Here is the latest installment from my Wednesday night class at Royal Palm. I am teaching through The Revelation, and in this lesson we look at Revelation 5.
In Revelation 5, Jesus becomes the center of attention as he is revealed as the One who is Worthy to open the scroll which contains the detailed happenings of the End Times. Until John received this vision, no one knew what was going to happen. But now it is available for all who have an open ear to hear the Word of God.
If you have any questions or comments, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org ... or post them here. Also, use the notes below as you listen to the lesson. My hope is that the Lord will bless you and draw you even more closely into his blessings as you study his Word.
Peace, Kirk McCormick
** Chapter 5 continues the Vision of The Revelation. From Chapter 4 – 22…this is what we have to anticipate.
Ezekiel 2:9-10 – “Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.”
Note: Chapter 5’s center lies in the three hymns (vs. 9, 12, 13). These are addressed to the Lamb. They beautifully combine the worship of the Lamb (hymns one and two) with the worship of the one who sits on the throne (hymn three, which is addressed to both God and the Lamb).
…but what makes Chapter 5 pivotal is how ittakes the attention of heaven AWAY from the ONE on the throne and places it on the Lamb.
“The Scroll and the Scroll Keeper”
v. 1 - The Setting
· Note the description of the Scroll Keeper
o for the first time, God is personified (i.e.: “Right Hand”) as looking like a human
o “Right” Hand = authority/power
· Two-sided Scroll =
Note: “Scroll” in Jewish tradition…was the scroll of destiny (i.e.: God’s plan for the end of the world that could never be changed.
o the vastness of the message…could not be kept on one side…many details
o “Sealed” =
§ private…only to be opened by owner
§ This is an Original…copies were not sealed
o Point: Remember Jesus saying – Matthew 24:36-42…
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
· “Seven Seals” =
o a book could be opened with the breaking of the lone seal…
o …a scroll can only be opened and the content divulged when ALL of the seals were broken.
§ Point: So…we know what happens when the scroll is opened… but God is declaring the horror of the breaking process.
Note: Ancient wills or “testaments” were sealed with six or seven seals, each of which bore a different name of the sealer/witness to the will/testament and could only be opened by him…
Exodus 32:15-16 – “Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.”
Point: So the Scroll is God’s final testament/settlement/disposition of the affairs of creation.
vs. 2-5 – The Apparent Dilemma
** Angel loudly proclaims, “Who is Worthy to open the scroll?”
Point: There are some things only Jesus can do for us!
“Triumphed” = (Gk: nikao) conquered…because of his death (v. 9)
Note: the Two Names of Jesus (both messianic titles
“Lion of the Tribe of Judah”
c.f.: Genesis 49:9-10 – “You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”
“Root of David” =
Isaiah 11:1 – “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”
Note…the Lamb is the ROOT of David… i.e.: David gets his fruit from the Root… not the other way around…
…but his is ALSO a branch = a descendant of David’s royal lineage
Point: So here is a synopsis of salvation history… What man cannot do for himself – bringing him to despair/weeping – God does through Jesus.
vs. 6-7 – Jesus Enters the Vision
** In these verses, the Lion is known as the Lamb (Gk: arnion, only place word is used in NT. …
· John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 1:36).
· Peter speaks of the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19).
· In Isaiah 53:7, in the chapter so dear to Jesus and to the early Church, we read of the lamb brought to the slaughter.
· But, in all these cases, the word is amnos, whereas the word that Revelation uses is arnion = a gentle/innocent lamb bred to be slaughtered/sacrificed
** What did the Lamb look like?
1. On the one side…The Lamb still bears the marks of having been slain (i.e.: “as if…” – v. 6).
There we have the picture of the sacrifice of Christ, still visible in the heavenly places. Even in the heavenly places, Jesus Christ is the one who loved us and gave himself for us.
2. On the other side…The Lamb bears the marks of divine omnipotence and omniscience = seven horns and seven eyes
a. In the Bible, horns symbolize two things.
i. First, it stands for sheer power.
ii. Second, a horn stands for honor.
** Therefore, the seven horns symbolize the absolute power of the Lamb… i.e.: He is Omnipotent
b. And in the Bible, “Eyes” symbolize insight/wisdom/omniscience.
i. There is no place on earth which is not under the eye of God.
Note: The “seven eyes” are the “seven spirits of God” = Holy Spirit
(See the beautiful use of Trinitarian theology in v. 6: Lamb (Jesus), Seven Spirits (Holy Spirit), God (Father)
John 14:26 – “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
See also: John 16:7-15
Point: Holy Spirit is the all-seeing God on earth who is doing the Lamb’s work
vs. 8-14 – Jesus Accepts the Final Call: Scroll Opener
Note: At the beginning of verse 8, the “camera” of John’s attention begins to pull back. We gradually move out, like an increasingly wide-angle lens…
… from the throne itself (v. 7)
… to the guardians of the throne (vv. 8–10)
… to the innumerable angel hosts (vv. 11–12)
… to all the creatures in the universe (v. 13).
· The 4 Creatures and 24 Elders begin to Worship Him (v. 8b)
o each had a harp (i.e.: traditional instrument of worship) and bowl of incense (i.e.: prayers of the people)
Psalm 141:2 – “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
· Then they sing a “NEW” song
“Worthy” = Gk: axios = comparable, equal to, deserving of… idea – Lamb is equal to Father and ready for the task ahead = open and fulfill the scroll
Note: Lamb is worthy NOT because of his works (i.e.: slain) but because of WHO he is: equal.
“…to take the scroll and to open its seals” because he paid the price of the task: death/sacrifice
…so, for this particular qualification, the only one able/worthy to be the conquering Messiah was the one who was, first, the Sacrificial Lamb
v. 11 – the circle of praise grows to all in heaven
v. 13 – the circle of praise grows to those on earth (i.e.: humans)
Q: If song goes onto earth (even “under the earth”), why does not every person worship Jesus or turn to him for salvation?
Note: In the Old Testament, the idea is that the dead are separated altogether from God and from human beings and live a shadowy existence.
‘For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?’ (Psalm 6:5).
‘What profit is there in my death if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?’ (Psalm 30:9).
‘For Sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you; those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for your faithfulness’ (Isaiah 38:18).
Here is a vision that sweeps all this away. Not even the land of the dead is beyond the reign of the risen Christ. Even from beyond death, the chorus of praise rises to him.
Philippians 2:9-11 – “God exalted him [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
A: Because to worship him, you have to believe in him…and not all are willing to bow before him.
God Almighty has an absolute, detailed plan about how wickedness is to be condemned and righteousness is to be rewarded.
· Jesus Christ is the only one worthy and able to unfold God’s plan.
· Jesus is all-powerful, all-seeing, and the sender of the Holy Spirit.
· Believers are nearest the throne of heaven when they offer fervent prayer on earth.
· Persons from all languages and societies were included in Christ’s purchase through his death.