Revelation 5 (NRSV)
The Scroll and the Lamb
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll
The focus of Revelation 4 was the throne. Here, John begins with reference to the throne, but now shifts his focus to the scroll held by the enthroned Lord.
written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; 2 and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. 4 And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 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 conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
The Messianic title Lion of the tribe of Judah comes from Genesis 49:9-10 —
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
The title Root of David comes from Isaiah 11:10 —
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 They sing a new song:
— a new song because Christ has brought salvation through his sacrificial death.
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
and they will reign on earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 singing with full voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
All of creation is caught up in praise to God and the Lamb!
“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever!”
The Creator and the Redeemer are praised as equal in majesty. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible)
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
What have chapters 4 and 5 taught us about worship?
God is the center of all true worship.
God has all power, and is working through events on earth, no matter how things seem.
God exalts the humble as servants who guide the unfolding of divine history.
Nothing in the present, on heaven or on earth, has yet achieved its perfection; only Christ has proven completely worthy to God.
–Robert H. Conn
From verse 12: Worthy is the Lamb . . .
HERE is Darlene Zschech/Hillsong and “Worthy Is the Lamb.”
HERE is “Worthy is the Lamb” and “Amen” from Handel’s Messiah. This is an “old-fashioned” performance by the Philarmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer conducting — with a large orchestra and chorus and slower tempos. But beautiful nonetheless.
Images courtesy of: