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Seated, Sealed, and Singing a New Song

September, 2000

By Dr. Mary Craig

Do you have a new song in your heart? Do you yearn to be filled with the fullness of God? Believers are those who have been redeemed by the grace of God, resurrected out from the grave in order to enter once again the presence of God, the Father of Glory. Believers move into a new place in God, "in Christ," that where He is they may be also. Therefore, they are able to sing a new song. You can, too.

In Ephesians 2 we learn that, all to the praise of Godís glorious grace, the Father of Glory, who is rich in mercy and who has loved us with a great love, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2.4-6) Think about it. We are seated in the heavenly places in Christ.

Not only that, but the Holy Spirit of God has sealed us for the day of redemption, and therefore, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4.30) 2 Corinthians 1.21, 22 tells us that it is God who establishes the apostles and ambassadors and preachers of the gospel and that the One who has anointed us is God. It is God who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

In Revelation 3.21, 22 we have to the overcomer a promise of dominion with Christ.

I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My Throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His Throne.

Christ has entered upon His kingdom (Col. 1.13). He has disarmed principalities and powers, making a public spectacle of them and triumphing over them (Colossians 2.15). We are seated with Christ in heavenly places and sealed in this new covenant in Christís blood. (Ephesians) We are kings and priests with Christ already (Revelation 1.6). As He conquered, so also are we to go forth, conquering in His name. He reigns now (Acts 2.29-36) above all creation (Ephesians 1.20-22), with all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 18.18-20). His enemies will become His footstool (1 Corinthians 15.25), and the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. Jesus summons us to be conformed to His image, as prophet, priest, and king.

The Revelation takes the form of a suzerainty treaty, a covenantal treaty. It has a preamble, historical prologue, ethical stipulations, sanctions, and succession arrangements. Revelation 4-7 declares the ethical stipulations, i.e., the foundation of our actions and thinking. Central to our relationship with the Father is His Sanctuary, His dwelling place, His Throne.

In Deuteronomy 12 we see God establish the place where He will establish His name and dwell and where worshippers will come. In Deuteronomy the Law of the Covenant was the sign of Godís covenantal lordship. Godís signature day was the Sabbath. He signed His Name on the covenant with the Sabbath rest.

First, the sanctuary-judicial aspect of the covenant is central to warfare. Except to the Amalekites, an offer of peace was first made to enemy nations. Those refusing to make peace were then judged by the Covenant Lord. We offer the sceptor of peace with God through Jesus Christ as His ambassadors. We wear His robe of righteousness over our linen garments, a righteousness we did not earn or deserve, but which we receive by Godís grace as the Blood of Christ atones for our sin. Those who reject Christ find Godís holy and just judgment released.

Secondly, there is the idea of appearing at the sacred feasts in the central Sanctuary, like Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. In Revelation 5 we see Passover. In Revelation 6 we see Pentecost, and in Revelation 7.15-17 we see Tabernacles.

John ascends to Godís throne, the place where Godís judgments that are bound on earth were first bound in heaven. With John we are invited to come up to the Throne in the Spirit. We are to be caught up into the heavenly Holy of Holies, the inner Sanctuary of the true Temple, to the Throne of Glory. And note: first John hears. Then he turns to see the voice speaking to him. He sees. Then he will become what he beholds as God brings him to glory.

In Revelation 4 the worship focuses on God as Creator.

On the throne is God the Father. The word, "throne," is used 14 times, 46 times in Revelation. In 5.6 the Son approaches the throne. In 4.5 the Spirit is before the throne. John speaks of jasper, which is clear, perhaps a diamond; and of sardius, which is blood red; and of emerald, whose color green stands for mercy.

Around the throne vertically is a rainbow. Judgment is about to fall, but God remembers mercy in His wrath. (Hab. 3.2) I also think of Godís multi-colored wisdom when I think of the rainbow, His multi-colored iridescent wisdom (Ephesians 3). Also around the throne horizontally are elders and living creatures. These elders are overcomers with white robes and palm branches. The living creatures symbolize Godís creation and parallel Genesis 9.10, i.e., Noah (man), fowl (eagle), cattle (calf), beasts (lion). They signify the wisdom of God (full of eyes) and proclaim His holiness. God has a covenant with creation and rules from His throne.

Out of the throne come storm signals. Romans 5.21 tells us that grace reigns through righteousness. It is through judgment that deliverance comes.

Before the throne are seven lamps of fire burning, which are the seven Spirits of God, and also a sea of glass, like crystal. There is a great worship, a giving glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives forever. The elders cast their crowns to acknowledge that their authority and dominion derive from Him who sits on the throne. The worship is corporate, responsive, orderly.

Letís look at the songs:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!
You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for
You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.

Heaven acknowledges and praises the Creator. Praise to God as Creator is the first step toward trusting the redeemer (Acts 14, 17). This takes grace, because in our fallen condition, we want to worship and serve the creature, the creation in our rebellion (Romans 1.25). We are not thankful, and we don't like the sovereignty of God. We have polluted and exploited the creation instead of caring for it. Creation groans (Romans 8.22), but it will become glorious (Revelation 8.18-24).

In Revelation 5.1-14 we turn to the Redeemer. Thereís a book sealed with seven seals with writing on the front and back. It reminds us of the two tablets of the testimony (Exodus 32.15). But no one in the creation was worthy to open the seals of this testament, to guarantee this new covenant, but One. And this One is Jesus Christ. We worship Him:

Because of who He is (5.5-7). He is the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God. Jesus Christ is God, the Creator and Man, making Him a perfect Mediator/Redeemer.

The lion symbolizes dignity, sovereignty, courage, victory. The Root of David speaks of the Ancient of Days, that Jesus is both Davidís Lord, preceding him, and Davidís son, of his lineage. He is the Lamb, used 28 times in Revelation. Godís wrath is the wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6.16). We are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7.14). We are the Bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19.7, 21.9). The Lamb speaks of sacrifice, an offering up unto God. In Genesis 22.7 Isaac asks, "Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" The name of God, Jehovah Jireh, is revealed, i.e., that God will provide Himself a sacrifice. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1.29). Jesus is the Lamb and He is worthy.

"Seven horns" speaks of perfect power. "Seven eyes" speaks of perfect wisdom. "Seven spirits" speaks of His presence. We have, in short, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, the incommunicable attributes of God. Jesus is fully God, just as He is fully man.

Because of where He is, we worship. He is exalted in heaven in the center of all, at the throne. Jesus is the living, reigning Lamb of God in the midst of all in heaven.

Because of what He does, we worship. The Lamb opens the scroll. Cf. Daniel 7.13, 14, Psalm 141.2, Luke 1.10. Praise and prayer unite, as praise leads to worship, and worship to prayer, a dialogue of extolling the worth of the One who loves us. The Spirit sheds His love abroad in our hearts, and we express the worth of the Lamb slain that we might enter the glory of His presence. To worship in spirit and in truth is to worship as the Spirit of God extols the love of the Father of Glory according to the truth of the Word and our knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Because of what He has, we worship. (11-14). He has all power, all the riches of heaven and earth, all wisdom (1 Cor. 1.24, Col. 2.3), all strength, all honor, all glory, all blessing.

And what is this new song? There has been an event, a mighty act of God in creation, in redemption. After the event comes revelation from the Spirit of God, and out of that comes a new song, a new level of worship and common union with God.

In the new song the elders and living creatures say,

You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals.

Then the elders say,

For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation

Then the living creatures say,

And have made them kings and priests to our God

And the elders say,

And we shall reign on the earth.

This new song:

      1. ascribes worth. To ascribe worth is the definition of worship. The elders and living creatures proclaim the kingdom treaty.
      2. affirms the gospel, especially the cross and the Blood, proclaiming a redemption by means of One being violently slain. (In Genesis 22 we have a ram for one, Isaac. In Exodus 12 we have a lamb for a household. In Isaiah 53 we have Messiah dying for the nation of Israel, cf. John 11.49-52. In John 1.29 we have the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.)
      3. applauds the redemption of sinners. Sinners have been redeemed to God by the Blood of the Lamb, a lamb without spot or blemish, a perfect sacrifice.
      4. acknowledges the position of believers as kings and priests (Genesis 14.17, Hebrews 7, 1 Peter 2.5-10). This has to do with nationhood.
      5. announces dominion. The redeemed will reign on the earth. As Jesus is, so are we in this world (1 John 4.17).

The new song here celebrates the making of the Covenant and foretells the coming of Christ to bring salvation to the nations and victory to the godly in Christ Jesus. God brings forth the new song whenever humanity reaches a new stage in redemptive history, e.g., the Exodus and the inauguration of the theocratic kingdom.

Revelation follows events. Redemptive judgments deliver Godís people from the power of the adversary. New revelation requires a new song, a response to Godís acts and deeds in worship.

The One who was and is and is to come will fulfill Godís plan from all eternity. The goal of history is the universal recognition of Christís Lordship and the eternal glory of God through Jesus Christ.

We are seated, sealed, and singing a new song. The New Covenant has come and this is the Third Day, the Day of the Lord, the Day of the visitation of the Holy Spirit. Letís ascribe worth, affirm the gospel, applaud the redemption of sinners, acknowledge our position as kings and priests unto God, and announce that we will reign on the earth in dominion in Christ.

Some references to a "new song" in scripture include:

Psalm 33.3: Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Psalm 40.3: He has put a new song in my mouthópraise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 96.1-3: Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.

Psalm 98.1-3: Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.

Psalm 144.9: I will sing a new song to You, O God; on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You.

Psalm 149.1: Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.

Isaiah 42.10-13: Sing to the Lord a new song. And His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing. Let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord and declare His praise in the coastlands. The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.

© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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