Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pastoral Pings (Plus) ~ Worth an Engraving

          This morning I had an AHA!!! moment when I realized that the vision of Jesus standing before the throne, looking like a lamb that had been slain,[1] tells me that we as his people are represented in the picture as those of great worth to him. We see this in the twenty-four elders[2] coming around the throne as kings and priests unto God[3]. But we also see this in the eternal testimony of Jesus' wounds.

          In heaven, Jesus will always have the appearance of one who had been slain. That appearance will include the sight of scars eternally announcing the glory of his redemptive work, but also declaring the worth of those for whom he was slain. In heaven, we will likely have a similar experience to doubting Thomas when Jesus appeared to him after his resurrection and said, “’Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”[4] There is at least some sense in which the twenty-four elders are expressing this in the book of Revelation.

          As soon as I began considering this comforting thread woven into the vision (seeing our worth in Jesus’ wounds), another Scripture popped into my head as one of those delightful connections of Scripture interpreting Scripture. In Isaiah 49, God spoke hope into Israel’s experience of his loving discipline: Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”[5]

          This is God’s own gloriously beautiful description of his love and our worth. If anything could engrave us onto the palms of God’s hands, it would be the nails of crucifixion piercing the human hands of the eternal Son of God. No wonder the hymn-writers would express:

Crown Him the Lord of love,

behold His hands and side

Rich wounds yet visible above

in beauty glorified.[6]

          Those rich wounds, still visible above in the vision of the Lamb looking as though it had been slain, are glorified in a beauty that is as personal as it is real, for these are the very engravings of God’s promise. God’s children are engraved on his hands. Ugly, rough, Roman nails were used by God so that Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,” and yet was “crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men,[7]both coming together to engrave us in God’s hands, just as he promised.

          The message to my heart this morning was to look at the twenty-four elders around the throne of God as a divinely inspired picture of how God sees his people gathered around him, constantly in his care. Along with that, I am to look at the rich wounds of Jesus Christ, beautifully glorified in the heavens, telling me that the scroll in the right hand of the Father is written with complete and perfect consideration of the needs of his own people.

          In the same way that we would look at the signature on a document to determine if what the document contains is genuine, so we look to the one who stands before the throne, who shows that we are engraved in the scars of his hands, and know that, as Paul said, For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” [8] And, as Paul continues, “That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory”, just like the twenty-four elders.[9]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Revelation 5:6
[2] The twenty-four elders are introduced in Revelation 4, along with the four living creatures.
[3] 5To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1)
[4] John 20:27-28
[5] Isaiah 49:16
[6]Crown Him With Many Crowns” ~ Public Domain; Words and Music by Godfrey Thring and Matthew Bridges
[7] Acts 2:23
[8] II Corinthians 1:20
[9] “13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Revelation 5)

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