THE LION AND THE LAMB
Creator God, you made me in your image and breathed into me the breath of life. I am forever your grateful child.
Read REVELATION 5
The Scroll and the Lamb
5 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. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 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.”
6 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[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 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. 9 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[b] 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May we grasp the extent of the victory of the Lamb of God and rejoice in it. Amen.
The vision of the worship of heaven is stilled as John’s attention is drawn to a scroll in the right hand of God. A ‘mighty angel’, with a voice that reverberates throughout the heavens, asks whether anyone is worthy to open this scroll (v 2). The tension is ratcheted up when there is no response; no one is found in heaven, nor in all creation, who is able to unfold the contents of this document, so John breaks into uncontrollable weeping because it seems that the seven seals must remain unbroken.
Why this distress? If the scroll remains closed then the world continues unchanged and evil and injustice remain unchallenged. What is right will be determined by military might and the powers dominating the nations will have their way without regard to the pain, hunger, and suffering of the poor and oppressed. Suddenly, John is told to dry his tears because there is someone worthy to break the seals and inaugurate a new and alternative history for the world and the nations. This person has the strength of a lion but is worthy to establish the kingdom of God because he has been faithful unto death. Richard Bauckham says that only the Lamb can reveal the contents of the scroll, ‘because it is his victory which makes possible the implementation of the purpose of God contained in the scroll’.1
Now the heavenly choir can strike up again. And what a ‘new song’ (v 9) it is! The hosts of heaven are joined by ‘every creature’ (v 13) as the whole of creation celebrates the once-slain Lamb, who is worthy to share the throne of God and bring his redemptive purposes for the world to complete fulfillment.
When you feel like weeping over a broken world, remember that the Lamb of God is on the throne and will bring justice to the earth.
Lord Jesus, you are worthy of all my praise. Because you died and were raised from the dead, I can live forevermore. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
1 Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p80
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