A Study of the Book of Revelation
In chapter 4, John saw five things:
1. Jesus seated on the throne.
2. The 24 elders.
3. The double judgement.
4. The church at rest.
5. The four living creatures – select angels.
The sixth thing John is going to see is in chapter 5. He is going to see a book. This book contains the judgement.
There are several books talked about in the Bible. The 7 sealed book (Rev. 5:1), the book of life (Rev. 3:5, 19:15, 22:19), the Lambs book of life (Rev. 21:27), the book of works (Rev. 20:12), the book of remembrance (Mal. 3:16), and the book of the living (Psalm 69:28).
1. ¶ And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
Here we have another majestic sight.
Here we have both God, the Father and Jesus, the Son on the throne.
In the days of the Apostle John, books were usually scrolls (Gr biblion) rather than bound books such as we have today. When a scroll was completely filled with writing, it would be rolled a little ways, a seal would be placed on it, and then it would be rolled a little more and sealed again. When it was completely rolled, seven seals would secure its message. To unroll the scroll and reveal the contents, one must break the seals successively.
“Book written within and on the backside.” – this books contains 7 chapters. It had 7 seals and when one seal was broken, you could read the next seal.
“Written” – this is in the perfect tense and means it will remain written just in that form forever.
The book contains the judgements of the seven year Tribulation, the sum total of perfection and divine completeness.
The seals mean that the book is not to be opened until the church is removed from the earth. We are now in the church age, next is the rapture and then the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the time of the seven sealed book.
This book contains the title deed to the earth.
This sealed scroll recalls the ancient Jewish custom of the kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 4).
Under the law, when an owner of property allowed another to take possession of it, a sort of mortgage deed was given to the original property owner.
This was a sealed scroll which stated that at some future date a representative kinsman could reclaim that property if the purchase price were met.
The landowner’s representative must be a legal kinsman, and be worthy of the right to purchase the property. When he had paid the stated purchase price, then, and only then, could he break the seals on the scroll.
This worthy seal-breaker was called the “redeemer,” for he had regained the property from the hands of another.
Adam sold the human race out, lost it to sin. Jesus bought it back. He is our kinsman redeemer.
The kinsman redeemer was to buy back the inheritance that was lost or mortgaged. (Lev. 25:25)
The kinsman redeemer was to redeem brothers from bondage. (Lev 25:49).
The kinsman redeemer was to marry the widow and raise up seed to the dead. (Ruth 4:4-5).
The kinsman redeemer was to avenge the blood. (Num. 35:19-35).
2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Strong angel – means a capable angel. One with a strong, loud and clear voice. No man of human race is worthy to break the seals.
Since this is the title deed to the universe and only the purchaser of redemption can receive it from the hand of God, an intensive search is made to discover a man worthy to open the scroll.
3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Though the heavens, the earth, and the netherworld are searched, no man worthy is found. By sin all men have forfeited any worthiness they might conjure up to open the scroll (Ps. 14:1-3; Eccl 7:20; Rom 3:10, 23).
No man is worthy to open the book. No one in Heaven or earth.
4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
This caused John to fall into uncontrollable despair and much weeping. No man was found worthy.
I wept – this is imperfect active indicative and means John just kept on crying, heartbroken.
No human was worthy to open the book. This book contains the title deed to this world, all that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.
If this book remained sealed, Satan would be in total control of the earth.
The subject of the book is redemption and judgement.
5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
One of the elders said to quit crying. John’s weeping turned to joy.
Lion of Juda is Jesus. He is worthy, speaks of humanity.
Root of David is Jesus, speaks of diety. Jesus is worthy to open the book and to judge the world. He has overcome and prevailed. He can and will break the seals and this world will be judged by the perfect God. Perfect justice will prevail.
6. ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Then John looked up and in the midst of the throne, among the four living creatures, and among the 24 elders…
Stood a lamb – this is perfect tense. It means He stood and He will stand forever.
Throne – judgement seat.
Four beasts – means 4 living creatures, four endowed angels.
Christ had been seated, but now stands to judge in the Tribulation.
Lamb as it had been slain – refers to the fact that Christ received death on the cross.
Seven horns – reference to perfect power – 7 = perfection; horn = power – perfect power.
Seven eyes – Eyes stand for intelligence, seven is perfection. He knew everything.
Seven spirits – refers to His character, His total essence. This speaks of the perfection spirit of God.
The one to open the seals will be perfect.
7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
He is referring to Christ. Christ takes the book out of the hand of the Father.
The lamb, our kinsman redeemer will open the book.
8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, claims those for whom He died, and immediately the four living creatures and 24 elders sing a new song, a song of praise to the Redeemer.
Christ takes the book.
Four beasts – these are four living creatures (angels).
All fall at His feet in praise.
Harps speak of praise.
Vials are bowls – full of the prayers of the saints.
9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Here is the largest choir ever assembled.
This is a new song never sung before.
We don’t have the melody, but we do have the lyric.
We have the message – words form a message and a song is not much unless you understand the words.
Melody appeals to the emotions.
Words appeal to the intellect.
10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Song on His labeling of us. Song of the 1,000 year reign. Song of the redeemed to the Christ of glory.
11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Even the angels, ten thousand times ten thousand strong, who could not sing the new song of redemption, join in the celebration of praise to the one worthy to receive the scroll by saying with a loud voice.
This is the chorus of the song. Notice the number in the choir.
Finally, every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth sings honor and blessing to the Lamb.
Yes, Christ Jesus humbled Himself, came to earth in the form of a man, and died for mankind.
12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
The Lamb is worthy. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has met the qualifications to open the scroll.
This is none other than the Lion (Gen 49:10) from between the feet of Judah, the Root of David (Isa 11:1), the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6-7), the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29).
This is Jesus Christ the Lord. Now the Lord Jesus makes another appearance and the heavenly hosts sing, Worthy is the Lamb.
Notice the seven things Christ was to receive:
Power riches wisdom strength honor
This means Christ is worthy to receive complete praise.
This speaks of the total character of God.
The title deed is in the hand of God and only Jesus has paid the purchase price. He has purchased all things by His death on Calvary. Since Jesus Christ alone has paid the price for redeeming God’s property, He is the only one who is able to take the scroll out of the hands of God.
On the cross the title to the redeemed souls of the universe was purchased with Christ’s blood and now He steps up and receives the scroll in one of the most dramatic scenes in history.
13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Every creature joins in praise to God.
Praise is to God and the Father and unto the Lamb.
The sum total of all praise the Lord.
The whole universe, including the church in Heaven joins in on the chorus.
14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Amen – means I believe it.
The four living creatures sanctioned it.
The 24 elders joined in the praise and worship.
Beginning with the 6th chapter, and continuing all the way to Chapter 19, the Apostle John is permitted to view the Tribulation Period.
Within these important chapters is a series of three judgments: the seals (ch. 6), the trumpets (chs. 8-9), and the bowls (ch. 16).
Between the record of each judgment is a parenthetical chapter or chapters which provide additional information about each judgment.
Clark, Neal. Survey of the Book of Revelation. Pensacola, Florida: Thee WFBI Press, 1999. Print.
Falwell, Jerry. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Press, 1978. Print.