The Directors Chair
(Revelation 4 & 5)
By Dr. Roy Clements
I shall never forget my first visit to the serious theatre. It was a school outing to the Old Vic where they were presenting Macbeth. It was a play in which I had a personal interest because I was to feature in my school's production of the same work later in the term. I didn't have a major part; in fact, I was to be an Apparition – conjured up by the three witches to give Macbeth some rather dubious political advice! I had no name; Shakespeare simply dubbed my couple of lines as the words of 'a bloody child'! But I was all-agog to see how the Old Vic was going to handle this demanding role.
When the moment I was waiting for arrived, I was so enchanted that for all I I knew they could have been real witches on the stage. The Old Vic succeeded in producing not only some most realistic thunder and lightning, but by some clever lighting effects involving fluorescent paint, they produced an extraordinary eerie atmosphere on stage, so that the bloody Apparition whose role I knew so well appeared to hang in a halo of light in mid-air. It was joyously creepy for all the hundreds of schoolchildren who were watching. And it began an interest that lasted the rest of my schooldays, not in acting, but in stagecraft, in the technical wizardry that goes on behind the scenes. I wasn't an actor for the rest of my school career, I was a backstage boy, trying to learn some of those tricks that the Old Vic had demonstrated.
Ever since those days, I have always rather begrudged the prominence which the narnes of actors seem to have on theatre programmes, or on the credits after a TV film, just because their faces are seen. Anybody who has actually worked on a play knows that the real genius, the real brains, are not out there in front of the limelight at all; they are behind the scenes and supremely, of course, in that canvas chair that De Milne made famous, with the word 'Director' written on the back of it.
That's where the real creative genius lies – where the lighting effects, the stage sets, the camera angles, the author's script, and the actors' performance are all welded together to make of all these diverse elements, a single dramatic whole. It is the director who really ought to occupy the centre of the stage, yet he never does, and as a result, audiences are rarely aware of the supreme control that he exercises over everything that is going on.
That backstage experience of mine helps me to understand a bit the meaning of the visionary experience that John records in Revelation 4 and 5. It was the Bard himself, wasn't it, who said that all the world's a stage and all the men and women players. According to the Bible's view of things, there is a lot of truth in that metaphor. History isn't just a chaos of random events; according to the Bible it is going somewhere. Like a play, it has an inner coherence. There's a theme; there's a goal. We are the actors in that drama. Not puppets you understand. We are not being manipulated by hidden strings. No, we are free to make of our assigned characters what we will. Yet the Bible insists we have a definite part to play. It is that part that gives our life meaning – that saves us from the despair of being nothing but an absurd accident in a cosmic game of dice. We are here for something; we have a role in the universe, you and I.
The trouble is though, according to the Bible, by an act of monumental carelessness on the part of somebody in Scene 1, all the scripts have been lost! As a result none of us knows our lines, nor have we any clear memory of the plot. Indeed, quite a few people deny that there ever was any script at all. History just evolves, they say, by its own internal laws. There is no plan; there is no plot. If the world is a stage and we are actors, then we are playing in a comic farce.
Fortunately, the Bible considers that sort of cynical attitude is totally mistaken. Of course, it is difficult when you are without a script, and you are stuck in the flow of events, to pick out the threads which integrate the drama and draw it towards its grand finale; but the Bible is adamant that those threads are there. And it was to assure John that they were there that he was given this vision.
I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice … said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' (4:1)
What we have here is a peep behind the scenes. For a few brief moments the curtains have been drawn back to expose what is going on in the wings of history. A window has been opened on all that backstage activity which usually nobody can see. In an ecstasy of prophetic vision, John is, to change the metaphor, conveyed into the cosmic control room. He sees the hub from which the wheels of history are turning – the operations centre of the universe.
As with all the Book of Revelation, his description is heavily loaded with symbols. It is hard to imagine how he could avoid them. It is possible to capture the kernel of John's remarkable insight into what is going on in the wings if we focus on three of those cryptic symbols: The Lamb, the Scroll, and the Throne. Or, if you prefer to keep to the theatrical analogy: the Leading Man, the Missing Script and the Director's Chair.
1. The Director's chair
At once, I was in the Spirit and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold upon their heads. From the throne came flashes oflightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. (4:2-5)
To understand the importance of this vision to John and his contemporaries, we have to remind ourselves that the church, in his day, was going through very difficult times. Persecution was rife; false teaching abounded; the spiritual zeal of many was flagging. John has already provided a vivid picture of all this in the earlier chapters of Revelation, as he has surveyed the rather depressing situation of the seven churches of Asia. Indeed, John himself as he writes is in penal exile on the island of Patmos, cut off from those congregations which were his pastoral responsibility.
Things didn't look good for the church and, inevitably, the faith of the Christians was being severely tested.
After all, Jesus had said that, with his coming, the final act of history had been embarked upon – the kingdom of God was at hand. But the years were going by and there was no sign of the final curtain yet.
Jesus had promised that there were dressing rooms waiting to receive faithful actors when they made their final exit. But the first Christians were dying now; some of them as martyrs. Could that backstage accommodation be absolutely relied upon?
To cap it all, Jesus had said that, though the devil in his arrogance was trying to upstage him, they didn't have to fear, because the author was determined to write the devil out of the script. And yet, when the Christians looked around the world, they saw unfettered evil on all sides. They must surely have wondered if Jesus confidence that evil would be conquered in the final act was a little over-optimistic. If anything, the devil seemed to have made a rather success of stealing the whole show!
It is at times like this of course, when Christians are tempted to doubt God's promises, that more than anything else they need a strong conviction about the sovereignty of God. And that is precisely the purpose of this vision of the Director's chair.
On the plane of history, the church seemed utterly helpless before the rabid onslaught of hostile demonic powers, but behind the scenes, says John, calm and unruffled, sits a God who is in full control of the situation. He is still in the driving seat, however rough the road.
This vital perspective controls the whole Book of Revelation and it is an indicator of an important way in John differed from some other Jewish and Christian writers of this period. The style of writing you find in Revelation, using bizarre symbolism drawn from the books of Daniel and Ezekiel strikes a modern reader as very odd, but it was far from unique in the first-century. There were many such books – scholars term them “apocalyptic” works. Some think the symbolic style was a kind of code that enabled the authors to say politically dangerous things without the Roman authorities being able to understand them.
It's important to note, however, that although John uses apocalyptic language he does not subscribe to the general worldview of other apocalyptic authors. In fact, John belongs not so much to the apocalyptic tradition as to the prophetic tradition – which maybe why he actually calls his book “a prophecy”.
You see, one of the characteristics of the apocalyptic writers was that they saw the world as hopelessly dominated by evil. As far as they were concerned, the throne of the universe had been actually usurped by Satan, and the kingdom of God could only arrive when God exerted his omnipotence to reclaim it. As a result of that perspective, apocalyptic writers were extreme social pessimists. The world was a lost cause; it was an utter waste of time trying to improve it. The Devil had taken over. A supernatural answer, involving the direct intervention of God in judgment, was the only one solution. So what was a believer to do ? Why, wait for the millennium, that's what. As far as secular culture and politics were concerned, as far as civilisation was concerned, let it all go to hell – the quicker it gets there, the quicker the Messiah will come. That was their attitude.
Some Evangelicals with a rather similar attitude today! Indeed, I sometimes fear that kind of millennial extremism is influencing current American policy in the Middle East!
Well, it is important to realise that John does not endorse such social pessimism. For in his vision, the present world is not in the control of the devil. On the contrary, God is still on the throne. In this respect, as I say, John shares the perspective not of his apocalyptic contemporaries but the Old Testament prophets who came before him. That was precisely their point of view.
Think of Isaiah, ministering in the temple, disconsolate because good king Uzziah had died, wondering, no doubt, what sort of inferior monarch would take his place. Suddenly, the whole place is ablaze with light: “I saw the Lord,” he says. Where? “Seated on a throne, high and exalted” (Isaiah 6:1-6).
Or think of Ezekiel, walking demoralised by the river Chebar, a priest in exile – John on Patmos would have felt a lot of sympathy with him. Suddenly, Ezekiel is engulfed in a fearful storm, a fiery chariot appears and borne upon it, what does he see? – a sapphire throne. And high above, on that throne, was a figure “like that of a man, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.”
It is quite clear that John's vision of God in heaven here in Revelation 4 borrows its symbolism quite deliberately from those earlier visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Indeed, you could say it is the NT sequel to those visions. The emerald rainbow around the throne, the thunder and lightning, the crystal sea – all these are allusions to Ezekiel's vision. The four living creatures on the other hand are clearly related to the six-winged seraphim singing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts”, which Isaiah saw in the temple. Interestingly, John has fused these seraphim of Isaiah with the cherubim which Ezekiel saw bearing the throne upon the chariot in his vision. John has welded together elements from both Isaiah's and Ezekiel's visions to find language to describe his own – for it is essentially the same vision – a vision of the incontestable sovereignty of God.
Of course there are elements which are distinctive, the most novel being his introduction of the twenty-four elders, who surround the throne. There is no obvious parallel for them, either in Isaiah's or Ezekiel's vision, or indeed in other apocalyptic writings. So the commentators have speculated grandly on what they might be. Some see them as another order of angels; but 'elder' is a very strange word to apply to an angel. In the New Testament. It usually refers to a senior member in the church or the synagogue. So perhaps the most likely suggestion is that these twenty-four represent the idealised people of God, the twelve patriarchs of lsrael numbered together with the the twelve apostles of the New Testament, numbering twenty-four altogether?
The debate about their identity might be settled by 5:10, where the elders sing, 'You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on earth.' That third person pronouns them – seems to imply that the elders are not numbered among the redeemed. Unfortunately, there is a strong alternative manuscript tradition that reads, not 'you have made them', but 'you have made us, to be a kingdom and we shall reign on earth'. And of course, if that first person pronoun were correct, then it would confirm the view that the elders are a picture of the people of God.
However, we can't be dogmatic about the meaning of 24 elders, nor about the seven angels, nor the seven lamps, though we may have our personal opinions and conjectures. Where the interpretation of Revelation's symbols are uncertain like this, it probably implies that the interpretation is not particularly important. John's imagery is often intentionally vague, because its purpose is not to provide esoteric information, but rather to communicate a most phenomenal visionary experience. John is not teaching us about the geography of heaven; he is not instructing us in the hierarchical orders of angels. What John wants to get across to us is the dazzling prospect of a God who, behind the troubled scenes of this present world, sits enthroned amidst unceasing adoration. The four living creatures and the seven lamps and the twenty-four elders and the jasper and carnelian, and the emerald rainbow and the crystal sea, are not included for didactic purposes. If John, had intended to teach us something by the use of these symbols, the Holy Spirit would no doubt have ensured that their interpretation was less ambiguous. No, they are primarily there, like the dramatic lighting effects on the Old Vic stage, to enhance our sense of awe before the divine majesty.
People who become obsessed by the interpretation of the details of symbolism in Revelation miss the whole point of the book. John doesn't intend that we should come away from his vision with our brows furrowed in perplexity, asking what does it all mean? Rather, he intends that we should come away wide-eyed and breathless with amazement. He intends Revelation 4 to be an exclamation mark in our experience, not a question mark.
The holy God we worship is infinitely transcendent, eternally unchanging, the architect of our lives, the source of our being. This is the One who sits in the Director's Chair. This is the One who, from his unique vantage point behind the scenes, governs the human drama. However the events on stage may seem to deny it, make no mistake about this; it is his purpose that shapes the course of history. Indeed, without that purpose there would be no history.
For John's contemporaries, that insight constituted not just a pietistic stimulus to their worship, it was also a powerful political statement of stunning relevance to their practical lives. For when they stepped outside their meeting place, they confronted a tough world – a world that was increasingly hostile to their faith and demanding a high price of those brave enough to publicly confess it.
John isn't shy about making these political implications quite plain. The manner in which the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves before the throne and lay their crowns before it was in the ancient world an act of political obeisance. It was first begun in the time of Alexander the Great, and taken up by the later kings of Asia Minor. It was something that John's readers knew all about – falling before the throne and taking off your crown.
As for that chorus of worship that they chanted – “You are worthy” – these were the very words with which the liturgy of emperor-worship began. Rome forced its colonial subjects to honour the emperor as Dominus et Deus – Lord and God. So, in these responses the elders and the four living creatures are quite deliberately imitating the sort of sycophantic admiration with which the self-deified political powers-that-be in the first century sought to surround themselves.
By showing them this vision, John is asking his persecuted Christian comrades not to surrender to emperor worship. We know of a loftier throne than Caesar's, and a worthier King, he says. The course of history doesn't lie in Roman hands, but in God's. And the petty favours they offer to their flatterers are nothing to what God has in store for those who love him.
So too, we today mustn't be content simply to be moved to worship by Revelation 4. This vision of the throne is a powerful assertion of our human freedom in the face of tyranny, an assertion far more radical than bullets and bombs. The Christian doesn't need to assassinate tyrants; they are not important enough. Let them lock us up if they will; they can't dislodge that fiery Light upon the throne. Nor can they halt the adoration that perpetually surrounds him. No, we join heaven in defying every human tyrant and dictator. We will not honour them – we will not vote for them – we reserve our admiration for the one who really deserves it -” Worthy art Thou!”
But … wait a minute! There's a hesitation in the vision. It seems heaven itself is not without its problems; there's a hiccough at the Control Centre. Someone is asking a question and it is a question that doesn't seem to have an immediate answer.
2. The Missing Script
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. (5:1-3)
There are three pieces of evidence that enable us to make a confident identification of the scroll.
The first is to notice the similarity between this scroll and one which Ezekiel was given, immediately after the opening vision of his book (Ezekiel 2). There is a clear parallel between the two scrolls because in both cases it is recorded that they were written on both sides – an unusual observation prehaps implying that the scroll was so crammed with detail, it was overflowing. In Ezekiel 2, we are told the contents of the scroll were words of lament and mourning and woe. So there is a strong implication that this scroll that John saw, had something to do with divine judgment, just as Ezekiel's did.
The second thing that helps us understand its significance is to notice what happens in the rest of the Book of Revelation, as the seals on the scroll are eventually broken. As this book is progressively opened, things happen on the world stage. The opening of the scroll seems to indicate the unfolding of God's purposes in human history.
The third piece of evidence to note is the further references to such a scroll in the Book of Revelation. In 13:18 and 17:8 we read of a scroll which is called the Book of Life, where the names of the redeemed have been written ever since the creation of the world. We are told that this is the scroll which belongs by right to the Lamb who was slain. That allusion to the Lamb clearly points back to this initial vision in chapter 5 and strongly suggests that the Book of Life and this scroll in God's right hand are one and the same.
Putting all this evidence together, I think we can say with confidence that this is, what we might call, the Scroll of Destiny. It is the missing script. We actors may have lost our copies, but mercifully, the Director still has his original, and he is holding onto it. What's more his edition includes a full cast list, the names of all the redeemed chosen from before the foundation of the world are written there.
Here, in other words, is God's plan for human history, his plan to judge the world, his plan to save his people. It is all there. No detail is missing. No name is missing.
But, significantly, this plan is still unfulfilled and secret. As John puts it in his typically symbolic way, it is sealed with seven seals. And the rather unexpected, not to say disturbing, thing is that apparently no-one can break the seals.
What an extraordinary suggestion that is! Here are the eternal decrees of God and they can't be carried out. Here are the names of the elect of God and they can't be called out. Here is the final judgment of God and it cannot be passed out. The book of destiny is in God's hands but even he, it seems, lacks the power to open it and carry out its provisions.
John is showing us a universe whose future seems to be hanging in the balance. Like a great ship standing on the slipway, God's plan of judgement and salvation is poised, waiting for someone to cut the ribbon and launch history upon its final voyage – but who can do it? It is not strength that is required, or the mighty angel could do it himself. No, God is looking for some special kind of virtue: 'Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?' The challenge goes out to men and to angels, to the entire universe, but nobody responds, nobody even dares to claim the right to the tiniest peep inside those secret pages.
I wept and wept because no-one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
So John portrays to us the agony of his world and ours. We feel, intuitively, that there is a purpose to our being here. We speak of progress, because deep within our human nature there is an inescapable conviction that we have a noble and glorious destiny. But we seem incapable of achieving that destiny. It remains, in every age, a tantalising mirage, haunting our dreams, but always eluding our grasp. A hope, but one which never seems to come to reality.
These tears of John are echoed by countless thousands of human beings who find themselves frustrated by the apparent invincibility of evil. Things always go wrong; the revolution never works Try as we may, utopia never comes.
The early Christians must have thought when they got rid of the emperor Nero everything would be OK – and then along came the emperor Domitian – and things just got worse!
The Russians probably thought once they got rid of the Tsar they would find freedom from serfdom – and then along came Lenin and Stalin, and things just got worse!
Perhaps President Bush thought things would be better once he got rid of Saddam Hussein? He should have read those history books at school more carefully – as the French say “plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose”.
Put in biblical terms, John tears here are offering a wordless enquiry. They are asking if God's eternal purpose can be thwarted? Could God be held to a draw in his cosmic game of chess with the powers of evil? Could he even succumb to a demonic checkmate? That's the ultimate queston. And as John looks, even the angels of heaven are asking it. Can God's purpose, in creating the world, be denied fulfilment? Those unopenable seals seem to suggest it can. Who is worthy to open them? That's the vital question. Until it is answered, the drama of history remains locked in the interval between Act 1 and Act 2 and John must go on weeping while the powers of evil reek havoc.
But look! All isn't lost!
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' (5:5).
Of course! The Messiah predicted in the prophets – the Son of David – he is the one we are looking for. He's the hero – the leading man of God's drama. He is the one who will trigger the final flow of world history. He is the one who will bring in the plan of redemption and judge the world. If anybody can do it, he can.
Where is he? Look for a Lion, chaps – that's what they call him, the Lion of Judah. Yes, look for a Lion!
But when John looked, it wasn't a lion he saw.
3. The Leading Man
'Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne.'
In all John's symbolism, I don't think there is a greater master-stroke than this. It would take a whole book to capture in prose the poignancy that John has encapsulated here in a single stroke of visual metaphor.
Here is a “Lamb”, a beast of weakness, a beast of harmlessness and innocence, but most of all to the Jew, a beast of sacrifice: a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.
But this Lamb is not lying prostrate on a butcher's slab; he is standing, regnant. He has horns, seven of them, symbols of power; and he has eyes, too, seven of them, symbols of those archangels who serve the throne of heaven.
So this is no mild and dreamy baa-lamb! Though he bears the marks of recent suffering, they are the wounds of war. For this is the conquering Lamb. With prophetic genius, John has fused two powerful and evocative images from the Old Testament: on the one hand, that of the Passover Lamb from Exodus 12; on the other, that of the triumphant He-Goat from the book of Daniel. John has brought these two together to demonstrate how, in the paradoxical economy of God, victory has come out of suffering and achievement out of apparent failure.
There are two things to notice about this Lamb. They could, arguably, be the two most important observations in the whole of Book of Revelation.
The first is the pivotal significance of the Cross in human history.
And they sang a new song, 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals.' (5:9)
Why is the Lamb uniquely “worthy”?
'Because you were slain.'
Not because of the glorious person he is from eternity, as Son of God.
Not because ofthe decisive role he played in creation as Word of God.
But because of what he accomplished, in time and history, as the Lamb of God – that is what qualifies him to be the one who opens the book of life and judgment.
Not as the author of the Book; but as its leading man, does Jesus come to take the missing script from the Director's hand.
Why do I say this so important ? Because it points to the pivotal significance of the cross in human history.
One of the greatest problems in understanding the Bible's view of history, is to do justice to two apparently contradictory elements that we find within it. On the one hand, the Bible insists that history is determined: God's will shall be done. Everything is planned in advance, and it works out according to his eternal decree Yet, on the other hand, the Bible also insists that history is significant in its own nght. It is not a game God plays for his amusement. It is serious; it is necessary.
Yet how can that be? If God knows what he wants the end result to be, why not go straight to it? Why bother with all this trivial charade called history? It doesn't make any difference in the last analysis, does it?
John provides us with a vital clue to that mysterious dilemma. Yes, the script is written: God has chosen his elect and planned the final act of judgement with which history will be wound up – planned it down to the last detail. But that script is sealed, and those seals can be broken only on the basis of something achieved within history.
That's the extraordinary thing. The fulfilment of God's purposes In history, according to John, are contingent upon the Cross. Until that decisive event, the outcome of the drama was not a foregone conclusion, at least not as far as the actors and the audience were concerned. The Director was keeping us in suspense. Until his hero made his entrance, the angel had to go on posing his insoluble problem- 'Who is worthy?' .
It is only now, in the aftermath of the Cross, that heaven is able to sing the new song that identifies his question's answer: 'You are worthy because you were slain.'
The world may see Calvary as just the execution of a suspected criminal, or the martyrdom of a saint, but heaven sees it as the turning-point of human history. The blood that was shed there was not just, as some would have it, a mere illustration of God's willingness to forgive us. It was absolutely necessary to enable God to forgive us. Without that blood that was shed to ransom the church, the vast international community of the redeemed from every tribe and people and nation would have remained for ever a lost multitude, indistinguishable from the world. And God's purposes of grace would have been permanently frustrated.
It is only because the Lamb was slain that the seals on the book can be opened.
Do you see what I mean when I speak of pivotal significance? No more world-shattering event has ever occurred than the Cross, for, says John, that Cross has not just changed the course of human history, it has changed the unchangeable; it has changed heaven. They sing a new song there now.
The second thing to notice about the vision of the Lamb is the unique position of Jesus.
Do you see where he is? He is not standing around the throne with the elders and the living creatures, is he? He is on the throne. And he is not perched nervously on the edge of it, either. John is quite emphatic; he is at the centre of the throne.
'You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals.'
Scarcely have they finished when they are joined in worship by the innumerable company of the angelic host who add their voices to the chorus of praise;
'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!'
Thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand sing – get your pocket calculators working on the number, if you don't run out of memory space!
And scarcely have they finished their eulogy than the chorus is taken up afresh by the whole of creation: every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever'.
In the whole of the Bible you will not find a scene more triumphant, more stunning in its splendour, more gripping in its spectacle. They say Handel's Messiah was inspired by this passage, and it could well be so.
Go out into one of those wild, open places where heaven seems to come a bit closer to the earth, take your pocket hi-fi with you, and play Handel's Messiah in full quadrophony, 1,000 watts down each speaker! Then you may, perhaps, be lifted to the kind of glorious exultation that John experienced when he heard this mind-blowing symphony of praise.
And who is it offered to? To Jesus.
Can anyone be in doubt that John believed in the deity of Christ? Such worship would be utterly idolatrous on any other premise. Why, if anything, the adoration of the Lamb exceeds the adoration of the Father! For if heaven wonders at the sovereignty of God the Creator, it wonders even more at the triumph of God the Redeemer.
And this is the Jesus that we worship today. The sceptics may damn him with faint praise; they may call him a just a prophet, or a philosopher; they may have their crazy theories about what he came to do – Jesus the Spaceman, Jesus the Guru, Jesus the Freedom-fighter – heaven laughs at such nonsense! So should we. Heaven knows only one Jesus, and that is Jesus the Cosmic King, Jesus the enthroned Lamb.
This glorious Person, who has been lifted to the highest office in the universe, who occupies the very centre of the universe, consents to be our friend. They say it is not what you know, but who you know. That is not just true in this world, it is true in the next. Do you know Jesus?
Because at this very moment, he is breaking the seals. At this very moment, the final act of God's drama is underway. There can be no further hindrance to the drama's unfolding. Soon the curtain will drop and the end will come. God's leading Man will lead his fellow cast out on to the stage to take their final bows. Will you be there?
You can, you know. He died for such as you. He plans to take to heaven such as you. He plans to give such as you a leading role in the new play he is writing. There will be no backstage in this new play. The Director's chair will occupy the centre of the stage this time. And unlike the play in which we are currently participating, this one is going to go on running for ever!