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05 worthy is the lamb slideshow

  1. 1. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 Lesson 5 Worthy is the Lamb Amen! Hallelujah! – A Study of the Book of Revelation By Dale Wells Text: Rev 4.1-5.14 THE INVITATION TO THE THRONE ROOM Rev 4:1 WEB After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this." Revelation 4:1-11:19 contains John's second vision. The first vision (1:9-3:22) focused on the Son of Man among the lampstands & his words to each of the churches. "After these things" does not mean "these things occurred after those things," but "this vision came after that vision". God once again steps into history to give eternal insight to his people God prepared Israel before he gave them the law at Sinai. Then Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain. Exo 19:20 WEB Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. In a similar way, Jesus has prepared his people and now John is invited up into heaven, in order to receive the decrees of the Lord. Lesson 5 1
  2. 2. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 THE ONE ON THE THRONE Rev 4:2-3 WEB Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at. The initial focus of the vision is "one sitting on the throne", who had an appearance that John describes in three images. The first image is "like a jasper stone" “Jasper" is a clear stone. John intends us to think of diamond. Who is on the throne? We get a clue in Revelation 21:11, where the new Jerusalem is described. Rev 21:10-11 WEB He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal; The glory of God and of the city are described in the same terms. John wants the reader to know that God is on the throne! The second figure is "like ... a sardius" This blood red stone was named after the city of Sardis where it was mined. It is equivalent to our ruby. Its color signifies the judgment of the one on the throne. Lesson 5 2
  3. 3. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The third figure is "a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald " The rainbow signifies mercy: Gen 9:13-16 WEB I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth. Since then, the rainbow has signified God's mercy. The color in Revelation 4 is emerald green, signifying peace. These three stones were featured on the High Priest's breastplate Exo 28:15-21 WEB "You shall make a breastplate of judgment (17) You shall set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of ruby, topaz, and beryl shall be the first row; (18) and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald; (19) and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; (20) and the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be enclosed in gold in their settings. (21) The stones shall be according to the names of the children of Israel On the breastplate, these represented three of Israel's tribes Sardius (ruby) represented Reuben, Israel's eldest son by Leah, who was judged by his father for incest with his step-mother. Gen 49:3-4 WEB "Reuben, you are my firstborn (4) Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch. Jasper (diamond) represented Benjamin, who was Jacob's favorite because he was the last child of Rachel. Gen 35:18 WEB It happened, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Benoni, but his father named him Benjamin. Emerald represented Judah, from whom Jesus came, bringing peace between God and man. Gen 49:10 WEB The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be. Lesson 5 3
  4. 4. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 They are also three of the foundation stones of the heavenly city Rev 21:19-20 WEB The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; (20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst. By introducing the one on the throne, John tells us about God’s nature God is pure and precious (signified by the diamond-like jasper) God is the source of judgment (signified by the red sardius stone) God is also the source of mercy (signified by the emerald rainbow). Which of these a man – or a nation – receives is going to depend on how he, or they, respond to the God who sits on the throne! THE THRONE AS A SYMBOL OF GOD'S JUDGMENT The Old Testament is rich with references to God on the throne as the ruler of the universe who judges ungodly kings and kingdoms. The best place to begin is one of the Psalms that emphasizes the rule of God. Psa 47:8-9 WEB God reigns over the nations. God sits on his holy throne. (9) The princes of the peoples are gathered together Lesson 5 4
  5. 5. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 "God sits on his holy throne" (v. 8) but the rulers await judgment (v. 9) Micaiah said God on his throne plotted Ahab's death 1Ki 22:19-22 WEB Micaiah said, Therefore hear you the word of Yahweh: I saw Yahweh sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. Yahweh said, Who shall entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? One said on this manner; and another said on that manner. There came forth a spirit, and stood before Yahweh, and said, I will entice him. Yahweh said to him, 'How?' He said, 'I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' He said, 'You shall entice him, and shall prevail also: go forth, and do so.' Uzziah began ruling Judah at the age of 16 and reigned for 52 years Twelve years before he died, he forced his way into the temple to offer incense. He became a leper. (2 Chr 26:16-21). Isaiah saw a vision of God – as Uzziah's judge – on the throne. Isa 6:1-3 WEB In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. One called to another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Hosts! The whole earth is full of his glory!" Kings and kingdoms may come and go, but God sits on an eternal throne God judges kings & nations. During the exile, Ezekiel had a vision of God on his throne. Eze 1:26-28 WEB Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh... God is in control. Lesson 5 5
  6. 6. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 God IS and God RULES! Nebuchadnezzar learned that God rules. Dan 4:24-25 WEB[T]his is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which is come on my lord the king: that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whoever he will. When he accepted God's rule, he was restored Dan 4:34-35 WEB At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or tell him, What do you? THE THRONE AS THE SYMBOL OF GOD'S MERCY To God’s enemies his throne was the source of judgment. To God's people, his throne was the mercy seat atop for the ark of the covenant inside the Most Holy Place. Exo 25:17-22 WEB You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark There I will meet with you, and I will tell you from above the mercy seat all that I command you for the children of Israel. The earthly tabernacle was a copy of what Moses saw John describes in Revelation 4 what Moses saw on Sinai. The tabernacle is the image we should see when we read the description of God's throne. And what an appropriate image! The tabernacle was God's tent – among Israel’s tents – a reminder of his presence with his people in the desert en route to their promised land. Inside that tent was God's mercy seat – his throne in Israel's camp. Lesson 5 6
  7. 7. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 And what is the story of the Book of Revelation? Isn't it the story of God's people en route to promised land? The overcomers are on their way to the new Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22. And God, himself, is right there with his people, on his throne! For God's enemies, his throne is the throne of judgment; for his people, it is the throne of mercy. God IS and God RULES! THE REST OF THE THRONE SCENE Rev 4:4-5 WEB Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads. Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Who are these 24 elders on 24 thrones? In Rev 2 & 3, Jesus made promises to overcomers: Rev 3:21 WEB He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne Rev 3:5 WEB He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments ... Rev 2:10 WEB Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. These 24 elders are sitting on thrones, they are dressed in white & they are wearing crowns. So, they are "faithful" or "overcomers". Lesson 5 7
  8. 8. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The word for "crown" is the Greek stephanos, not diademnos The stephanos was the victory crown which was given as a prize, like a medal or a plaque would be given today, to commemorate some success achieved or service rendered. The diademnos, on the other hand, was the ruler's crown. It is important to notice that these individuals who are sitting on thrones are wearing the prize that they have received. They are not wearing the crowns of kings, but those of victors. From these points, it appears that the 24 elders represent the redeemed Why 24? Why not 12? Remember 12 is the number of God's people. 24 results from adding the 12 patriarchs or tribes of the Old Testament to the 12 apostles of the New Testament. 24 represents the redeemed under both covenants. "Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders" In Exodus 19, God showed his power on Sinai: Exo 19:16-18 WEB It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. Mount Sinai, the whole of it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. Lesson 5 8
  9. 9. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 This "shock and awe campaign" beat any before or since It was designed to impress on Israel the glory of God! Later in the Book of Revelation, these figures are going to be used when God executes his judgments on the ungodly. For example, when God instructs his angel to execute his judgment: Rev 8:5 WEB The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth. There followed thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake. The figures of thunder, lightning & earthquake depict God's judgment Rev 11:19 WEB God's temple that is in heaven was opened, Lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail followed. Rev 16:18 WEB There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men on the earth ... This combination of figures – thunder, lightning, rumblings and earthquakes – are symbols in the Book of Revelation for God's glory which is seen in his judgment of the ungodly. Isaiah says God will judge the world, including the "kings of the earth" God will be glorified, either by the obedience of the nations, or by their destruction. Isa 24:21-23 WEB It shall happen in that day, that Yahweh will punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth. They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for Yahweh of Hosts will reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his elders shall be glory. Lesson 5 9
  10. 10. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 John sees seven lamps before the throne The background of this figure also comes from the tabernacle. Exo 27:20-21 WEB "You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before Yahweh: it shall be a statute forever throughout their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel. FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE SEA OF GLASS Rev 4:6-8 WEB Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around about and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!" This scene is similar to one described by Ezekiel Eze 1:5-10 WEB Out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Every one had four faces As for their faces, they had the face of a man; and the face of a lion ... and the face of an ox also the face of an eagle. Eze 10:20-21 WEB This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. Every one had four faces, and every one four wings Lesson 5 10
  11. 11. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 What is the significance of the four living creatures and their faces? The living creatures depict the standards of Israel camped around the tabernacle in the desert (Num 2:1-31) Each tribe had its banner and each triad (group of three tribes) had its standard. Jewish tradition says that the tribal banners corresponded in color to the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest (Exo 28:15-21) and that the standard of each triad was depicted by one of these four images. The lion was the standard of Judah That would be easy to see from Jacob's blessing: Gen 49:9 WEB Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, As a lioness. Who will rouse him up? When Israel camped in the desert, Judah camped east of the tabernacle and was joined by the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun, to form the first triad. The ox was the standard of Ephraim The tribe of Ephraim camped to the west of the tabernacle and was joined by the tribes of Benjamin and Manasseh, forming the second triad. Lesson 5 11
  12. 12. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The man was the standard of Reuben The tribe of Reuben camped to the south of the tabernacle and was joined by the tribes of Gad and Simeon, forming the third triad. The eagle had become the standard of Dan The standard had originally been the serpent. Jewish tradition holds that this identification with a serpent was changed by Ahiezer, the leader of the Tribe of Dan during the Exodus (Num 2:25), to an eagle with a serpent in its mouth as their tribal ensign. The tribe of Dan camped to the north of the tabernacle and was joined by the tribes of Asher and Naphthali, forming the fourth triad. This is the same order in which Ezekiel describes the faces Eze 1:10 WEB As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and they four had the face of a lion on the right side; and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four had also the face of an eagle. Lesson 5 12
  13. 13. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 Can there be any doubt about the message of the throne scene? If you were looking at Israel's camp from the south, you would see the face of a man. To the right (east) you would see the face of a lion. To the left (west) you would see the face of an ox. Finally, to the north you would see the face of an eagle. The heavenly scene is designed to make the reader think of God's people, being cared for by God in a hostile environment, while they are on the road to promised land. What about the sea of glass? John saw "a sea of glass" before the throne; Ezekiel saw something similar above it. Eze 1:22 WEB Over the head of the living creature there was an expanse, like crystal to look on, stretched forth over their heads above. Earth's ceiling is heaven's floor. The imagery comes from Sinai Exo 24:9-10 WEB Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up. (10) They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphire stone, like the skies for clearness. It may also be the basin in the tabernacle & temple called the sea 1Ki 7:23-25 WEB He made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and its height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits encircled it. (24) Under its brim around there were buds which encircled it, for ten cubits, encircling the sea: the buds were in two rows, cast when it was cast. (25) It stood on twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; and the sea was set on them above, and all their hinder parts were inward. Lesson 5 13
  14. 14. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 This particular sea will be seen again in the Book of Revelation Here it separates man & God; there the faithful have crossed Rev 15:2-3 WEB I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. There the overcomers sing the "song of Moses ... and of the Lamb" The Song of Moses comes from Exodus 15. Israel's perspective was different on the two shores of the Red Sea. On the west, with Pharaoh's army bearing down, they despaired of life. On the east, after God had delivered them and disposed of their enemies, they sang with joy. Their song was the song of Moses. That is the picture John wants his readers to see. John pictures the overcomers singing a song of deliverance The NIV captures the idea of Revelation 15:2 best when it says the overcomers were standing "beside" the sea. To have the overcomers standing by the sea and singing songs of deliverance indicates that God's enemy has been overthrown and God's people have been rescued. But why the song of the Lamb? These are not two songs, but one. The song of Moses is the song of the Lamb. John shows that his focus is on the redeemed of both covenants. Lesson 5 14
  15. 15. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 Later, still, John says Rev 21:1 WEB I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. In Rev 4, the sea separates the overcomers from God. In Rev 15 the overcomers have crossed over and are singing songs of deliverance. Finally, in the new Jerusalem, there is no more sea. What had once separated them from God has been removed and there is nothing to separate them from God any longer. HEAVEN'S WORSHIP Rev 4:9-11 WEB When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor,and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!" The four living creatures lead the heavenly entourage in glorifying God These are the creatures of Ezekiel. They are also the seraphs of Isaiah: Isa 6:1-3 WEB In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. One called to another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Hosts! The whole earth is full of his glory!" Isaiah doesn't describe their faces because they were covered in the presence of God. But they were singing a song similar to the one in Revelation 4, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty " They are "heaven's choir," singing praises to God. Lesson 5 15
  16. 16. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The living creatures sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" When they sing, the twenty-four elders take off their crowns and fall before the throne. They sing their song – "Worthy Art Thou!" At this point, they're only singing verse one – about God being worthy. In the next chapter, they'll add a verse about the Lamb being worthy. THE SEALED BOOK Rev 5:1-4 WEB I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals. I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to break its seals?" No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look in it. And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it. John sees a book in the right hand of the one on the throne Writing on both sides. Literally, "within and on the back". That was unusual – manuscripts were written on one side only. This manuscript has no space left to write. It is full of words, and the words are full of significance. It contains the whole revelation of God on whatever subject it addresses. But what could that subject be? Lesson 5 16
  17. 17. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 Ezekiel had a similar experience Eze 2:9-10 WEB When I looked, behold, a hand was put forth to me; and, behold, a scroll of a book was therein; He spread it before me: and it was written within and without; and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Using the same imagery as Ezekiel, the words on the scroll spell out bad news for someone. Whom could it be? The book John sees is sealed with seven seals Do not visualize a traditional "scroll". Imagine a 7-page pamphlet, with the pages bound together along one edge. Imagine that booklet rolled up, with each page sealed where the edge ends. By opening each seal, you open one page at a time, without revealing the contents of the others. 7 speaks of the completion of God's purpose. So this scroll contains not only a message from God, but the complete will, or purpose of God. But it cannot be read, because the pages are sealed. The apparently insurmountable problem A mighty angel asks for a volunteer who is worthy to receive and open the book. His request is met with silence. No one is worthy, either in heaven, or on earth, or even under the earth, to open the seals - or even to look inside - and reveal the message from the God on the throne. Lesson 5 17
  18. 18. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 THE WORTHY LAMB Rev 5:5-7 WEB One of the elders said to me, "Don't weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the book and its seven seals." I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, 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. Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. One of the elders tells John not to give up hope so quickly One is worthy, but not the one everyone expects. The emperor declared himself to be a god, worthy of worship (Greek kaisarsebaston, “Caesar, worthy of worship”). The emperors all took the throne name “Caesar Augustus” (Latin version of kaisarsebaston). It is not Caesar on his throne, but God on his, who is worthy of worship. When it comes time to receive and reveal the will of God, Caesar is not even in the running. There is only one who is worthy, and that is the "Lion who is of the Tribe of Judah". The "Lion of the tribe of Judah" comes from Jacob blessing his sons Gen 49:8-10 WEB "Judah, your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; Your father's sons will bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, As a lioness. Who will rouse him up? The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be. Lesson 5 18
  19. 19. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 He is also identified as another OT figure - the "Root of David" Isa 11:1-5 WEB There shall come forth a shoot out of .. Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. David was the son of Jesse & Jesus is the pre-eminent son of David! As David surpassed his father, Jesse, so also, Jesus surpassed his ancestor, David. Jer 23:5-6 WEB Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name by which he shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness. The Lord promised an heir to David's throne 2Sa 7:12-16 WEB When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever. In the immediate future, he was talking about Solomon, but the Jews saw in that promise a future Messiah,the son of David, to whom the Lord promised the throne in his eternal kingdom Lesson 5 19
  20. 20. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The voice says the Lion of Judah & Root of David has "overcome" Overcome (nikaoo) is the same word as in Rev 2-3. Jesus was the first overcomer. He met the power of the universe and won. Col 2:13-15 WEB You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. The Lion has overcome He is able to take & open the scroll, so there is no more need for tears. A lion is announced, so John expects to see a lion. Instead, he sees a lamb advancing to the throne to take the scroll! But this is no ordinary lamb! It looks as if it had been slain. The WEB makes it sound like a mere matter of appearance. That is not the force of the Greek text. The NEB does a good job when it describes the lamb as having "the marks of slaughter upon him". The literal translation is "standing as one having been slain" These are Greek perfect passive participles. The idea is of something that actually happened in the past, but which has abiding results in the present. Here, John sees a lamb. It is obvious that the lamb has been slaughtered, but there it stands, nevertheless, and it is alive! This is no matter of mere appearance. Lesson 5 20
  21. 21. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The Lamb was actually killed Rev 5:9-10 WEB They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed, And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth." The Greek sphazoo was the word for ritual, sacrificial slaughter. This is a sacrificial lamb, that has been sacrificed, but that is alive, nevertheless! Isaiah had described the Messiah in terms reminiscent of this Isa 53:7 WEB He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn't open his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn't open his mouth. There can be no doubt who this Lamb is We cannot help but think of John the Baptizer introducing Jesus to his disciples: Joh 1:29 WEB The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Lesson 5 21
  22. 22. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 It reminds us of other passages about our redemption 1Co 5:7b WEB For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. It also reminds us that we were not redeemed with silver or gold ... 1Pe 1:19 WEB but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, the blood of Christ; It has "seven horns and seven eyes" "Seven" is a depiction of God's complete will. So what do seven horns and seven eyes signify? The horn in the Old Testament is a symbol of strength. Deu 33:17 WEB The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his; His horns are the horns of the wild-ox: With them he shall push the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth: They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, They are the thousands of Manasseh. To say that the lamb has seven horns is to say he has God's power. In other words, he is omnipotent! To say that he has seven eyes, is an affirmation that he has God's vision. Pro 15:3 WEB Yahweh's eyes are everywhere, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. In other words, he is omniscient! John saw the lamb do what no one else in creation was worthy to do He walked up to the throne of God and took the book out of the hand of the Almighty! No wonder heaven erupts with praise of his worth! Our word "worship" comes from old English "worth-ship." It is an affirmation of worth! Revelation 4 declares that God on the throne is worthy of worship! Revelation 5 adds a second verse, declaring that the Lamb is worthy of worship, as well! Lesson 5 22
  23. 23. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 WORSHIP OF THE LAMB Rev 5:8-14 WEB Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed, And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth." I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!" I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!" The four living creatures said, "Amen!" The elders fell down and worshiped. In Revelation 4, all eyes had been on the throne Now, in Revelation 5, all eyes are on the Lamb. The entire heavenly scene, the four creatures and 24 elders, fall before the Lamb and worship him. The harps signify their worship, and John tells the reader that the bowls of incense signify the prayers of the saints, which come out of the tabernacle. He would understand the sentiment of David: Psa 141:2 WEB Let my prayer be set before you like incense; The lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice. John's situation is unique vis-à-vis every human before, or since He has the unique distinction of seeing the same moment in celestial history from both earth's and heaven's perspective. He was with the few who saw Jesus ascend to heaven in Acts 1. Now, he sees the ascended Christ as he enters into heaven. Lesson 5 23
  24. 24. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 And when Jesus enters, all heaven erupts with praise! The fact that they sing a "new song" means only that it is new as compared with the song they had sung in Revelation 4. There, the song was a song of praise to God on the throne, as worthy because of his work in creation. Here, the song is a song of praise to the Lamb as worthy because of his work in redemption. This is the New Testament counterpart to the "Song of Moses" Recall that when Israel had crossed the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army had been drowned in it, the Israelites sang the "Song of Moses" in which they praised God for redeeming them, and for vanquishing their enemies. In Rev 14:3, we will read of God's people who have been delivered Rev 14:3 WEB They sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed out of the earth. In this picture, the redeemed are standing on Mount Zion singing a song commemorating their redemption. Lesson 5 24
  25. 25. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 Then, just a chapter later, we'll read again of the overcomers singing In the context of God's judgments on the ungodly, the redeemed sing a song of deliverance. Rev 15:3 WEB They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. So what is there about this Lamb that is so special? The Lamb is worthy because of his death, and because of what his death accomplished. Look at what his death did His death purchased men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation The King James Version incorrectly says he purchased "us". That is not what the Greek text says. It says he purchased men. But not just any men, and not just men from a select group. Jesus' death made it possible for men to be purchased from every tribe (ethnic group), tongue (language group), people (racial group), and nation (national group). No matter what there is that segregates men from one another, it has been abolished in the cross. As Paul put it, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). The days are past when one had to be a physical descendant of Abraham in order to be a part of God's people. Jesus opened the doors of heaven to everyone! His death made these people into a "kingdom" and "priests" In spite of their diversity of race, culture and language, the Lamb's blood has made them into a "kingdom" (not "kings" as in some translations), in which God rules. In spite of the fact that their sins separated them from God, the Lamb's blood has made them into "priests", with access to God! The OT prophets said God's intention was to give them access to his throne. Isa 61:6 WEB But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men shall call you the ministers of our God: you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves. No wonder the hosts of heaven sing praises to the Lamb with their own version of "Worthy art Thou!" Lesson 5 25
  26. 26. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The chapter began with a question: "Who is worthy?" Of course there is the foregone conclusion that God is worthy. That is why the singers sang the first stanza of "Worthy Art Thou" in Revelation 4. There, they ascribed to God the same kind of worthiness that the prophets had ascribed to him centuries before. 1Ch 29:11 WEB Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. But "who is worthy" to take the book out of God's hand and open it? They looked everywhere and no one could be found who was worthy. But, just when it seemed hopeless, there was found one - no more and no less - who was worthy! Now everyone who had been involved in the search joins in the assent that he truly is worthy! Every created being joins in the act They sing about the worthiness of the one on the throne, and of the Lamb, as well. (5:13). The singers are the ones described by Daniel as those who minister to and stand before God. Dan 7:10 WEB thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: When everyone and every thing in creation agree that God and the Lamb are worthy, there's just one thing for the elders and the four living creatures to say - "Amen!" Lesson 5 26
  27. 27. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The Old Testament background of this entire scene is Daniel 7:9-14 Dan 7:9-14 WEB I saw until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat: his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels of it burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. In that grand vision, God is seen on the throne, ready to judge God's judgment is about to come upon one kingdom, and a king who thought he was worthy of worship. Into the scene came "one like a son of man" who was led into his presence. He was given dominion over all peoples, nations and languages. There is a final word about his rule: "his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Ready or not, God's enemy is about to be judged! We’re going to see that the nation - and the king - who are facing judgment in Daniel 7 are the same as the enemies of God's people in the Book of Revelation. It is the Roman Empire and the Roman emperors, and, in particular, one emperor named Domitian. Lesson 5 27
  28. 28. The Book of Revelation 04/01/2007 The scene in Revelation 4-5 is this God is on his throne. His court is assembled, and his judgments are ready to be pronounced. But there is no one worthy to pronounce God’s judgments. Then, the only worthy one in the universe comes to the throne. He takes the book and it's time for God's judgments to begin. The judgments are the seals, trumpets, thunders, and bowls that we'll see in the rest of the book. Lesson 5 28