(5.5)    And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


1.   Who is able to redeem the land? “Evidently any one of the elders could have answered. They had spiritual illumination.”[1] Whom does this elder point to? The Lord Jesus Christ. But, is the Lord Jesus Christ really qualified to redeem the land?


a.     This “takes our minds back to the words of Jacob’s prophecy given on his death-bed.”[2] “The lion was an emblem of strength, majesty, courage, and menace as well as symbolic of intellectual excellence.”[3] That He is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” reminds us of the fact that He is a man. But more than that, He is a Jew, which more than qualifies Him as a kinsman. So, He is qualified in that respect.


b.   “Reference to Christ as the Root of David stems from the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out his roots” (cf. Isa. 11:10).”[4] Being “the Root of David” lets us know that He is the Son of God. Being the Son of God, He has infinite power at His disposal. Therefore, He is able to redeem. That is the second qualification met.


c.   It also says that He “hath prevailed to open the book.” The word “prevailed” is an aorist tense verb, from the Greek word “nikaw,” which refers to being victorious or overcoming obstacles.[5] This lets us know that the elder who speaks to comfort John is referring to the past, to Christ’s death on the cross, when he refers to Christ having prevailed to open the book. Thus, we see that Jesus was more than willing to pay the redemption price. He did pay the redemption price. Amen? He paid with His Own blood, on the cross of Calvary.


2.   Do you know what this means? It means that Jesus is able to loose not one, but all seven seals that seal the redemption scroll. All that now awaits John is the actual breaking of the seven seals.


(5.6)    And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.


1.   We have already read of the setting there in heaven. We know of the great throne, that four and twenty elders on their thrones surround it, and that there are four angelic beings in the midst of it all. We also know that at the center of it all, sitting upon the throne, is Almighty God.


2.   John now lets us know that standing before the throne of God is the Lamb. There is no indication that He has always been there, but that He just appeared moments before.


3.   What about His description? Let me share a rule of interpretation. If the literal sense makes common sense, seek no other sense. But since the literal sense is ridiculous, we understand that John is using symbolic terminology to communicate certain truths. Also, mind this: Biblical symbolism always has as its intent the communication of truth, not the concealing of truth. With these things in mind, what do we learn from John’s descriptions of the Lamb?


4.   In the Old Testament, horns were used by the prophets in their prophetic writings to symbolize governmental authority and power. You will also remember that the seven spirits mentioned here, from a comparison of Isaiah 11.2, refers to the Holy Spirit of God. This would indicate that, taken together, the horns, eyes, and spirits, convey the thought that at the disposal of the Lamb is infinite power and infinite knowledge . . . by the Holy Spirit, Who was sent into the world by the Lord Jesus Christ.


5.   Now, the question is, “Who is the Lamb? Who is the Lion referred to in verse 5?” If the Lamb refers to the Lord Jesus Christ during the first advent, His first coming, what does the Lion refer to? Christ came in peace as the sacrifice for man’s sins the first time He came to earth. How do you think He will come again, if the Lion symbol holds up? And it will hold up.


(5.7)     And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.


1.   So, the Lord Jesus Christ took the book that I have identified to be the book of redemption from the right hand of His Father. A little aside before we address the thrust of this verse. This verse shows the Lord Jesus Christ coming and taking the book out of the right hand of Almighty God, which is to say, the Father. This shows the distinctiveness of the first and second Persons of the triune Godhead.


a.    You might wonder what is so important about this observation. The distinctiveness of the first and second Persons of the trinity is important in consideration of the rise in these last days of the error of modalism.


b.   “Also called Sabellianism, the trinitarian heresy that does not view Father, Son and Spirit as three particular “persons in relation” but merely as three modes or manifestations of the one divine person of God. Thus God comes in salvation history as Father to create and give the law, as Son to redeem and as Spirit to impart grace.”[6]


2.   If my portrayal of this scroll is correct, and if the last phase of God’s overall plan is about to begin in this portion of Scripture, then it would be reasonable to expect a great response as the Lord Jesus Christ steps forward to take the scroll from His Father, would it not?

[1] J. Vernon McGee, Reveling Through Revelation, Part I, (Pasadena, CA: Thru The Bible Books, 1979), page 46.

[2] L. Sale-Harrison, The Remarkable Revelation, (New York: Sale-Harrison Publications, 1930), page 71.

[3] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 824.

[4] John Walvoord, The Revelation Of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1966), page 114.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999), page 79.

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