Taken to heaven, the apostle John is exposed to visions of glory few mortals have seen. God the Father sits upon the throne, His Spirit burning before Him in the seven-branched lampstand and attended by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. As the cherubim call out “Holy, holy, holy,” the elders bow down in worship, proclaiming the worthiness of the Lord as Creator of all things. He holds a sealed scroll in His right hand and a strong angel asks, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” No one worthy is found to open this ultimate revelation from God. In the wondrous splendor of heaven’s court on full display, with his feet firmly on the glassy sea, John weeps and wails. Yes, there are tears in heaven, but comfort too.
5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. ESV
The elder encourages John to stop his crying and look at the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah. When looks up, it’s not the Lion he sees, but the Lamb “as though it had been slain.” The Greek word from which this phrase is translated is esphagmenon, which is the perfect tense form of the verb sphazo, meaning “to slay, slaughter, or butcher.” The perfect tense is used to express a condition that is present which resulted from a previous action. It is a previously accomplished act the results of which are presently viewable. It is time travel in a parsing, for what John saw in heaven was Christ crucified.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, KJV
The word “new” in verse 20 is the Greek word prosphaton (pro + sphazo), which means “freshly killed.” We gain access into the holy of holies through the freshly killed, living Way—Jesus of Nazareth, Redeemer of mankind. In Earth’s time frame, the crucifixion occurred on a single day and came to an end. From heaven’s view, His one sacrifice was for all time.
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. KJV [Emphasis added.]
All sin for all time was paid for at once in the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The result for those who receive to themselves His payment in blood is “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is omniscient. It is God’s thoughts that define reality. What is not in the mind of God does not exist. This is the impact of His forgetting our sins. They no longer exist. Profound indeed are His promises to us.
Christ’s singular sacrifice touched all of time. Revelation 13:8 describes the Lamb as “slain from the foundation of the world.” Hebrews 9:26 says Christ appeared at the end of the world to put sin away through His self-sacrifice. Foundation to end, the slaughter of the Lamb offered salvation to man in all time frames.
Revelation 1:8, 17-18
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. KJV
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Is-Was-Will Be, He that lives was dead and is alive forevermore. He alone is worthy to loose the scroll to unleash the final judgement of God and the ultimate and eternal redemption of His creation.
8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
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. ESV