Jesus said He was coming again and we need to be ready – but ready for what?
We long for Jesus’ return because then we will be with Him forever.
But before that happens, though, difficult, perilous times are coming which will test the faith of many Christians because Jesus is going to shake and break this world like never before.
I believe that Jesus’ return could well occur in the next 10-20 years, but no one can know for sure, because even Jesus doesn’t know:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
Notice, though, that the Scripture says we won’t know the day or the hour – that’s why Jesus tells us to keep watch for the signs of the coming end-times just as we mark the seasons:
At the end of His Olivet Discourse about what the signs of the end-times would be, Jesus said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Matthew 24:32-33)
Some Christians believe that Christ could come at any moment now, but that’s not possible because there are still many Biblical prophecies that remain to be fulfilled – and Jesus’ testimony is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10)
However, many of the signs that Jesus and the Old Testament prophets gave to us are rapidly falling into place – wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, extreme weather and the gospel being preached to all nations – so it is coming relatively soon.
We are currently in the period Jesus calls the beginning of sorrows:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:6-8)
Signs of the End-Times
The re-establishment of Israel in 1948 fulfilled several Old Testament prophesies and was a clear indication that the countdown to Jesus’ Second Coming had begun:
Numerous passages in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophesied that Jews would be brought back from all parts of the world to repopulate the land that God promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This was first thought to apply only to the return of the tribes of Israel from the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles. But they never fully regained full official control of this vast territory until 1948.
Isaiah foresaw this remarkable event in which Israel was re-created when the peace documents settling World War II were signed, in effect establishing Israel in a single-day as Isaiah prophesied:
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? (Isaiah 66:8)
Since that time, we have seen substantial progress toward many of the end-time signs given to us throughout the Bible. However, unlike Israel being reconstituted in a single-day, most signs build up over time and do not occur all at once (although there are some that the Bible says specifically occur in one day).
The visions that the prophets see are the end-result of forces that build over time (e.g. the increase in knowledge, the number of earthquakes, the moral degradation of society, etc.)
For example, the Babylonian conquest of Israel played out over many years and there were three stages of exiles, even though the prophets only saw the end result.
So too do we see the end-time prophecies evolving instead of happening in one fell swoop. After all, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2Peter 3:8)
Signs Yet to Be Completely Fulfilled
There are many end-time signs that have yet to be fully realized, but many of them have gotten very close, while others have begun ramping up.
Increase in Transportation and Knowledge – In a vision, God revealed to Daniel that: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)
In Daniel’s time, the fastest mode of transportation was via horseback. With the advent of the automobile and aircraft in the 1900s, the world has indeed vastly increased the ability of society to ‘run to and fro’ faster and farther. We’ve even sent men to the moon and are gearing up now for missions to Mars.
With the advent of computers and the internet, knowledge (or the access to knowledge) has increased in leaps and bounds to the point that we’re overloaded with information. Science has also been vastly increasing our understanding of the world and our genetic makeup, to the such that we are now genetically altering foods and performing genetic engineering on humans to cure disease. But many worry that we are ill-equipped to play God and will only cause unintended catastrophic consequences.
How much more progress in travel and knowledge are required for this prophesy to be fulfilled? Time will tell, but I believe that we can already check this one off as having been met.
Increase in Earthquakes – In Matthew 24 (the Olivet Discourse), the disciples ask what signs to look for: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
In Jesus’ answer shown above (Matthew 24:6-8), earthquakes and famines were two key events Jesus said to look out for: “and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:7)
According to Wikipedia’s list of earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater, the 15th century had 2, the 17th century 7, the 18th century 13, the 19th century 29 and the 20th century 123.
Clearly, the number of large earthquakes has been increasing dramatically. Already, the 21st century has seen 12 (according to the British Geological Survey).
How will we know how much is too many, signifying that the last days are upon us? Can’t say, exactly, but when Jesus opens the sixth seal, “there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood.” (Revelation 6:12) By this time, the world will know it is well along through the Great Tribulation.
Two even greater earthquakes will occur, the first ending the second “woe” – “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city [Jerusalem] fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:13 KJV)
The last one prophesied occurs when the angel pours out the seventh vial – “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” (Revelation 16:18)
Before those catastrophic events, the increase in earthquakes shows us that we are in the time period Jesus called “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8, KJV), translated “birth pains” in the ESV, which is the literal translation, sorrows being implied).
Increase in Famines
Similarly, there has also been an increase in the number and severity of famines around the world:
Again, according to Wikipedia, the past 500 years have seen a large increase in the number of famines, from 6 in the 15th century, to 24 in the 17th century, to 30 in the 19th century, to 44 in the 20th The first decade of the 21st century recorded 12 famines, putting us on pace of 120 famines this century (although I believe Christ will return well before then).
The severity of famines has also increased, causing more and more death as total population increased. In the first half of the 20th century, seven famines killed an estimated 18 to 26 million people. From 1959 to 1961, the Great Chinese Famine is estimated to have killed more than 36 million people. Today, famines in Africa, North Korea, India and other areas of the world continue to add to the increasing numbers.
There is no clear delineator to say that a certain number of famines means we have crossed the threshold from the “beginning of birth pains” to the birth of the Great Tribulation. But, the indicators suggest we are getting closer and closer.
The only mention of famine in Revelation is when Babylon is brought down in “one day” – “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Revelation 18:8)
We have to be very careful interpreting what “one day” means, since “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2Peter 3:8)
Increase in Pestilence – We have been seeing dramatic increases in the number of scary diseases (i.e. pestilence) in the form of microbes, bacteria and viruses that threaten to become epidemics or pandemics because many have become resistant to drugs and antibiotics.
The number and severity of outbreaks of Ebola, SARS, Cholera, Lassa fever, Marburg virus, MERS, MRSA, C-diff, Zika and the like have been steadily increasing, especially in the poorer sections of the world.
In addition, many viruses and bacteria have evolved to become resistant to the drugs that used to kill them, portending even greater increases in the number and severity of illnesses
Increase in Extreme Weather – Extreme weather is also an end-time sign and we see the frequency and severity of serious weather events rapidly increasing. Some call it global warming or climate change, but whether or not it is human-caused is immaterial, because the Bible prophesies in many places that our weather will grow increasingly severe.
End-time verses such as Daniel 9:26b speaks of a great flood; Ezekiel 38:22 foretells flooding rain and great hailstones; Luke 21:25 forecasts the sea and the waves roaring; Revelation 11:19 foresees lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail; while Revelation 16:8 prophesies that “the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him [i.e. the angel] to scorch men with fire” (i.e. global warming to the extreme).
The scorching heat in some places will give rise to increasingly disastrous wildfires, while extreme cold in other places will destroy crops.
Increase in Murders – We also are seeing the ramping up of one of the four ‘Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
The Second Horseman brings a murderous spirit into the world: “Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” (Rev. 6:4)
This is not warfare but rather individuals stirred up to commit murder, and we see that happening across the world, and right here in the U.S. where there were 255 mass shootings in the first eight months of 2019, way above previous annual totals, with ‘only’ 90 mass shootings in total from the years 1966-2012.
Economic Depression – Another sign that has not yet appeared in full is a severe economic depression. We had the so-called Great Recession which hit the world from 2007 to 2009, but that was only a harbinger of the economic doom the end-times will bring forth.
A severe economic downturn will be one of the forces (war being the other) that will bring the anti-Christ to take over global authority
This will ultimately culminate in the Third Horseman coming to fruition: “behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley for a denarius.” (Revelation 6:5-6)
These prices are about 10 times the normal prices in those days of old, and indicate severe shortages and horrendous inflation much like that seen in Venezuela over the past 3 years.
Gospel Preached to All the World – Although the Gospel has not yet been preached to every person, the Scripture actually specifies nations, not people
Through the miracle of computers and the internet, the goal of reaching every nation with the gospel has virtually been attained, but there are still a few people groups to go.
Increase in Persecution – In addition, persecution of Christians and Jews will also increase as we move deeper and deeper into the end-times, just as Matthew 24:9 prophesies: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
The full realization of this prophecy is seen in Revelation 13:7 which says, “It was granted to him [ i.e. the anti-Christ] to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”
Reverend Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, reported that over a recent 10-year period, six-hundred-thousand Christians were killed because of their faith. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity says 900,000 Christians have been martyred in the last decade, 90,000 a year.
While there is some dispute over the actual number, there are at least thousands, if not tens of thousands of Christians martyred each year which go largely unreported in the mainstream media while they focus on Islamaphobia.
Increase in Self-Centeredness – The Apostle Paul described the end-times as being a time of self-gratification:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2Timothy 3:1-5)
This certainly captures what is going on in our world right now, with secular humanism exalting self above all else, and the fulfillment of fleshly desires over the things of the Spirit
Increase in Wars – In Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, He said the end-times would be marked by “wars and rumors of wars.” (Matthew 24:6)
According to Wikipedia’s list of wars, the past 500 years have seen a tremendous increase in the frequency of wars from 29 in the 15th century, to 75 in the 17th century, to 278 in the 20th
The first decade of the 21st century saw 55 wars, putting humanity on pace for 550 wars over the course of the full 100 years (but Jesus is likely to return well before then).
Not only have the number of wars increased, but the intensity has as well. We’ve progressed rapidly from hand-to-hand combat to chariots to guns to bombs to missiles and atomic weapons, which were used to end World War II. Weapons of mass destruction are now in the hands of many nations.
How much more increase is required to fulfill the visions in Revelation? Not much.
Jerusalem as the Epicenter – The war that will usher in the anti-Christ and the seven-year Tribulation will revolve around Israel, with Jerusalem as the epicenter. Scripture is clear that God will judge the nations based on their treatment of Israel:
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
Israel has indeed become the center of worldwide concern as many Middle Eastern nations seek her annihilation. And, as Ezekiel prophesied in Chapters 38-39, the final war (Armageddon, centered around the hill of Megiddo in Israel) will also involve Russia (Rosh, Ezekiel 3:2) and Persia (Ezekiel 38:5, modern day Iran).
And, wonder of wonders, Russia and Iran have just recently become allies, with Russian troops now assisting Iran in their support of Syria’s King Assad and his war against internal rebels, bringing Russian and Iranian troops within Syria close to Israel’s borders. What’s more, Russia is helping Iran with its nuclear program, eventually yielding Iranian nuclear weapons, despite all the sanctions and treaties now in place with Iran.
However, this final war, which is won by Jesus Christ, is not the next one that will usher in the anti-Christ and trigger the seven-year Tribulation.
The next Middle East war, not the last one, will usher in the anti-Christ, the beast in Revelation 13 who will end the war by signing a peace pact with all the involved nations as described in Daniel 9:27:
Then he [i.e. the anti-Christ] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week
In this section of Daniel, one week (or seven days) is equivalent to seven years and this war ushers in the seven-year Tribulation as well as the anti-Christ who will seem like the world’s savior by bringing forth peace, but will actually be the instrument of Satan in his final attempt to expunge God and Christians out of existence.
The Seven-Year Tribulation
The 7-year tribulation, while will actually be quite peaceful for 3.5 years for everyone except Christians and Jews.
This will be the time-period when the anti-Christ initiates the so-called “mark of the beast” which will be required for everyone to buy and sell goods
(Revelation 13:16-17) “He [i.e. the anti-Christ] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
The Bible clearly warns everyone to not receive the mark – those who do will experience the full wrath of God when He brings this world to an end:
(Revelation 14:9-10) “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”
It is in the second half of the Tribulation, that the really severe things begin to happen to the earth, resulting in its eventual complete destruction and ushering in the New Earth, the New Jerusalem and the New Heavens (Revelation 21:1-2). It is triggered when the anti-Christ sits on the throne of God in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem and declares that he is God
(Daniel 12:11)“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (i.e. 3.5 years)
Jesus says in Matthew 24:15-16, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
We see another sign here, what some call the Great Falling Away in which many Christians abandon their faith. Many surveys now show the percent of Americans calling themselves Christian has been declining for many years now
Of course, most of these are pseudo-Christians, that is, Christians in name only, those who think just going to church or having Christian parents automatically makes them Christian.
But this is not so. As Jesus told us in John 3:3, we must be “born again” and receive the indwelling of His Holy Spirit
In this “falling away” we also see Christian Churches succumbing to the ways of the world, especially in materialism, greed, sexuality and self-gratification, as well as New Age concepts such as worshiping the creation instead of its Creator.
We are not going to get into the whole debate about when the Rapture will occur, but suffice it to say that Christians who feel they won’t experience any of these difficult, perilous events are in for a major disappointment
Yes Scripture says that “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)
But before that Jesus says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake..” (Matthew 24:9)
Tribulation means trials, which we all will experience (i.e. the pestilence, famines and earthquakes mentioned in the preceding verses of Matthew 24, but not the especially severe tribulation of the woes and trumpet plagues when Jesus opens the seventh seal.
All these horrifying events will happen. That’s why prophet Joel says the day of the Lord’s coming is “great and very terrible; Who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11)
For true disciples of Jesus, His coming is a great, joyous occasion because we know we’re going to be with Him for all of eternity:
Jesus promised that, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3)
So, it is a great day!
But for those who reject Jesus as the Son of God, it will indeed be a terrible day:
Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, (Zephaniah 1:14-16)
Jesus is going to shake things up but good:
When God came down upon Mount Sinai to give Moses the Ten Commandments, the mountain was shaken:
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. (Exodus 19:16-18)
When Jesus comes again, everything on earth and in the heavens will be shaken:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-29)
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (Revelation 6:12-14)
Focus on Jesus
However, instead of focusing on all the devastation to come, Christians need to keep their focus on the things above, the eternal things, the things of God as manifested in Jesus:
(Colossians 3:2) “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
(Philippians 4:8) “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
And finally, Hebrews 12:2 says we should keep on “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
And we Christians will join Him there!
Regardless of when Jesus returns, we should always live our lives as though His coming was imminent, because He will come as a thief in the night (i.e. when we least expect it or before we get right with God)
(2Peter 3:9-12) “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.”
(Revelation 22:12) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.”
(1Thessalonians 4:16-17) “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.”
For those of us here and now, we must keep our focus on Jesus who is indeed alive, not dead and gone.
Unlike other ‘gods’ Jesus is nonetheless alive, even after His physical death on the cross. He was resurrected by God into Heaven after paying the price (His blood) to redeem us from our sins, Satan and this evil world. After Christ’s crucifixion, He appeared to over 500 people.
(Revelation 1:18) “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
(Acts 1:2-3) “He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Jesus is the Slain Lamb of God
The Old Testament ritual given by God through Moses for the cleansing of sins was to slay a lamb every morning and evening for the sins of the people (Exodus 28:38-42)
Jesus came to be the One Lamb who would sacrifice Himself once for any and all who accept His gift of atonement for our sins.
(John 1:29) “The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
As the Lamb of God, Jesus is also our Ransomer (i.e. one who pays a ransom to rescue someone)
Jesus is our only link to God in this evil world and serves as our mediator and an intercessor pleading our case to God the Father.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. (1Timothy 2:5-6)
Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Despite being charged unfairly and punished unreasonably, Jesus was Silent like a Lamb
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah (Jesus) would be afflicted and killed but not open his mouth to protest His unjust persecution and death:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. (Isaiah 53:7-8)
Jesus died as a Lamb but is coming back as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. (Revelation 5:5)
The scroll has God the Father’s instructions for bringing judgment upon the earth, as well as eternal life to those who accept Jesus. As each of the seven seals is loosened, judgments are released in the earth
Jesus is also the one we pierced:
Although none of us are actually the ones who killed (pierced) Jesus, He died for all our sins, so we are all responsible for His death:
(Revelation 1:7) “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
But now, it is important to recognize that Jesus is doing a new thing!
Jesus is coming again to create a new earth which will be like it was in the Garden of Eden – perfect, with no sin, no suffering, no death:
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now, it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. (Revelation 21:1)
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new. (Revelation 21:5)
Therefore, we need to be singing a New Song in celebration and recognition of the old things passing away and the new things coming to pass:
(Psalm 98:1) “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
(Revelation 5:9) “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”