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Revelation Chapter 5 - The Control Room of Heaven - God as Ruler/Redeemer

Context - how we got to Chapter 5

Chapter 4, Ruler/Creator - the spotlight falls on the Throne, and He Who sits on it, on the 4 living creatures (cherubim, guardian angels) and on the 24 elders (God's people, the church universal).

Three New Symbols

what are they, what do they mean, what do they teach us? The Scroll, the Lion & the Lamb

1. The Scroll (or Book)

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, with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.

Revelation 5 English Standard Version (ESV)

(Why writing on the back? - either it was so full, or else the author's name and the book's title, were written there, as on someone's will.)

4:1 "I will show you what must take place after this"

As promised in 4:1 here is the "showing" of what must soon come. God is in control! - but the book is sealed up! How can we read it?

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?"

Eat you heart out, Super-Heroes! This angel's voice is heard throughout the whole universe. He shouts like the herald of a king (The King) & challenges anyone to come and open the 7 seals. "Who is worthy?" "Who has the right?" The focus shifts from the Scroll to a Person.

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.

The 1960s Acid-Rock group Jefferson Airplane sang - "You are the crown of creation and you've got no place to go!" - it was a biting satire of conventional society, but TRUE, (and true for them too). I wonder did they ever hear Francis Schaeffer's words on "Love and Communication"?

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."

Too good to be true? No! There is One who can open it.

2. The Lion of Judah

Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; (ESV)
For they no longer dared to ask him any question. But he said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is David's son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."'" (Luke 20:40-43)
Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered (verse 5)

The Lion has conquered!

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.

What! Not a Lion on the throne? (The Lion?)

3. A Lamb - the weakest of animals

7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

No upstart here! God on the Throne gives Him the Scroll.

"All authority is given to me" said Jesus, Mt 28:18
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.

The 4 & 24 fall down to worship again - before whom?

Yes, before the Lamb, in the very presence of God on His Throne!

Who can this be?

"that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him." John 5:23

Prayers are offered to the Lamb; our prayers reach to heaven.

In their earlier song the elders say

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11)

They give glory and honour and power to God on the throne.

Here they sing a new song, and to the Lamb on the throne.

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,

In chapter 4, He is worthy by right of creation. Here, He is worthy by right of dying - the Redeemer

See, from every tribe, language, nation. What encouragement to sending the Gospel of the Lamb out into all the world!

10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

What honours and riches the Lamb gives!

No matter the present troubles.

Bliss is to come, and with it delightful work.

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.

The Lamb has been in the spotlight till now, but now the lights come up, and we see a vast crowd, as in a stadium, but a crowd of angels, surrounding the Throne and the Lamb and the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders too. A 2nd Song (by the angels)

12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!"

7 times worthy - power, wealth, wisdom, might, honour, glory, blessing.

Now they get it! Now the angels too understand - 1 Peter 1:12 "which things the angels desire to look into"

"Worthy is the LAMB" - Handel's great masterpiece from "The Messiah".

See how the angels now repeat the "worthy-ies" that the living creatures and the elders sang to God on the throne, but the angels are singing to the Lamb. The Lamb is God!

Just when you think it can't get any better there comes a 3rd song!

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 honour and glory and might forever and ever!"

Now every created thing joins in the great anthem of praise to God and the Lamb,

14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

This is no quiet "amen". It is THE "AMEN!!!" So let it be. IT IS ALL TRUE!!!

Which is it for you?

Pride now, and shame later, humbled at the feet of God's poor but infinitely rich people?


Humbled now, and glory later?

You, and only you, must choose. Jesus the Lion/Lamb is waiting with His arms open wide.

Click here for the next Revelation article Revelation Chapter 6 - A Short History of the World- The Book is Opened

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