Revelation 5:6-14 (Part 2 of 2) – Who is worthy to open the scroll and break the seals?

[5:1] Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. [2] And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” [3] And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, [4] and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. [5] And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
[6] And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. [7] And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. [8] And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. [9] And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
[10] and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
[11] Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, [12] saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
[13] And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
[14] And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. 

(Revelation 5 ESV)

In the first part of this section of scripture (Revelation 5:1-5 – The Scroll)  We learned of what the scroll is and we left with the question, Who can open the seal?
 The Scripture proclaims that no one is able to open the scroll who has been created. No angel, No human, Not even Satan or his demons. (“No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth.”)


Introduction of the one who is worthy

In the second section of chapter 5, we are then we are introduced to the one who is able to take the scroll. As we look at this, we should first notice the introduction of who is able to open the scroll listed in verse 5. He is named as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:9; Heb. 7:14)  and the root of Jesse who conquered (Isaiah 1:1,10). The names given to the one who is worthy is very important to the interpretation of the passage.  Because these Old and New Testament passages are describing the one who is worthy to bring in the new covenant of salvation found in the Gospels and both passages also describe one who will overcome or an agent that will be superior and we know this person to be Jesus.


So what do we know about Him?

Verse 6 then describes that same conquering agent as a lamb that was slain. Immediately when we  compare the descriptions given in verse 5, the lion of Judah and the root of Jesse, in contrast to the description given in verse 6, the lamb that was slain (Isaiah 53:7-8), we can see that both descriptions of the worthy one are prophetic in nature. But in this case the lamb is portrayed as slain which does not indicate a figure that conquers but one that has been conquered.
We should also notice that this is no ordinary lamb. He comes with seven eyes, seven horns and seven spirits sent into the earth. These additional attributes are  illustrations of His perfect authority (seven horns), His perfect sight (seven eyes) and His perfect spirit (seven spirits). (Zech. 3:9; 4:10)


So what is His purpose?

The Lamb is then given the scroll of God’s will and knowledge in verse 7. So the Lamb that was slain is here to do God’s will and have his knowledge. We know from the passages above that the Lamb is Christ. (Passover Lamb, Isaiah 53:4-12) We also know from the Gospels that Jesus’ desire was to do the will of Him who sent him (Isaiah 53:10-12, John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 14:31) and that if we know Him we also know the Father who sent Him (John 8:19; 14:7).


So what does this mean for us today?

  • Verse 5 – Jesus came to conquer sin and death as the remnant, the Lion from the tribe of Judah and the root of Jesse. His plan has been foretold through prophets for hundreds of years. This was not a fly by night scheme but preordained by God from the beginning of time.
  • Verse 6 – Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb as illustrated through the Passover in Exodus, prophesied about in Isaiah 49-56 as the suffering servant, demonstrated in the Gospels and explained in the Epistles (Hebrews 2:9,  2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is the Lamb that gave His life that you may have life. He died for your and my sins on the cross. He is the perfect sacrifice.
  • Verse 6 – The Lamb controls all, sees all and His spirit is all. Just because He was slain does not mean that He is inferior. It was the will of the Father for the Lamb to be slaughtered to redeem us from sin. He did this by choice. (Isaiah 53:6, 10-12; John 3:16)
  • Verse 7 – Jesus’ will and desire is to do the will of God the Father.

As these things of God are revealed to me through this book of Revelation, I cant help but identify with the sentiment of worship to God as the elders and hosts of heaven did in verses 8-14 as they recounted all the things He has done and who He is.

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