The Apocalypse – Chapter 5
In the previous chapter of the book of Revelation, the prophetical scene was opened to John the apostle. He saw God on the throne of glory and government receiving the adoration of His holy ones. The counsels and decrees of God were set before the apostle, in a book, which God held in His right hand. This book was sealed in the hand of God, Rev. 5:1-9. It was then taken into the hand of Christ the Redeemer, to be unsealed and opened, Rev. 5:6-14. The Lamb takes the Scroll
The Music of heaven To glorify Me is to reflect In your lives My ways. So let your hearts thrill As you sing My praise. What wonders I am truly seeing As you praise Me With your whole being. Your lives indeed reflect Freedom’s choice As with hearts and minds You rejoice; rejoice. Through sanctified lives And devoted hearts Joy in abundance Flows through every part. So mount up with wings as eagles above the traffic’s roar. Higher and higher, nearer to Me I see you triumphantly soar. Hear the music of heaven. Listen the orchestra plays Now and forever more beautiful songs of praise. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The Lamb takes the Scroll
- Those who have seen most of God in this world are most desirous to see more.
- The more we see of His glory, the more we desire to know His will.
- It is a matter of joy to all the world to see that God does not deal with men in a way of strict justice, but in a way of grace and mercy through the Redeemer.
- Prayer and praise should always go together.
- Christ has redeemed His people from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan.
- He has redeemed them to God, set them at liberty to serve Him and to enjoy Him
- We have been made kings, to rule over our own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one.
- He has made us priests and given us access to Himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
- We shall judge the world with Him at the great day.
- By Him all things consist.
- All should adore that great Redeemer who delivers the creature from that bondage under which it groans.
- Worthy is the Lamb
‘And I saw in the right hand of the One who is seated on the throne a scroll, written in side and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a powerful angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.
Do not weep
And I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! 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. And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as though slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. And He came and took the scroll from the right hand of the One who was seated on the throne.
When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one of whom had a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they were singing a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slaughtered, and bought people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation, and made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Worthy is the Lamb
I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and of the living creatures and of the elders, and their number was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands times thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
I heard every creature that is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea and everything in them saying, “To the one who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever.” And the four living creatures were saying, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.’
Known unto God
Henry says – Now John is favoured with a sight of the methods of the government of God. They appear all written down in a book which He holds in His hand. This book is shut up and sealed in the hand of God. This shows that the designs and methods of divine Providence towards the church and the world are stated and fixed. The great design is laid, every part adjusted, all determined, and everything passed into decree and made a matter of record.
God holds this book in His right hand, to declare the authority of the book, and His readiness and resolution to execute all the counsels and purposes recorded. This book is shut up and sealed and known to none but Himself, till He allows it to be opened. Known unto God, and to Him alone, are all His works, from the beginning of the world. But it is His glory to conceal the matter as He pleases.
Who is worthy?
The times and seasons, and their great events, He has kept in His own hand and power. It is sealed with seven seals. This tells us with what inscrutable secrecy the counsels of God are laid, how impenetrable by the eye and intellect of the creature. It also points us to seven several parts of this book of God’s counsels. Each part seems to have its particular seal, and, when opened, discovers its proper events. These seven parts are not unsealed and opened at once, but successively, one scene of Providence introducing another.
John heard a proclamation made concerning this sealed book. The crier was a strong angel who comes out as a champion. He challenges any and all the creatures to try the strength of their wisdom in opening the counsels of God. As a champion, he cried with a loud voice, that every creature might hear, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? Rev. 5:2.
Creatures cannot open it
If there be any creature who thinks himself sufficient either to explain or execute the counsels of God, let him stand forth, and make the attempt.” None in heaven or earth could accept the challenge and undertake the task. In heaven, none of the glorious holy angels, though before the throne of God, and the ministers of His providence cannot dive into the decrees of God.
And on earth, no man, the wisest or the best of men, none of the magicians and soothsayers, none of the prophets of God, any further than He reveals His mind to them. None under the earth, none of the fallen angels, none of the spirits of men departed, though they should return to our world, can open this book. Satan himself, with all his subtlety, cannot do it. The creatures cannot open it, nor look on it. They cannot read it. Only God can do it.
Christ stands as the Mediator
The apostle felt a great concern in himself about this matter and wept much. It was a great disappointment to him. By what he had seen in Him who sat upon the throne, he was very desirous to see and know more of His mind and will. This desire, when not presently gratified, filled him with sorrow, and fetched many tears from his eyes. Those who have seen most of God in this world are most desirous to see more. Those who have seen His glory desire to know His will. Good men may be too eager and too hasty to look into the mysteries of divine conduct. Such desires, not presently answered, turn to grief and sorrow. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
The apostle sees the book taken into the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ to be unsealed and opened by Him. Christ was In the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and of the elders. He was on the same throne with the Father. He was nearer to Him than either the elders or ministers of the churches. Christ, as man and Mediator, is subordinate to God the Father, but is nearer to Him than all the creatures; for in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. The ministers stand between God and the people. Christ stands as the Mediator between God and both ministers and people. He appeared before as a lion, here He appears as a lamb slain.
To the joy of His people
John was comforted and encouraged to hope this sealed book would yet be opened. Who it was that gave him the hint? One of the elders. God had revealed it to His church. God can make His people to instruct and inform their teachers when He pleases. It was the Lord Jesus Christ, called the lion of the tribe of Judah, according to His human nature, alluding to Jacob’s prophecy (Gen. 49:10), and the root of David according to His divine nature. He who bears the office of Mediator between God and man, is fit and worthy to open and execute all the counsels of God towards men.
Christ delights to do His will
He is a lion to conquer Satan, a lamb to satisfy the justice of God and appears with the marks of His sufferings upon Him. He appears as a lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes, perfect power to execute all the will of God and perfect wisdom to understand it all. For He hath the seven Spirits of God. He has received the Holy Spirit without measure, in all perfection of light, and life, and power, by which He is able to teach and rule all parts of the earth.
He came, and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne (Rev. 5:7). He prevailed to do it (as Rev. 5:5) by His merit and worthiness. He did it by authority and by the Father’s appointment. God very willingly and justly put the book of His eternal counsels into the hand of Christ. Christ readily and gladly took it into His hand. For He delights to reveal and to do the will of His Father.
God deals with mercifully with men
The apostle observes the universal joy and thanksgiving that filled heaven and earth upon this transaction. No sooner had Christ received this book out of the Father’s hand than He received the applauses and adorations of angels and of every creature. It is a matter of joy to all the world to see that God does not deal with men in a way of strict justice, but in a way of grace and mercy through the Redeemer. He governs the world, not merely as a Creator and Lawgiver, but as our God and Saviour. All the world has reason to rejoice in this. The song of praise that was offered up to the Lamb on this occasion consists of three parts, one part sung by the church, another by the church and the angels, the third by every creature.
Thy blood was shed
The object of their worship was the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the declared will of God that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father. He has the same nature. They fell down before Him, giving Him the most profound adoration. The instruments used in their adorations included—harps and bowls. The harps were the instruments of praise, the bowls were full of smells or incense, which signify the prayers of the saints. Prayer and praise should always go together.
The song was suited to the new state of the church they acknowledge the infinite fitness and worthiness of the Lord Jesus. (Rev. 5:9): Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals. He is in every way sufficient for the work and deserving the honour. It was the merit of His sufferings, which He had endured for them. This is what struck their souls with thankfulness and joy. They mention His suffering: “Thou wast slain, slain as a sacrifice, thy blood was shed.”
Christ has redeemed them
Christ has redeemed His people from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan. He has redeemed them to God, set them at liberty to serve Him and to enjoy Him. Thou hast made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth, Rev. 5:10. Once the elect of God were made slaves by sin and Satan, in every nation of the world. But Christ purchased their liberty for them and gave them the highest honour and preferment, made them kings and priests. Kings, to rule over their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one. He has made them priests, given them access to Himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. They shall reign on the earth; they shall with Him judge the world at the great day.
The concert closes with their Amen, and end as they began, with a low prostration before the eternal and everlasting God. Thus we have seen this sealed book passing with great solemnity from the hand of the Creator into the hand of the Redeemer. Happy those who shall adore and praise in heaven, and who shall forever bless the Lamb, who delivered and set them apart for Himself by His blood. How worthy art thou, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of our highest praises! All creatures should proclaim thy greatness, and adore thy majesty.
By Him all things consist
The attendants on the throne of God are innumerable. They did not need a Saviour themselves, yet they rejoice in the redemption and salvation of sinners, and they agree with the church in acknowledging the infinite merits of the Lord Jesus as dying for sinners. He alone is worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, glory and blessing. He is worthy of that office and that authority which require the greatest power and wisdom.
This hymn of praise was begun by the church and carried on by the angels. It is then echoed by the whole of creation, Rev. 5:13. Heaven and earth ring with the high praises of the Redeemer. The whole creation fares the better for Christ. By Him all things consist. All would adore that great Redeemer who delivers the creature from that bondage under which it groans. Their groanings come through the corruption of men, and the just curse denounced by the great God upon the fall.
Set apart for Himself
The very same honour and glory are in the same words ascribed to the Lamb and to Him that sits on the throne, their essence being the same. But, their parts in the work of our salvation being distinct they are distinctly adored. We worship and glorify One and the same God for our creation and for our redemption.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Prayer: Father I pray that I would see more of You in this world and that I would be most desirous to see more. May I be forever a seeker and a doer of Your will. I thank You that you do not deal with men in the way of strict justice, but in the way of grace and mercy through the Redeemer. May prayer and praise be forever on my lips. Thank You that Christ has redeemed me from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan. Thank You that I have been redeemed to God and set at liberty to serve You and to enjoy You.
May we realise and walk in the truth that Christ has made us to rule over our own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one. Thank You that You have made us priests and given us access to Christ with the liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. I acknowledge that by You all things consist. May I always adore that great Redeemer who delivers us from that bondage under which we groan. In Jesus Name. Amen.
The Apocalypse – The Lamb takes the Scroll
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