STUDY: PART 16
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:1-7).
V. 1. The vision John now sees of God holding the Scroll is very important. It leads us into the rest of Revelation, and the judgment.
The right hand of God is the symbol of His power and authority. He is the almighty and none other than He could have written the Scroll. This Scroll is special in that it has seven pages. Most Scrolls, or what we call books, were written on one side of one sheet of parchment. Once scrolls were finished, they were sealed with wax, and if it came from a king, it was pressed with his signet ring. The seal demonstrates the scrolls authenticity, for only one can signify it with that particular ring. Jesus makes acceptable to God when we accept Him as Savior and He seals us with His signature. There is only One who can write on our hearts, that is King Jesus our High Priest.
A scroll in Greek is biblios. This is where we get the word Bible. The original parchments were biblios, hence a compilation of biblios is contained in our Bible today.
The way these books are set up is amazing. After the seal on one book is broken, and the book opened, the seal for the next biblios appears and can then be broken to open. That this Scroll is seven pages, written on both sides indicates the completion of God’s Word and work. Nothing can be added or removed from this Scroll. It is full and true.
Please know this. Many people will tell you that the Scripture that warns against taking away or adding to the Word of God is just for the Book of Revelation. I promise you, the entire Bible is God’s Revelation to mankind, therefore not one word, jot or tittle should be changed in any way. Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18), and “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
“And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe” (Ezekiel 2:9, 10).
The scroll the Lord gave Ezekiel was also written on both side, and from it came lamentation and woes. Those same lamentations and woes will come from this Book of Revelation as well. People’s hearts are hardened and they will not heed the warnings written in either Book. They will continue to curse and mock God. They will pay an eternal price for it.
V. 2. From this second verse up to Revelation 21:3, the phrase “loud voice” is repeated 20 times. A strong angel to me indicates an archangel. This could be Gabriel whose name means the strong and mighty One of God. But since he is not named, that is speculation.
The shout of the loud voice this strong angel used asked a question that rattles beyond all time lines, and to heaven, earth, and below the earth. “Who is worthy?” Meaning who is clean and pure, without spot or wrinkle? Who is worthy to break the seal on the scroll? Knowing that no man could ever be righteous in God’s eyes.
V. 3, 4. When the question resulted in the answer that no one from heaven, earth, or under the earth was worthy, John was broken and he wept excessively knowing that no man could ever be righteous in God’s eyes. John new that although he had been chosen to receive, and record the Revelation of God, he was not anywhere near worthy to open the scroll that contained the judgment and punishment of God for this earth. Not one of the created beings was able to open and read the book, or to show John what was to come. There was none but one who could qualify to break the seal that would begin the “fullness of times.”
And we see the answer to this question in Revelation 4: 11. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” As he wept, John was comforted with, “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (verse 5).
V. 5. In his sermon about Revelation 5:5, Pastor Dennis Davidson said of the scroll, “What is the content of this legal document? This scroll gives authority and power to its recipient to enact God’s final purpose. It contains the climax of God’s purposes to reward His people, to give them their inheritance, and on the flip side it condemns the wicked. It is the scroll of destiny, the world’s destiny.”
One of the twenty-four elders comforted John by telling him there was one, and who He was who could open the scroll. As the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:9), Jesus is the King. As the Root of David, He is the King who was prophesied to come (Isaiah 11:1). As the one who prevailed (Revelation 3:21), or overcame all things, Jesus is the only One worthy and able to open this book and deliver it‘s prophecies to the people, and fulfill the prophecies written in this biblios, (Bible). What makes Jesus worthy? His birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection, purity of heart, and His shed blood. He had already triumphed over the enemy who tempted Him, and was the ultimate Victor. Finally, God gave judgment into the hand of Jesus (John 5:22). God has been calling mankind to repent by the ministry of His Holy Spirit, but they ignored Him then and are now, and will still during the Tribulation. God has appointed a day for judgment (Acts 17:30, 31) and it will take place.
V. 6. Did John see this powerful, able, sufficient One these names would indicate Jesus was when he looked at Him through his tears? No, He saw the Lamb who had been slain. The term Lamb used here represents the qualities if Jesus, His meekness, His gentleness, His willingness to be killed as the once-for-all Sacrifice that saves. The love and compassion of Jesus for His children showed through His eyes.
The Lion and the Lamb refers to the two ministries of Jesus. The Lamb came first, and was slain. The Lion comes later as the sovereign Judge. Jesus is only called a Lion once in Revelation, but a Lamb 27 times.
Now standing at the right hand of God in the middle of the elders and cherubim, was this Jesus. But now He was in His power as the resurrected Savior. The seven horns are expressions of His power, authority, dominion, and government. In Daniel 8:20, horns represented the kings of Media and Persia.
The seven eyes see all. Let’s look at what John Gill says in his commentary about the seven eyes:
“These "seven eyes" may design the perfect knowledge of Christ, his foresight of future events, and his all wise providence, which is always and everywhere concerned to fulfil and accomplish them; so that he is every way qualified to take the book of future events, as to the church and world, and reveal it, open and explain it, and fulfil the things contained in it.”
V. 7. Once the vision had convinced John of the worthiness and qualifications of Jesus to open the Scroll, Jesus moved to the throne of God, reached forth, and took the scroll from the Father’s right hand, His hand of righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). Praise the Lamb who is the powerful Lion worthy to unseal the scrolls!
STUDY: PART 17
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever”(Revelation 5:8-14).
V. 8. Now Jesus had taken, or “took” the scroll. Took here is a verb that denotes completion. When He took the scroll, that part of Christian history was finished. The elders had found the Lamb who was worthy to unseal and open the scroll. Once He had taken the book from the right hand of the Father, the search was over. This is another “it is finished” moment in the ministry of Jesus the Christ.
Look at the behavior of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. They immediately go into worship, not of God the Father seated on the throne, but of Jesus who was standing before them holding the scroll. This signifies that the Lamb who was slain is not only a resurrected man whom God had sent as Mediator between Himself and man, but that Jesus is fully God and worthy of this worship. Praise the Almighty Lord!!!
The harps the elders are holding, but not playing, are symbols of worship (I Chronicles 25:3; Psalm 33:2; 150:3). Don’t ever let anyone tell you there should be no music in the church. Praising God with raised, hands, musical instruments and a LOUD voice are throughout the Bible. The saints of the church used the harp along with other instruments in praise and worship. The elders are holding these harps as a display of their praise and worship to Jesus for giving up so much to redeem sinners. But I’m with J. Vernon McGee when he says, “I am so glad I found out that I am not going to be an angel playing on a harp in heaven that just doesn’t appeal to me! You may want a harp, and if you want one, I guess in heaven they will get you one, but I am thankful I don’t have to have one.” Personally, I will be too busy to want to be encumbered by a large musical instrument. I want to sing praises to the Lord with my new voice while on my face at His feet for the first 10.000 years. Then I want to sing praises while running around checking out heaven and meeting all the saints. We will not sing the old song of creation, but the new song of redemption.
Along with the harps, the elders also had golden bowls full of incense. The incense represents the purified prayers of the saints of God. So here the elders are acting as priests offering up the fragrant aroma of the prayers that Jesus prayed while He was on earth, and those of all the saints who ever uttered a prayer (Psalm 141:2; Luke 1:10). The prayers Jesus said were already pure, but ours are not, for we know not how to pray (Romans 8:26 AMP).
Revelation 8:4, “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.”
V. 9. See here! The new song is coming from their tongues now, and we know it’s the redemption song, because it says so. Jesus is worthy to unseal the scroll because He was chosen as the personality of God who had been slain to redeem us to God by His blood (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18, 19).
What people did He save?
Any who would acknowledge Him as the Savior and Lord of their lives.
From what people group did He save them?
All of them! Jesus called people from every nation, tongue, and tribe. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; I Peter 1:17). Could God have made this any clearer? We are all equal in His site. There is ONLY saved and unsaved, redeemed and needing redemption. Remember what the song says? “Red, yellow, black, or white, we are precious in His sight.” No lie! He loves everyone equally.
V. 10. Let’s understand one thing before we go on. Whatever was promised to Israel is now ours too, because we are in Jesus, and He in us. We are all God’s chosen who accept Jesus as Savior and are received by Him. We are kings in the kingdom, and we will reign with Christ forever. As kings we will have rule and authority over sin and satan. As priests (Exodus 19:6), we will have authority to reign with Jesus on the earth, and to offer up the sacrifices of prayer and praise. We will reign with Jesus for 1000 years in these capacities.
V. 11, 12. I will not get into the distracting business of trying to figure out how many angels are being talked about here. Know that there are millions of angels of varying degrees of responsibility. Here what could be referred to as a multitude is worshipping Jesus. We can believe that as the many angels are around God’s throne, so are Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael.
What are these angels doing? They are not singing here, they are saying, (declaring or pronouncing) in a loud voice that Jesus is the worthy One.
Why a loud voice?
Because it is a public announcement they are making to affirm and signify that Jesus is the ONLY one worthy for He’s the pure, sinless, holy Son of God.
What do they call this worthy Son?
A Lamb! A lamb is meek, mild, and friendly. He was telling us the nature and sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is our Shepherd whose voice we hear and follow (John 10:4). Jesus is our Bridegroom (Mark 2:19, 20). Jesus is the Judge (II Timothy 4:1). To the church, the redeemed, His bride, Jesus is gentle. To his enemies and the enemies of God, Jesus will come in power and in might and judge this old world.
V. 13, 14. Every created being, human, angelic, animal, fish, or whatever will one day cry out that Jesus is the Lamb worthy of all praise, honor, glory etc... Jesus said that if the people did not worship Him, the rocks would cry out in praise.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).
Many teach that this is not for the church today as we will be taken out before all this happens. I resist this attempt of satan to blind our eyes. This is a warning to all of us. Revelation is a forth telling of what’s to come. We need to be giving God the Father, Son, and Spirit honor and glory now. Let’s not be like the five foolish oil-less, light-less virgins who were unprepared for their Bridegroom. Let’s not stumble in the darkness of this earth and its sin. Let’s light out lamps, walk in grace and mercy and in the freedom of our redemption so that we can assist many others out of the world of darkness.
Let’s read and believe Matthew 5:14-16. ”Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”