Revelation Chapter 5
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’
“And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’
“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
“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, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.’
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, 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 who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor 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, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”
Last week we looked at the John’s entrance into the Heavens and his reaction. He is astonished and simply awestruck by what he sees. There are angels and thrones, strange beasts and lots of singing. Worship is everywhere, music is loud, and all glorify God.
I had the privilege of attending an associational meeting this past week in Grand Rapids Michigan, and it was great to sing with the people there. We had a wonderful time singing the Lord’s praises. Let the redeemed of the Lord sing loud and often of His grace and mercy, of His love and kindness, of His provisions and His faithfulness and of His sacrifice on the cross that He bore for our sins. Let us sing about the empty tomb and the retuning King with gusto and energy. Let there be harmonies and descants, quartets, choirs and chorales.
There should never be an end of singing amongst those that have been redeemed. The story of redemption should never get old for those of us that have been redeemed; it should simply get sweeter and sweeter, and we should want to hear more about it.
Today we will continue in John’s observations in Heaven. We are about to see a legal transaction take place that will turn the tide of the earth for eternity. We are about the witness the second Adam redeem the earth from Satan, the “prince of the power of the air.” Once the redemption begins, things on earth will take a sudden and irreversible turn – a turn that the people on earth did not see coming, and the events that will culminate in the Millennial kingdom being established.
John is in a transition period here in Revelation chapters 4–5. The Tribulation has not yet begun; but we, the Lord’s churches, have been raptured. And there are proceedings in Heaven that need to take place before the Tribulation begins, just like there are proceedings on earth that need to take place before the Tribulation begins.
The Scroll – Revelation Chapter 5, verses 1-3
John sees a scroll. It was typical in the days of the Roman Empire to have wills, leases, even marriage agreements and various kinds of contracts written on scrolls. These were large pieces of ‘paper’ with the details of the contract on the inside of the scroll, and then the summary of the contents on the back. In the context that we are reading, it would seem that many commentaries see this as a deed.
Roman scrolls were often sealed with 7 seals; this protected the scroll from prying eyes. Jewish scrolls had a minimum of 3 witnesses and three seals, with the most important documents having more and more witnesses and seals.
In Jeremiah 32: 6-10, we see that Jeremiah was told by God to buy a piece of land. In verse 10 we see that the deed is signed in the sight of witnesses. This was a common transaction in Israel, the redemption of land from the current owner to the previous owner. Often someone would get into debt, and they would have to sell the land to cover the debt. But once the debt was paid or the Jubilee year came, the debts were cancelled and the land was returned to its rightful owner.
In Isaiah 62: 6-15, we find that God makes a promise to Israel that her ‘salvation’ is coming and that Jerusalem will be the praises of the earth. This is yet to happen, but it will very, very soon.
This is what we have here. God created the earth for Man. Adam in his disobedience sold the land to another owner; and now Jesus, our Kinsmen redeemer has not only come to redeem us on the cross but also to redeem the land. The debt has been paid in full for our sins, and the time has come to reclaim the land, the earth from Satan.
In Revelation 5:4, John begins to weep as there does not appear to be anyone who can open the scroll. No one to redeem the earth, no one strong enough to reverse the ways of the earth and conquer the kingdom of Darkness.
The Lamb of God – Revelation Chapter 5, verses 5-7
BUT this is one of the most powerful words in the entire Bible. John wept because it appeared that there was no one able to open the scroll, BUT then he saw the Lamb of God. We see Jesus revealed in His two-fold nature; we see Him as the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, and we see Him as the Lamb that was slain. In verse 2, a ‘strong angel’ asks who can open the scroll, and no human on earth or in heaven could open it.
Human strength and ingenuity will not conquer the earth and restore it to its glory. We hear this all the time; we hear men attempting to be the savior of the planet. We enact measures to save the seas, the lands, the animals, the coral beds and on and one; yet the earth is eroding, and no one but Jesus can stop it and make it right.
The Lion of Judah steps up and proves that He is able to open the scroll. He alone is able to open the seals—The Lamb that was slain. MacArthur points out that ‘his scars were visible.’ John had seen these scars before many times after the resurrection. He knew who he was looking at.
The Lamb (literally ‘a little pet lamb’), the people were required to bring for the Passover into their homes; and it was essentially a pet for 4 days before you killed it. Jesus was the true Passover Lamb “who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The Lamb has seven horns, perfect strength and perfect sight, and seven eyes. This is the Tri-unity shown here as well.
In verse 1 we have Him who sat on the throne; then we see Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus has complete Sovereign power, and we know this from Matthew 28:18, “all power is given unto me.” The Lamb, Jesus, takes the scroll from God in verse 7.
The Worthiness of Jesus – Revelation Chapter 5, verses 8-14
They sang a new song once Jesus took the scroll, “You are worthy.” Jesus is worthy. He is worthy because he was slain, killed (verse 9). He redeemed a people from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.
In our little church we have people from Barbados, England, Jamaica, Montserrat and even some from Canada. I was just at an associational meeting, and we had missionaries from the US, Argentina, Thailand and others. Our guest speaker was a mix of Mexican and the US, and I was sitting next to one of my missionary friends from the Philippians. We have many of the tribes and tongues represented in our little group. We all got saved by the same Gospel and the same Jesus.
Many times, in the Bible, the people sang a new song to commemorate an event. We are told in Psalm 33:3 to “sing to the Lord a new song” and to play skillfully with a shout. I am so impressed with a lot of the modern musicians that play and write the wonderful songs that we sing; they move us and humble us. The ‘old’ hymns that take us to the cross, walk us by the empty tomb, recount God’s faithfulness and cry about His grace and mercy are beautiful as well.
As long as there is breath in our lungs, we should be writing and singing new songs about Jesus’ grace, His mercy, His sacrifice, His powerful blood, His resurrection and His return. Those of us who have been redeemed will never run out of new songs, new poems, and new ways to express our appreciation for all He has done and is doing.
In Revelation 5:11 we have an immeasurable number of people in heaven singing this song along with the elders and the beasts. The literal term for the 10,000 times 10,000 is ‘myriads upon myriads.’ Forget your calculator; no machine can count that high. From Adam and Eve, to the last Gentile to be redeemed before the Tribulation, some 6,000 years of redeemed souls stand before the Throne of God singing about the worthiness of the Lamb of God, Jesus the King of the Jews, the Lion of Judah and the Savior of the world.
Yes, sadly, there will be many in Hell. But (remember the word BUT) there will be billions if not trillions in Heaven. We need to stop this defeatist mentality that often permeates the Lord’s churches. We sound like Elijah, ‘oh woe is me; we are all that is left.’ But make no mistake; Satan is not going to defeat God at HIS OWN game. God wrote the book, wrote the rules, and set the limits, and He alone will be the victor in this mess.
Will you be there to sing amongst the throngs? Will your voice be heard as they sing “Worthy is the Lamb?” Will you be singing blessings and honor with the myriads of people? You can be.
Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is the One slain for our sins. He is the One who was wounded for our transgressions and the One who paid it all, the One who has the absolute power to redeem you from death and Hell, and the One who rose from the grave. Call on Him, and you too can be there with John singing.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Another song for you. Enjoy!