Revelation Chapter Five

Scroll with Seven Seals

Seven Seals

CHAPTER 5

(Rev 5:1) And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The Greek word for book is βιβλιον, biblion from the root word βιβλος, biblos. Biblion literally means roll or scroll and biblos means the cellular pitch from the inside of the tough leaves or bark of the papyrus plant. The cellulose material was made into sheets and scrolls used for writing. Accordingly, in ancient Greek the word also meant a book or a scroll. In Modern Greek, the word βίβλος, biblos, is also translated paper and it is the word the Greeks use for the Holy Bible. The book here in verse one is a scroll. God the Father has the scroll in His right hand. The scroll has writing on both sides—inside and out.

What is this scroll all about? The first thing we should notice about it is that it is sealed. It is sealed and no one is worthy to open it except the Christ1. But we know what is in it; the Revelation tells us. Jesus opened the seals and as each seal was opened the events of the end of the age unfolded. They were seals of revealing. The first four seals reveal the four horsemen: conquering (or victory), war, famine, and death. The fifth seal reveals those slain for their testimony. The sixth seal reveals upheaval on earth. The seventh seal reveals the trumpet and vial judgments. All of these things are contained in the scroll. It is essentially the script for the events of the end of the age.

This sealed scroll is a testament or covenant or contract. The seals make it so. A covenant must be sealed in order for it to be valid. In earlier times, an actual seal was impressed on a latching material like wax. Later the seal was impressed directly into the paper. In many jurisdictions today, the signature is now the only seal required for validity. A notarized document only needs the signature of the notary; a raised seal is no longer required is those jurisdictions. Your signature is your seal. A bank check is a type of contract, thus your signature is the seal that makes the check, or contract, valid. The point is that official documents must be sealed—either with a medium like wax or plastic, a raised seal, or a signature; on some documents witnesses are required to affix their seal or signature as well. That is situation today as it was also among the ancients.

Seven seals make this scroll divine, complete, and perfect. Gaius the Roman Jusrist, tells us that, according to Roman law, a written will or testament required seven witnesses and seven seals on the document (Gaius, II.147). Some say that this scroll is the title deed to creation. That is an opinion with which I am inclined to agree. The Father has given the Son power and authority over all things (Mat 11:27, 28:18; Luk 10:22; John 3:35, 5:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 13:3, 17:2; Eph 1:20, 21, 22, and many more Scripture references) and this scroll is the testament to that. God the Creator owns all things and this is the Father deeding all things over to the Son.

In John’s day scrolls were tied with leather thongs and a wax seal was affixed to the thongs and then a seal was impressed into the warm wax. The seal may have been a separate instrument with a seal upon it or it may have been on a ring worn by the sender whose seal was impressed in the wax. There were seven of these seals indicating divine perfection. It appears that there were seven sections to this scroll thus seven seals on seven leather ties around the scroll.

(Rev 5:2-3) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? {3} And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Why a strong angel? It was to show that no one, not even the strongest angel, was able to open the seals. The phrase “no man” is an inadequate translation. The word is ουδεις, oudeis, which more accurately indicates none, nobody, or ‘not even one thing—neither child, man, woman nor thing’. No angel, no archangel, no cherub, no seraph, no person alive, or dead; of all the hosts present in the vision of heaven, not even one of that number was worthy. There is only One who is worthy and He is the creator of all things. The Divine Word, Logos (Greek), or Memra (Aramaic) is the Creator of all things. (John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Father was worthy, but He had possession of the scroll (see verse 1) thus had no need to open it. He was going to deed it to the One besides Himself that was worthy.

(Rev 5:4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Why did John weep? This word for weep doesn’t necessarily mean the shedding of tears; it also means to lament or wail loudly as in mourning rather than to weep silently. It is an external expression of one’s grief. Loud wailing is indicative of mourning. John mourned because this sealed document was in the hand of God Almighty. Thus it was a very important scroll. He mourned because such important knowledge was not going to be revealed because no one would be able to open the scroll and reveal the knowledge. This must have been a very solemn event to move John to such emotion. It appears that a thorough search was made for someone to open the seals. It probably was a time consuming search. John knew of the import of this scroll and was thus apprehensive when no one could be found worthy. Many commentators say the John so desired to see what the scroll contained that he wept because of his disappointment in not being able to learn the contents.

(Rev 5:5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Jesus the Christ has prevailed as the One worthy to open the book. The Lion of Judah and the Root of David are both Messianic titles from the Old Testament. For the Lion of Judah, see Gen 49:9, 10, Num 24:9, Isa 31:4, Hos 11:10, and Heb 7:14. For the Root of David, see Isa 11:10, Jer 23:5, 6, Rom 1:3 15:12, and Rev 22:16.

The tribe of Judah was the tribe from which kings came. The Lion represented the tribe of Judah because the lion is the king of all cats and king of the jungle. The Bible tells us the scepter will not depart form Judah (Gen 49:10), meaning that the line of kings would always be descendants of Judah. The Root of Jesse is David, the first king over Israel to be chosen by God. The people chose Saul, the first king of Israel; God chose David. David was a young man or boy, a shoot or a branch from the root of Jesse, from the tribe of Judah. In other words, he was Jesse’s youngest son when Samuel anointed him king. God chose David and directed Samuel to anoint him. Jesus is a descendant of Jesse and of David and of Judah. Thus Jesus is the King over all the kings of Israel and since the Lion is the representative of the tribe of Judah, Jesus is that Lion, the leader of Judah.

Thus Jesus prevailed to open the seals. Prevailed is synonymous with overcame. The Messiah or Christ had overcome to open the book. In the letters to the churches, we are exhorted to overcome. It means to overcome in a struggle or a conflict. Christ struggled with the conflict of being innocent of the crimes He was charged with, the beatings, the crown of thorns, and being nailed to a cross. He overcame death, sin, and Satan and He alone is worthy. Only Christ is able to unfold the truth to us. A person unsaved cannot really understand God’s Word; only with the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit can one understand the Scriptures. Thus the Messiah is the only one worthy to reveal the knowledge contained in the scroll.

(Rev 5:6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

In the previous verse, the Messiah is identified as the Lion of Judah and the Root of David. However, Christ appears here as a Lamb. Yearly at Passover, lambs are sacrificed to atone for sins and to commemorate Yehovah passing over the houses of Egypt with the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the doorposts of those houses. If there was blood on the doorposts, God passed over that house. He slew the firstborn sons in the houses with no blood on the doorposts. The sacrifice of the Paschal (Passover) lamb symbolized sparing the life of men (Exodus 12:3-30). Jesus Christ was later sacrificed on the same day the Passover lambs were killed (Mark 14:12; cf. Mat. 26:17, Luke 22:7). His sacrifice provided eternal life for all who believe on Him. Thus Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac to God, the LORD stopped him. Yet, at that very moment God provided a ram (Gen 22:8 10-13) to sacrifice in Isaac’s place. Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a lamb (Gen 22:8, 10, 11, 12, 13). Abraham was looking forward to the time of the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God. Isaac was to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah, which later became a part of Jerusalem, the same place that Jesus our Messiah was sacrificed.

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is on the throne in the midst of the living beings (beasts in the KJV) and the twenty-four elders. The Lamb looked as though He had been killed, but He was standing indicating He was slaughtered, but now lives. Horns represent power and authority. See 1Sam 2:10; Dan 7:14; Mic 4:13; Hab 3:4; Luk 1:69; Php 2:9, 10, 11. Seven represents perfection, thus the seven horns represent His omnipotence or His complete and perfect power over all things existential, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. His power has always been, is now, and always will be and it knows no bounds. It extends not only to the ends of the universe, but to infinity. It is unequalled and nothing can stand against it (Rom 8:38, 39).

Zechariah tells us that the seven eyes are “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zec 4:10) proving the omniscience (all-knowing) of God. There are seven of them because Zechariah wrote that the seven lamps of the Menorah represent the eyes of the LORD (Zec 4:2; compare Zec 3:9). Scripture tells us that the eyes of Yahweh continually search the entire earth for those whose hearts are fully and completely His, in other words, believers in Christ, in order to strengthen them. In other words, God is always watching us and He is always protecting us (2 Chr 16:9). Jeremiah proclaimed:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 32:17-19

The Lamb is King of kings and Lord of lords. The Seven Spirits of God (see the notes on Revelation 1:4) represent His omnipresence (His presence everywhere). This is the Holy Spirit, Who is present in all creation (Psalm 139:7, 8, 9, 10-12; Jer 23:23, 24). As an aside, this fact alone negates the teaching of some that in 2 Thes 2:6-7, it is the Holy Spirit that holds back (letteth—KJV) the revealing of Antichrist and that when the Holy Spirit is removed, Antichrist will appear. Since the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, He cannot be removed from the earth or from anywhere in the metacosm (see verse 1 of this chapter). The Holy Spirit may be holding back the revealing of the Man of Sin, but He does not need to be removed from creation for that the happen. The Spirit, being the Third Person of the Godhead, is God and all He needs to do is to stop restraining Antichrist and allow him to be revealed.

(Rev 5:7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

Jesus is the Living Word (John 1:1-14). Jesus, The Living Word, took the written Word (the scroll) out of the right hand of God. This is an official transfer of title from God the Father to God the Son. Though both are One (John 10:30), the Son is given dominion over the Kingdom (Mat 28:18, Luk 10:22, John 3:36, Rev 12:10). The right hand of kings was the place of honor. Solomon had a seat placed at the right side of his throne for his mother, Bathsheba, and she sat there at his right hand in the place of honor (1 Kin 2:19). Let us explore some other information about the right hand:

The Big Red Battalion Handbook of the Army ROTC at The University of Nebraska tells us this about the right-hand salute:

In the age of chivalry the knights were all mounted and wore steel armor which covered the body completely, including the head and face. When two friendly knights met, it was the custom for each to raise the visor and expose his face to view of the other. This was always done with the right hand, the left being used to hold the reins. It was significant gesture of friendship and confidence, since it exposed the features and also removed the right hand – the sword hand – from the vicinity of the weapon. Also, in ancient times the freemen (soldiers) of Europe were allowed to carry arms, when two freemen met, each would raise his right hand to show that he held no weapons and that the meeting was a friendly one. Slaves were not allowed to carry arms, and they passed freemen without the exchange of a greeting. In the Middle Ages, gentlemen often went about clothed in heavy capes under which swords were carried. Upon meeting a friend, the cloak was thrown back by raising the right arm, thus disclosing that the right hand was not on the sword hilt. The civilian counterpart of the salutes manifested in various ways such as raising the hand when greeting a friend, tipping the hat when meeting a lady, and using a sign of recognition between lodge members. This sign is always exchanged as a greeting between friends and is given willingly. © 2013 University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, 402-472-7211

Though this article dates to the Middle Ages, perhaps sitting at the right hand as a place of honor was established in a similar vein at a much earlier date. Perhaps it was a place of honor because the right hand was used to wield weapons. Perhaps it is because the right hand was where a signet ring was worn that provided an official seal for bearer. Or, since most people are right-handed, that is the hand people use in most of their activities. It is the most important hand for most people, thus sitting on the most important side of a leader was the honorable place. At any rate Christ’s sitting and the right hand of the Father simply expresses that He was has equal power with the Father. Remember what Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou” (Gen 41:40). That is a type of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

Let us take a minute to understand the Trinity. Here is an excerpt from “Understanding the Trinity” from Eagle Mountain Church2. This is the simplest and most easily understood explanation of the Trinity that I have read. Here is the excerpt:

Trinity, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “the union of the three divine persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in one Godhead.” God is a triune being (three in one). That means He is manifest in an absolute “Threeness”—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet, at the same time, He is also an absolute “Oneness.” Each One is God. However, that does not mean each One is a part of God. Each One is the whole God. Personality is not divisible. God cannot be divided. He is one in essence, in personality and in will.

The concept of the Trinity is often difficult for us to grasp because when we think of a person, we think of will, feelings and behavior peculiar to that person alone. This cannot be thought of in connection with the Trinity. Each Person of the Godhead has individual characteristics, responsibilities and operation, yet never acts independently or in opposition. There is always total unity and harmony.© 1997 – 2013. Eagle Mountain International Church Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Rev 5:8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

See the commentary on Rev 4:4 about the Twenty Four Elders. They worshipped the Lamb because He was worthy. A harp is an instrument of worship, and prayers are a part of worship. The golden vials or bowls were full of incense. In Tabernacle and Temple worship, a censer was filled with coals from the sanctified fire and incense was cast upon the coals filling the Most Holy Place with incense smoke (Lev 16:12, 13). The smoke symbolized the Shekinah Glory and Holiness of the LORD (1 Kings 8:10, 11, Rev 15:8). Incense also symbolizes prayer (Psalm 141:2, Rev 8:3, 4), and the atoning blood of Christ (Num 16:46, 47).

The use of incense in the Tabernacle and in the Temples is outlined in the Pentateuch in several places. Here are a few: Exodus 30:7-8; Leviticus 16:11, 12, 13; Numbers 16:46, 47, 48. There are many other references. We will look at a few in the categories of the prayers of the saints, of the atonement from sin, and of the holiness of God.

Prayers of the Saints

Incense was symbolic of the prayers of God’s people. In the mixture that made up the incense used in the Tabernacle and the Temples, was an ingredient, an herb, which caused the smoke to rise straight up in a column. This symbolized prayer to God. Our prayers rise to God like the column of incense smoke. This did not prevent the smoke from filling the room, for when it reached the ceiling it would spread out into the room. Incense was burned daily, once in the morning at the morning sacrifice, and once again in the evening when the lamps that had burned out were relit (not the Menorah, which burned perpetually). In the daily burning of incense, we find people outside the Tabernacle/Temple praying. When Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, went into the Temple sanctuary to offer the daily incense there was a crowd of people outside the sanctuary praying (Luk 1:10). This links incense to prayer. King David said, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense” (Psa 141:2a). We see again in Rev 8:3, 4, that incense was offered up as the prayers of the saints.

Atonement from Sin

In Numbers 16 (read the whole chapter) we find that the people had sinned against God by coming against Moses and Aaron and accusing them of murdering the people of Kohath, Dathan, and Abiram, who had rebelled against God. God spoke to Moses and said, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment” (Num 16:45). At that moment, a plague came on the people and began killing them. So Moses told Aaron to get a censer and fill it with burning coals from the altar and to take it among the people while burning incense on the coals to make atonement for them. Before Aaron could get the incense spread among the people, 14,700 of them died. Then the plague that was killing them stopped. Thus the incense made atonement for the sins of the people. The blood of Christ was typified in this passage. The incense was the type (Appendix 3), and the blood of Christ the antitype.

The Holiness of God

On the annual Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27, יום הכפרים, yom hakipurim, or Yom Kippur), the High Priest, “…shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not” (Lev 16:12, 13). The high priest must take a censer of hot coals from the altar and handfuls of incense into the Holy of Holies. He would place the censer on the floor between the horns of the Ark of the Covenant. Then he would carefully sprinkle the incense over the coals so that the smoke of the incense would fill the Most Holy Place thus obscuring God from himself. The holiness of God is such that not even the High Priest could be in His presence. The smoke would keep the priest from seeing the face of God and then die (Exo 33:20, cf. Jdg 13:22). Thus there was a barrier of smoke from the incense between the priest, a common man, and the Holy God. At that time, presence of Yehovah God would appear at the Mercy Seat, which is the lid of the Ark. The blood of Christ broke this barrier allowing those saved by that blood direct access to God.

(Rev 5:9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

In the Old Testament, there are seven new songs listed; all are in the Psalms. A new song is sung to reflect righteousness (Psa 33:3), praise (Psa 40:3), salvation (Psa 96), victory (Psa 98), dominion (Psa 149), and glory (Isa 42:10). All of those things are in view here.

Not only is He worthy to take and open the books, He is worthy or all our praise and honor. Let me repeat a paragraph I wrote in the last chapter:

He is worthy: “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (2 Sam 22:4; Psa 18:3). He is worthy because He is the creator of the universe. We cannot fully grasp vastness of the creation. For example, our sun is 865,000 miles or 1,380,000 kilometers in diameter or 2,717,570 miles in circumference. Compare that with one of the largest stars in the known universe, VY Canis Majoris in the constellation Canis Major. It is 1,227,000,000 miles (almost 4 billion miles in circumference) or 1,975,000,000 kilometers in diameter. That is 1400 times larger than our sun. Our planetary solar system is 4.6 billion miles in diameter (Pluto’s aphelion). Canis Majoris it is so far distant, that it seems like a tiny spec in the night sky. It is 4892 light years, or 28,757,621,100,000,000 miles, or 46,280,905,000,000,000 kilometers from earth (that is quintillions of miles and klicks). At the maximum speed the Space Shuttle achieved, which was 17,400 mph (28,003 km/h), it would take 1,652,736,844,827.6 (1.65 quadrillion) years to reach Canis Majoris. God spoke and that unimaginably vast universe was born in situ. He created all and thus He owns all. He is worthy; period.

He is worthy because He is creator and owner of all. He is also worthy Because He, The Creator of all, became a man and was slain for our sins to allow us to spend eternity with Him in His presence. He is worthy because He is eternally blameless and perfect.

We are slaves to our sins; we are in bondage because of this. We owe a debt that we cannot fulfill. We need redemption. With His blood, Jesus paid the ransom for our sins thus redeeming us out of all peoples, tongues, and nations that are not saved. And the best thing about that is anyone can join the ranks of the redeemed by trusting in the shed blood and broken body of Christ, who was raised incorruptible from the dead.

(Rev 5:10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

This is to be understood as a kingdom of priests or a priestly kingdom. Those terms are synonymous with a royal priesthood as we see in 1 Pet 2:9. Compare Exo 19:6. Many commentators take this approach as well: Robertson, Exell, Spence-Jones, Barnes, Gill, Clarke, Vincent, Bullinger, and others. See notes on Rev 1:6.

What does it mean that the saints will reign with Christ? We must discern how the context of this verse fits with other similar contexts in the Bible. The context is that the saints will be a kingdom of priests. We learn from 1 Pet 2:9 that God’s people (Christians in the NT age) are a royal priesthood and that God’s people (Israel in the OT age) are a kingdom of priests in Exo 19:6, thus both Testaments agree on this.

The Greek word βασιλευσομεν, basileusomen, future active indicative form of βασιλεύω, basileuō, is the word translated ‘we shall reign’ in the KJV here. We must use the context to determine the best definition. The lexical Greek word mainly means to rule or reign like a king, however, a lesser definition is “metaphorically to exercise the highest influence, to control” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). Since Christ is King, there is no reason for Christians to be kings or to reign as such. Therefore we should look for a better understanding of the reign of the saints with Christ.

The first definition in all dictionaries I have consulted is usually to rule with the power of a king or a sovereign. Yet, there are several other English definitions of the word reign. Several synonymous definitions are: predominance, widespread influence, prevalence, etc.’ Going back to the fact that Christians are a royal priesthood and a kingdom of priests, using one of those definitions gives the true sense of the verse. That sense is that during the reign of Christ, we Christians will enjoy dominant and widespread influence for Christ on earth. Thus we should also use Thayer’s lesser definition when translating the word into English. In fact, Paul uses the same word (basileuō) in Rom 5:17; Thayer tells us, “Paul transfers the word to denote the supreme moral dignity, liberty, blessedness, which will be enjoyed by Christ’s redeemed ones.”

Several manuscripts have “and they shall reign,” instead of “we shall reign.” But that is just semantics. Who are ‘they’? They are the kingdom of priests to our God, as are we. Over whom shall we have such influence? The answer lies in Rev 20. The Scripture says We will live and reign with Him during the thousand years (Rev 20:4;5;6).

What exactly will the saints reign over? Scripture tells us that we Christians will judge the world and angels (Dan 7:22; 1 Cor 6:2-3; Jude 1:14, 15; Rev 2:26, 27). Perhaps that is what John meant.

There is also a simple grammatical way to understand Revelation 20:4;5;6. First, the word lived is εζησαν, he’zēsan, the first aorist active indicative of ζαω, zao, to live. Hezēsan can be translated “they lived,” as well as they “lived again.” So these souls were resurrected and lived with Christ. As for reigning with Christ, Thayer wrote, “Paul transfers the word [reigned] to denote the supreme moral dignity, liberty, blessedness, which will be enjoyed by Christ’s redeemed ones1.” Romans 5:17 says, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” According to Friberg it can figuratively mean the dominant quality of something2, like our life. Thus we could also say that the dominant quality of our resurrection is to live with Christ in supreme moral dignity, liberty, blessedness, enjoying eternal life with Him. The point is we do not necessarily need to be ruling over anyone to reign with Christ. Christ Himself is even now reigning over the earth and will continue to reign over all things in the Millennium. God has given Christ all authority over all things:

Ephesians 1:19-22 (NLT), I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

(Rev 5:11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

The angels get into the act. One cannot define the number of angels by this verse. The word translated ten thousand is actually myriad, which can mean either ten-thousand, or an unlimited number. There are myriads upon myriads and ten-thousands upon ten-thousands of angels. There is an indefinite number of them. 1 Enoch 40:1-2 is echoed here in the Revelation: “And after that I saw thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand, I saw a multitude beyond number and reckoning, who stood before the Lord of Spirits. 2. And on the four sides of the Lord of Spirits I saw four presences, different from those that sleep not, and I learnt their names: for the angel that went with me made known to me their names, and showed me all the hidden things.” Again, 1 Enoch is not a part of the Canon of Scripture, and 1 Enoch was written before the Advent of Christ; there are fragments of the work in the Dead Sea Scrolls (e.g. 4Q204).

(Rev 5:12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

I said that the angels got into the act—the act of singing the praises of the Lamb. The Lamb is Jesus Christ, Who is God (John 1:1, 14). There are seven attributes here; since seven means divine perfection and completion, these seven indicate perfection and completion. Hence the Lamb, Who is God, is completely and perfectly worthy to open the seals. The reason He is worthy is that he is the divinely sinless Son of God (See notes on Rev 5:9).

Here is a brief look at those seven attributes of Christ:

Power. He received all the power of the Godhead to rule over all things (Mat 28:18; Php 2:9, 10, 11) that He gave up when He came as the Suffering Servant, but regained that power after His resurrection and triumph over sin (Php 2:6, 7, 8, 9).

Riches. Christ, Who is God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psa 50:10). His riches in glory are relentless (Psa 8; Php 4:19).

Wisdom. Christ, Who is God, in His wisdom, founded the earth and established the heavens (Prov3:19). His wisdom is superior to man’s wisdom (Isa 55:8, 9). His wisdom is infinite (Psalms 147:5). He is the source of all wisdom (Prov 2:6; Jas 1:5).

Strength. He is our strength and salvation. He has redeemed us by His strength. He is our stronghold, our fortress, our refuge, our ever-present help in trouble. Exo 15:2; Neh 1:10; Psa 27:1; 28:8; 46:1. There are many more verses about His strength.

Honor. The first part of the lord’s prayer is Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name; in other words ‘may your Name be honored on earth as it is in Heaven.’ He is worthy of Honor. Psalm 8:5; Heb 2:7; Psa 21:5; 96:6; 104:1.

Glory. He is crowned with glory (Psalm 8:5; Heb 2:7). He was glorified when He walked the Earth (Luk 4:15; Joh 1:14). He is glorified now and sits at the Father’s right hand (Act 2:33-34; 3:13)

Blessing. He is worthy of blessing at all times (Psa 34:1). He is worthy to be blessed by all that is within us (Psa 103:1). He is worthy to be blessed of us in all places (Psa 103:22). He is worthy of blessing forever (Psa 115:18).

(Rev 5:13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Every creature means every soul ever created, dead or alive. Those on the earth are living in the flesh; those under it are dead. The sea can literally indicate the oceans or it can symbolically indicate the nations. It can be understood both ways here, both literally, and symbolically. Literally those in the sea are those who died in the sea and those in ships on the sea; symbolically, they could the people of all the nations. All sing praises to the Father and Son.

Additionally, the Greek word used here literally means created things. Technically, all created things include both animate and inanimate objects. Animate things would be men, animals, and insects. Inanimate things are flora, rocks, sand, water, metal, space, planets, etc. So the whole creation can be understood to be praising God (Rom 8:19).

Creation suffered from the curse of sin, just as man suffered. The ecology of the world changed when Adam sinned—creation was no longer perfect as it was in the Garden of Eden. Now the entire world is changed for the worse because of sin. Now people must labor for their sustenance, protection, and shelter. That is because it takes labor for any provision. Before the curse, all was perfect, everything was provided for Adam and Eve. Now we have a corrupted world in which sin and suffering are prevalent. Thus the entire creation including men, animals, and inanimate things are imperfect. They all await the return of Christ when all things will be restored (See Romans 8:19, 20, 21, 22, 23).

(Rev 5:14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Amen means “it is truth.” The cherubim are saying that all that has happened is truth. The twenty-four fall in worship; we also know from verses 11-13 that the myriads of angels and the whole creation are worshipping at the same time. What a joyful gathering! What a cacophonous sounding of praises ringing out in heaven! No worship service on earth, no matter how large or how inspiring, can even hold a candle to this magnificent worship service! As Paul wrote, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isa 64:4). This rings the end of the entire worship service of the Lamb in the previous verses.

In the next few chapters, the seals on the scroll written on the inside and the outside will be opened by Messiah. As each seal is opened, an event in John’s future unfolds. Some maintain that today, in the day of this commentary that the seals have already been opened and he trumpet judgement are occurring at this moment. We shall see. There are some exciting events ahead in our study. Hold on! Buckle your seat belts!

Updated 12/4/2019

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).

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Footnotes

  1. The word ‘Christ’ is the English transliteration of the Greek word, Χριστος, Christos. That Greek word is the translation of the Hebrew word משׁיח, mashiach, or Messiah, which means ‘Anointed One.’ That means we may call the Lord’s Anointed the Christ, meaning the Messiah.
  2. Eagle Mountain Church is the home of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Please note that I have nothing to do with Kenneth Copeland, his Ministry, nor do I support that ministry. He is a false teacher. Avoid him and his false doctrine. Regardless, this is an excellent description of the Trinity.
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