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Basic Bible: The Lamb Is Worthy of Worship

Revelation 5:6-14

God has revealed through the prophecies in His scriptures that He is not bound by the restraints of time. The words before us are a record of that which was shown to John while he was a prisoner upon the isle of Patmos in A.D. 95. John was instructed to write down the things which he saw (Rev. 1:11). John was given a specific message to write to each of the seven churches of Asia, and then shown “things which must be hereafter” (Rev. 4:1).

Fundamentalist scholars concur that the things recorded in Revelation 5 follow the dispensation of the church age which is summarized in Revelation 2 and 3. The description of the redeemed (see v. 9) fixes the timing of what John was shown to be after Jesus has redeemed sinners out of “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” This event can only occur after the gospel has been preached in every nation and in every tongue and after the gospel’s work of redemption is completed. The scene which John saw follows the church age.

Matthew 24:14 links Revelation 5 to the time of the end: “And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end shall come.” We are viewing a time which is not far future.

In the opening verses of Revelation 5, God the Father is seen sitting upon the throne holding a sealed book in His right hand. The contents of the book are sealed with seven seals, signifying that it is sealed by God and cannot be opened without His authority. No man in heaven, nor in the earth, nor under the earth was worthy to open the book or to look upon it.

John witnessed “a Lamb as it had been slain” step forward and take the book out of the hand of God the Father. John knew the Lamb’s identity and all who are second born know the Lamb’s identity. The Lamb is Christ Jesus. The Lamb is He who was slain upon the cross of Calvary to satisfy payment of the sin debt of all who would believe.

This Lamb is described as “having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” The Lamb is identified in verse 5 as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David. This description of Jesus is unlike any that was given in addressing the seven churches of Asia. The Lion of the tribe of Judah refers to the prophecy of Israel (Jacob) who declared that the tribe of Judah would lead all tribes of Israel and that Shiloh (the Messiah) would be of it [Gen. 49]. This description is not directed to the church; it is directed to believers who lived before Moses and the law. The description, Root of David, is directed at a people who lived under the law and were recipients of the Davidic covenant. These two groups, together, consist of Old Testament believers who looked to the coming of the Promised One who would rule over them. The Promised One is fully revealed to Old Testament believers at this time as the Lamb who was slain and possesses the full power of God. They “. . . shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn . . .” (Zech. 12:10).

John reports that there is great rejoicing about the throne of God when the Lamb takes the sealed book. The four beasts and the twenty-four elders fall down before the Lamb and sing, “Thou art worthy”. The beasts are living beings created by God; their number four is that of the four corners of the earth. The elders consist of two sets of twelve, one set representing the twelve tribes of Israel (the promised seed of Abraham according to the flesh) and the second set of twelve representing New Testament believers (all who believe, all who have been blessed in the promised seed of Abraham).

John reports that every one of the twenty-four had vials filled with the prayers of saints. And what might these prayers be? All who are sanctified pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” When the Lamb takes the sealed book from the hand of the Father, that prayer shall be answered. The Lamb shall open the book and God shall rule on earth as He rules in heaven. The Redeemer shall rule!

There is great rejoicing because the wait is over; God’s will shall be done: Christ shall rule! All who are redeemed shall participate in His reign as kings and priests (v. 10). Joining the elders and the four beasts in singing praise are countless angels —ten thousand times ten thousand plus millions more. All creatures join in singing praise — those in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, and those in the sea. Such is the time of the end.

God lifted John up in the Spirit and showed him these things because the Lord God wants us to know that His kingdom is worthy of all wait.

Let us fill the vials of the elders to overflowing in preparation of that day.

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