Revelation
1-5 The Scroll 6-14 The Lamb
The Scroll

1I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4Then I [began] to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

V11I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.. In this new chapter your eye is focused on “a book” which is “in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne”. In the previous verses you’ve seen that all power is in the hands of the Lord Jesus. In the scene that you now see, it is presented in the way in which the Lord Jesus takes all power in His hands. He already has had the power since His work on the cross (Mt 28:1818And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.), but here we have the moment that He openly accepts His power. Therefore it is a very impressive moment.

Usually people write only “inside” a book, but of this one also “the back” or the outside is written on. It is totally filled with texts without any room for someone to add something to it. Indeed nothing is to be added to it, because the book contains the property rights of Christ (cf. Jer 31:1-61“At that time,” declares the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
2Thus says the LORD,
“The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when it went to find its rest.”
3The LORD appeared to him from afar, [saying],
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
4“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.
5“Again you will plant vineyards
On the hills of Samaria;
The planters will plant
And will enjoy [them].
6“For there will be a day when watchmen
On the hills of Ephraim call out,
‘Arise, and let us go up [to] Zion,
To the LORD our God.’”
; Lev 25:23-2523‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are [but] aliens and sojourners with Me.24Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.25‘If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.). From this book it appears that He is authorized to execute judgments that are needed to purify the earth and then to fulfill the counsels of God with regard to creation.

The judgments are described in Revelation 6-19. In the chapters afterwards the fulfillment of all God’s plans follow with a blessing for both the old and the new creation. That all this has been recorded in a book means that it is all unchangeably established and it is being carried out controllably as it is described. The book contains the history of the future. Only God is able to write history beforehand.

The book is “sealed up with seven seals”. That means that in order to open the book, these seals are first to be broken. Therefore you see the first acts with regard to the judgments when in chapter 6 the seals are being broken one by one.

V22And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”. But first the question arises who is worthy to open the book and break its seals. This question comes from the mouth of “a strong angel” and it sounds through the universe, through heaven and over the earth. The question is who the owner is of the inheritance described in it, which is creation. Another question is who has the right of obtaining the inheritance. That question must be answered, because the inheritance has fallen into the hands of an unlawful owner, the devil, caused by the guilt of man.

A strong angel is asking the question, but he himself is not the answer to the question, however powerful he may be. It must be someone who is worthy to do it and who is able to do it, who has the power. The right on the inheritance is therefore about the personal dignity of the heir and about the personal ability to execute the content of it. He Who meets both conditions (dignity and ability), is the Son of Man (Jn 5:2727and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man.).

V33And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.. The voice of the angel is sounded everywhere, but there is no answer from anywhere:
1. not from “heaven”, the dwelling place of the elect angels,
2. not from “the earth”, the dwelling place of men and
3. not from “under the earth”, the residence of other intelligent creatures.

The universe, in all its components (cf. Phil 2:1010so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,), consists of not one single creature that is able to deal with the book. No one is able to do that, no one has the suitable ability (Psa 49:88For the redemption of his soul is costly,
And he should cease [trying] forever—
).

V44Then I [began] to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;. When John sees that there is no reply to the question of the angel, he bursts into tears and weeps intensely. He weeps, not because he had been looking forward to the judgments, but which now will not be executed anymore, like Jonah once was very displeased in such a case (Jona 4:11But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.). No, he weeps, because he cannot stand the thought that evil will reign forever without being punished.

Numerous people have tried to open the book and to make the time of blessing to happen. That is still the effort of man. But he himself was and is a part of the evil and therefore completely unfit and also not able, incapable, to deal with the evil in a way that is pleasing to God. Is there really no one who is able to do it? Yes, there is a Man Who meets all God’s holy demands with regard to the evil.

V55and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”. John may be weeping much, but not for long. An elder – a glorified believer who has insight in the ways and the counsels of God – says to him not to weep. For there is Someone Who is able to open the book and its seven seals. It is “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” about whom Jacob has prophesied (Gen 49:9-119“Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him [shall be] the obedience of the peoples.
11“He ties [his] foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
). As the Lion He is the Ruler. He is also “the Root of David”. He belongs to the royal descendants, He is the true Son of David and has the legal right to reign. It is no one else than the Lord Jesus.

He gained His dignity and right by His victory on the cross. That is where He regained the ownership of creation. There He crushed the head of satan, who by wiles and craftiness has illegally taken possession of creation. He has paid the full ransom and repurchased the whole creation for God. He has the right to open the seals, which is the right of redeeming the earth, in order to purify it from all injustice. He has conquered on the cross and will give shape to that victory in everything He does.

Now read Revelation 5:1-5 again.

Reflection: Have you ever felt that the evil is in control and that it seems as if it will never change? When does that happen? How do you respond to that?


The Lamb

6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

V66And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.. John has heard that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed and is entitled to the creation. You can imagine that he is now expecting to see the impressive stature of the king of animals. But what does he see? A Lamb, of which originally is literally said, a little Lamb, a word that appears almost thirty times in Revelation. The diminutive (little) makes you feel the nullity even stronger. A lamb is completely defenseless, it doesn’t reflect any power; on the contrary, there is hardly anything weaker than that. And that image of weakness is even more amplified when you see the Lamb there “standing as if slain”.

Here you see in which way the Lord Jesus has overcome, namely by being slain. The Lamb stands there as an animal of which the throat has just been cut through. That means that the remembrance of Golgotha will remain to be preserved in heaven. But the Lord Jesus is not on the cross nor in the grave anymore; He is “in midst of the throne” (NKJV) of God, in other words, in glory. The work is finished! At the same time you read that the Lamb ‘stood’. That indicates that He is ready to come into action. The time of sitting is over (Rev 3:2121He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.; Psa 110:11A Psalm of David.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
).

The Lamb stands in the “midst”. He is the center “of the throne and of the four living creatures and … the elders”. Everything that has got to do with government and insight, finds its center in Him. He rules and acts. He does that as Lamb, but not as a defenseless Lamb. He has “seven horns”. ‘Horns’ speak of strength (1Sam 2:1010“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
; Lk 1:6969And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—
), here especially of royal strength. ‘Seven’ horns means a perfect and absolute strength.

The Lord is however not only omnipotent, He is also omniscient. He has a perfect insight into all things that happen on earth. That’s what the “seven eyes” indicates as a representation of “the seven Spirits of God”. Here the number ‘seven’ symbolizes again the perfection of the Spirit through Whom He works (Isa 11:22The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
). These seven Spirits are “sent out into all the earth”. That symbolizes that He is omnipresent. He knows perfectly about all things that come to pass. Nothing escapes from His all-seeing eyes (2Chr 16:99For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”; Zec 3:99For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.; 4:1010For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—[these are] the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.”).

V77And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.. Then the Lamb walks to the throne. It must have been an awesome moment for John and everyone who at that moment are in heaven. What is happening now in heaven is a unique event. Everyone must be breathlessly watching this scene. The Lamb comes and takes the book out of the right hand of Him Who sits on the throne. Now He has the book in His hands. Without saying a word to one another, the Lamb, once slain, is given the full entitlement by the One Who sits on the throne, the triune God, to take back the stolen property.

The act is as calm as magnificent and sublime, full of majesty. The description is without any human addition in language or in act, which would only impair this unsurpassed moment. You should just take a moment to allow what is happening here to sink in.

V88When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.. The time of waiting is over, the time of acting has come. The tension has been broken. After the Lamb took the book, heaven comes into action to worship the Lamb. Heaven is aware of the enormous importance of the book being taken. It means that the judgment over the world is very near and the age to come is about to start.

Both the representatives of God’s kingdom (the four living creatures) and the representatives of all believers who are in heaven, express their admiration for the Lamb. He is worthy and He has all power to do whatever is needed to perfectly carry out God’s plan to the end. They all have “a harp” for expressing their admiration. The harp is an instrument of praise and worship and is often mentioned with a view to the millennial kingdom of peace (Psa 33:22Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
; 43:44Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.
; 49:44I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will express my riddle on the harp.
; 150:33Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
).

Beside a harp they also all have “golden bowls full of incense”. The meaning of the incense is written right behind it. They are “the prayers of the saints” (cf. Psa 141:22May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
). Beside worshippers there are also intercessors on behalf of the believers who are on earth at that time. Those who are in heaven are aware of their relation to those who are in need on earth. These bowls may also contain the prayers of all saints that were prayed through all ages. In those days not many were saved, but most died as martyrs; but now those prayers will be answered. No prayer that has ever been sincerely prayed to God by a believer will remain unanswered.

V99And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.. These worshippers and intercessors themselves are not in need and are free from sufferings. For them the time to sing has come. “They *sang a new song.” It is a song that the earth has not known yet, neither Moses (cf. Rev 15:33And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!), nor David, though he also speaks of a ‘new song’ (Psa 33:33Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
; 96:11Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
). Only those who were bought by the blood of the Lamb are able to sing it.

When the redeemed people were on earth, they sang songs of deliverance, songs that were forward-looking to the time of victory and the kingdom of glory. Those were songs of hope. But when the book is taken and opened, the songs will change into songs of victory and celebration of the peace that will come. Above all, they will sing to Him Who has worked all things.

In this new song they reply to the question that was asked in verse 22And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” by the strong angel. They sing to the Lamb: “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals.” He is the content of the song and not the believer or what he has received. They also sing why He is worthy of it: the incredible work of redemption and atonement which He has accomplished in the offering of Himself. He was slain. In that way His blood was shed as the purchase price. In that way He has purchased, and indeed it was “to God”.

The purchased ones come from all parts of the world population. It is not only the church (Mt 13:4444“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid [again]; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.), but those are all believers from all ages. He is the true Redeemer of the Old Testament, the true Boaz. He not only bought the believers. He has obtained the believers as a special property (1Cor 6:2020For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.). But He bought the whole earth including the unbelievers (2Pet 2:11But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.; cf. Jn 17:22even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.; Mt 13:38,4438and the field is the world; and [as for] the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil [one];44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid [again]; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.).

V1010“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”. The elders do not worship God for what they themselves are, but for what He has made of the ransomed ones. Therefore they sing about “them”. It indeed refers to themselves, but they do not intend to promote themselves as the theme of the new song. Their only intention is to draw all attention to the Lord Jesus. All light must fall on Him.

It is because of Him that they were made “a kingdom and priests”. What an awesome transformation for men who once were in bondage of sin and worshippers of satan. They are now ‘kings’ of a kingdom where the Lord Jesus has all authority. They are allowed to serve Him there. As subjects of that kingdom they now find themselves already under His blessed reign, a reign that will soon be established on earth.

They are also as priests of God in His presence to worship Him. In that way man has come at the highest level of God’s purpose with him (Mt 4:1010Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”).

As an extra favor they are also allowed to “reign upon the earth” together with the Lord Jesus.

V1111Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,. John sees and hears that others mix themselves in the worship. It is the voice of an enormous number of angels. The numbers that are mentioned indicate that it is about innumerable millions of angels. They form a circle around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, in the midst of which the Lamb is standing (verse 66And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.). The angels have no personal part in the redemption. Therefore they are standing at a greater distance of the Lamb. But they certainly have great admiration for Him Who has accomplished the work of redemption.

V1212saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”. The angels also worship Him as the Lamb That was slain. They see the effect of it and know that the cause of it lies in Him and His work. Everything they mention has always been used by man through the ages, in order to exalt himself. Now the time has come that all these things will be used by the true Man to exalt God. He is the Owner of it all, but it will become visible by His acts. And everything that becomes visible of Him prompts everyone who sees it to exclamations of admiration.

1. It begins with “power”. The power that man has used to destroy his way on earth, is used by Him in judgment and thereafter in blessing.
2. All “riches” of the universe is His and will no more be misused, but will expose Him in His manifold luster.
3. He is the “wisdom” and will make that visible in all His ways and works.
4. He has the “might” that enables Him to carry out what He has decided to do.
5. He is worthy of all “honor” and that will openly be given to Him.
6. Everything that becomes visible of Him, is pure “glory”, splendor and majesty.
7. “Blessing” is ascribed to Him, Who once was so maligned.

V1313And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”. The circle of worshippers gets bigger. The whole creation, everything that has been created, rejoices in God and the Lamb. Then the curse will be taken away from creation. This form of praise will never come to an end.

V1414And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.. The executors of God’s judgment agree with the praise. The only thing the elders can do is fall down and worship.

Now read Revelation 5:6-14 again.

Reflection: Tell the Lamb about the admiration in your heart for Him.


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