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The Supremacy of the Lamb of God and the Prayers of His Saints.
" and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."  And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (Rev. 5:5-6)
Review: The Lamb of God is VICTOR. Last time we studied the paradox of Jesus Christ being called at once the Lion of Judah and the same time a Lamb The Lamb of God may I add. We learned that this is only a paradox to those who do not view the person of Christ from two vantage points first of all, it is in the person of Jesus that all the promises made to Abraham, Judah and David regarding the Throne. Secondly, it is through the person of Jesus Christ that Redemption's plan is executed the executor of that plan is Jesus Christ. So we have the Lion of Judah Jesus Christ reigning forever on the Throne and we have the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ being the executor of redemption without which none of the above would have happened no Lamb no shedding of the blood of the Lamb no kingdom on earth no promises kept to Abraham, Judah, and David.
No longer is the Lamb of God to be viewed only as the helpless, innocent sacrifice. Jesus was never helpless, of course, yes innocent, yes blameless and pure and holy, but Jesus, as the Lamb of God submitted to Redemption's plan. No longer the view of the helpless, the Lamb of God is the VICTOR. This is made abundantly clear throughout the book of Revelation. I particularly like chapters six and seven where the Lamb as the VICTOR is breaking the seals of judgment on Satan's world the world that has been under Satan's rule it is the Lamb who is breaking the seals. Jesus the Lamb of God is the VICTOR this is the symbolism of His standing within the Throne in chapter five. He is to stand to do the work of judgment of Satan's kingdom He will be the victor as the once lowly Lamb of God. He is now and will be forever supreme over all His kingdom as Lion of Judah and the victorious Lamb of God.
Jesus' Obedience results in Perfection of Redemption's Plan.
John 17:1-2 These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee,  even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life.
During those final moments before His offering Himself up as the Lamb of God, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, He prayed that prayer is recorded in John 17 -
"Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, " As troubling as the cross was in the spirit of Jesus' humanity, nevertheless He knew that it was the very means through which redemption was to be made possible.
Hebrews 10:4-7 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
All of the ritual of the tabernacle the bloody ritual would have been meaningless had it not been for the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb. Hebrews 10:4-7 is a quote from Psalm 40:6-8 with variation:
'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require  Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll.  I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:6-8.
There is a hermeneutical rule where the New Testament quotes the Old Testament with variation whenever the Holy Spirit desires to further explain and complement the Old with the New He will allow for variation in the Old Testament's quotation - it is for the purpose of further revelation. When this variation occurs both passages should be used together - " but my ears you have pierced " refers to the OT practice of piercing the ear lobe of a servant who wishes to remain permanently in his master's house he was to become a willing bondslave. This is evident in the rest of both the Hebrews and Psalm passages. " but a body hast thou prepared me: refers to the incarnation of the Son of God. That body was prepared much in the same way that the Israelite hand-picked the perfect, spotless lamb to be the Pascal lamb. When Jesus was praying to his Father, he was praying as a son, yes, but also as an obedient bondslave who was to fulfill the centuries' old practice of slaying the lamb for the sins of Israel.
" even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind " While Jesus was communing with His Father it was both as the heir of all things and as obedient Son. His heir-ship was that He would be King over all mankind. His servanthood was that He would be obedient to Redemption's plan and submit to the judgment of God on the cross for all mankind. Let us never lose sight of that fact.
Redemption's plan was to include His Lordship over all but first He had to become the Servant of God.
Philip. 2:6-11 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here is the example that Jesus is setting for the prayers of the saints first the obedience the humiliation then comes the exaltation. Jesus was to be Lord over all, but first the obedience the example of the son being no better than the slave as found in Galatians teaches the necessity of obedience the perfect example for His saints to follow is found here in John 17. He willingly endured the cross because of the outcome the completion of Redemption's plan the salvation of countless sinners:
That Redemption's Perfected Plan includes the Believing Sinner
God's Saints and their prayers.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
That joy was you and me an eternity as both the Lion and the Victorious Lamb with His saints. We are to be partners with Christ in Redemption's victory. Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father because His work was done and his reign as the exalted Son had begun. Lenski makes an important point about this priestly prayer of Jesus Christ. He could have communed with the Father alone. Rather, He communed in the presence of His disciples. The purpose of this mode of prayer was that He wanted to reveal for all time His personal interest in His own and to show them that He wanted to share with them the wonderful fellowship that He and the Father shared this is an important point to remember in this lesson. In addition to this is the importance Jesus placed on prayer to the Heavenly Father. Every matter that Jesus brought before the Father was and is to be fulfilled in every way. Here is a brief list of the matters of concern He brought before the Father:
So the writer of Hebrews encourages us all to " fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith " We are to consider our prayers an inclusive part of our function of discipleship. Without our prayers to our Heavenly Father, there is a missing link in the chain of redemption's plan for the reconciliation of the world to Himself. Let me illustrate this further from the book of Revelation.
And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev. 5:8)
We have already studied the glory of the Victorious Lamb in verses 5, 6 the point of this quotation of scripture is this: right in the middle of this wonderful glory are " the prayers of the saints " The Throne of God is meant to include the prayers of the saints. In biblical times for an individual to intrude in the court of the king without invitation meant certain death - on the other hand, we are invited to come confidently into the Throne of grace in fact He demands that we do so. Let us move on to another portion of Revelation to view the prayers of the saints in action:
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Rev. 6:10.
That was the prayer not one of sweetness and light but a gut wrenching imprecatory prayer that God make things right that He avenge their suffering and death! The answer to their prayers is found in the verses that follow see also:
Rev. 8:1-5 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
This image comes straight from the practice of the high priest in the holy place in the tabernacle and the temple. The censer was a container that would hold both coals from the golden altar and a mixture of spices:
Leviticus 16:12-13 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:  And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:
This was done on the day of Atonement when all the sins of Israel were forgiven and God was to give them another year of prosperity and protection. The imagery is one of both the forgiveness of Jehovah and the awesome majesty of His Person. Now, let us take this imagery into the Revelation account the first point I wish to make is that the prayers of the saints including those imprecatory prayers very contrary to the typical view of what should be in the prayers of the saints all the prayers of the saints belong in the Throne room of the Father! Now let us look again at the imagery of this passage. Verse 5 presents the censer the one filled with the prayers of the saints being filled with coals from the altar the altar of the slain, alive, victorious Lamb of God and fills it up to the brim and casts it in the earth as an answer to the prayers of the saints this is a picture of the cooperative relationship between the prayers of the saints and the actions of the victorious Lamb of God! It's as though Jesus is waiting in heaven to act in Redemption's behalf but is waiting for the prayer that is going to trigger that answer.
I conclude with this thought: some day many of us will have to answer to the Lord as to why we didn't consider the importance of prayer and why we didn't respond to His invitation to enter the Throne room with our petitions.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1 John 5:14-15).
1. Read from NIV, Rev. 6:1, 3-5, 7, 9, 12, 16; 7:9, 10, 14. [ Back ]
2. Gal. 4:1. [ Back ]
3. THE INTERPRETATION OF JOHN'S GOSPEL. Lenski, pg. 1114. [ Back ]
4. 1 Thes. 4:17. [ Back ]
5. Esther 5:1, 2. It took great courage for Esther to present herself to the king in this fashion without invitation - she could have at that moment been condemned to death. When the king extended the scepter that was a gesture of invitation to commune with him. [ Back ]
6. Heb. 4:16. [ Back ]