Anyone who has ever read the book of Revelation knows that all hell (literally) is about to be released on somebody. The Lamb seated at the right hand will open seven seals. All manners of plagues and famine and pestilence are about to be sent. Yet, at this tribulation all of heaven and earth rejoiced? Does this not seem strange? It does seem strange to contemporary Christianity. The truth is the people to whom John wrote, Christians, rejoiced upon the earth for the Kingdom of God had come. This is exactly what Jesus had told them to pray.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST – The Stone Cometh
By Pastor Delbert Young
Revelation Chapter 5 – Lamb Slain, Right Hand, Seven Seals
Revelation Chapter 5 – Lamb Slain, Right Hand, Seven Seals
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Revelation 5:1 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.
1 He who is upon the throne held a book. The Greek word is biblion and means “a roll.” John gives us an image of the Almighty holding a scroll. One interesting point about the biblion is that it was written within and on the backside. Writing was on both sides. Also, the biblion was sealed with seven seals.
John makes special mention that the book was held in his right hand. John will again mention this right hand in verse seven. It was in the right hand that the Son of man held the seven stars (1:16, 1:20; 2:1). It will also be the right hand upon which the mark will be received (13:16). The right hand has special meaning.
When studied, we find four basic, definitive uses of the right hand. The context will determine which we use to understand the image. First, right hand speaks of direction. Abram told Lot if he went to the left hand, he would go right, and if Lot went to the right hand, Abram would go left (Gen 13:9). There are many uses like this. However, this is not the allusion in Revelation 5:1. Direction is not the context here.
The right hand is the hand with the greater blessing. As Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons, Jacob purposefully laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim (Gen 48:14). There are a few of these uses of right hand. However, this is not what John is showing in Revelation 5:1.
The right hand is also used in Scripture to make an oath. The right hand was lifted to God giving the sign of an oath. The angel in Daniel 12:7 lifted both hands to make an oath by swearing. The angel in Revelation 10:5 does the identical thing giving us insight to that passage. Again, neither is this the use and allusion John is giving to his readers.
We must realize that John’s readers recognized the uses of the right hand holding the biblion. As we look at the Scriptures listed below, we will see the fourth use of the right hand of the Almighty which is used in this context.
Exo 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. (emphasis added)
Exo 15:12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. (emphasis added)
Psa 21:8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. (emphasis added)
Psa 98:1 O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. (emphasis added)
Psa 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. (emphasis added)
We see that the Lord destroys his enemies with his right hand. There are many of these uses. In one specific prophecy against Israel, the prophet speaks of the use of God’s right hand and how Israel is an adversary to God.
Lam 2:4 He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.
It is necessary to insert here an important use in Scripture of the right hand. This is where our Lord Jesus is now seated in great power! Notice the power and authority associated with the right hand position of Jesus Christ (Mat 26:64; Mar 16:19; 12:36; 14:62; Luk 20:42; 22:69; Act 2:25, 33-34; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pe 3:22). As we can see, a major Biblical doctrine is the Lord is now seated in the throne at the right hand.
The biblion was in the right hand of he who sat upon the throne. The right hand speaks of the wrath and power of God as he destroys his enemies or brings salvation to those he will save. Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand. In Matthew 26:64, Jesus is warning the High Priest that from that time the High Priest would see the Son of man positioned in power. Notice that the right hand means power.
Mat 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (emphasis added)
We have now opened the meanings of the Son of man, the clouds of heaven, and right hand. All of these speak of the Lord coming in the kingdom. This is not a rapture! The Son of man comes on the cloud chariot riding on the wings of the cherubim from the position of the right hand of God. Jesus has clearly told the High Priest that Jerusalem’s days were numbered.
When the Scriptures speak of Jesus being exalted at the right hand of God, it is expressing the point that the Lord God Almighty destroys his enemies with his right hand of power. This is where Jesus, the Son of man, is now positioned. He rules his kingdom now. He will not one day be at the right hand of power. He is at the right hand now and has been from the time of the Ascension.
The biblion was in the right hand of him who is on the throne. We all know some of the horror that is in that scroll which was unsealed (chapter 6). The Lord was about to destroy an enemy.
The biblion was written within and on the backside. The allusion. John is referring to Ezekiel 2:3-10 and Exodus 32:15.
The book Ezekiel received was full of lamentations and mourning against Israel. There were so many that it filled the inside and the backside. Written was mourning and woe against Israel.
Ezekiel 2:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
Ezekiel 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 2:5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
Ezekiel 2:6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
Ezekiel 2:7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
Ezekiel 2:8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
Ezekiel 2:9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
Ezekiel 2:10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
Should it not be considered that the Revelation could be speaking of the rebellious nation of Israel and not a futuristic doctrine?
The book biblion in the right hand of him that sat on the throne was sealed with seven seals. What is a seal, and what could this seven (multi-sealing) mean? A seal sphragis (Greek) is a signet or stamp. The completed scroll would be rolled. Then a spot of melted, hot wax was allowed to drop across the end lapped over the scroll. Before the wax became hard, a signet or stamp was placed into the wax. The wax bore the stamp or signet of the sealer. It was then officially sealed. If the wax seal was broken or tampered with, the receiver would know it had been violated.
This biblion of Revelation had seven seals. Why seven? As already noted, seven is the number for completion and fullness, or as mentioned in 3:1, the “number of spiritual perfection.” With that concept, the seven seals then seal that which is of perfection. The seven seals obviously mean that the biblion is sealed so perfectly that no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon (5:3).
But what is the biblion (book)? We hear all sorts of answers. John Phillips says,
“The scroll is the title deed of earth. Two considerations lead to this conclusion. In the first place, the call having gone forth for an applicant to come and take the scroll… Furthermore, when the seals on the scroll are eventually broken, disasters over take the earth.”
Robert Wall, quoting Caird gives four possibilities to which the book is referring.
“1. If the scroll is equated with the Lamb’s ‘book of life,’ the writing would be the names of those who belong to the eschatological community
The visions… would have been written [so John could read them].
…those portions of the OT that formed John’s prophetic ‘canon within his canon’ (e.g., Ezekiel, Daniel, and Exodus) and would be the basis for his interpretation of the visions.
Leon Morris writing for Tyndale says,
However, there is a book of which the Scriptures speak that was once sealed, but would be opened at the time of the end. What we must decide is whether this refers to the end of the ‘earth’ or to the end of Israel’s covenant with God. The following verses will help.
Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Dan 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.
Dan 12:6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
Dan 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (emphasis added)
Daniel received a prophecy that would be sealed till the time of the end (Dan 12:9). The “end” of what? We have been taught and programmed to interpret every “end” as the end of the world – the cataclysmic explosion. However, when we take a few moments and see what is actually written in Daniel, we begin to correlate another picture.
When Daniel asked when these things shall be, he was given the answer when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished (Dan 12:7). The “he” has been taught to be the “antichrist.” In actuality, it is the Son of man. The “end” is not the end of the earth. It is the end of Moses. It is when the power of the holy people is scattered. Daniel writes about the “end” of Moses. Jesus taught about this “end” in Matthew 23 and 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Jesus said,
Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Perhaps reading this verse from the Daniel passage using the NIV translation will help.
Dan 12:7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” (emphasis added)
The last days of Moses verifiably began on the day of Pentecost.
Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (emphasis added)
Peter declared that the “last days” had begun. The last days of what? The last days of Moses, not the last days of the earth. Peter ended his message with a warning to that specific generation.
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (emphasis added)
Peter was speaking to that generation of his day. What meaning would it be to you or me nearly 2,000 years later to be saved from Peter’s generation? The reality is Peter’s generation was the generation that would witness the end of Moses. Thus it would be the generation that would experience the great tribulation (Mat 24:21).
What is the book (biblion)? Without a doubt, it is the book sealed by Daniel and opened at the end time of Moses. It is in his right hand (power, authority, destruction) and has seven seals(perfect destruction).
Revelation 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Revelation 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Revelation 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
2-4 John obviously knew what was in the book, or what the book was about, prior to its opening. This tells us that John expected and desired that the events within the book would come. John tells us that he wept much when no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon. John would not weep over merely any book. This was a very special book, and one that John unquestionably wanted opened, enough so that he, a grown man, wept. John knew what it was, and this gives us a good clue that his readers would also know what it was. John wept much. A search was made in heaven (angelic beings and saints), on earth (living), and under the earth (death and hell), and no person was found worthy to open the biblion.
All agree on this verse. No one was able to offer a better covenant, and until there was a better covenant, the Old Covenant would stand. The Lord God Almighty is ready to end Moses, but for fifteen hundred years, no man was found worthy to open and to read the book. It wasn’t that the Lord God did not want to terminate the Old Covenant sooner. He knew the Old had faults, and He sought for the second. However, creation must wait for the testator.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (emphasis added)
Revelation 5:5 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.
5 John stood weeping. There was no one found worthy to open the book. One of the twenty-four elders spoke to John. The elder said, Weep not! We are reminded of Mary at the tomb, weeping uncontrollably and looking for her Lord. Here John is weeping uncontrollably. John records that he wept much. The elder said, “Stop weeping.” Then the elder gave the reason that John should stop weeping. 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.
The fact that the scepter must come through the tribe of Judah goes all the way back to the prophecy of Jacob in Genesis 49:9-12. Judah was to bring forth a king whose nature would be as a lion with a scepter.
The one worthy to open the book is also referred to as the Root of David. All of Israel knew the Messiah would be of the lineage of David. Again, the nature of the king is the emphasis here. But, how can Jesus be the root of David? David was before Jesus, therefore David would be the root of Jesus, correct? No, not in the mind of God. God has an eternal purpose. He planned the future, therefore the past was actually dictated by the future.
“Let us say someone finds you packing a sack lunch on a warm Saturday morning, and asks the reason for it. You answer, ‘Because I’m going to have a picnic at the park today.’ What has happened? In a sense, the future – the planned picnic – has determined the lunch. Logically, the picnic preceded, and caused, the making of the lunch, even though it followed it chronologically. In the same way, God desired to glorify Himself in Jesus Christ; therefore he created Jesse and David, and all the other ancestors of Christ’s human nature, in order to bring his Son into the world. The Root of David’s very existence was the Son of David, Jesus Christ. The ‘effect’ determined the cause.'”
Biblical characters saw everything for their offspring. Abraham saw his entire life wrapped up in Isaac. Isaac looked to Jacob and Jacob to his sons. The children were the purpose and the force of life. Therefore, they were the root. The purpose of David was to bring the true lion king. David, though highly purposed, was not the root or the purpose. The purpose – the king – was the root.
Revelation 5:6 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.
6 John says that he beheld. The word “beheld” is eido (Greek) and means to “see and know.” John looked and saw a Lamb. He beheld the Lamb. He saw and knew this Lamb. First, John was told the nature of Him that is worthy to open the biblion. That nature is the lion with the scepter. Now, John beheld the purpose of Him worthy to open the book. John recognized this purpose as he beheld the Lamb as it had been slain (Mat 20:28). John had witnessed with his own eyes that Lamb being slain. John knew this Lamb. Now the Lamb was in the midst of the throne, in the midst of the four creatures, and in the midst of the elders. The Lamb was in the middle of everything in heaven. Everything in heaven centered and revolved around the Lamb. He was found worthy!
It must be noted here that the Lamb is in the midst of the elders. We saw in 4:4 that the elderswere the representatives of the heavenly church as kings (thrones) and priests (twenty-four courses for the temple service). Here the Lamb is in the midst of the elders, who represent the church. In 1:13, the Son of man is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks which are the seven churches in Asia.
Let’s make special mention that the personality of the one who prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof is not a helpless lamb. The Lamb ingredient is separate from the lion ingredient. The Lamb aspect is the purpose or work of the King. John associates these two thoughts together as he writes a Lamb as it had been slain. The Lamb is associated with slain which is the work and purpose. The nature of the One who prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. Many commentators key on the Lamb only. The Lamb was the purpose (to be slain). The lion is the nature of the King.
John goes on to describe this Lamb. It is not like any description of any lamb we have ever heard before. John said that the Lamb stood having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. The slain Lamb lived. He stood. He had seven horns. As we have noted already, seven is the number for “spiritual perfection” (see 3:1).
Horns are used to designate ability, power, and authority (1Sa 2:1, 10; 2Ch 18:10; Psa 18:2; 75:10; 148:14; Jer 48:25; Lam 2:3; Luk 1:69). The Lamb with seven horns has perfect ability, power, and authority. The Lamb also has seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. The Spirit of God is one Spirit, but has total perfection (#7). Jesus was given the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). This phrase, seven Spirits, is used four times in the Revelation (1:4; 3:1; 4:5: 5:6).
As we have already seen (4:8), eyes are Biblical imagery for openness to understanding (Eph 1:18). The understanding or knowing of the Lamb is perfect. John is giving us allusion to the eyes of the Lord. The verse says …the seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. There are more than twenty Scriptures speaking of the eyes of the Lord. One fact that stands out about the eyes of the Lord is they observe those who do righteously and those who do evil.
Pro 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (emphasis added)
One of the more interesting verses above concerning the eyes of the Lord is Amos 9:8.
Amo 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. (emphasis added)
The eyes have not missed the “sinful kingdom.” The Lord said he would destroy it off the face of the earth, but not utterly destroy the house of Jacob. That is exactly what happened to Israel. The kingdom was taken from them just as Jesus said.
Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
The Church became the kingdom instrument and holy nation. Peter says the nation and priesthood changed. It is now the church which is the priesthood and holy nation of God (1Pe 2:9, 10). Though the Dispensationalists preach that God’s favorite is Israel, the Scriptures differ. His chosen, priesthood, holy nation, are the people of God, the church. It is not natural Israel. Dwight Pentecost says,
“When it has been determined that the Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional covenant made with Israel, and therefore cannot be either abrogated or fulfilled by people other than the nation Israel, it is seen that Israel has promises regarding a land and a seed, which determine the future program of God.”
“The Old Testament age, in which the purpose of God for Israel is stated in the covenants into which God entered and by which he is bound, closes with those purposes unrealized. After the death of Christ, God instituted a new divine program, not to replace the program for Israel, but to interrupt that divinely covenanted program.”
It appears the interruption is eternal. We do know that God has forsaken the covenant for nearly two thousand years with no sign of that changing. However, the church is an eternal purpose (Eph 3:10, 11).
The seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. As already noted, the seven Spirits before the throne speak of the candlestick (4:5) or spiritual knowledge. The Lamb is perfect in Spirit. Isaiah 11:2 speaks of a multi anointing of the Spirit upon the Messiah (Isa 11:2; 1Co 1:30). The Lamb is a perfect seven in his understanding and wisdom. his eyes are opened and sent forth into all the earth. The verse says, …seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
We now begin a very important point of understanding. It is concerning this word earth. This word is of major importance concerning the interpretation of the Revelation. It is found eighty-two times in this one book. This is worth repeating. The Greek word “ge” translated earth in Revelation 5:6 is used eighty-two times in the book of Revelation. Eighty-one times it is translated “earth,” and once it is translated “world.” The importance of the word is all the events of the Revelation come upon the ge. King James translates it “earth” and “world.” A word study is necessary.
The Strong’s reference number is 1093. The definition is “soil and region.” It refers to a specific area or region rather than to the planet. Young’s Analytical Concordance simply defines ge as “land.” This is not the best time to study this deeply here. We will study this much deeper at a more relevant place. For now, the word absolutely does not mean “world,” nor “earth,” as in planet. Below are a few verses where the Greek word ge is translated into a word other than “earth.” Please take a moment to look at this point.
Mat 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country (ge) another way. (emphasis added)
Act 7:3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country (ge), and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. (emphasis added)
Mat 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land (ge) of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (emphasis added)
Mat 4:15 The land (ge) of Zabulon, and the land (ge) of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; (emphasis added)
Mat 9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land (ge). (emphasis added)
Unquestionably, the eyes of the Lord do go into all the literal planet and beyond. However, that is not what this verse is saying to John’s readers. The eyes of the Lord, seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (ge) have actually gone through the land of Israel. These eyes have seen the evil (Amo 9:8).
Revelation 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
7 Again John makes note of the right hand. We saw in 5:1 that the right hand, in this context, speaks of the destruction of enemies by the strong right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. The Lamb came and took the book, becoming the right hand of power of which Jesus spoke to the High Priest (Mat 26:64). Immediately upon his arrival to the throne, he takes the book. There is no delay. He has received his kingdom.
Revelation 5:8 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.
Revelation 5:9 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;
Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Revelation 5:11 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;
Revelation 5:12 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.
Revelation 5:13 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.
Revelation 5:14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
10-14 The liturgical praise begins once again as the Lamb takes the book (biblion). We must note that it seems strange in our mentality that heaven would break into such praise at this point. The only thing that has happened is the Lamb has taken the book.
Anyone who has ever read the book of Revelation knows that “all hell” (literally) is about to be released on somebody. All manners of plagues and famine and pestilence are about to be sent. Yet, at this tribulation, all of heaven and earth rejoiced? Does this not seem strange? It does seem strange to contemporary Christianity. Today’s Christians are taught nothing concerning the end of the days of Moses. The truth is that the people to whom John wrote, the Christians, rejoiced upon the earth for the Kingdom of God had come. This is what Jesus had told them to pray. It has happened.
We must realize that at the passing of the book (biblion) from the right hand of him that sat on the throne to the Lamb, there was given him dominion, and glory, and a KINGDOM, that all people, nation, and languages, should serve him (Dan 7:13, 14). HALLELUJAH! That made earth shout, and it should make Christianity shout nearly 2,000 years later!
Of course, they broke out into praise. The kingdom had come! The Son of man had come before the Ancient of days and received his dominion that is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
The event actually happened at Christ’s Ascension. John now is allowed to see it in this revelation of Jesus Christ. Notice how John recorded it. He says, And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb… 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… And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down… It was when the Lamb had taken the book that all began to praise.
The taking of the book from the right hand is the receiving of the kingdom and power and dominion forever! This is not something that will happen some day in the future. This has happened. It happened at his coming with the clouds at the Ascension. No one will argue that Jesus ascended to the right hand in A.D. 33. Why then do theologians place the receiving of his kingdom some place in the future?
As the Lamb takes the biblion, all of heaven and earth and the sea – all of creation – break forth with praise and worship. As mentioned in chapter four, there is a continuing, chain reaction, and response in praise. First, the four beasts (creatures) prostrate themselves before the Lamb. The twenty-four elders follow in response. The elders each have a harp and golden vials full of prayers of the saints. The creatures and elders begin to sing a new song, the song of the Lamb. Until now, it was the old song, the song of Moses. Now it is a new song. The next to respond are angels. There are ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels lifting their voices to the Lamb. Then every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea responded. The praise goes full circle and now returns to the four creatures who said (notice the past tense), “Amen.” Then the twenty-four elders responded again and fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
This heavenly praise of Revelation 5 is in response to the fact that the Lamb received his kingdom. Christian praise is to be the same. Praise Him because he came to Bethlehem as a babe. Praise Him because he walked and ministered in Galilee. Praise Him because he gave his life as a ransom, and by his blood we obtain forgiveness. But heaven and all of creation exploded in praise because the Lamb received the biblion from the right hand of the Father, which meant he received his kingdom that shall never end!
When the Lamb took the book, they sang a new song. At the deliverance from Egypt, the people broke out into great rejoicing. The first nineteen verses of Exodus 15 are a song Moses, Miriam, and the people sang. That song was sung after the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Dead Egyptians were on the seashore and Moses and the people began singing, what was then, a new song (Exo 14:30; 15:1, 6). In that same chapter, Miriam responded to Moses’ singing by singing, dancing, and leading the people in dancing and rejoicing. A nation has been defeated. Moses and Miriam and the people are rejoicing and dancing and singing (Exo 15:20, 21). Millions of people rejoice because God has destroyed and delivered. At the beginning of the Old Covenant, the people burst forth and sang and rejoiced.
Now, at the beginning of the New Covenant, we see a new song being sung. The words areThou 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; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.
The new song referred to here is replacing the “song of Moses.” This will be clearer in 15:3. It will be discussed in detail at that time. For now, it is necessary to mention that the reference to the “song of Moses” is not from Exodus 15, but rather from Deuteronomy 31:19-32:44. As we will see, it was a song that was a testimony against the nation of Israel. Its very purpose was to remind them that a day would come when God would end his covenant with them. The new song, in its simplest meaning, would tell us that it was replacing the old song.
The ancient book that Daniel was told to seal is about to be opened. The power of the holy people is about to be scattered. The NIV translation says, “When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” They were broken in A.D. 70. The holy Temple was destroyed just as Daniel (Dan 9:26) and Jesus Christ (Mat 24:2) said. Not one stone stood upon another. The house was left desolate (Mat 23:38).
No longer is it only one nation redeemed. The kingdom has come, and redemption has come to every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. No longer is only one nation chosen to be a kingdom of priests. As the seals began to open by Him that was slain, people from every nation are made kings and priests unto our God. Also, the new song states that we shall reign on the earth. The kingdom has come to earth! The new song is being sung, and it is the Song of the Lamb.
Contemporary Theological View(s)
Revelation 5:9-10 …out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth
One important aspect of contemporary theology is that of the natural nation of Israel. This doctrine teaches that natural Israel will have a special place in authority over the earth. J. Dwight Pentecost writes,
“Because the covenants made with Israel guaranteed them the possession of the land, which is fully realized in the millennial age, Palestine and Jerusalem figure largely in the prophetic Scriptures. A. Jerusalem in the millennium. A number of facts are made clear from a study of the prophecies concerning the place of Jerusalem in that age. (1) Jerusalem will become the center of the millennial earth… Because the world is under the dominion of Israel’s King, the center of Palestine becomes the center of the entire earth. (2) Jerusalem will be the center of the kingdom rule… The city that was the center of David’s government will become the center of the government of David’s greater Son. (3) The city will become a glorious city, bringing honor unto Jehovah… “
As will be seen, the Jerusalem referred to by Pentecost was but a bondwoman that has been “put away” (Gal 4:21-31). This happens so the Heavenly Jerusalem (not natural, but heavenly) will be the bride of the Lamb (Rev 21:9, 10). Nothing in the New Testament is to witness for Jehovah as Pentecost said above. All are to witness unto Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The overcomer has a new name that is written (Rev 2:17; 3:12). Jehovah was the Old Covenant name. Jesus Christ is the one into whom the New Testament believer is baptized. (Acts 2:38), not Jehovah. We are not Jehovah’s witnesses. We are witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
One primary thought of Revelation 5 is that the covenant is no longer focused upon the old nation or on any one nation. The New Covenant is focused upon every nation. To make sure that thought gets into our schema, John amplifies it as he wrote, …every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (5:9). Then he said, every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation have been made (past tense) unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (5:10). Natural Israel does not reign on the earth. Those redeemed through the blood of Jesus reign.
Notice that we will not reign in heaven or in Jerusalem. We will reign on earth. We will not be second-class to natural Israel. We are the New Jerusalem – the glorious Lamb’s wife. He certainly would not have his glorious wife be in any second-class position to anything.
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