A Study of Revelation

Last week we ended with this image:

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Chapter 5 is a continuation of the throne scene of chapter 4, the difference being that Christ takes his place on the throne. In this vision God holds a book sealed with seven seals, and no man is worthy to open the book. The main theme of chapter 5 is to show that Christ was the only one who could open the book.

Let’s read it together:

Revelation 5
5:1* ¶ I 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.
2* And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”
3* And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.
4* Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;
5* and one of the elders *said to me, “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.”

Take a look at this image:

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Christ was the only one who could open the book. Verse 9 explains why; he had died for our sins and had redeemed us to God. He was slain for our sins; therefore, God gave him power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessings. Because of this, all creatures in heaven and earth are to worship him.

There are many ideas concerning the contents of this book. Although the contents are important and are revealed as the seven seals are opened in 6:1-8:5, the
significant point in this chapter is the actual opening of the book. The opening of this book is symbolic of Christ opening a new era to mankind. When Christ died on the cross, he opened a much better way for man. He brought in the gospel dispensation whereby man can have forgiveness of sins. No man could do this because there was no one worthy to make the necessary sacrifice. It had to be a perfect sacrifice. This is why John wept. At that time it appeared to John that this book could not be opened and man would remain in a state of sin. Therefore, as we study chapter 5 we need to keep in mind that Christ’s ability to open this book represents the giving of the New Law which redeemed man to God.

Rev. 5:1
5:1* ¶ I 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.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

God is holding this book in his right hand showing that it is tremendously important. The right hand of God is always considered a place of importance. Christ ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3).

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The book was probably in the form of a scroll which was commonly used during the first century. It was an important book because it had writing on both sides, it was a large book.

It was sealed with 7 seals. Important documents were sealed with multiple seals. Seven is the complete sacred number therefore this indicates God had sealed this book, and everything in it was completely under his control. It becomes obvious as we study this chapter that God is the author of the contents of this book, it is a book of highest possible importance and therefore must have contained God’s eternal plan for man.

In verse 2 – a strong angel begins to search for someone worthy or capable of opening the seals of this book. The search was extensive because no man in heaven, or in earth, was found who could open the book. This angel could not open the book. The one who would be able to open this book would possess special qualities. Verse 9 tells us that only Christ could meet the qualifications necessary to open the book because he made the ultimate sacrifice in shedding his blood to make atonement for the sins of man. Christ received this power by his resurrection from the dead.

Rev. 5:5
5* and one of the elders *said to me, “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.”

Verse 5 brings us to the time after Christ’s resurrection. John is told to stop weeping because Christ has prevailed to loose the seals of the book which means that he had made the necessary sacrifice. Christ “overcame” and sat down with his father on the throne.

5-Slide5.jpg

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Christ is called the Lion from the tribe of Judah because Christ is descended from Judah, Judah was called a “lion’s whelp” (Gen. 49:), Christ being described as a lion indicates his mighty strength and power. These characteristics make it possible for Christ to make the necessary sacrifice and become worthy to open the book God held. Isaiah 11:1 prophecies that the Messiah will be from the root of Jesse.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The lion is also the “lamb” of verse 6 because both possess the ability to loose the seals of the book.

This lamb has 7 horns and 7 eyes. We are told that these represent the seven Spirits of God. Horns were symbols of honor, power and authority to the ancients. This would represent divine perfection and completeness and show that Christ possesses all divine power and authority. He is all-seeing and all-knowing because of the seven eyes.

The 7 horns and 7 eyes are the seven Spirit of God sent forth into all the earth, Rev. 4:5 says that the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven Spirits of God. This is simply another description of the same “Spirits of God.” These symbols describe different characteristics of the same seven Spirits of God.

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Christ was the one who had overcome to take this book out of God’s hand. This shows that God gave Christ all power and authority. This took place at Christ’s resurrection.

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Eph. 1:20,21
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Eph. 1:20,21)

Rev. 5:8-8
8* When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9* And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

When Christ took the book out of God’s hand, immediately the living creatures and the elders fell down to worship him. These same heavenly beings were worshipping God in chapter 4. This shows that Christ has received total authority from God and is worthy of all our worship, just as God is.

1 Cor. 15:25,26
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

We must point out that this was the beginning of Christ’s reign, and according to 1 Cor. 15:25, 26 he will continue to reign until all enemies are destroyed with the last enemy being death. Therefore, Christ is reigning today.

1 Cor. 15:24
24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

Christ reigns continuously until he turns the kingdom over to God.

Rev. 5:8-9
8* When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9* And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

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If the bowls of incense are symbolic of prayers, it follows that the harps must by symbolic also. The harps represent the ability of saints to worship God by singing. We know this to be true because in the next verse they begin to sing. In 14:2 the 144,000 are singing, and in 15:2 they sing. This shows that God considers the voices of saints to be beautiful as they worship him in singing.

Rev. 5:9
9* And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

They begin to sing a new song praising Christ for being worthy to open the seals of the book. He was worthy to do this because he had been slain. This is a reference to Christ’s crucifixion.

They sang a “new” song because this was the first time it could be sung. Before Christ died on the cross this song of redemption could not be sung. Those under the law of Moses did not have forgiveness of sins until Christ died (Heb. 9:15).

By the blood of Christ people from every nation were redeemed to God. This is the fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham.

Acts. 3:25
25* “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’

All the families of the earth are blessed who obey God. When we become members of his church we have access to that redemption through his blood.

Acts 20:28
28* “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

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