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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seven-Sealed Book


The Word of God is a seven-sealed book. Seven is the number of perfection and completion--the perfect plan of God. The root words in Hebrew are shabbat meaning “seven” and shibah meaning “the sacred full one.” Only One who is Perfect Wisdom can open the Bible. (see Revelation 5:1-10) Jesus is seen as both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb who was slain in this portion of scripture. He is the "sacred full one"--the fullness of Grace and Truth.

This scroll in Revelation 5 was written on the “inside and on the back.” The Lion of the tribe of Judah represents the Old Testament and the Lamb who was slain represents the New Testament. Moses only saw the backside of God’s goodness and glory because the Law was God’s tool to lead us to Christ who is the fullness of God’s glory. No one could see God face to face until Jesus who is the perfect image of the Father came to earth. The Law cannot give eternal life. Moses saw the Land of Promise, but couldn’t enter in because the Law fell short of God’s glory in its fullness.

In ancient times, clay and water were mixed and placed on a document to seal it to prevent tampering. The Romans sealed their wills (testaments) with seven seals made of clay and water. Upon the death of the person, the seal was broken and the document read. This heavenly scroll was sealed with seven seals also. After Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, He poured out His Holy Spirit to illuminate (open) His scriptures for all who believe.

In this scripture in Revelation, the seven horns represent perfect power and authority and the seven eyes represent perfect spiritual vision--the 7 spirits of God--the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament says that it is the Holy Spirit that will lead us into all Truth. Jesus is Truth. Jesus alone is worthy to break the seal over the Bible because of His perfect, sinless shed blood that He sacrificially gave for all mankind.

Jesus opened the spiritual understanding of the Older Testament for two of His disciples in Luke 24:25-32. These two disciples were walking down the road to Emmaus saddened by the events of Jesus’ recent death. As they were walking and talking about Jesus, He appeared to them in His resurrected body. At first they didn’t recognize Him because they were sad and in unbelief. “But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” 24:16 In other words, their spiritual vision was clouded because of their unbelief. The last time they saw Jesus, He was dead and lying in a tomb. They even called Jesus a “stranger” (foreigner) and said to Him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened there in these days?”v18 No doubt these two disciples were discouraged about the events that had just taken place with Jesus being crucified. They thought that He was the hope of Israel – the Messiah-- who would save them and would be a Mighty King. Now Jesus appears to them as a common traveler--an ordinary man. As they reached the village, Jesus was going to go on further, but they asked Him to abide with them. Jesus is a gentleman and only comes where He is invited. After these two Jewish disciples invited Jesus to stay with them, Jesus dined with them and broke bread with them. It was after they ate the bread (Word) that they recognized Jesus. First Jesus must abide in us and then He has to rightly-divide the Word for us. Then we will know Him. Just like the Jews today, these Jewish disciples didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah at first. Later, after Jesus opened up the Old Testament scriptures and showed Himself in all of them, some Jews did recognize that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.

Jesus responded to these two Jewish disciples, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. v 25-27 The Old Testament scriptures are divided into three portions: Law, Prophets and Psalms. All of the Old Testament scriptures were painting a picture of Jesus. Jesus opened these scriptures up for these two Jewish disciples and showed Himself in the Older Testament to them. V44: Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures. In this portion of scripture, Jesus gave a threefold opening:

1) opened their eyes (v31) – gave them spiritual vision

2) opened the Scriptures (v32) – (unlocked Truth) removed the seal over the Older Testament to reveal Himself within

3) opened their understanding (v45) – not only did He reveal Himself, He gave them understanding (knowledge/wisdom) of the Scriptures as well. He illuminated the Scriptures for them. Jesus was showing them in the “natural” what He would do in the “supernatural” after He ascended to the Father. Then He poured out the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.

These two Jewish men on the road to Emmaus were blinded in part because of their discouragement. They didn't recognize their Messiah Jesus when He appeared to them because He didn't come in the form they expected--as a Mighty King and Warrior. The Apostle Paul also said that the Jews as a whole were blinded regarding Jesus, their Messiah. (See 2 Cor. 3:14-16) Their unbelief is the source of their blindness. While Jesus was on the earth, He was continually fulfilling the Old Testament scriptures but the people didn’t recognize this. The early apostles always referred back to the Old Testament scriptures to see His fulfillment of them. They would quote them to illustrate that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. (See Matthew 5:17-18) Jesus fulfills all of the scriptures, not in part. He said that the Law and the Prophets prophesied of Him. (See Matthew 11:13) Jesus said, “In the volume of the book it is written of Me.” Heb. 10:7; Ps. 40:6-8

Jesus did five things with these two disciples to reveal Himself:

1. He walked with them.

2. He taught them by opening up the scriptures

3. He abided with them.

4. He fellowshipped with them at table

5. He gave bread to them.

Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him. V31 They realized that He was no “stranger” but the Lord Himself. These two disciples then ran to tell the others. As they were sharing what had happened, Jesus appeared to these others as well. It is by sharing the Good News of Jesus with others that they too recognized Him as Lord and Savior.

In the Older Testament, the Queen of Sheba is a foreshadowing of the perfected Bride of Christ. Sheba is from the Hebrew word “shabbat” meaning “seven,” the number of perfection and completion--God's perfect plan. The Queen of Sheba sought and saw all of the King’s wisdom. She also saw the glory of the King’s temple and palace. His wisdom and glory far exceeded what she had heard when she saw the King and His glory for herself. “But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.” 1 Kings 10:7 She heard from others but then she saw with her own eyes all of His wisdom, glory and splendor.

The Queen of Sheba didn’t come to the King empty-handed. Royal protocol required that a gift fit for a King is presented to the King when visiting him. This showed honor and respect. The Queen of Sheba brought an abundance of gifts to the King. And she gave the King 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. V9 This queen showered the King with gold, sweet fragrances and precious stones! Then the Queen praised Solomon’s God for placing him on the throne of Israel because of His eternal love for God's people. In return for her gifts, honor and respect, the King gave her all that she asked for or desired. King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. V13 Their relationship was one of give and take as all relationships are to be. Solomon was the King of peace. The story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba in the Older Testament is a foreshadowing of King Jesus and His Bride. Jesus’ Bride will bear many gifts for her King and will bring respect, honor and glory to His Name. Jesus gives His faithful Bride the desires of her heart. She is His Perfect Queen who has made herself ready for her Husband.

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