The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE SEVEN-SEALED BOOK
chapter 5 is a continuation of chapter 4. The two chapters should be studied
together as a unit (cf. Rev. 2 & 3; 17 & 18).
- God the Father
is seated on His throne in heaven (4:2, 3; cf. 5:1).
- In chapter 5,
the focus is on the seven-sealed book in His hand (5:1-4). The book is actually a scroll, written
on both sides -- "written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals"
seven-sealed book was not mentioned in chapter 4, but it is prominent in chapter
5. The first six seals are opened
in chapter 6 (6:1).
- The seventh
seal is not opened until Revelation 8:1, which immediately follows Revelation
chapter 6, because Revelation chapter 7 is parenthetical.
- Out of the
seventh seal come the seven trumpet judgments (8:1, 2).
ONLY THE LORD JESUS IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE
- The book is a
scroll, written on both sides -- "written within and on the backside, sealed
with seven seals" (5:1).
- Roman law
required all legal documents pertaining to life and
death to be sealed seven times.
- This book is
the title deed to planet earth. It
includes the prophecies of the impending events that are about to unfold.
- There are many angels in the book of Revelation. You may recall way back in
Revelation 1:1, we are told, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave
unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;
and he sent and signified it by his angel
unto his servant John."
- This angel here in Revelation 5:2 is referred to as "a
strong angel" "with a loud
- His name is not given. Some think he is Gabriel (mentioned in
the book of Daniel and the Gospel of Luke), but that is just
- The angel asks, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to
loose the seals thereof?” (5:2).
- John then tells
us in verse 3 that no one in heaven, in earth, or under the earth was able (“had
the power or the authority”) to open the book.
- John Walvoord
says, "It is evident that the contents of the book are impressive in character
and require the power of God for their revelation as well as for the execution
of their program. John records that he wept much because no one was found worthy
either to open and read or even to look upon the book. The purpose of this
dramatic presentation of the seven-sealed book was to impress upon John the
importance of its contents and of the revelation contained therein" (The
Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- John "wept much" because no man was found worthy to open
the book, and then one of the elders told him that he could stop weeping because
"the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the
book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (5:5).
- The allusion to “the Lion” is a reference to Genesis
49:9, where Jacob said, "Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou
art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who
shall rouse him up?"
- In Isaiah 11:1, it is prophesied that the Messiah would
"come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse." And then in Isaiah 11:10, Christ is
called "a root of Jesse." Jesse was
the father of King David (cf. Rev. 5:5).
- Revelation 5:5 says Christ "hath prevailed to open the
book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” His victory is such that He alone
is "worthy and has full authority and sovereignty in respect to the contents of
the seven-sealed book" (Walvoord).
- The Lamb is described as having been slain and then
raised from the dead (He "stood") and as possessing seven horns and seven eyes
- The Lamb speaks of Christ in His first coming as our
Saviour; the Lion speaks of Christ in His second coming as our sovereign
- Interestingly, Christ is referred to only once in the
book of Revelation as the Lion (5:5), but 28 times as the Lamb. This emphasizes
His substitutionary death -- as a lamb without blemish and
- This emphasizes that our coming King loves us, "and
washed us from our sins in his own blood" (1:5).
- Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him by the
blood of the Lamb."
- John 1:29 says that when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming
unto him, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world" (John 1:29; cf. 1:36).
- First Peter 1:18 and 19 says we were not redeemed with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, "but with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
- The apostle Paul refers to Christ as our Passover lamb
in I Corinthians 5:7.
- The Lamb's seven horns speak of His strength and power
(Rev. 5:6). The seven eyes are identified as “the seven Spirits of God sent
forth into all the earth," a reference to the sevenfold Spirit of
- Taking the book from the right hand of God the Father
signifies that judgment and power over the earth are committed to the Lord Jesus
Christ, the Son of God.
- There is a
similar scene in Daniel 7:13 and 14.
- In the book of
Revelation the focus is upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It is, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ"
(1:1). In the book of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ is shown given His
THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE FOUR AND TWENTY
ELDERS WORSHIP THE LAMB (5:8, 9).
- This marvelous
symphony of praise to the Lamb is declared to be "a new song" (5:9). Our wonderful redemption in Christ Jesus
by which sinners "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" can
be redeemed and enter into the blessing of saints is the occasion for this new
song of redemption.
Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball,
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of
- "For thou wast
slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood" (5:9).
- Colossians 1:14
says, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of
- In Revelation
chapter 4, the four and twenty elders worship God the Father, who is seated upon
His throne in heaven (4:10, 11).
- In Revelation
chapter 5, the four and twenty elders worship God the Son, because He alone is
worthy to take the book, and to open the seals, and because He alone has
redeemed us to God by His blood (5:8, 9).
- There are many
references to the Lamb slain for our redemption in the book of
- There is a great choir of many angels, and the four
living creatures, and the four and twenty elders, "Saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (5:12; cf. 5:6,
- Revelation 13:8
refers to "the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
- Referring to the martyrs killed during the tribulation,
Revelation 7:14 says, "These are they which came out of great tribulation,
and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
- Cultists and
other unbelievers teach that it is wrong to worship Christ, but there are many
references in Scripture of people worshipping Christ.
- The wise men from the east "fell down, and worshipped Him" (Matt. 2:11).
- A leper worshipped Him in
- A certain ruler, whose daughter had died, worshipped Him
in Matthew 9:18.
- In Matthew 14:33, the disciples worshipped
- In Matthew 15:25, the Syro-Phoenician woman worshipped
- In Matthew 28:9, the disciples "came and held Him by the
feet, and worshipped Him."
- And again, in Matthew 28:17: "And when they saw him,
they worshipped Him."
- In Mark 5:6, the demon-possessed man worshipped
- In Luke 24:52 it says the disciples worshipped
- In John chapter 9 we read that our Lord gave eyesight to
a blind man. John 9:38 says, "And
he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him."
- And here in
Revelation 5:12, the Word of God says many angels, and the four living
creatures, and the four and twenty elders all say 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."
- And Revelation
5:13 and 14 says, "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. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the
four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and
- In connection with their worship of the Lamb, it is
mentioned that the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders have
THE VIALS FULL OF ODOURS, WHICH ARE THE PRAYERS OF
THE SAINTS (5:8b)
- These vials are
said to be "golden vials" (5:8), signifying their value and their beauty. Gold is mentioned 22 times in the book
- Revelation 8:3
says, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him
much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the
golden altar which was before the
- Therefore, the
prayers of saints are represented by "golden vials full of odours" (5:8),
and these prayers are offered up on the golden altar before the throne of
God in heaven along with "much incense" from this "golden censer" in the
angel's hand (8:3).
- The golden
vials filled with sacred incense represent the prayers of the saints. The
symbolism of incense representing the prayers of the saints is also seen in
David's prayer in Psalm 141:2, "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as
incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening
- We are again
reminded of the importance of prayer, the value of prayer, and the beauty of
ALL CREATION WILL WORSHIP THE LAMB
- In Revelation
5:10, the twenty-four elders are declared to be kings and priests who shall
reign on earth.
- "The church is
a priesthood rather than having a priesthood, and is a royal family rather than
merely being ruled by a king" (John Walvoord).
- Christians will
not just be subjects of the millennial kingdom. We will reign with Christ on the
- Second Timothy
2:12 says, "If we suffer, we shall also reign
with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us."
- Revelation 20:6
says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such
the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ,
and shall reign with him a thousand
- And Revelation
22:5 says we "shall reign for ever and ever."
- John introduces
the exaltation of the Lamb in verse 11 with the familiar words “And I beheld,
and I heard.”
times in the book of Revelation John declares that he beheld or saw something
and twenty-seven times he declares, “I heard.”
- The Lamb is
surrounded by the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders, and the
angelic hosts are seen on every side numbering "ten thousand times ten
thousand," an innumerable throng in one mighty symphony of praise (5:11,
- Christ is the Lamb of God crucified, magnified, and
- The sevenfold attributes (5:12) ascribed to the Lamb
their worship and adoration. This great chorus of praise is a glorious prelude
to the prophetic scenes which will soon unfold, when in the succeeding chapters,
the seven-sealed book is unrolled.
- To this mighty chorus in heaven is added the praise of
every creature on earth and under the earth and in the sea. John hears them all
joining in blessing and praise to the One on the throne and to the
- Climaxing the scene of worship, the four living
creatures pronounce their amen, and the twenty-four elders once again fall down
- After this magnificent scene in heaven -- what Scofield
calls the "Universal adoration of the Lamb who is King" -- the scene shifts back
from heaven to the earth (Rev. 6).
- "The beauty and wonder of the scene in chapter 5 are in
startling contrast to the dark clouds of divine judgment portrayed as falling
upon the earth in the tribulation as revealed in the chapters which follow"
- This beautiful chorus, described here in Revelation
5:11-14, is a prelude to the opening of the seven seals (Rev. 6).
- Those who have
received the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour will be numbered among the great
throng pictured in chapter 5 as giving their worship and praise to the
- That which John
beheld in prophetic vision will take place immediately after the
- Chapters 4 and
5 give us the heavenly side of the picture; while chapter 6 shows us things to
come here on earth.
- The same Lamb
of God who is the object of worship and praise in heaven is also the righteous
Judge of the earth.
- Today is the
day of grace but soon this dispensation will end, and God will pour out His
wrath upon this wicked and sin-loving world.
- Those who hear
and respond to the Gospel have the promise of forgiveness of sin and everlasting
- The choice is
this: either blessing throughout eternity and deliverance from the coming
judgment, or be left behind at the rapture to face the terrors of the coming