The book of Revelation teaches so much about what is real. We mustn’t forget that the life we are living on this earth is a shadow of the heavenly reality, the greatest blessings merely a foretaste of our glorious inheritance, which Jesus says He is going ahead to prepare for us (John 14:2,3).

John presents a number of visions of heaven in Revelation, and they are as mind-blowing to us as they seem to have been to him. Much defies our ability to understand or describe. But there is also more understandable teaching. I love John’s first visions of God in heaven in chapters 4 and 5. This is life as it was meant to be, with God at the centre, ruling and reigning in power and glory, and never-ending worship surrounding His throne. And it is all made possible because of what Jesus has done, and here we have the first expression of praise to God the Son, in Revelation 5:

You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.

Revelation 5:9,10

Jesus is praised and considered most worthy because by His death and by His blood, He purchased persons for God. Persons of every tribe and nation, men and women of every colour, social status, wealth and language. This is the greatest purchase ever made in the history of the world.

A bit of googling reveals that the biggest purchases ever made were probably those of Alaska and Louisiana by the United States in the nineteenth century. Although the amounts paid were bargains at $7.2M and $15M, the vast lands obtained would be worth trillions today. The largest company acquisition is listed by Wikipedia as that of Mannesmann by Vodafone in 1999 for $183B (about $280B in today’s money).

But those human purchases involved only the transfer of some banknotes, some bonds, some gold, etc. Human stores of value, items of currencies backed by worldly kingdoms and empires, all of which we know are temporary.

But the purchase that Jesus made when He died on the cross was made with an altogether more valuable currency: His own blood. In giving up His own life for us, He redeemed our lives from the pit, transferred us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). This was a permanent, eternal transaction, freeing us forever from the power of sin and the power of the devil. We were dead but now are alive in Him! Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

It was a permanent purchase, it was a life-giving purchase, and it was also a massive purchase. Massive change in my life, but even more massive in its impact on billions of lives around the world and across time. The church today numbers not far off a billion souls who love Jesus in the way that He has made possible for us. To count the total number that will be there “in that number” when our Lord returns and brings us home is impossible, and surely His grace is such that His forgiveness will extend to many we might consider unsavable.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done:
so loved He the world that He gave us His son,
who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
and opened the lifegate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
and give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to ev’ry believer the promise of God.
The vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. 

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
but purer, and higher, and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Fanny Crosby, 1875

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