“The Weeping Prophet” – Revelations – Day 12

A Theodicy of Evil – Lenten Season 2023

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 

I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep!  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:1-5, NIV).

Revelations – Day 12 “The Weeping Prophet”

“Life is hard, but God is good.”

That’s what a young woman told me in church one Sunday.  We had just been talking about the difficult economic situation in Argentina and how it was creating more poverty.  People were finding it difficult to pay their rent.  Retired and out-of-work people were both finding it necessary to restrict what they ate, how much they spent on medications, and look for any kind of extra work to make ends meet.  The poorest of the poor were living on the streets.  Violent theft was on the rise.  People were getting desperate. 

I looked at this young woman who was still living with her parents and wasn’t really experiencing the problem herself.  She was worried about the future of the country, like all of us, but she wasn’t engaged in the day-to-day reality on a personal level.  Her words may have been true, but they seemed rather “flat” and unconvincing.  If I heard those same words from one of my friends who was in danger of living on the streets, I would be more impressed with their faith.

The words are true, but the faith isn’t there unless you are experiencing both the “hardness” of life and the “goodness” of God for yourself in your own personal situation.  In fact, it is probably more accurate to say that “Life is harder than you think but God is also better than you realize.”  We tend to trivialize sin and evil unless we are experiencing it ourselves.  And it is only when we experience it ourselves that we truly can know the goodness of God.

Still, that is a statement of faith and not everyone feels that way about God.  He doesn’t “seem” all that good if he is allowing me to experience this pain, this loss, this difficult situation.  I pray fervently for relief and the heavens are silent.  I “believe” that God is good, but I don’t see it in my life in practical terms.  The Psalmist might have believed that he would “see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NIV) but not everyone, even if they are Christians, would agree.  Except as a statement of faith.

John, the beloved disciple, would have to agree.  It is a statement of faith but not always a statement of fact.  Here he was in a prison cell on a penal colony on the Island of Patmos, not sure if he would live or die alone.  And he was here simply and only because he had defied the Emperor and refused to bow the knee.  Perhaps it wasn’t an actual official trial and there may not have been any accusers against him.  The truth is that we don’t know.  Probably it was simply a question of arresting him for his leadership position with this cult of Christians that was proving to be so troublesome to the authorities.

But life was hard.  No doubt.  And it was hard for a lot of people.  It’s good to keep some of the major events of the past years in mind.  For the past thirty-five or forty years since Jesus had ascended into heaven, you would think that his life and the lives of the other Christians would be protected by the king on the throne in heaven who was their friend, their brother, their savior.  But life seemed to go on with all of its grim events affecting everyone the same. 

From the great earthquakes in Asia Minor in AD 60 (the very place where these seven churches stood) to the humiliating defeat of the Roman army in AD 62 at the hands of the Parthian invaders only a couple of hundred miles away on the Eastern frontier.  Life still seemed fragile and difficult. 

And then there was the persecution of the Christians in Rome by Nero after the fire that destroyed a third of the city.  Believers were tied to poles, covered in tar, and burnt alive to provide light for Nero’s famous night parties and orgies.  More than likely both Peter and Paul lost their lives at this point in time as well.  Where was God in all of this?  Did he not care what was happening to his people?  Wasn’t Jesus on the throne now and shouldn’t he be protecting his people while they spread his gospel to the nations?

Perhaps one could rejoice in the suicide of Nero in AD 68 and the political chaos that followed with four different claimants for the imperial throne.  Armies marched and for a full year, no one knew what would happen next.  The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 which destroyed the luxury resorts on the Bay of Naples might be seen as the judgment of God on the rich and wealthy but there were also believers caught up in that disaster and the smoke and darkness that filled the sky over most of the known world filled everyone with so much dread that they thought the end was nigh.  Some would say that the widespread grain famine of AD 92 which affected believers and non-believers alike was also a sign of the end of times. 

Grim times indeed.  And we aren’t even talking about the normally difficult life that most people led at this time in history as they struggled to make a living in the midst of violence and poverty on every side.  And the believers were not exempt from it all.  The shackles of defeat, imprisonment, hunger, and death have been the constant companion of mankind down through the ages.  We may be exempt from some of the more obvious struggles in life in our modern age if we live in one of the more developed countries, but there are still many believers and non-believers alike who live in squalor and poverty and hunger and death. 

That is the context we are thrust into as we observe what is happening in the throne room of God.  We have been introduced to the centrality of the throne and the anticipation of a transfer of power to the Lamb of God.  We have seen and felt the worship of heaven for their Creator God who tempers his justice and focuses his power on the covenant with Noah (the rainbow) and the covenant with Moses (thunder and lightning).  We have met the twenty-four elders, the living creatures, and the myriads of angels surrounding the throne.  But now we are introduced to some new realities. 

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1 NIV).

It is easy to see that these two chapters are an introduction to the rest of the Book of Revelations.  They set the stage.  They introduce the characters.  But they also provide a context for the problem and the solution which the Lamb would provide.  Getting the context right is key for a true understanding of this revelation.  “Context is for Kings” as the saying goes and the reason for that is that without a proper understanding of the “context” decisions cannot be made.  And a decision needs to be made by each one of us as we read the words of this prophecy.

Jesus said at the very end of this revelation “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book” (Rev. 22:7b NIV).  And to “keep the words of the prophecy” has something to do with “washing their robes” (Rev. 22:14 NIV) and “the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:8b NIV).  Even further, it has to do with “staying awake” and keeping their clothes (or righteous acts) with them so that they “may not go naked and be shamefully exposed” (Rev. 16:15 NIV).  Jesus calls these people “blameless” because “no lie was found in their mouths” (Rev. 14:5 NIV).  This apparently refers to their testimony of faith before their accusers in the context of emperor worship.

This was not about perfectionism so that they deserved heaven but about gratitude and loyalty in the face of persecution and suffering, pain and death.  In fact, a loud voice in heaven declared that “they overcame him (the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:11 NIV).  Under the altar, “the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained” (Rev. 6:9 NIV) were crying out for God to vindicate them. 

But this was not just for the individual believer but for the churches as well.  Jesus made it clear that he was giving “this testimony for the churches” (Rev. 22:16 NIV) and that he stood at the door of the churches and knocked to be let in (Rev. 3:20 NIV).  The letters were written to the churches, even though they included the individuals who made up the churches as well. 

Yes, a decision needs to be made by both individual believers and churches as well.  This call to radical discipleship affects us all.  Understanding the context of this great eternal drama that calls us into the very throne room of God will be essential.  A lot of people will get it wrong and in doing so will ignore the call and the warnings to wake up, repent, and get serious about their walk with God so that their testimony will be effective in the hands of the king who now sits on the throne.  Life is indeed hard and, even as believers, we are not immune.  It is in the context of these difficulties that our testimony will be empowered to become an effective witness of the transformation within. 

It starts in the throne room of God who has already demonstrated his covenant-keeping character with the symbols of a rainbow (the covenant with Noah) and the peals of thunder (the covenant with Moses).  Even more, he has demonstrated his patience with sin and evil by allowing the “sea of glass, clear as crystal,” the reservoir of human evil, to remain in his presence, always before him, always under his gaze, not turning away, not diminishing or clouding the truth but seeing that rebellion “clear as crystal” before Him. 

These are truths that are already hard to fathom since the justice and purity of God do not allow for any “unclean” thing (Rev. 21:27 NIV) to dwell in his presence.  Yet the truth that God tolerates sin and evil because of the righteousness of Christ, the Lamb slain “before the foundations of the earth” (Rev. 13:8 NIV), tells us that the Plan of Redemption is already underway.  It was not merely Jesus who came up with the plan to rescue mankind from his own folly but rather that of the Father and the Holy Spirit as well.  “For God so loved the world,” John 3:16 tells us, meaning all three persons of the Godhead, even though it would be Jesus who would become the Lamb that was slain. 

Here we have the proof that God the Father has already made His decision to establish an uneasy truce with his rebellious children that would allow for a brief space in time for them to come to their senses and repent.  But they would need help.  The rebellion was too deep and the addiction to their self-authority was too strong for them to make it back to paradise on their own.  Steps would have to be taken.  God would have to intervene.  It would cost him dearly since he would have to take the judgment upon his own shoulders for the sake of his children.

In the Christian understanding of God, there are two truths that cannot be avoided.  The first is that the justice of God cannot be laid aside.  We live in an age, especially since the preaching ministry of Dwight L. Moody when the love of God is preached almost to the exclusion of the justice and wrath of God.  We are not convinced that things are quite that bad.  We discuss whether or not hell is literally (or metaphorically) a place of great torment or that it lasts forever.  We doubt the morality of a God who would send people to that horrible place who are otherwise fairly normal, upstanding citizens of Earth.  We don’t understand this preoccupation of God with the second death and his willingness to sacrifice everything to save at least some people from that eternal fate. 

However difficult it may be for us to grasp; Jesus was clear about the problem when he told his disciples “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matt. 10:28 NIV).  This is the backdrop to the great plan of redemption that was taking place and the key moment in history that was being enacted in the transition of power from God the Father to Jesus the Son. 

Whatever else you want to say about the problem, you cannot avoid the plain truth of the Scriptures that it took the suffering and death of Christ on the cross to resolve it.  If there was any other way to deal with sin and evil, God would have taken it.  If there was a shortcut, a less painful solution, a way that did not lead into the very bowels of death and hell, wouldn’t God have preferred to take that route?  Of course.  And even further, we cannot avoid the heartbreaking reality that not all people will be saved.  Many, many people would be lost for all eternity into that second death from which there was no escape.  Most people in fact. 

Again, Jesus made this clear to his disciples when he said “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7: 13-14 NIV). 

We cannot pick and choose the Scriptures that we find easier to understand or more acceptable to our sensitivities.  We must look clearly into the face of reality as Jesus explains it to us and accept both his warnings and his help.  If hell is not real, then what need do we have of the cross?  If the second death is not final, then why would God allow suffering and death to be the midwife of our testimony?  I am convinced that nothing can happen to me that God does not allow, and I know that he loves me to death. 

Even Paul reminds us that “if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31b, 32 NIV).  He is here talking about the providence of God.  But why does the providence of God include suffering and pain and death?  That doesn’t seem right.  Paul had just finished saying that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28 NIV) and he claims that God is an expert in turning evil into good.

We hear of the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers but forgives them with these words when he says, “You meant evil against me, but God turned it into good” (Genesis 50:20 NIV), raising Joseph to a prominent position in Egypt so that he could save many people, including his brothers, from a terrible famine.  But was there no other way?  Why allow evil in the first place?  Why must God be an expert in turning evil into good instead of being an expert at getting rid of evil in the first place? 

These are questions that the Book of Revelation will address for us but only if we start at the beginning and understand the proper context for what is going on.  Together with Paul, we believe that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” (Rev. 8:35 NIV).  Notice that we are not saved from these things but rather that these things cannot separate us from “the love of Christ.”

And Paul doesn’t mince words here.  He makes it clear that “for your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36 NIV).  But who wants to be considered “a sheep?”  Who wants to turn the other cheek or bless those who curse you?  And since he is quoting from the Old Testament and applying it to New Testament believers as well, this appears to be the case for all of God’s people throughout history.  Including today. 

What a discouraging situation.  Perhaps for many of us, this is more than we bargained for.  Nobody told us in our discipleship class that we should expect this kind of treatment and that God would allow it to happen.  That he would not protect us in every situation but rather transform every situation, no matter how bad, into something that is eternally good. 

There is always a redemptive purpose to our suffering and that should comfort us, even empower us to continue to follow Jesus, carrying our cross daily, and willing to suffer any inconvenience, any difficulty, any cost to be his disciple.  That is what it means to be a radical disciple of Jesus Christ in any age.  You can fight it or you can embrace it.  You can be like Joseph who was happy with how things turned out or you can blame God for being unjustly accused and wallowing in prison.

In fact, that is how we become those who “overcome” and are considered by Christ to be “conquerors” of their fears, their lethargy, their lack of love, their distractions, and their small ambitions.  Paul tells us in plain words “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NIV).  Just in case the Book of Revelations was not clear about the process of becoming “conquerors” in Christ, Paul tells us that we can only do it “through him who loved us” which is why Jesus had told the churches in his letters that they needed a greater intimacy with him in order to make effective use of the door of opportunity in ministry that was about to come upon them. 

So where does that leave us? 

We said that there were two unavoidable truths about our situation from heaven’s point of view that we must accept.  The first is that the justice of God is an immutable part of his character and that his wrath is more than justified and that there is no alternative way to avoid that reality whether we agree with it or not or even understand it properly.  It is a fact of life that even God himself cannot avoid.  He does not simply set his justice aside in the name of love.  The cross is proof enough that the situation is dire indeed and that the majority of people will simply not make it to heaven.  Only a remnant will remain.

But that second truth about the reality of our situation must also be stated in no uncertain terms.  The love of God is equally as powerful as his justice and wrath.  But there can be no battle or duality between these two sides of the character of God.  They are both true in one person.  They are two parts of one integrated whole.  The justice of God is rooted in his love and his love is rooted in and a part of his justice.  Perhaps we can say that they are two sides of the same coin.  The coin is the character of God.  That is why we say that God is good.  He cannot be good if he is not just, and he cannot be good if he is not just as equally full of love.

It was an impossible dilemma that we put him into, our Creator and Father, when we decided to rebel against his authority and rule in our lives, but he resolved it by taking it upon himself to fulfill his justice with an act of love.  So, when you see him, your God and Father, sitting on the throne with a scroll in his hands, you should be full of gratitude that he is a good God, that he found a way to solve the dilemma and to save at least some of the people from a fate worse than death.  That fact that many will still die, and he could not avoid it, tells you how serious the situation is.  The fact that he found a way to save some at the cost of his own Son, tells you how serious the situation is.  This is no small or simple matter. 

God sits on the throne with a scroll in his right hand demonstrating his commitment to a plan of redemption that will include both justice and love and that the difference between the two would be adjudicated by his Son, Jesus Christ.  The plan of redemption is not without suffering, pain, and death.  It includes the curses of God at the very beginning of time.  It allows mankind to continue to practice their evil without immediate retribution.  It recognizes that not everyone will respond or benefit from the plan of redemption that he undertook from the beginning.  It is a plan full of wars, famine, plagues, and death and so it has been since the beginning of time.  We have gotten used to it, but God sees it clearly through the “sea of glass” and feels it deeply through the cross of Christ. 

So, the “scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals” is best understood as the plan of redemption from the beginning of time to the end of time in the context of sin and evil, war and death.  Putting up with that “impurity” in his presence was an act of love based on what his son would do even “before the foundations of the earth.”  What exactly the seals are (and the trumpets and the bowls of the wrath of God) will come later but for now, we can only be grateful that we have a God who has a plan to save us. 

“And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it” (Rev. 5: 2,3 NIV).

What does John mean when he says, “to open the scroll or even look inside it?”  To “even look inside it” seems to indicate merely knowing what the scroll or the plan was perhaps to share that knowledge with John.  But to “open it” is something more.  It indicates someone who can break the seals and thereby set in motion the plan of redemption that God will use to save his people from the second death.  Each time that Jesus breaks one of the seals, something happens.  To “open” the scroll means, therefore, to bring it to completion. 

But let’s not get confused here on the timeline.  The plan of redemption started already at the beginning of time when Adam and Eve first rebelled against God.  It did not start at the time of the ascension of Jesus after his resurrection.  Perhaps that is why it is said that the Lamb was slain “before the foundations of the world” perhaps as an indication of the “eternal present” of heaven that sees the past, present, and future as one continual, coherent reality.  Perhaps. 

More likely still is the simple truth that when Jesus agreed to become the Lamb who was slain and he made that agreement before the foundations of the world, it would be so because he said it would be so. 

We often call this “realized eschatology” when we talk about the reality of our future condition in heaven.  God declared that it was so and therefore you could take it to the bank.  You could count on it.  It was immutable and sure.  The word of God will never be taken back and cannot be changed by any force or power in heaven or on earth.  Jesus said that he would become the Lamb who was slain and so it would be.  The entire Old Testament signs and types are based on a future reality (future for us) that would surely take place.  The reason why the Old Testament sacrifices could really and truly make you right with God is because they are a reflection of a deeper reality that would most certainly take place at a future date. 

Much of the plan of redemption, from the covenant with Noah to the covenant with Moses to the sacrifices and the priests and the words of the prophets and the messianic prophecies, were true and real in the Old Testament precisely because Jesus would most certainly come and die for the sins of his people. 

And so, the scroll represents both the Old Testament and the New Testament phases of the plan of redemption, the first in shadow and the second in reality, but both true and effective in their intent. 

And no one else could make this plan work.  It was too dangerous.  It was too difficult.  No one else could satisfy the justice of a good God other than God himself, in the person of his son.  And to make this clear and obvious, the call must go out.  “Who is worthy?”  Who can look within this scroll and share this terrible and mighty plan of redemption, because it would be both “terrible” and “mighty” in every way? 

This was a plan that would expect God himself to become man since only a man can stand in the seat of judgment for another man. 

This was a plan that would expect God himself to be ridiculed, tortured, rejected by his own people, to be betrayed, and denied by those he loved. 

This was a plan where he would become sin for us, not just endure the punishment for sin but actually become sin on our behalf even though his pure and holy soul abhorred the very thought of it. 

This was a plan where he would be expected to drink fully from the bowl of the wrath of God even though he loved God with all of his heart, mind, and strength. 

This was a plan where he would sweat great drops of blood, crying out to his Father in anguish to be spared from this path into the jaws of hell and the heavens would be silent.

This was a plan based not on divine power and sovereignty which he could use to destroy God’s enemies, including the Devil and his followers but also including all of those on earth who followed his leading.  Sadly, that included every last one of us.  No, that would not work.  That would result only in the final judgment and the second death for everyone, and no one would be saved. 

This was a plan that had to be executed with finesse and determination using the power of humility, love, and submission to the will of the Father who was fierce in his love for his people. 

This was a plan based not on the love that Jesus had for his followers but on the love he had for his Father in heaven when the darkness closed in around him and his prayers were not heard and the heavens were silent.  When faith was all that was left and loving obedience in the face of suffering and death was the only testimony that could defeat evil in its own lair. 

And he would have to go even there to face death and hell. The God of all life, who sustains each one of us, would have to die and go to Hell and wrestle the keys of death and hell from the great dragon himself and lead his people in triumphant procession out of the jaws of evil and into the light of his love and care. 

So, yes, this plan was dangerous and strange and outrageous, and unexpected.  It was a plan that no doubt took the dragon by surprise.  Not that there was any doubt as to the outcome, but it was not a conventional means of defeating your enemies.  Superior force and tactics were normally the elements needed for success in warfare.  But the power here was not the power of horses and weapons of warfare but rather the power of love for the Father exercised in loving obedience.

Why would that be the case?  Simply because there really is no war between heaven and hell in a battle for your soul.  The devil would like you to think so.  But no, hell is no match for the power of heaven on any level.  Rather the issue was in the heart of man and whether or not he could learn to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to make his relationship with God more important than even his life.  This was about reversing the Fall, bringing a broken relationship into wholeness again.  It was about reconciliation between the Father and his children. 

He would need help.  Not just from the example of Christ but from the power of the Holy Spirit within.  The battle for the heart of man is not about defeating the devil but transforming a life with the power of the cross.  It was about the ministry of reconciliation.  It was about taking people who were already under the influence and control of the devil and bringing them into the light through the ministry of Jesus Christ. 

Of course, no one else could make that happen. 

Only Jesus was “worthy” to implement the plan of redemption that started before the foundations of the world but found fulfillment in the coming of the Lion and the Lamb. 

Only Jesus could take the scroll from the hands of the Father and thereby transfer the power of heaven into the hands of the Son so that he could complete the plan of redemption. 

Only Jesus could then return the throne to the Father at the end of time together with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation and so bring an end to the rebellious human history and usher in a new heaven and a new earth.

“I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:4,5 NIV).

So why does John weep so bitterly? 

Does he not understand what is going on?  Doesn’t he already know that Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world?  Of course, he does in the flesh, but here there seems to be something else going on.  We have to speculate a little bit but there are some good indicators of what is really going on. 

This weeping prophet seems to represent mankind who stands naked before the throne of God in his sin and wickedness.  He sees the eternal fate of those who are lost.  He understands that God has a plan as represented by the scroll, but no one seems to be able to make it come to pass.  We need to appreciate the moment.  Here is a holy pause that requires a proper response. 

Is this the weeping of repentance?  I think not.  Repentance requires some hope that you will be forgiven but that is part of the plan of redemption that is still sealed in the hand of God. 

Is this the weeping of a prophet who is frustrated with the delays facing God’s plans to save his people?  I think not.  God has no delays.  He accomplishes his work “in the fullness of time” exactly when he wants to do so. 

Is this the weeping of mankind in their pain and misery before the plan of redemption is enacted to save them?  I think that is closer.  But we need to remember that this bitter weeping is before the throne of God and with the realization that there is perhaps a way to be saved but that it requires someone who is “worthy” to make it happen.  And you don’t know yet who that might be.

Take a deep breath and let me tell you a story. 

It is the story of a pastor who cheated on his wife with the church secretary.  It wasn’t just a one-night stand but an affair of the heart.  When his wife found out, she hung herself in the garage and her body was found by him the next day. 

Whether it was out of shame because she didn’t want to face the social disgrace that would come upon their family, or out of spite because she wanted to destroy him with the guilt that would come from her decision to kill herself because of his actions, we don’t know.  But you can imagine the fallout from those two acts of sin and evil perpetrated on the very people you were closest to.  If you can feel the shame of this young pastor and the guilt that he carried on his shoulders, and the bitter weeping that consumed him day and night, you might begin to understand this weeping prophet.

Because this story is not an isolated incident.  It happens over and over again, almost every day, in every part of the world, to greater and lesser extents, in every religion, in every home, in every life.  Who among us can say that we are not ashamed of ourselves and what we have done or have left undone?  Who among us can pretend not to be guilty of sin and evil in our own hearts? 

Most certainly there are those who have hardened their hearts, denied the guilt, and put away the shame with their justifications and rationalizations.  No doubt.  But the weeping prophet represents mankind face-to-face with its Creator where there is no place to hide, and all things are brought into the light. 

In that context, knowing that our sin and evil have caused this great dilemma and even greater sacrifice, knowing that we are to blame, we are the ones who should be ashamed, we are the ones who are in need of salvation, knowing that truth should make us weep. 

Like many people who come to the foot of the cross in shame, who weep bitterly for their sins, who are under the severe tutelage of the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they can feel the shame of the cross, the shame of their sin that causes the cross to be necessary but they must pass on to the point when they can also embrace the love of the cross in order to be healed.

We aren’t quite there yet in our heavenly drama.  We are at the point of deep and abiding shame as it should be and desperate for someone who is “worthy” to set us free. 

Of course, it was one of the elders who would announce that there was a solution, that there was good news.  The elders represent the people of God from the Old and the New Testament and their job was to spread the good news of salvation through the cross.  “Do not weep!” Someone is able to save you from your sin and the consequences of your evil.  And that someone is the Lion who is also a Lamb. 

There is more to come but getting here is an important step.  How can we “ignore so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3 NIV).  Without the proper context, none of the rest makes sense.  But that is not to say that everyone can get here.  This is a place for believers who exercise faith.  This is not for those who brazenly confront God with their claims against him for allowing evil on earth.  This is not for those who ignore his covenant-keeping character or the cost of submitting himself to the reality of pain and suffering and death out of love for his people. 

It is not an easy place to get to, this place of weeping with shame and longing for salvation from our sins but that is the power of the cross and we will weep with the prophet and rejoice in the salvation that we do not deserve but are so thankful that we are given it.  To weep in shame before the throne of God and rejoice with all of creation at his great plan of redemption is to be made ready to hear what the spirit is saying to the churches.

The Desert Warrior