Rev 7:10-12                          A Heavenly Song                                       7/24/2005      ßŕ   

  • A Heavenly Vision (Rev 7:9-17)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Singing Multitude (Psalm 51:17, 1Cor 13:12, Psalm 119:97)

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Singing Angels (Rev 7:11, 1Pet 1:12, Heb 1:14)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Song of the Redeemed (Rev 7:10)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Not of Works (Eph 2:9, Rev 7:10)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Song of the Angels (Rev 7:12)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 7:9 (2X). We were here in the 2nd half of Rev 7 last week, but we must take another look at this passage, because we skipped verses 10-12. Last week we saw in this chapter the great multitude which no man could number, representing all the saints who have ever lived and died, from righteous Able unto the last human being that would be saved. This is a multitude so immense that the very attempt to number them seems foolishness. And this multitude, together with the angels of heaven, is singing praises to God. That is why this sermon is called, A Heavenly Song (2X). First of all here in the 2nd half of Rev 7 God showed John:

  • A Heavenly Vision (Rev 7:9-17)

The scene is a vision in heaven, but the vision is for some time in the future when all the people who have to be saved will be saved, and will stand before God body and soul after all the unsaved have been removed into Hell. We must keep this in mind to understand what they are singing.

Re 7:9  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Re 7:10-11  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

Re 7:12  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Re 7:13 ¶  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

Re 7:14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Re 7:15-16  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.                   They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

Re 7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

This great multitude is standing before the throne and before the Lamb and is surrounding the throne with a song. Do you like to sing? Well, if you are going to heaven you will do a great deal of singing. Then you might as well get used to it now. Let us consider this great multitude. It is safe to say that they were singing. When we have arrived in the timeless eternity of the new creation all our expressions shall be in some kind of a song. And by the word “song” I mean that it is a higher, and fuller, and more harmonious expression of all our conscious life in glory. There, in the NH&NE, our human language shall have reached the height of perfection. There our voices shall sound in all the fulness of perfect beauty. And there we shall be able to give the most harmonious expression to what we think and feel, to all our conscious life and experience. In that sense we shall always sing in heaven. In verse 10 the redeemed are singing and in verse 12 the angels respond with singing. But actually these two songs belong together, both in form and in content. When the angels sing, they begin with the word “Amen”, which means “So be it”. When the redeemed multitude sings, they cry out, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. And then the angels respond with their answer, “Amen. So be it. So it certainly is forever and ever”. And so you see that these two expressions belong together. But also the content of their songs indicate that there is unity of thought and unity in theme. The redeemed sing of the fact that God and the Lamb are the authors of this salvation. They have planned it from before the foundation of the world, they have executed it in the course of time, and they have completed it at the end of time. And the angels conclude that therefore al praise and glory and honor and thanksgiving and wisdom and power and might belong to the Most High, and that all the powers of creation unite to give glory to Him who sitteth upon the throne. Just think of the volume when 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands of angels sing together with this great multitude. It will be an awesome and God glorifying event. But let us fix our eyes now on

#1.       The Singing Multitude (Psalm 51:17, 1Cor 13:12, Psalm 119:97)

Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 51:17 (2X). As you know, there are only two possible destinations in the life hereafter: Heaven, or Hell. Even though we are considering today this heavenly vision, which is a vision of all the saints in glory, we do want to spend a few minutes on the other destination. Hell will be heavily populated. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 7 that there are more people going to Hell than there are going to Heaven. And even though the local church is a place which is supposed to have a high concentration of saved persons, we should keep in mind that every church has a number of unsaved people in it. These are people who let the words of the pastor slide over them as water from a duck’s back. These are people who are quick to criticize the pastor, or are quick to pass judgment on others, but they do not see anything wrong with themselves. These are people who always find others to blame, but they never put the blame on themselves. These are people who always accuse others for judging them, and they never see that they themselves are judging others. These are people who attend a worship service, and afterward go home more hardened than when they came. These are people who hate doctrine; because they cannot understand what it is good for. And many more such evil characteristics. On the other hand, the saints are quick to find fault with themselves, and turn to God with a broken and a contrite heart, like David prayed in Psalm 51:17 (2X), “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”. The saints do not have a high opinion of themselves, but consider that they will fall into sin and that they must repent and seek forgiveness for their sins. Please turn in your Bibles to the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 13:12 (2X). You find 1Cor right after Romans and just before 2Cor. The saints love doctrine, because it will teach them who they really are, and how great the mercy and grace of God is toward them, unworthy sinners. The saints realize that here on earth their knowledge of God and of Christ and of salvation is dim on account of sin. We read in 1Cor 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”. Here on earth we often sing, but our song is as imperfect as ourselves. Our minds are darkened by the influence of sin. Sometimes the darkness seems to break and there are moments when we see more clearly than at other times. At such times we sing with confidence from Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day”. But even at those best moments of our life on earth the darkness of sin has not been fully erased, and we do not yet see face to face. Likewise our will, our feelings and our desires are still under the influence of sinful perversion. There is only a small beginning of the new obedience. There is only a small principle of the new life within us. And therefore we cannot sing to God in all honesty and purity. Perhaps we sing for we enjoy the sound of a trained human voice. And often we sing without having our heart expressed in the words of the song we are singing. We sing songs that were composed by great masters of music. The meaning of the words initially were foreign to us, and the tunes are strange to us until we have learned them by heart. And so, the best of our songs is under the influence of the power of sin and imperfection.

But let us now imagine for the next 40 minutes that we are there among that great multitude. If we really have been saved, then we shall be there, with all the other saints of all times. Now our minds are perfectly delivered from the power of sin. Now we see God and Christ clearly, face to face. Now we know fully as we are known. Now we understand the full implications of our song, and we sing with all our might, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. This then is a song out of our inmost heart, because it is a song of our own perfected experience. We do not sing of something that does not concern us. We do not sing it because it was composed by one of the great masters of music among us. But we ourselves are the authors of this song, and we are singing of what we personally have experienced. Now we know what we have experienced through the mercy and grace of God and Christ. Now we know that we were sinners. Now we know that we used to be in the power of sin and death. On earth we did not know what it means to live a life of perfection. We did not know what it means to be without sin and corruption, in mind, in heart, in will, in all our feelings and emotions. We did not know what it means to be completely free from the effects of sin. But looking back, we shall certainly be conscious of our former state in the midst of the world. Remember, God continues to call Christ the Lamb throughout this prophecy of Revelation. God continues to lift up Christ who was the Lamb slain for our sins. It does not mean that we shall continue to sorrow for our sins, for in heaven there will be no more sorrow. But certainly we shall recollect the depth of misery from which we were saved. We will realize that we were in great tribulation. The enemy, Satan and sin in the flesh left us no rest. But now, looking at the contrast and standing in the midst of this great multitude, we are perfectly delivered. Wherever we turn, there is fullest freedom. Wherever we go, the Lord our God spreads His tabernacle over us. Wherever we go, we see our God and our Savior. Wherever we turn, there we see the beauty of our God, and there we may serve Him day and night in His temple. Always we serve Him who sitteth upon the throne. We are now perfectly redeemed. We can clearly see the contrast between what we were and what we are now. And thus out of our deepest conviction and out of our deepest personal experience we will sing, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. And what about the angels surrounding us? What can we say about:

  • The Singing Angels? (Rev 7:11, 1Pet 1:12, Heb 1:14)

Re 7:11  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

Please turn in your Bibles to the 1st Epistle of Peter, 1Pet 1:12 (2X). You find 1Pet after Hebrews and James, just before 2Pet. We must never forget that the angels also are interested in the plan of God with regard to the salvation of the world. For example, when God speaks about the prophets of old and for what purpose God spoke to them, God says in 1Pet 1:12, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into”. Even the angels are interested in the messages that God gave to the prophets of old. Angels are not omniscient. Angels do not know what God is going to do next. Please turn now in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 1:14 (2X). Personally the angels were not affected by sin and misery. They are and remained in a state of perfection. But angels are entirely different beings than man. Angels were created with a free will and the angels that sinned did so as individuals. But man was created an organism. A man cannot sin and fall away from God as a mere individual. Man was created under one head, Adam, who was the head of the whole human race, the head both in a legal and in an organic sense of the word. And thus when Adam sinned he dragged all members of the human race with him into the abyss of sin and death. But this was not the case in the realm of the angels. Angels are separate individuals. The fall and rebellion of Lucifer, who became Satan, affected only part of the multitude of angels, and the rest remained perfect and upright. Each one of the angels individually chose to remain faithful to God, or rebel with Lucifer. Nevertheless angels are deeply interested in the redemption of God’s people, and the redemption of the world, because angels have a function to fulfill in the redemption of man. We can read that here in Heb 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” This is really the purpose for the creation of the angels, to serve those of mankind who were elected to become the Bride of Christ. This was most likely what Lucifer rebelled against. But the angels that remained faithful to God are still in a state of perfection, and they must have a far clearer view and deeper insight into the meaning of all that happens in this world than we do. They know the mighty Satan far better than we do. They have had fellowship with him while he was still perfect, before he sinned. They knew that he was among the mightiest of the mighty angels. They also fully realize the awful power of his rebellion. On the other hand, they are committed to live for the glory of the Most High who sitteth upon the throne. They long to see the glory of God fully realized, and they know that it will not be realized until the last of the elect will have been “Born Again”, and the world shall have been renewed, and Satan and all his demons and all of mankind who are on the side of Satan shall have been cast out into the outer darkness of Hell. And so, the angels also long to see that day of universal perfection. They are always ready to serve in the bringing of that glorious Kingdom. We do not know exactly how the angels serve now in God’s Kingdom. God decided not to reveal that to us, and thus we ascribe everything to God’s hand in our lives. In addition, we must realize that because of sin the harmony between heaven and earth has been disturbed. The world has been broken up by the fall and rebellion of the Devil and of Adam. The realm of the angels has been broken up by the rebellion of Lucifer and his angels. There is disharmony everywhere. It is a disharmony which is to be removed and to be replaced by perfect harmony under Jesus Christ, the eternal King, under God, over all creation. In that eternal Kingdom, in which heaven and earth shall be reunited, the angels also shall have a place, which they cannot occupy until all shall have been accomplished. Please turn again to the Revelation Of Jesus Christ, Rev 7:11 (2X). Here at that scene of the multitude and the angels around the throne of God and of the Lamb we have been translated into a time in the future when all will have been accomplished. Now Satan has been cast out. Now all the works of darkness have come to an end and all things contaminated by sin have been destroyed. Now heaven and earth are the temple of God in which angels and men, under Christ Jesus as their everlasting Head, serve God forever and ever. And then the angels sing from their deepest emotion when they respond to the outcry of the redeemed, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen”. But let us now consider the content of the song of the redeemed and the content of the song of the angels.

#2.       The Song of the Redeemed (Rev 7:10)

What did the redeemed multitude sing? We read in Rev 7:10, And (they) cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. This is what we will be singing when we will stand there before the throne. What exactly do we mean by “Salvation”? The meaning of this song is, “Salvation belongs to our God; salvation is entirely out of our God; God is the only author of salvation; and salvation can only be to the glory of the Triune God”. This is what we will be singing, but do not confuse this with a preaching of the Gospel. The work of salvation has come to an end. The Gospel cannot be preached in the life hereafter. There is no more audience to whom the Gospel can be preached. Therefore, when we stand in the midst of this great multitude we can only think of the complete wonder of the work of salvation. Salvation has now been realized and is complete And when we sing of salvation, we sing of the mercy and grace that we have seen, and that we have experienced, and that we have enjoyed. And what have we seen, and experienced and enjoyed? Looking back we have seen that we were guilty and miserable. We were in the power of sin and death. We were condemned to everlasting corruption in Hell. And we were subject to the just wrath of the righteous God. And now we have experienced deliverance from all sin and death and corruption, and we have enjoyed the fulness of eternal life and glory. There is no guilt anymore to oppress us. There is no power of sin any more that corrupts us and rules over us. There is no darkness to cloud our minds. There is no transgression that perverts our will. There is no hatred that causes us to rise in rebellion against God. There is only one life, one desire, one constant longing, and that is: to enjoy the full communion of Him who sitteth upon the throne and of the Lamb. But we do not look for it in vain, for every desire we have is now satisfied. And wherever we go we find ourselves in the temple of God, in the presence of God, and we serve Him day and night. Not only have we personally experienced salvation, but also all creation has been completely redeemed. All things have now been brought into subjection to the man Christ Jesus, our Lord. All creation has become a Kingdom under man, in Christ, a Kingdom with its King standing before the throne of the Most High, serving Him forever and ever. In other words, when we sing of our salvation, we understand it in its all-inclusive sense; including the redemption of all the world in its fulness, and to the restoration of a perfect harmony in the NH&NE. And thus the word “Salvation” is the state of universal perfection. To whom do we sing of this salvation? We sing it unto God and to the Lamb. It implies that we ascribe to God and to the Lamb all the authority, all the authorship and power, all the perfection and completion of what we can see in the new creation and of what we now experience in the everlasting glory of timeless eternity. But there is more. By way of contrast, we are singing that salvation is in no sense the work of the creature. Salvation is not at all the work of man, and man has played no role in it whatsoever. Salvation belongeth unto God and to the Lamb, and to no one else. This is a song which seems difficult to sing in the present world. This is a song which seems offensive to most people, and it even seems offensive to most churches at the present time. And yet the message throughout the Bible is clear:

  • Not of Works (Eph 2:9, Rev 7:10)

Now the words of Eph 2:9 are ringing loud and clear, “Not of works, lest any man should boast”. God put those words in the Bible to let us know that we come to Him empty handed. When we bring the Gospel of salvation into the world we must bring the whole counsel of God. It means we should not try to hold something back that is in the Bible. We may not be ashamed of any verse in the Bible, for if we are ashamed of some of the verses, because we do not believe those verses, then we have declared God a liar in those verses. There are many hundreds of verses in the Bible that indicate, or clearly state, that salvation is produced by the Lord only, 100%. When people say that God has done all He could, and God offers to us salvation on a silver platter, and now it is up to us to reach out and take the salvation that was offered, that is a false gospel. It is a gospel that is based on man’s inherent goodness, and man’s willingness to work together with God, and man’s ability to bring the Kingdom of God to completion in this world. All that is false and it is an inspiration from the Devil. Today most people are no longer reading and studying the Bible. Here in Rev 7:10 we read the words we will sing when we have arrived in the state of perfection, and when our minds have been delivered from the darkness of sin, and when we know also as we are known, and when we have been corrected in all our concepts concerning salvation. And then we will sing, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. The entire work of salvation is the work of God and of Christ as the Lamb, who was led to the slaughter, and who overcame and was raised from the dead. It is God who before time began gave unto Christ a people whom He chose in order to show forth His virtues and His power of salvation. It was God, the Triune God who ordained the Mediator, Jesus Christ the righteous, to redeem the people of His choice, and to reveal the love and grace of their God. It was God who sent that Mediator, His only begotten Son, into the flesh at the appointed time as the Lamb who would be slain. It was the Lamb who obeyed. It was the Lamb who took upon Himself the guilt of all the sins of all His people and bore the wrath of God for those sins upon the cursed tree. It was the Lamb who fulfilled the Law and all righteousness. It was the Lamb who blotted out all our sins and transgressions and who, having fulfilled all, rose to glory on the third day. It was the Lamb who ascended into heaven and received all power in heaven and on earth, and who realized His Kingdom spiritually by pouring out the Spirit of grace. It was the Lamb who through that Spirit regenerated His people, called them out of darkness into His marvelous light, who gave them the true faith, who justified and sanctified them, who protected them and who led them in the way of life in this present world. It is the Lamb who receives the Book with its seven seals and who opens seal after seal, who controls all things in this present world. It is the Lamb who will overcome the last manifestation of Antichrist, who will judge the world in righteousness, who will by His Spirit cause the people the Father gave Him to rise to glory. It is the Lamb who thus completes the Kingdom of God. And when all shall have been completed then the Lamb shall deliver that Kingdom to the Father, and subjecting Himself, shall eternally be at the head of all His people, leading them unto fountains of living water forever and ever. This is the salvation God provides. Man and the world are the object, but never the subject of it. And when we shall have arrived in the new creation, all of this shall be clearly understood, and there shall be no more any controversy about these truths. Instead, all of us shall sing with all our heart and mind, “Salvation, (this completed work of salvation,) is unto our God which sitteth upon the throne, and is unto the Lamb forever and ever”. And how do the angels respond to such a statement of the sovereignty of God? Let us hear:

#3.       The Song of the Angels (Rev 7:12)

Re 7:12  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Between the two Amen’s is a sevenfold ascription of the glory of the Most High, sitting upon the throne. How do the angels respond? They fall before the throne on their faces and worship Him that sitteth upon the throne and the Lamb. This song of the redeemed multitude of people praising God is causing the angels to fall on their faces and worship. This praise of the sovereignty of God did provoke such a reaction from the angels that we do wonder if God can be worshipped any other way. The angels are singing Amen to what we just have sung. The angels agree, and at the same time they give a more detailed explanation of what we just have sung. We sang that the completed work of salvation as it shines forth in the new creation, the NH&NE, is the work of God and of the Lamb forevermore. Therefore the angels now sing that all the glory, and praise, and honor, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and power, and might which shine forth from this new creation are of our God, and shall be ascribed to Him forever and ever.

While we sit in His temple and we listen to the songs and sounds of the new creation, we will hear that notes of praise reach our ears. Who is the object of all this praise that rises from the new Kingdom, from man, and from angel, and from every creature? God, and God alone! While we look around us in this new creation we find that a wonderful glory shines forth and it is reflected in and through it all. Whose glory is it that shines forth from the new world? It is God’s and God’s alone! While we walk around in His temple, in this temple of our God, we will more and more notice how all speaks of wisdom and highest intelligence. Whose is this wisdom? It is the wisdom of God and of Him alone! We will notice that under the leadership of the Lamb all creation serves one and only one, and gives honor to just one and only one. Who is that one before whom all bow in humble worship? It is God and God alone! We notice that from the bosom of creation rises a note of thanksgiving and heart-felt gratitude, speaking of love and of grace and of mercy revealed. For whom is that note of thanksgiving? It has its object in the Most High God, and in Him alone. Power and talent and mighty strength are now beautifully revealed and shine forth harmoniously from all the new creation. It is the power and strength and the glorious virtue which belong to Almighty God and to Him alone who sitteth upon the throne. This is how it will be in the new creation forever and ever. This is how the new world shines forth. And God’s conscious and rational creatures take notice of it all. They find in it all a reflection of the glory of God. And being conscious of this they sing. They sing the new song. They sing in heavenly notes of music. They sing with all their heart and mind enraptured by so much glory: “Salvation is of the Lord who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. And all the mighty angels join in the song of the redeemed as they shout, “Amen, yea Amen. Praise, and glory, and wisdom, and honor, and thanksgiving, and power, and might be unto our God forever and ever. AMEN.

Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.