Rev. Chapter 5
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
In John’s day, a scroll would have been written on parchment formed from papyrus. Papyrus was a reed which was found along the Nile. As was the case with documents such as these, it would have been written on both sides with the details written on the inside of the scroll , and a summary on the outside. The greater importance, the more seals. Seven seals would have most likely been the most seals found on such a document. A document such as this would most likely been a title deed to property. This particular deed most assuredly would have been the title deed to earth! That deed was once given to Adam by God (Genesis 1:28) but was forfeited over to Satan when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6). I believe that man has, and continues to have opportunity to exercise his right of stewardship over creation! The “deed” seems to be up for grabs until this point when God the Father hands it over to God the Son!
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Lots and lots of commentary regarding the identity of this “Strong Angel!” I asked Lilly what she thought people did before there was commentary. Before she could answer, the thought hit me…They would just ask Jesus!
There are three strong or mighty angels introduced in Revelation. This being the first, Rev. 10:1 is the second, and Rev. 18:1 is the third. We’ll look at the other two as we come to those chapters. I suppose it is not so important who this angel is, but rather what he is there for. Maybe it is just a good thing to dig a little deeper, and possibly discover some incredible gem God may have there! A good example of angelic intervention can be found in Daniel, chapter 10:12-21;
12 Then he said to me,”Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.” 15 When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.” 18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.
There are chief angels who occasionally work together to accomplish God’s will. In the case of Daniel, Gabriel is on his way to answer Daniel’s questions when he is held up by demonic forces. Michael, in a sense, tag teams with Gabriel so that he can bring “revelation” to Daniel. I believe that Gabriel is a chief angel with the authority to bring announcements and revelation as God directs. So, Gabriel is most likely the chief angel known here in Revelation 5:2 as the “Strong Angel!”
The question is really not intended to find one worthy, but rather to say that there is none worthy!
3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
I rest my case!
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
So great is our guilt that John wept much! I was reminded of Peter when he had fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy that he would deny Jesus three times…
And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
Our guilt can be felt all the way back to Genesis 3 and the fall of man!
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
The church in heaven knows! The same hope they realized and believed on earth is now before them in heaven! Who is this Lion of the tribe of Judah? Who is the Root of David? It is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world!
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Right in the center of everything, Jesus stands there, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities! Jesus’ rightful place should always be right in the center of everything! The center of our troubles, the center of our pleasures, the center of our marriages and relationships, the center of our lives!
The imagery of Jesus as the Lamb who was slain is more than appropriate, it is accurate! The horns always symbolize power in the Bible, but seven horns would symbolize absolute perfect power! The seven eyes and seven Spirits of God are the all seeing, all knowing seven-folf ministry of the Holy Spirit!
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
There is the moment we have all been waiting for! We all are waiting for a hero to ride in and solve are of the ills and problems of the world. Well, this most significant “hand off” of the scroll cinches the deal! Well, we of course know that this deal was done on Calvary, but here is the right of passage, sort-of-speak! Jesus receives all authority and power from the Father! No longer up for grabs, the earth and everything in it are His!! Alleluia!
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
The imagery is so significant here! Now we see that cherubim are worshiping God at this incredible event right along side of the body of redeemed believers in heaven! The presence of angelic beings in our lives have, up to this point, been largely hidden from our view. However, there have been many biblical accounts of angels interacting with man over the ages, but few have actually seen or understood their presence. We are reminded in Hebrews 13:2 of of the importance of hospitality towards strangers because of the very real possibility that we may be extending hospitality towards angels!
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
I will sing a new song to You, O God;
On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You..
In a sermon preached in 1924 by Herbert Lockyer Sr., he expounds on the deeper meaning of “ten strings.” He states that the early church fathers felt that the ten strings found on the harp symbolized the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses, and the four sides of the instrument illustrated the four gospels. Lockyer goes on to say that the human frame is a type of instrument of ten strings, with two hands, two feet, two ears, two eyes, one tongue, and one heart, ten in all.
“Upon this divinely created instrument of ten strings we sing praises unto God, but to praise Him aright it is essential to have:
Two feet to walk in wisdom’s narrow way;
Two hands to do His bidding day by day;
Two ears to listen to our loving Lord;
Two eyes to read Jehovah’s holy word;
One tongue to tell and sing His worth and Grace;
One heart to love Him ’til we see His face.”
The beauty of scripture will always confirm a thought….when the thought is from God!
So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again..
Yet the righteous will hold to his way,
And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.
My ears You have opened.
I have made a covenant with my eyes
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
Golden bowls or saucers were typically used in old testament ritual. The smoke from the incense would be taken up into the nostrils of God as it was carried into the Holy of Holies. The smoke would symbolize the prayers of the saints.. In this case, the smoke represents every prayer ever prayed by the redeemed saints of God. Isn’t it awesome that God takes time to hear these prayers even as He prepares for what is to come? It certainly tells that God is never too busy to hear from His children!
9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Who could be singing a new song about being redeemed by the blood? The only group of redeemed believers I am aware of is the church. Once again we have proof positive that the church has been taken up in “Rapture” into heaven prior to the horific time of God’s wrath! Prior to the “seventieth week of Daniel,” the seven year period of tribulation!
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
The number of them can also be translated; “myriads of myriads!” Which is to say; “innumerable!” God has used imagery in scriptures to describe such an amount that is beyond calculation.
5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him,”So shall your descendants be.”
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…
This is by far the most incredible worship service that has ever, or will ever take place! It is taking place in heaven in the very throne room of God, and it is growing in number and in power! Here we see the church, along with the cherubim in heaven, now joined by every angel in heaven, in a worship service of song, praising the Lamb who has been slain before the foundations of the world for the redemption of fallen man! How do you feel now Christian? If you ever doubted your worth before the Lord, check this out! All of heaven, and soon every creature in heaven and earth, and under the earth are celebrating your redemption ! how do you feel now Christian?
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, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Wow!! Every creature, every angel, and every believer! All of heaven, the entire universe, a worship service to beat all! Poor ol’ Lucifer! He was once in charge of heavenly worship (Ezekiel 28:13), yet he gave up a glorious position because of iniquity and pride! What are we willing to trade away for the desires of a heart of stone? He could have been at the podium of a worship service such as this, yet he shrinks back in hateful anger at the very sound of such a glorious event! As believers we will take part in this wondrous event! our price of admission has been paid for by the blood of He who is the Guest of Honor! Jesus Christ, Jesus, the Christ! Jesus the Savior of the world! Jesus!!
14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
A grand crescendo! When the worship leaves us breathless and panting on our faces, what more can we do but proclaim “Amen!” and worship Him some more!