Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
Philosophers and clever atheists will often try to confound Christians with the challenge of, “Well if God is all-powerful, could he make a rock that he couldn’t lift?” It’s actually quite easy to hang up Christian with this question because well…God is omnipotent. Really though, we should know that this is a logical fallacy. It’s a self-contradictory statement. It’s like asking if 2+2 could ever equal 5. The answer is of course not because 2+2 always equals 4; anything else and it wouldn’t be 2+2 anymore. God is unable to contradict himself, just like the Word of God is not contradictory. This isn’t a weakness, it’s just his nature; since God is on top of all of creation and everything is subject to him, then anything more powerful cannot exist. It’s like asking if God could sin. Since the Lord is the greatest good, he is unable to sin (plus it’s against his nature to contradict his Law, therefore it’s a double impossibility). Again, this is not weakness on God’s part, but rather a weakness in our understanding of the Lord and his power. Having said that, the Holy Spirit showed me that God did make a rock he couldn’t lift.
While he was having his vision of heaven and the end times, John wrote down what he saw. He records,
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 (Revelation 5:1-3).
Nobody could open the scroll. Now before you start getting on me that God made the scroll therefore he must be able to open it and that I’m presenting an illogical argument, keep this in mind: Scripture clearly says that nobody in heaven or on earth could handle this scroll. One can presume that by “no one,” the Lord (who was holding the scroll) was included. Therefore we have our rock that God couldn’t lift. Understandably, John doesn’t take this very well, “I wept and wept because no one was found who was worth to open the scroll or look inside” (Revelation 5:4).
Oh no! God has somehow defeated himself by making a scroll that nobody is able to open including himself. What shall we do!? This is where John was when faced with this problem. But then good news was given in Revelation 5:5, “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.’” Who is this Root of David? Who is the Lion of Judah? Who can do what seems impossible? Let’s find out who this mighty Champion of Faith is in Revelation 5:6-9,
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
And to open its seals,
Because you were slain,
And with your blood you purchased men for God
From every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Who is this Lamb? John the Baptist knows. The Bible tells us in John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” It’s Jesus! Jesus can open the seal!
Hold on here: isn’t Jesus also God? Yes he is. I told you, a rock God couldn’t lift is a logical fallacy, God can lift any rocks he so chooses; and the rock that was too heavy for the Father to lift was specifically designed for the Son upon completion of his mission on earth. Jesus brought salvation to a people who were unable to reconcile with their sinless God through his death on a cross (which actually could be seen as another one of those rocks that Jesus had to lift). But not only did Jesus bring with him the salvation of the world, but he also brought great power in the completion of his mission. We read,
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
To receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
And honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12)
Through his sinless life and great sacrifice in our stead, Jesus not only saved everyone who believes in his name, but he also was honored in heaven above all else. Paul writes of Jesus and his sacrifice like this,
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 the earth and under the earth,
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of god the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).
So not only did Jesus lift the unliftable rock and break the unbreakable curse, but he was also given the name above every other name in heaven and on earth. Our Lord and Savior Jesus wields the power of the end times. Not only that, but all of creation stands behind Jesus as well, therefore he also wields all of creation too. For it is written,
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on the 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 honor and glory and power for ever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped (Revelation 5:13-14).
With all of his power and might, it is no wonder that we’re told the fear the Lord. Surely if Jesus can lift that which cannot be lifted, break that which cannot be broken, and wields all that can be wielded, he is to be feared. And in the end times, there will be much fear of the wrath of the Lamb. Scripture tells us,
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).
Do not be mislead, my friend. Our God is a being who is perfect, and cannot even look upon anything that is imperfect without destroying it.
But luckily for us, Jesus is love- literally. John tells us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). Can love have power? Of course it can! Paul writes, “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love never fails. In fact, it is impossible for love to fail because it is an attribute of God, and as we’ve already seen, God is unable to contradict himself. And it was through this love that God went to earth in the form of his Son, Jesus the Christ, to live among us and die like us (though without sin) in order to make a God-sized sacrifice (and therefore unlimited in power), wiping out sins to all who call to Jesus for salvation. So you can believe it and know it’s true when God’s Word says,
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
And even more, by his love for those who are in Christ, Jesus gives us access to his unlimited power when we call to him for help. For the Lord says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). What an amazing promise! My friend, if you haven’t accepted Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf yet, do not delay, for in the end times those who have denied Jesus will hide from his wrath, but those who are in Christ are with Christ and his unstoppable, unimaginable power. If you are a believer already, never forget who is on your side and the grace, mercy, and strength he possesses. Our Lord is the best friend you could possibly ever have.
Rock on God!