"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Five OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To examine what is revealed about the Lamb (Jesus) and what He has accomplished through His death 2) To consider the impact this scene would have had upon the persecuted Christians in Asia SUMMARY The scene that began in chapter four continues. Whereas the theme of chapter four can be stated as "God is on His throne!", the theme of this chapter may be called "Worthy is the Lamb!". John's attention is drawn to a scroll in the right hand of God. Written on the inside and on the back, it is sealed with seven seals. A strong angel proclaims "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?", and at first there seems to be no one in heaven and earth deemed worthy to open the scroll or look at it. This prompted John to weep (1-4). But one of the twenty-four elders tells him not to weep for One described as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David" (cf. Gen 49:9-10; Isa 11:10) has prevailed so to be able to open the scroll and loose its seals. In the midst of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders, John sees a Lamb standing as though slain (i.e., Jesus - cf. Jn 1:29), with seven horns and seven eyes. The seven eyes are explained as the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth (cf. Zech 4:10). As seen before (cf. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5), they represent the Holy Spirit, while the seven horns are indicative of great strength (cf. Deu 33:17; 1 Sam 2:10). The Lamb is then seen as taking the scroll out of God's right hand (5-7). Taking the scroll prompts the four living creatures and twenty-four elders to fall down before the Lamb. Each possessing a harp (perhaps symbolizing praise, Hailey) and golden bowls of incense which depict the prayers of the saints, they sing a new song praising the Lamb as worthy to take the scroll. They proclaim His worthiness on the basis of being slain and redeeming by His blood those from every nation who are made kings and priests to God and who shall reign on the earth (cf. 1:5-6; 1 Pe 2:9). The voices of many thousands of angels around the throne then join in with their praise of the Lamb who was slain as worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. Finally, every creature in heaven, earth, and sea joins in with praise for both Him who sits on the throne (God) and the Lamb, to which the four living creatures say "Amen!" and the twenty-four elders fall down and worship (8-14). This awesome scene should certainly encourage the faithful Christian. As stated by Summers: "Such a scene was calculated to bring new courage and new hope to the hearts of John's first readers, the persecuted Christians of Asia; it brings the same cheer to Christian hearts in any age. Believing in the power of God (ch. 4) and the redeeming love of God (ch. 5), there is no enemy or force of evil which Christians need to fear. They can enter the conflict or endure the evil knowing that God is still on his throne; he has not laid aside his scepter; he has not abandoned his throne to any other." And what does the scroll represent? As Shelly says in his commentary: "This scroll is the book of the destiny of mankind. In it could be found the fate of the suffering saints, the outcome of Rome's (and I would add Jerusalem's, MAC) machinations against the church, and an outline of the future from John's time through the resolution of the particular battle raging between his brethren and Satan's forces. The things revealed in the subsequent visions of the Revelation were bound up in this scroll." I.e., the scroll reveals how God would manifest his righteous indignation upon those who rejected His Christ and persecuted His people, and how the suffering saints would eventually overcome. As long as the scroll was sealed, the workings of God were still a mystery. But as the seals are broken (6:1-8:1), we have: "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants -- things which must shortly take place." (1:1) OUTLINE I. THE SCROLL AND THE LAMB (1-7) A. THE SCROLL IN GOD'S RIGHT HAND (1-4) 1. Written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals 2. The proclamation by the strong angel a. "Who is worthy?" b. "To open the scroll and to loose its seals?" 3. The initial response a. No one, in heaven, on the earth, under the earth! b. No one able to open the scroll, or to look at it! 4. John's reaction: "So I wept much, because no one was found worthy..." B. THE ONE WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLL (5-7) 1. Comforting words of the elder to John a. "Do not weep" b. "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David" c. He "has prevailed" 1) "To open the scroll" 2) "To loose its seven seals" 2. John's description of the Lamb a. Standing in the midst of the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders b. A Lamb as though it had been slain 1) Having seven horns 2) With seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent into all the earth c. Who takes the scroll out of God's right hand II. THE LAMB IS PRAISED (8-14) A. BY THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS (8-10) 1. Each having: a. A harp b. Golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints 2. They sang a new song... a. The Lamb is worthy! 1) To take the scroll 2) To open its seals b. Because: 1) He was slain 2) He has redeemed them to God by His blood out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation 3) He has made them kings and priests to God, to reign on the earth B. BY THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF ANGELS (11-12) 1. Their voices heard around the throne, along with the living creatures and the elders 2. Saying with a loud voice: a. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain b. To receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing C. TOGETHER WITH HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE (13-14) 1. John now hears those in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea saying: a. "Blessing and honor and glory and power..." b. "Be to Him who sits on throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" 2. Upon which: a. The four living creatures said "Amen!" b. The twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What did John see in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne? (1) 3) What did a strong angel proclaim with a loud voice? (2) 4) How did John react when it seemed there was no one worthy to open the scroll? (3-4) 5) What did one of the twenty-four elders then say to John? (5) 6) What did John see? (6) 7) Where was the Lamb? What did He do? (6-7) 8) What happened when the Lamb had taken the scroll? (8-9a) 9) What did they proclaim in this "new song"? (9) 10) Why did they deem the Lamb worthy? (9-10) 11) What did John then see and hear? (11) 12) What were they saying? (12) 13) What does John hear next? (13) 14) What happens then? (14)