Worthy is the Lamb! Rev. 5 :: By Donald Whitchard

Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:1-14

Summary: The Lord Jesus Christ has all things and events under His Divine and Sovereign control. He has the final word on how everything will conclude. No amount of evil on the world’s part will stop Him from His mission to “make all things new.”

I sometimes think that when we study the Book of Revelation, we tend to focus on the impending judgments of the wicked and the horrendous consequences that follow. While God’s wrath is certainly a major theme of the book, we must remember that the book of Revelation is also a book of praise and glorification to God as well.

The fourth and fifth chapters give us a glimpse of the glory of heaven and the activities within the throne room of the Sovereign Lord God Almighty. John’s description of what occurs is a source of comfort and joy to beleaguered, persecuted, and weary Christians of not just his time but for all people throughout the course of history who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation and who were also willing to risk everything to follow Him, often at the cost of their lives.

Revelation 4 and 5 show beyond all doubt that no matter how spiritually dark things get in this present world, the presence and Light of Christ shine forever, and His authority, power, glory, and control over the affairs of His creation will never be thwarted or stopped by the delusional and malevolent works of the devil and his brood.

In chapter 5, verse 1, John sees in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne “a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.” This indicates that the scroll’s contents are highly valued and important. In the days of the Roman Empire, messages sent to the emperor or governing officials were sealed with an insignia that had been imprinted into hot wax. This meant that nobody had the right, permission, or authority to open it except the one to whom it was sent or by permission from the recipient for a trusted representative to open and read the contents. Documents sealed with the signet of kings and rulers were treated with respect and were a symbol of the authority behind them.

The seven seals of the scroll in God’s hands, however, could not be broken by any earthly power. No one has the authority to direct the course of history save for the Sovereign LORD. These seals are a reminder that we are not “the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls.” We are not the center of all there is, as atheists, secularists, and humanists would have us believe. The seven seals show that we do not “call the shots.” It is a blow to our arrogance, rebellion, and unmitigated gall to believe that we can tell God to “get out of the way” and run things ourselves.

The events described in Genesis 3 should have been a “wake-up call” that when we try to run this world without God, it ends in disaster in every aspect. Our rebellion against God also alienated us from His grace, mercy, and love and put us in the situation we face today (Romans 1:18-22, 3:11-18).

In verse 2, John writes that a “strong angel” comes forth and asks, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals?” He notices that nobody comes forth because no one has that kind of authority and power to open the seals and put into place the events that are to come (v.3). The contents of the scroll are too much for an earthly power to enact, nor could they do so in their present fallen condition. There is only One who has the ability and authority to put God’s plans into action, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who has been given this authority by God the Father (Matthew 28:18, 25:31-46; John 5:26-27; Revelation 5:5-6).

This is not Jesus — beaten, bruised, and bloodied like the world last saw Him. He is the risen and glorified Lamb of God (John 1:29). He fulfilled that role by being the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins. By His death, burial, and resurrection, the work of atonement on our behalf has been done and never has to be repeated (John 19:30). The perfect, sinless Lamb of God took upon Himself our imperfect, fallen, sinful nature on the cross. We cannot atone for ourselves (Isaiah 53:4-6, 64:6). That is an exercise in futility, and we never seem to get that.

The Lord Jesus has opened the door of reconciliation with God the Father, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the privilege and joy of knowing and loving Him through His constant presence, certified by the authority of His inerrant, all-sufficient, Holy Word (John 17:17; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

Verses 5-7 are symbolic of the absolute, unquestioned power, presence, and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God Incarnate, Creator (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16-18), Savior, Sustainer, and Sovereign, who has all the power, ability, and full authority to put into place the events that are to come upon the world, and to bring all things to a conclusion on His terms.

The hosts of heaven bow in humble worship when He obtains and opens the scroll. All of heaven rejoices as the Son takes upon Himself the responsibility and honor of bringing evil to its end (vv.8-14) and restores creation to its former unspoiled condition (Romans 8:18-22; Revelation, Chapters 21, 22).

We can rejoice in knowing that one day, He will return in the air for His true church (Luke 21:28; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 3:10), and we will be among the hosts of heaven who will witness these things happen, and rejoice with fellow saints that He is the Sovereign LORD, Who will truly make all things new. He has never broken that promise, as He makes us new creations when we give our lives to Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You are going to witness these things come to pass, either in the glory of heaven or the hell that will come to earth when the events described in Revelation 6 and following begin, unleashing the time of the Great Tribulation and its horrors, both physically and eternally. While there is still time, please settle the issue of where you will spend eternity (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 9:27; James 4:13-15). Repent of your sins, confess that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10, 13).

Be a part of the heavenly host and watch the King get ready to go into action. Amen.



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