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Revelation: Chapter 5

Setting

As seen in the chronology of Revelation, John is viewing these events of this chapter from the perspective of heaven.  The events here are also described in the timeline of the tribulation saints, which can be viewed by following the rectangular purple tab above.  As is described in that web page, there are several events that are expected to occur following the rapture of the church but prior to the beginning of the tribulation.  The events in this chapter describe the great glory of Jesus Christ that are bestowed to Him by the Father and the response of all creation.

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1-3 The BOOK in the hand of the Father
4-5 The Lion of Judah
6-7 The slain Lamb
8-10 The song of the four creatures and 24 elders
11-14 All the creation sings blessings to the Lamb

The BOOK in the hand of the Father     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 5:1, after describing the awesome view of the throne of God with all the activities surrounding it, Johnís attention is drawn to the Father on His throne. In the Fatherís right hand is a scroll with writing on both sides. At this time, John is a witness to all of these great sights, as they were revealed to him by the angel sent by the Lord, Revelation 1:1. The scroll itself was a normal manner of recording and preserving information in Johnís day, bound books were not used for another century. The information on this scroll is complete, and there is nothing left to document. The scroll was sealed with seven seals.

A scroll is sealed for several reasons:

  • For disclosure of information that is directed to a specified group at some future time, Daniel 12:1-4
  • God uses the allegory of the scroll to demonstrate the blindness of Israel to His word and is used for judgment, Isaiah 29:9-13
  • To identify official recognized documents, which in this case is the deed and title to a parcel of land, Jeremiah 32:6-12

This is similar to the mystery of Christ, which was kept until its revelation to Paul.  It was the intent of God to show through the church the manifold wisdom of God to be made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms, Ephesians 3:10-13.  Similarly, this sealed scroll is the Fatherís deed to the earth and all it contains, Psalms 2:2-9, Matthew 21:33-46. This is when the Father gives dominion to the Son as recorded in Daniel 7:13-14.

As John will observe and report in Revelation 6, each seal reveals the final conclusion of the result of manís willful submission to the seductive wiles of Satan in the garden of Eden, and has therefore lost his dominion over this earth that the Lord given him, Genesis 1:27-30, Genesis 3:1-10. This is demonstrated by a few passages in scripture.

  • To those whom you obey, you are servants to, Romans 6:15-18
  • The Lord never questioned the authority of Satan who offered Jesus all of the kingdoms of the earth if he would just bow down and worship him.  Instead, the Lord rebuked Satan because all worship belongs to the Lord our God, and we are to serve Him only, Matthew 4:1-2, 8-11
  • Satan, the prince of this world, John 14:30-31, in the time of judgment will be driven out of this world, John 12:27-31, Revelation 20:1-3, and ultimately thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:7-10

As each of the first six seals are opened, they will reveal the work of Satan, and the culmination of his sinful nature and their impact on this world during the seven years of tribulation, Revelation 6 and Revelation 7. The opening of these seals parallel the many examples of the other judgments of God visited upon His people and other nations as a result of sin and of their rebellion, such as recorded in  Isaiah 29.

The information within the sealed scroll provides the evidence of the sins, disobedience, rebellion, and utter contempt of God by Satan and his followers. Once opened, the seventh seal will reveal the beginning of Godís judgment, which are the seven trumpet and seven bowl judgments, Revelation 8:1.

In Revelation 5:2, John observes a mighty angel, the first of many in Revelation, ask who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll. Some interpret later appearances of mighty angels as Christ, but this is unlikely as in each case they may exhibit the qualities of Christ, but only because they are in His presence.

In Revelation 5:3, John sees that no one in creation, those in heaven, those on earth, or those under the earth were worthy to take the sealed document from the Fatherís hand.

The Lion of Judah     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 5:4, John wept as his response to the observation that no one was found worthy to take the scroll from the Fatherís hand. Though not explicitly revealed concerning Johnís reaction, recall the question of the disciples prior to Christís ascension in the clouds to the Father, Acts 1:6-9. The question they asked was when the kingdom would be restored to Israel, the age of peace and restoration. The Lord responded to them that they were not know the times or the seasons, as that was reserved by the Father as to when He will reveal that information. So, until that time, and as long as this book remained sealed, the judgment upon Israel would continue. However, once the tribulation begins, the emphasis will upon Israel since the church will have been raptured and appear before the throne, as seen in Revelation 4.

In Revelation 5:5, John is comforted by one of the elders before the throne of God, not the angel whom was given to reveal these things to John. The elder, who represents the church as discussed in Revelation 4, views Christ as the lion of the tribe of Judah. This is in fulfillment of prophesy given by Jacob on his death bed, Genesis 49:8-10. The scepter will never be removed from this tribe, Ezekiel 21:25-27. He was identified asa the Lion of Judah, who would rule and reign over Israel.  He is also the slain Lamb who is the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ; He died according to scripture, was buried and on the third day was resurrected according to scripture, John 1:29-31, 1Corinthians 15:1-3. The elder also refers to Jesus as the root of David who has triumphed, Isaiah 11:1-5, Isaiah 11:10-11, Romans 15:8-12.

The Kinsman Redeemer

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who is able to break the seals and reveal its contents because He is our Kinsman Redeemer.  He was identified as Emanuel, Christ with us, Matthew 1:22, and therefore He is our kinsman.  More importantly, Jesus alone paid the price in full our redemption from the wages of sin.  He is the only person born in this world who could serve the position of Kinsman Redeemer, Ruth 3:12-13, John 14:6-7.  Two important events are recorded in the book of Ruth that bring into light the role of the Kinsman Redeemer:

  • The land lost to Naomi was returned by her Kinsman Redeemer, Ruth 4:5
  • Ruth became a gentile bride to the kinsman, Ruth 4:5, who was Boaz

Finally, this event ties directly to a part of the Mosaic Law what is described in scripture as the Kinsman Redeemer, Leviticus 25:23-28, Leviticus 25:47-49, Numbers 35:19-21, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, as described in the book of Ruth 2:20, and illustrated in Jeremiah 32 before the final fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar.  There are three parts to being a Kinsman Redeemer.  First, as a near kin to the person needing help, he redeems the family member from bondage, just as the Lord Jesus redeemed all mankind from the bondage of sin by His shed blood on the cross.  Second, He redeems the land back from the land brokers, just as Jesus Christ does by taking the sealed scroll from the hand of the Father, being the only one found worthy to do so.  Finally, the Kinsman Redeemer avenges the usurpers from the land so the family members can regain possession of the land and enjoy the promises of God to them.  In this case, the Lord will judge the world until the final battle of Armageddon when Satan and all his forces are defeated and removed from earth, the Lord establishes his first 1,000 years of His eternal reign over this world, and He restores the land back to Israel and to Godís original design.  

From the book of Ruth, Boaz who was a near Kinsman was able to secure the land that was lost to Naomi, who represented Israel, and was the mother-in-law to Ruth.  Boaz then took Ruth, a gentile, to be his wife.  Ruth was identified to Boas, who represents the Lord in this story by a nameless servant, who represents the Holy Spirit.  This is similar also to the account of Abraham asking his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac, Genesis 24.

Similarly, Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to by a parcel of land from his uncle, during the impending and certain fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 32:6-15.  The Lord used this law of the Kinsman Redeemer to show the houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land, though the copies were put in a clay jar so they will last a long time.  Jeremiah then prayed to the Lord expressing not only Godís greatness, grace and long suffering, but the rebellion of Israel to all that God commanded them.  He then closes asking for the meaning of the act as a Kinsman Redeemer the Lord instructed him to provide to his Uncle, Jeremiah 32:16-25.  The Lords response is twofold:  First He also rehearses the evils done by the Jews and Israel and hence the judgment of removing them out of the land, Second, the Lord is going to return them to the land as their Kinsmen Redeemer so that in the end they will enjoy the new covenant the Lord made with them and they will again buy their lands and all their fortunes will be restored to them by the Lord, Jeremiah 32:26-44.  This will all be accomplished when the Lord establishes His millennial reign over the world, and centered in Jerusalem following the seven years of tribulation.  

The slain Lamb     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 5:6, John observes the Lord as a lamb slain, the figure of Christís sacrifice on the cross to give His shed blood for our ransom from the judgment of sin. The Lord is both a king and servant, Isaiah 53:5-7, John 1:29. There are several attributes to the Lamb:

  • The location of the Lamb is at the center of Godís throne, where is evidenced the trinity
  • The lamb has seven horns Ė indicative of complete power,
  • He is encircled by the four creatures and the 24 elders
  • He has seven eyes which depict complete knowledge, Psalms 66:7, Proverbs 15:3
  • Which are the seven spirits and represents the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 11:1-2, John 16:13-15, Zechariah 4:2, 6, 8-10
    1. The Spirit of the Lord
    2. The Spirit of Wisdom
    3. The Spirit of Understanding
    4. The Spirit of Counsel
    5. The Spirit of Power
    6. The Spirit of Knowledge
    7. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord

In Revelation 5:7, John observes a most significant event; the Lamb took the scroll from the Father, the only one worthy to do so.

The song of the four creatures and 24 elders     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 5:8-10, the scene concerning the four creatures and 24 elders changes slightly in that:

  • They all fall down before the Lamb
  • They each had a harp
  • They each were holding bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints, Psalms 141:1-2
  • There is an implied association or expectation of fulfillment of the prayers of the saints with the dominion being given to the Son for they are remembered and presented at this time

John hears a new song that is sung in response to the Lamb receiving the scroll to inaugurate His kingdom on earth, Psalms 144:5-10, Mark 10:42-45, 1Corinthians 6:19-20. This chorus of exaltation continues with the status that they now have because of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose shed blood on the cross redeemed all mankind who believed on Him and confessed His name and made all of us a kingdom and priests, 1Peter 2:4-5, 9-10, Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:4.  Imagine being John and observing all of these wondrous sights and sounds.  One can only imagine the deafening sound of joy, excitement, and sold out admiration of the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  There could be no comparison to anything that we, in our physical state could ever approach such an awesome state.  Notice too that the four creatures and the 24 elders sing that by His blood the Lord purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  As mentioned earlier the Lord is our Kinsman Redeemer!  As a result He has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on earth, (during the millennial reign of Christ).  They sing:

    ďYou are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.", Revelation 5:9-10

     

All the creation sings blessings to the Lamb     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 5:11, the activity about the throne is further described by John, which is very similar to what was reported by Daniel when he viewed the throne area. Danielís account is congruent with what the Apostle John wrote.

As with Daniel, John reports a great number of angels that encircle the four creatures and 24 elders and the throne. These numbers are associated with angels (thousands upon thousands), but it is not certain that the ten thousand times ten thousand are angels as well, but may still be the church, Hebrews 12:18-24.

In Daniel 7:9-14, Daniel reported on the appearance of Godís throne room just prior to the beginning of the tribulation, to judge the indescribable beast. What is missing from the previous instances of visions concerning Godís throne by Moses, Ezekiel and Isaiah? Two groups are mentioned by Daniel, those that attended the Lord (thousands upon thousands), and those who stood before Him (ten thousand times ten thousand). It is not thought that this is an absolute number 100,000,000 to be a limit of those who make up the raptured church and bride of Christ.  Rather, this is representative of a huge number saints and their proximity to God before the throne. Daniel saw a court being seated before the throne of God and the books of judgment were opened, 1Corinthians 6:1-4.

It is contended that Daniel 7:13-14 provides details of the events surrounding the throne of God that directly relate to the events as they unfold in Revelation 5.

In Revelation 5:12-14, John hears all of the saints continue in their praise to God, who are joined by the Angels in singing and loudly shouting ďWorthy is the Lamb who was slain.Ē There are several elements in this praise to the Lord in that He was slain to receive:

  • Power
  • Riches
  • Wisdom
  • Strength
  • Honor
  • Glory
  • Blessing

Notice that there are seven elements in this praise to the Lord, which is the number of completion.

In further praise, every creature in the heaven, on earth, and under the earth and on the sea also sang their chorus with some of the same elements as the saints praise, but they also add the recognition of Christís position, in that they direct their praise to the Father who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ. They all sing ďTo Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, and honor and glory and power for ever and ever.  The four living creatures conclude the singing by saying ďAmenĒ and the 24 elders respond by falling down and worshiping God.  


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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