Pages

A Walk Through Revelation - Part 12


creative commons image

The Scroll and the Lamb

Revelation 5

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,

    and they will reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Revelation 5:1-14

 For me, this is when the book of Revelation starts to boggle my mind. From here on out, it's hard for me to detect what is a literal translation of what John saw and what is symbolism. I could try from here to eternity to figure it all out and I'd probably still get it all wrong, and I'm not the only one.

In studying this chapter, I read many different commentaries by learned Bible scholars, each giving differing opinions on whether the seven spirits were seven actual spirits or whether the Greek translation of a seven-fold spirit of God was more accurate. Some said the seven-fold spirit referred back to Isaiah 11:2 and some argued that Isaiah wasn't describing seven spirits, but three and then defining attributes of  those three with four descriptions.

Holy Moly!  I'll tell you what - I'm going to focus on what I do understand from the passage, because while we debate what could have been meant by the strange things described here, we could overlook the main point of the chapter and that is this...

There was a very important scroll to be opened.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 
Only someone WORTHY (virtuous, righteous, good, moral, ethical, upright, upstanding, high-minded, principled, exemplary) could open the scroll and it seemed line no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth measured up to those standards, which made John profusely sad.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
And then One was found!
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
It's Jesus - of course, it's Jesus.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
Ok, this is not the Jesus I recognize. I never pictured him having seven horns and seven eyes and I don't think this is a literal translation, but symbolism. Here's were we could get stuck, but rather than try to figure out why Jesus was described this way, let's get to the main point. What happened when Jesus took the scroll from the right hand of God?
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of  incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God
and they will reign on the earth.”
Rejoicing - that's what happened! Falling-down-on-your-face rejoicing, joyful singing and though the text doesn't say it, I'll just bet those harps were being played, too. Notice the golden bowls filled with incense? See what the are?

they were holding golden bowls full of  incense,
which are the prayers of God’s people
I love this! Our prayers don't just go up to God and evaporate into thin air. They are held in a bowl as sweet smelling incense burning before our Lord.  David prayed for this in Psalm 141:2
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Doesn't that make your prayer life richer? Doesn't it make you want to pray more, knowing that your prayers are a fragrant offering to God?

So, what happened after the four living creatures and 24 elders began rejoicing that Jesus was found to be worthy to open the scroll? The angels got in on the worship...
creative commons image
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
 and honor and glory and praise!”
How many angels? Circling the throne along with the living creatures and the elders and softly praising Jesus...NO, it says they were crying in a LOUD VOICE. Worship can be soft and reverent, but it can also be loud and raucous. It's okay to let yourself go and really praise. It would be weird to see a stadium full of baseball fans sitting quietly, whispering, "Go team. Go." We have something much more amazing to celebrate than a ball and a bat, two teams and nine innings. Don't be afraid to worship out loud.

What happens after the living creatures, the 24 elders and thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand angels began praising and sing around the throne?

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
The book of Philippians (2:9-11) says...
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
and the book of Romans says...
11 It is written:“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
Though many may not acknowledge Jesus as the King, the Savior, the Holy Son of God, a day is coming when every created being will bow down give him the praise and honor and glory He deserves. I choose to start now!

Finally, we come to the end of this chapter...
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
They said "Amen" which means, it is so; so be it; truly; an expression that means I wholeheartedly agree! And that is the point of this whole chapter. Jesus is the only One worthy to be worshiped, the only One we bow down to, the only One we look to for our hope and our future. 

creative commons image

Take a few minutes (or a lot of minutes) and praise Him. Put on some music, praise Him on bended knee, standing up, sitting down, dancing, softly and loudly. Let yourself be caught up in adoration. Have a wonderful time in the Spirit of Worship, for...


HE IS WORTHY!

 
-------------------------------------------------------
If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!

No comments: