Week One: Worthy is the Lamb!

I can’t believe it’s already time for Part 2 of our End Times study. During Part 2, we will be studying Daniel’s 70th Week, another name for the seven year Tribulation. Early on we saw that Revelation 1:19 divides the book into three parts: the things John has seen (past), the things which are (present), and the things which will take place after this (future). Chapters 2-3 are all about the Church, representing not only the local churches mentioned in John’s day, but also the entire Church Age. Walvoord says, “chapters 4 and 5 are the introduction and background of the tremendous sweep of prophetic events predicted in the rest of the book” (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 101). Fruchtenbaum says, “with these chapters, the third and major section of the book begins, dealing with the things which must come to pass hereafter (Rev. 4:1) – that is, after the seven churches” (The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 165).

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘ Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Revelation 4:1 (NKJV)

While John physically remained on the Isle of Patmos, he was spiritually translated to heaven for this vision. What he witnessed must have been a sight to behold! He saw the very throne of God surrounded by 24 other thrones where 24 elders sat, each dressed in a white robe with a golden crown upon his head (verse 4)! Verse 3 speaks of jasper and sardius stones which are precious stones similar to diamonds and rubies. A brilliant rainbow of emerald appearance was around the throne. “Out from the throne came flashes of lightening and sounds and peals of thunder” (verse 5). It must have been an awesome sight!

Before the throne “was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind” (verse 6). These 4 living creatures seem to describe the seraphim (see Isaiah 6:1-3, Ezekiel 1:10) or some type of “exalted order of angelic beings or cherubim because of their close proximity to the throne of God” (gotquestions.org). Just as in Isaiah’s vision, these 4 living creatures give glory and honor to Him who sits on the throne. The fact that God the Father is the One “sitting” on the throne is clear because John later differentiates Him and the Lamb.

Chapter 4 concludes with the 4 living creatures unceasingly declaring the eternal holiness of Almighty God while the 24 elders fall on their faces before Him, casting their crowns before the throne. There is some debate about the identity of the 24 elders, but I agree with Walvoord and Fruchtenbaum that they are representatives of the Church. I love what Walvoord says about them, “in casting their crowns before the throne they testify that if it had not been for God’s grace, salvation, and goodness, they could not have had victory over sin and death.” He goes on to say, “as if anticipating the ultimate consummation where all will recognize the exalted name of Jesus whether in heaven or hell, Revelation 4 reveals this intimate glimpse of heaven where all created beings join in a symphony of praise and give their honor and worship to the Almighty God” (Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 111).

As we move into Revelation chapter 5, we see that John saw “in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or look into it” (Rev. 5:1-3 NKJV). This greatly distressed John and he began to weep because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it (v. 4). “This book contains the prophecy of impending events to be unfolded in the book of Revelation. The book is actually a scroll, which is given prominence in the scene by the fact that it is in the right hand of God who is on the throne” (Walvoord, p. 113).

I can’t even imagine this moment in John’s vision. No one in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth had the “power and authority to open it” (Walvoord, p. 114). In this great moment of anxiety and grief, one of the elders says to John, “stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5 NJKV). John lifted his head and beheld the Lamb of God! There, “in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah. This name symbolizes His Kingship, majesty and judgment. He is also the Lamb of God. The word John uses for “Lamb” here is different from the one he used in John 1:29. John’s use of the word “Lamb” in his gospel means “sacrificial Lamb.” But the word he uses in Revelation 5:6 is a designation to the “Exalted Christ” who was the sacrificial Lamb that paid the price of our sin with His blood at the cross. But three days later, He rose from the dead and is now exalted by God and given the name which is above every name! (Phil. 2:9 NKJV). He is the exalted Christ and He is the only One with the power and authority to open the scroll. The horns refer to His kingship (Walvoord, p. 115). The seven eyes represent the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (verse 6).

All heaven erupts in worship of the Lamb when He takes the scroll out of the right hand of the Father. “The four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:8-10).

Then John looked and “heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was 10,000 times 10,000, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:11-12 (NKJV)

If the elders indeed represent the Church, do you realize that you and I are a part of this mighty throng praising and worshiping the Lamb of Glory? Walvoord says, “Those who have received Christ Jesus as Savior and who have entered into the blessings of His redemptive work will be numbered among the tens of thousands pictured in chapter 5 as giving their worship and praise to the Savior. That which John contemplated in prophetic vision will be an actual part of the future experience of the saints of God as they wait with Christ for the consummating events of the age and the establishment of His kingdom” (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 120).

Jesus, the Lamb of God is worthy! He has all power and authority to handle the seven sealed scroll. Friend, if our Jesus is worthy of this, isn’t He worthy of our praise today? Isn’t He powerful enough to handle whatever it is we are going through right now? We can rest assured that He is in control of all things.

Chapter 5 closes with every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth and in the sea praising God! “With this tremendous awesome introduction, the ground is laid for the unfolding revelation beginning in chapter 6, when the scene shifts once again from heaven to earth” (Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 120).

Week One: Homework Reflections

Days One and Two: The Throne & The Seraphim

  1. Read Revelation 4-5 and record in your journal the description John gives of the throne of God.
  2. What common theme between chapters 4 and 5 do you see in the worship that surrounds the throne?
  3. Read Ezekiel 1:5-14 and Isaiah 6:1-3. How does those passages compare with the description of the 4 living creatures in Revelation 4 and 5?

Day Three: The 24 Elders

  1. Read Rev. 4:4; Rev. 4:9-11; and Rev. 5:8-14. Record everything you learn about the 24 elders.
  2. Read 1 Peter 2:1-10, 1 Cor. 6:20 and Ephesians 1:7-14. How does this compare to Rev. 5:9-10?
  3. Read 2 Timothy 4:8. Every mention of a believer’s crown (this is just one of them) in Scripture is always the Greek word “stephanos,” a victor’s crown. It’s interesting that the elders in Rev 4 are wearing victor’s crowns and throwing them at the throne of God.

Day Four: The Holy Spirit

  1. Read Rev. 4:5 and Rev. 5:6. What in these verses represent the Holy Spirit?
  2. Read Isaiah 11:1-2. What qualities of the Holy Spirit do you see in verse 2?
  3. How is Jesus described in Rev. 5:5-6? How does this description compare with Zechariah 3:6-10, and Isaiah 11:1?

Day Five: The Lamb of God

  1. Jesus as the Lamb of God is mentioned 28 times in the book of Revelation. He is mentioned as the Lion of the tribe of Judah only once. Why do you think the over arching theme in Revelation is of Jesus as the Lamb?
  2. Read Hebrews 9:11-28 and record all that Jesus has done for us as our High Priest. Take some time to praise Him for your great salvation and the amazing future He has prepared for you as His bride one day! How does knowing these truths give you hope in your life here on earth?
  3. How does it comfort your heart to know that Jesus is the Only One with the authority and power to open the seals? Read Daniel 7:13-14. How is Jesus described in this passage?

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