From Revelation 4-6
Chapter four describes an awesome throne room scene with fantastic creatures and the leaders of the church worshiping the Lord God Almighty. They continually cry out and declare the worthiness of the Lord God because he is creator of all things. Today we look at chapter five. In this chapter there is a significant change. All the hosts in the throne room sing a new song. What could be better?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Chapter four describes an awesome throne room scene with fantastic creatures and the leaders of the church worshiping the Lord God Almighty. They continually cry out;
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4.8)
and in response the elders cry in response;
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4.11)
In chapter five something changes. John sees a scroll which no one can open.
5 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. (Rev 5.1-4)
The scroll is quite important because John weeps when no one ‘on earth or under the earth’ is worthy and able to open it. So the scene is set.
Who is the person that is worthy and able to open the scroll?
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. (Rev 5.5-6)
The Jews waited hundreds of years for the Christ to come. Who is the Christ? John’s waiting has ended. Jesus is described in several ways;
The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. The promised Christ would be of the line of Judah, a descendant of David. Jesus is the promised Christ
A Lamb standing which had been slain. Jesus is the lamb of God, he was given for the sins of the world. Jesus stands because he rose from the dead.
With seven horns and with seven eyes. Jesus has now been given all authority under heaven and 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. (Rev 5.7-8)
The Lamb takes the scroll which no one was worthy or able to take. The four living creatures and the elders in the throne room begin to praise him as they did the Lord God Almighty.
John explains why the Lamb is worthy.
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.” (Rev 5.9-10)
He was slain and by his blood he ransomed people for God.
‘Ransomed’. In a previous post, Jesus blood freed people from their sins. In today’s post we see the same slave market imagery employed. Jesus’ blood has been the purchase price for redeeming people from slavery to sin and death. Now these people serve him. The price for this ransom was his very own blood.
‘Every tribe, language, people and nation’. The payment made by Jesus’ blood spilling was not for Israel alone, but for all nations.
‘Made them a kingdom’. According to Isaiah (Isa 43.7,14-21; cf. Eph 2.15) the mythology of creation is used to describe the saving act of the exodus and the new creation of Israel (McKenzie, J.L., A Theology of the Old Testament). Hence we see salvation and creation working together in Revelation.
‘Kingdom and priests’. Echoing an earlier statement (Jn 1.6) John repeats the pattern of salvation and creation of a kingdom of priests. (Note also the echoes of the same in Exodus 19.3-6.)
The song has changed from old creation to new creation. Are you a living in the old or the new creation?
‘New song’. The ‘new song’ that has taken over the old is the creation of a new priestly kingdom from among all the nations bought by the precious blood of Christ.
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!” (Rev 5.11-12)
The worship of the Lamb escalates. Previously it was the four living creatures and the elders in the throne room. Now it has increased to include the voice of angels. Millions of angels.
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!” (Rev 5.13)
The worship of the Lamb escalates yet again and spills out of heaven into creation.
Now it has increased still further to include every creature in heaven (the skies) and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them. That includes us. At the centre of this ever-increasing crescendo of praise is the risen Lamb who has slain.
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev 5.14)
The crescendo of praise which began in the throne room of the Lord God Almighty escalated to include the heavens and all creation. At the centre of the praise stands the risen Lamb who was slain.
For persecuted Christians who live in a world who not know or have ignored Jesus this is a comforting and scary vision.
Comforting because this risen Lamb that was slain is our King. He has all power and authority. We will kneel with everyone else giving praise to the Lamb.
Scary because there are many people who still do not know him or ignore him.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.