Today: [Revelation 5:] Behold the Lamb! In this chapter, we see Jesus as a lamb seated upon the throne. His appears is with seven horns and eyes to whom all of those in the throne room give adoration and praise. What is the timing of His appearance? It is to open a book in the right hand of the One on the throne, a book we shall learn something about in our study.
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[Rev 5:1-14 KJV] 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. 2 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. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 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. 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. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 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. 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; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 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; 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. 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. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
The oldest copy of Revelation that still exists is a papyrus fragment that dates to 275 which would make it predate the conversion of Constantine by over 30 years. Archeologists discovered this copy in Egypt in the 1800s. It is interesting because it gives the number of the beast as 616 instead of 666. Facts such as these give us a partial abstract of the path by which the oldest copies of the scriptures were handed down through the centuries to become the Bible we know. This copy of the book of Revelation would have gone through and survived the Diocletian persecution, and that may explain the seeming deliberate variation of the number of the beast to protect the copyist from persecution for indicting Rome as the beast system.
The chapter begins with John noticing that the one who sits on the throne holds a book in His right handwritten within and without and sealed with seven seals. These seals will be unsealed step by step from chapter six to chapter eight of John’s apocalypse.
What can we learn from the mention of this book? Books of various origins are mentioned 188 times in the scriptures. Books explicitly written by God and held on record in the heavens are mentioned as well:
In Ex. 32:32 Moses asks God to blot his name out of His book. Therefore from antiquity, there apparently was a belief that God held a book containing the names of His servants in relation to judgments and rewards. David also mentions God’s book in Psalm 139:16. Some of these books and their titles are:
Num 21:14 Book of the Wars of the Lord
Isa 4:3; Ps 69:28 Book of the Living
Mal 3:16, Book of Remembrance,
Rev. 20:12, Lamb’s Book of Life.
The book appearing in the right hand speaks of authority, rule, and power. The number of seals securing the book is seven. Seven is the Hebrew number Zayin which is formed by the glyph of a sword, thus representing the word of God as a two-edged sword. Seven is construed as the number of perfection and completion signifying to us that whatever is in this book it is comprehensive, perfect containing the total of God’s overall plan for a season of time that most prophecy teachers would conclude has not come to pass yet.
In verse 2 a strong angel appears giving a challenge proclaiming “who is worthy to open the book.” There is then an urgency in heaven that the book must be opened. It must be opened but being sealed by God it cannot be unfolded by just any being in heaven or earth. Many claim to be in receipt of mysteries, secrets and obscure truths and here is the arrogance of this line of thinking – they presume that they are worthy of knowing things about God and His plans and we are not. There is only one worthy to open the book and to loose the seals, and that is He revealed in this chapter.
When John realizes no one may be found to open the book or to look at its contents, he weeps profusely. This comes to the attention of one of the 24 elders who turns to comfort him. Now I wonder who this elder might be? If 12 of the elders were the founding apostles of the Lamb, then John may have seen himself among them (being one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples). Ask yourself the question who was the most compassionate and loving among the 12? It was doubtless John who is the author of this book. It is certainly within the pale of plausible conjecture that John the Revelator was comforted by John, the apostle — comforted concerning what? John among the 24 elders knew who was worthy to open the book. There was therefore among the divine presbytery in the heavens knowledge that John on the earth did not have access to. Take this to heart because God lives in your human spirit and knows all things. Since God knows all things, your human spirit is in possession of knowledge your waking mind is not. Learn to posit questions to God in your spirit and know that you will receive the answer if you listen carefully.
John is told that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah prevails to open the book. He turns and incongruously sees not a lion but a lamb. This lamb is no ordinary lamb. He sits on the throne with seven horns, and seven eyes which he is given to understand represents the seven spirits of God. This denotes for us what is referenced in the gospel of John 3:34 that the spirit was given without measure to Jesus. The Seven Spirits of God are the whole of the manifestation of the Spirit and seven being the number of completion we know that whatever there is of the spirit of God in totality resides in Christ.
What of the horns and the eyes. Horns represent power. We understand that these horns were not animal horns but very likely horns of light or glory bursting out of His head as happened to Moses when he spent time in the present of the cloud of God (Ex. 34:35; alternate rendering). Horns represent power and eyes represent knowledge. This speaks to us of the two dimensions of the Spirit, that of the demonstration of power and the demonstration of spirit. The nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 12 can be divided into these two categories – that of the knowledge gifts and the power gifts of God. Paul understood these and spoke of ministering in demonstration of spirit and in demonstration of power.
What about God giving the Spirit without measure to Jesus? Tradition teaches that this only applies to Jesus and not anyone else. Jesus understood this in His lifetime declaring in Matt. 28:18 “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth…” The scriptures teach us that all things were delivered to Jesus and He disclosed them to us saving the date of His return which was withheld from Jesus lest we be given access to that information by Calvary’s covenantal right. The point we can make in this verse is if Jesus holds the Spirit without measure then we as well can walk in the Spirit without measure because the ONLY thing in God that we cannot access through Christ is the date of His return. John validated this in 1 John 4:17 saying “as He is so are we in the world.” Is he full of eyes with seven horns of glory bursting out of Himself? Then what those eyes and horns represent in the heavens is not withheld from us on the earth.
John sees the Lamb and then observes as this Lamb proceeds to take the book from the hand of the Father on the throne. That picture of a Lamb walking and holding a book in its hooves is awkward for us suggesting that this creature was of a very unique form and visage. When the Lamb takes the book the four beasts, and the 24 elders fall down before the Lamb and burst into song. Each one of these elders has harps and vials of perfume that represent the prayers of the saints. Hold on just a minute! Do you see this?
These elders represent the 12 apostles of the Lamb and the 12 finishing apostles of the culmination of the church age. Here we see something of the authority of an apostle and the relationship of the apostle to the prayers of the saints. Each of these apostles held vials of prayers specific to people on the earth. Can a man have authority over what happens to your prayers? In 1 Sam. 1:17 Eli the high priest seemed to arbitrate the prayers of Hannah for a son, making a declaration of God’s granting of her desire. Who is the apostle in your life? Is there an apostle out there spiritually holding the vials of your prayers as these apostles are in the heavens? Jesus is declared as the apostle and high priest of our faith, and we know from scripture that He ever intercedes for us. We know then that apostles are characterized among other things by their intercession. We also know from these details of this scene that apostles have a unique and specific relationship to the prayers of the saints within their measure as Paul said or their jurisdiction. Are you prayers not being answered? Perhaps a fresh consideration of your need for alignment with an apostle needs to be considered, and the apostles themselves as well may need to consider what this passage implies.
The apostles extoll the Lamb in song declaring His majesty and His beneficence in making us kings and priests unto God – ordained to reign not on a fleecy white cloud in heaven but upon the earth. In the midst of their song suddenly there comes into visibility a company of tens of thousands of saints singing in chorus “worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” Why is He worthy? Because He is the embodiment of the righteousness of God. What of 1 John 4:17? As He is so are we in the world. 1 Cor. 1:31 says that Jesus is our righteousness. If He is worthy (and He is), that worthiness is imparted to us by grace through faith in the New Birth. Is He worthy? Then that worthiness touches our lives that we also might be the inheritors of power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing!
We see then when the Lamb takes the book that the elders, the saints and now all of creation in the sea and on the land breaking forth into thunderous song declaring the worth of the Lamb. In a resounding crescendo, the four living creatures conclude this massive orchestral detonation of praise with a pronouncing “AMEN” followed by the elders prostrating themselves before the Lamb as He that is to be worshipped for ever and ever. All of this awesome scene of heavenly sights and sounds is wrapped around keen anticipation and desire focused on a book sealed with seven seals in readiness to be opened by the only One worthy of doing so. What is in this book? We know not. Will we witness its unsealing yes we will and in observing it will see an outpouring of God’s sovereignty on the earth in magnitude beyond our ability to comprehend.
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