself of all to come to this earth and buy the world, the earth, the field, because there's a treasure in it. What's the treasure? You. His church. And He would sell everything that He could purchase by blood the field which is the earth.

The next time you feel dejected, down, and worthless, you think about this. How valuable am I? you might think you're worthless. Now, before you deprecate God's property any further, think, how valuable am I to God? You are so valuable that He would buy the earth to get you out of it. Can you now realize why every creature just in jubilant praise, worship the Lamb who takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne? The first time Jesus came, He came as a Lamb. The second time He will come as a Lion--in charge, in authority. I read about a commercial venture in one of the largest department stores in our country that proved to be a disaster. It seems that one season they packaged up these little dolls in the form of a baby Jesus at Christmastime. A little plastic doll and advertised it as being completely unbreakable, washable, and cuddly. And of course, people would be hesitant to buy something like that. They were--it didn't sell. It was a little plastic Jesus, a satin crib and straw stuck in it. Plastic surroundings. The manager of one of these chains, department stores, in a last ditch promotional effort, hung a sign outside of his store that said, 'Jesus Christ Marked Down 50%! Get Him While You Can!' Can you believe that? Jesus Christ marked down 50%. He's not some little toy that you bring out Christmas and go, right, right, that's the little Jesus child at Christmastime. He will come as the ruler who has the right to reign. My question to you is this: have you given to Him the title deed of your life yet? He's going to take over the earth. He's going to move every politician out of the way one day. But until then, have you turned over the title deed to your life over to Him? Have you taken the remedy for your sin, the blood of the Lamb, to redeem us? Even if you're very much like that father in that vision that the little boy had, coming down the ladder for more chalk, you might think, listen, a suitcase full of chalk wouldn't do it for me. But He'll erase the blackboard, but you have to let Him. That's why He came.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/9/1996
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Good News from a Bad Place
Revelation 1:1-8
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6/16/1996
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Catapulted into the Future
Revelation 1:9-20
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6/23/1996
completed
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When Love Grows Cold
Revelation 2:1-7
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6/30/1996
completed
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Postcard to Those in Pain
Revelation 2:8-11
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7/7/1996
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The Curse of Compromise
Revelation 2:12-17
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7/14/1996
completed
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Corruption without Discernment
Revelation 2:18-29
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7/21/1996
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Church of the Living Dead
Revelation 3:1-6
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7/28/1996
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Body Building - God's Way
Revelation 3:7-13
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The human body has become the obsession of our modern culture. Much like the ancient Greeks, people are madly trying to fit the contemporary ideal of what is an acceptable shape and size. The church is metaphorically called the "Body of Christ" and His desire is to see it built up spiritually. The church of Philadelphia is a good model of a healthy, faithful church. Their example provides for us a template to follow in building up the Body - God's Way!
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8/19/1996
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Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Revelation 3:14-22
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Ever since we were kids our moms stuck thermometers in our mouths whenever she suspected that we were sick. If our body temperature of 98.6 had climbed up just a few notches, it was always a good indication that an unhealthy condition was present. There is also a spiritual temperature that reveals the condition of our souls, and when the thermometer reads Lukewarm it indicates that something is wrong; it indicates the presence of danger. Let's see how Jesus, the Great Physician, treats his patient with this malady.
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8/25/1996
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Peeking into the Portals of Heaven
Revelation 4
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9/8/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 1
Revelation 5:8-10
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In heaven there won’t be just three services in the morning and one at night with a midweek tacked on. There will be no need to be sensitive to time so we can go to lunch. Words will not have to be printed nor projected. Worship leaders will have no need prompting people to sing. It will be an all-consuming experience that will involve our total cooperation and enthusiasm.
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9/15/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 2
Revelation 5:11-14
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9/29/1996
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Four Riders with Bad News
Revelation 6:1-8
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10/6/1996
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The Cries of Heaven and Earth
Revelation 6:9-17
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10/13/1996
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A Blessed Interruption in a Tough Time
Revelation 7
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10/20/1996
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Trumpets of Doom
Revelation 8
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10/27/1996
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When All Hell Breaks Loose
Revelation 9:1-12
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11/3/1996
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Angels of Mass Destruction
Revelation 9:13-21
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11/10/1996
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A Big Angel with a Little Book
Revelation 10
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11/17/1996
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Two Powerful Preachers
Revelation 11:1-14
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11/24/1996
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Light at the End of the Tunnel
Revelation 11:15-19
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12/1/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 1
Revelation 12:1-6
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12/8/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2
Revelation 12:7-17
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There aren't many people who like to fight. Confrontation is something most would like to avoid. But in the spiritual realm it's unavoidable. The question isn't, "Will I engage in spiritual warfare?" Rather, the question is, "How well will I fight?" As we saw last week, the war in the heavens makes its way to the theater of the earth. Let's see what else it entails.
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12/15/1996
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The Coming Global Leader
Revelation 13:1-10
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12/22/1996
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Evil's Right-Hand-Man
Revelation 13:11-18
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12/29/1996
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The Lamb Who Shepherds His People
Revelation 14:1-5
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After all that john has seen in his apocalyptic vision, seeing the docility of a lamb standing with his overcoming sheep is a welcomed sight. Although the dragon pursues god's people relentlessly, although the beasts are bent on ruling the earth, the ultimate winner will be the lamb and his followers.
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1/5/1997
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Angels Set The Record Straight
Revelation 14:6-13
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1/12/1997
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It's Harvest Time!
Revelation 14:14-20
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One of the most common ways to make a living in ancient times was to "work the land." The early rains of October/November and the soft latter rains produced the wheat and barley harvest later on. Also, when vintage season began, almost the whole village could be found in the fields harvesting the crop. Such images would also provide a poignant way of depicting the final judgment of the earth, as in this section.
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1/17/1997
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Getting Ready for the Grand Finale
Revelation 15:1-8
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1/26/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 1
Revelation 16:1-11
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We now come to the "seven last plagues" of God in the Great Tribulation that is coming upon planet earth. These judgments come in the form of "bowls" being poured out swiftly and completely-the judgment will be swift and thorough. Yet through all the mercy as Well as wrath of this awesome era, people will persist in having a hardened heart. Open your heart 'right now to these truths.
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2/2/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 2
Revelation 16:12-21
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What will the end of the world be like? What are the final events just before Jesus returns and takes over to set up His millennial reign? That's what this section tells us. There will be increased warfare activity in the Middle East, massive deception, and unheard of destructive cataclysms on earth. In the midst of foretelling these events, Jesus has a word of encouragement.
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2/9/1997
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The Coming World Religion
Revelation 17
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It was Karl Marx who stated, no doubt cynically, that religion was the opiate of the masses. The fact is, he was right-it is! People are driven to worship something or someone. This desire will be exploited to the hilt in the Tribulation period and will be under the umbrella of the world dictator-the Antichrist. What are its roots and how does it end?
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2/16/1997
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Get out of Babylon!
Revelation 18
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Someone once said, "Money can't buy you friends but your enemies treat you a little better." Though meant to be tongue-in­cheek, that won't happen when the entire world economy collapses. God's shakedown of the earth will include everything that the Antichrist's kingdom will embody, from the sacred to the secular.
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3/2/1997
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Marriage Made in Heaven
Revelation 19:1-10
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3/9/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 1
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of our capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." It is that event which we will be studying in the next two weeks. This is what all Christians of all ages have looked forward to - His return and reign of His creation.
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3/16/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 2
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of the capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "one far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." it is that event, that Christians of all ages have looked forward to-his return and reign of his creation. We will conclude our study of the return of Jesus Christ, today.
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4/6/1997
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Paradise Regained
Revelation 20:1-3
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4/13/1997
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The Devil's Last Stand
Revelation 20:1-10
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A typical question is, "Will evil ever get its reward?" What ever happened to ethics and justice? Well, we see here that God will not turn His back on this issue. He will deal with the source of all evil (the devil himself) and then judge those who revel in it. This section gives tremendous hope to anyone concerned about injustice in our world.
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4/20/1997
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Life, Death, and Resurrection
Revelation 20:5-6; 20:11-15
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5/4/1997
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All Things New - Part 1
Revelation 21:1-3
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5/11/1997
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All Things New - Part 2
Revelation 21:4-8
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"It's like nothing you've ever seen or experienced before." That's how John describes the emotional experience of heaven. So that we can relate, he tells us that all of the pain, sorrow, and moaning we've endured here won't be there. By the way, only those who want to go there will go there. Heaven is not a destination by default, reservations are made here and now!
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5/18/1997
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The City of the Future
Revelation 21:9-22:5
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There is no architect or builder like God himself. Even the patriarch Abraham "was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Heb. 11:10) he didn't find it in his lifetime. "You won't find you're "happily ever after" here either, but the New Jerusalem will be God's answer for man's longing to live in a perpetually peaceful stare.
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5/25/1997
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He's Coming - Now What!?
Revelation 22:6-21
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There are 43 additional messages in this series.
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