Revelation 5

Revelation 5

The Scroll and the Lamb

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 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.”

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. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 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. 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,
  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

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, 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!”

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!”

And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.


Revelation 5 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The Scroll

In ancient times, the Romans would seal their wills seven times. Each wax seal usually contained an engraved emblem and sealed the letter for security or to designate ownership. Marriage contracts, leases, and title deeds would all have the details written on the inside of the scroll and a summary of the document written on the outside. We can deduce that the contents of this particular scroll symbolize a full account of the destiny God has determined for the entire world.

In this dramatic scene of Revelation 5, John is completely devastated that it appears no one is capable to open the seals. The call went out to all of creation (in Heaven, on Earth, and below the Earth) and initially, no one was found who was worthy. John wept bitterly.

He is ready, as are many of us, for Jesus to return. He is waiting with anticipation to see God’s Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. All the ancient promises that have been spoken now seem just a few moments away. We can see the sun beginning to rise on the horizon when suddenly, there is a glitch. There is a pause. There is a problem.

And for a brief moment, John loses his focus. He loses his faith and his trust. Standing in the throne room of God, surrounded by the 4 living creatures and 24 elders, with flickering flames dancing among the emerald rainbow the stretches over God’s seat of judgment, John begins to weep. Though he has had the promises sewn in his heart, though he walked personally with Jesus, and though he is in the most desirable place a human being could ever want to be in all the unseen realm, John is still human.

All of creation waits to see who could possibly be worthy of taking up this task of possessing and opening the title deed to earth. In the deafening silence of the corridors of heaven all that is heard is the echo of John’s sorrow. It is the weeping of a man who desperately wants to be with God for eternity, but cannot.

John’s tears represent our destiny. We weren’t supposed to be in the throne room with God. We screwed up. We fell to sin. We rebelled against Him. We abandoned His Kingdom to wallow in the slop of the pigpen. John’s helpless tears represent what should have happened to each one of us. This is our story and our destination in our own strength. We appear before God and He tells us the truth. You can’t open the scroll. In fact, no one can.

Humanity has no place here and John knows it. So, he does what every single one of us has done at one time or another. He weeps because he is incapable. He weeps because he is weak. He weeps because he has lost hope. This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

But God doesn’t leave John weeping. God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

Don’t weep! Don’t cry John! The Lamb of God is worthy! He has conquered sin and death! The Lion of the tribe of Judah is roaring in victory!

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah / The Slain Lamb of God

The Lion of the tribe of Judah is a throwback to Genesis 49. The root of David is a throwback to Isaiah 11. Both were familiar to the Jews as the Messiah. John was not only a Jew but a Christian. He understood the significance of these descriptions and was able to connect the dots. This is significant because he first is told of the Lion and then sees a Lamb looking as if it was slain. The Lion is the Lamb.

The ultimate power of God (Lion) has become a sacrifice (Lamb) for the sin of mankind. We read Jesus being described as a Lamb 28 times in Revelation and John is the only writer to refer to Him this way in the Gospels.

The appearance of the Lamb is strange but symbolic. The seven-horned seven-eyed creature is a common description among other apocalyptic literature. The seven horns represent His unmatched power and the seven eyes represent perfect vision leading to infinite knowledge. He is complete and lacks nothing.

Praise and Worship

As the slain Lamb comes forth here in Revelation 5, John hears the roar of Heaven’s praises. Thousands upon thousands of angelic beings burst into a triumphant song. Not only that, but Scripture says that “…every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them…” praised Jesus Christ at that moment. No living creature failed to join in this new song of worship. This is possibly a fulfillment of Paul’s writings in Philippians 2…

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10  so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  11  and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 NASB

Please do not let the graphic symbolism of this chapter distract you from the vital big-picture truth.

Revelation 5 shows us many things about the future, but we must not miss what it shows us about today. We struggle and fail daily. We lose trust and hope and faith and weep because all seems lost. Revelation 5 summons us forward to the eternal hope that resides in the one and only Lamb of God: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Don’t weep. Don’t cry. Our King has overcome.

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Powerful graphic!

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Thank you for sharing this profound article! God bless your ministry work for His cause!

Last edited 1 year ago by SDA Hymnal