Focal Passage: Revelation 5:1-14
“Then” tells us that this is a continuation of the throne room scene in chapter 4. Therefore, we already know the identity of the Person on the throne: God the Father. We are about to be introduced to another Person: Jesus Christ. God the Father has a scroll in His right hand which shows His power and authority. John points out that it is written on both sides which indicates its completeness. The scroll has 7 seals denoting the perfect and complete plan of God’s judgment. In verse 2, it is interesting that an angel would ask a question when the answer was already known. This was done to emphasize the fact that only Jesus was worthy to open the scroll as will be revealed in verse 5. The declaration in verse 2 and the discovery of no one being worthy in verse 3 causes John to cry.
What moved John to cry? If no one could open the scroll, then God’s judgment against evil would have been null and void. This thought caused John to realize if this was the case then ultimate victory for believers would not be possible. Fortunately, John was comforted by one of the elders who pointed out there is one who is worthy. He uses the titles “Lion of Judah” and “Root of David” which are Messianic titles to describe Jesus. It is important to see that the elder shares with John that the Lamb has already been victorious. Therefore, there is no doubt that He can open it.
It is at this moment that John catches a glimpse, not of a lion, but of the Lamb that had been slain. The Lamb that was slain represents His atonement on the cross. John says the Lamb is standing which confirms His victory over death. John sees that He has 7 horns and 7 eyes which are the 7 (complete) Spirits of God and speaks of the presence of the Holy Spirit. These symbols speak of His supreme power, His ability to see all things, and His perfect union and work with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is sent out to search for sinners who stand in judgment due to their unwillingness to repent. Because He is worthy, He goes and takes the scroll from God the Father.
John shares with us in verses 8-14 that the reaction to the Lamb’s action is worship. The first reaction is that both the 4 creatures and the elders fall before the throne. They have already demonstrated their submission to God the Father in chapter 4, and now they display it for Jesus in chapter 5. The elders have a harp and bowl of incense. These two things represent the prophecy of redemption and the prayers of redemption. Both are about to be answered. This knowledge led them to sing a new song which depicts His worthiness: What He has done, and what is made possible by what He did. Salvation is made available to all men due to the work that was completed on the cross by the Lamb. Then suddenly all of heaven erupted into a chorus of praise and worship to the Lamb.
The New American Standard translates “countless thousands” as “myriads.” Myriad was the highest number that could be used in Greek language. John was saying that this group was innumerable. Their song emphasizes the greatness and the attributes of Jesus Christ. Yet, even heaven could not contain all the praise because it was seen in every creature and place.
We are reminded in Philippians 2:10-11, “that every knee shall bow.” It is not a question of “if” but rather “when.” The praise session ends with the creatures saying “Amen” and the elders once again falling down and worshiping.