Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Revelation 5:6-14
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 5:6
Verse 6 (continued): The symbols of “seven horns” and “seven eyes” are just that, symbols meant to express divine capacities. Isaiah said. “. . . He will not judge by what His eyes see . . .” (Isa 11:3) meaning the coming Messiah would have divine omniscience enabling Him to “see” even the things hidden in a person’s heart. His decisions will be based on perfect knowledge, not accusations or prejudice. Isaiah went on to say the Messiah would also exercise divine power, needing only to speak a word to “strike the earth” (Isa 11:4). This is the type of power symbolized by the seven horns. Wild animals use their horns as weapons in battle so this symbol particularly indicates military power. Jesus will indeed have “authority over the nations, and He shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces” (Rev 2:26, 27). The source of both these powers which He uses when He returns is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. John gives the Holy Spirit the title “the seven Spirits of God” here and at the beginning of his revelation (Rev 1:4) as a way of associating Him with the Menorah of the Tabernacle (Ex 25:31-37). This seven-branched lampstand symbolized God’s promise of “light,” His guidance, revelation and truth, and it is the Holy Spirit who particularly brings these to us. John then reminds us the Spirit’s ministry is present everywhere for He has been “sent out into all the earth.”

Revelation 5:7, 8
Verse 7: By telling us Jesus “took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne,” John reveals the identity of Daniel’s “Son of Man.” We are observing the moment when the “Ancient of Days” gives Him “dominion, glory and a kingdom . . . which will not pass away . . .” (Da 7:13, 14). Jesus Christ is the One who is given this absolute authority over humanity. The right to use this authority has already been granted to Him (Mt 28:18). When believers pray and walk in faith it is His authority that is being exercised (Mt 18:18) through us. However, we are still waiting for that future moment when He literally takes control of everything. The transfer of the book marks the arrival of that moment. Verse 8: It seems all heaven is waiting for this moment. When Jesus takes the book a thunderous round of joyful worship erupts. The four living creatures along with the 24 elders lie face down before Jesus, each one holding two symbolic items: a harp and a bowl. The harp is a musical instrument used to accompany worship, and the bowls contain the prayer of God’s people who have for so many centuries asked Him to bring this moment, especially with the words, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10).

Revelation 5:8, 9
Verse 8 (continued): The bowls were a symbolic way of saying none of those prayers had been lost or ignored. Instead they had been collected and remembered until the God-ordained moment arrived when they could be literally and completely fulfilled (Rev 8:3). Just as each morning Israel’s high priest presented a fragrant mixture of incense in the Tabernacle (Ex 30:1-9; 34-38), these heavenly worshippers bring before God the prayers proved by His people as the “morning” of a new era of Christ’s rulership dawns. Verse 9: The term “new song” is one which is used in the Psalms (Ps 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9) and Isaiah (Isa 42:10). The command to sing a new song seems to be a way of encouraging people to respond creatively to God’s ongoing acts of salvation and miracles. New songs need to be written in order to worship God for the new things He does. Old songs are fine as a means of thanking Him for His past actions. But since He keeps saving, healing, delivering, guiding, etc. new songs need to be written.

Revelation 5:9, 10
Verse 9 (continued): After the sealed book is handed to Jesus, John hears the four beings and 24 elders sing a new song. The words of their song focus on the worthiness of Christ. The angel had asked, “Who is worthy . . . ?” (v 2) and no angel or human could be found. But thankfully the Father declares Jesus worthy to receive the book. So the new song explains why He is worthy. The first reason is because Christ’s death on the cross paid the ransom necessary to buy humans out of the slavery into which they had fallen. Verse 10: The second reason given by the singers is that Christ restored humans to the roles God originally intended for them. His plan for humans was twofold: They were to extend His government by ruling over His creation (Ge 1:26; Ps 8:4-8) and they were to glorify Him as priests by taking the lead in worshipping Him (Ex 19:5, 6). The singers tell Christ, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” In Christ, believers finally fulfill God’s will.

Revelation 5:11, 12
Verse 11: Once the first verse of the “new song” is finished John hears a second verse sung by a host of angels so numerous they cannot be counted. Verse 12: This great choir adds seven more reasons why Jesus is worthy to open the book. Referring to Him as “the Lamb that was slain” they list the rewards He is worthy to receive. They include: He who became the servant of all now deserves the power to govern all (Mt 20:25, 26). He who became poor for our sakes now deserves the riches of the kingdom of God (Mt 5:3; 2Co 8:9). He whose cross became a stumbling block to unbelieving Jews and whose resurrection was considered foolishness by unbelieving Gentiles now deserves to be revealed as the wisdom of God (1Co 1:18-25). He who set aside the privileges of divinity for the weakness of human flesh deserves to be honored for the strength/might by which He defeated death, Satan, sin and the condemnation of the law (Eph 1:19-22). He who took the form of a servant and humbled Himself to willingly die on a cross now deserves to be honored with the name which is above every name (Php 2:7-9).

Revelation 5:12, 13
Verse 12 (continued): He who did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped now deserves to be seen shining with radiant glory (the brilliant light produced by holiness) just like the Father (Php 2:6; Rev 21:23). And He who was cursed, mocked and spit on as He died now deserves to receive blessings (praises) from redeemed humans and the angels of heaven (Mt 5:10-12). Verse 13: This “new song” was begun by four living beings and 24 elders. Next an innumerable host of angels sang a second verse. Now we come to the final verse of the song and the choir that sings it is the largest of all. Made up of “every created thing” it would include angels, humans and animals, both those living and those who died previously. The words used here are so inclusive they raise the questions of whether or not fallen spirits and unregenerate human beings are participating. The answer is uncertain but in light of Isaiah 45:23, 24 and Philippians 2:9-11 if at this point their voices don’t join the chorus, a future moment would arrive when they would acknowledge His worthiness even though they never willingly submitted to His lordship.

Revelation 5:13, 14
Verse 13 (continued): It is important to note here that the worship which all creation gives is directed to both the Father and the Son. It is impossible for this to mean anything other than that Jesus shares His Father’s divine nature. He too is to be worshiped as God. Both Father and Son deserve to receive blessing, honor, glory and dominion forever and ever. The One “who sits on the throne” is God the Father, the “Ancient of Days” as Daniel calls Him (Da 7:9) and the “Lamb” is God the Son, the “Son of Man” as Daniel calls Him (Da 7:13). As we’ll see in later passages of John’s revelation Jesus repeatedly performs roles which belong only to divinity (Rev 21:22, 23; 22:1, 3). Verse 14: Once the song is completed the four living beings repeat the ancient Hebrew word, “Amen” which means they deeply agree with what has been said. Then the 24 human elders lie face down before the Father and Son and continue to worship.
Verse 3: Only when a person is found who can pay for the sins of the world can this book be opened, but no one steps forward. Apparently some sort of search or inventory was taken which evaluated: the angels (no one in heaven), human beings who were alive at that time (no one on the earth) and human beings who had died and been buried (no one under the earth). The search found no one who could bring the payment needed for human sin. Verse 4: John responded with great despair. Of course he knew Jesus is his Savior but he was responding to the vision before him. At that moment he realized more deeply than ever that apart from Christ the human race is doomed. The promises of God’s kingdom coming to earth could never be set into motion until the right person could be found.

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