Revelation - Chapter 5
Who is Worthy to Open the Scroll? 5:1-3.
Revelation chapter Five gives another majestic sight of worship in heaven. John saw God seated on a throne, holding a scroll sealed with seven seals. There was writing on it inside and the outside the scroll. In chapter four, God is portrayed as the creator sitting on the throne. He is worshiped by the angels. But in chapter five the focus is on the Lamb who was slain. Christ is the center of worship in heaven. The scroll contained details of God's plan of redemption and the coming judgment. To learn what is in the scroll one must break the seals to read it. In ancient time scroll contained the property deed and its seals guaranteed the authenticity of the scroll. John saw a strong angel shouting with a loud voice “Who is worthy to break the seals on the scroll and open it?” This scroll was the title deed of the fallen universe. Only the kinsman redeemer could break the seals and read it. No man was found worthy to open the seals because all have sinned and forfeited right to open. Therefore John wept. The opening of the scroll indicate the victory over evil, sin and death. Jesus is worthy of our worship because he is the only one able to open the scroll.
The Lion of Judah is Worthy: 5:4-7.
Suddenly one of the elders said to John “Stop weeping, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has prevailed to open the scroll and its seven seals.” This is none other than Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah and in the family of David (Gen 49: 9, 10; Isaiah 11:1). He is the prince of peace and the Lamb of God (Isaiah 9:6, 7; John 1:29). He is both God and Man, the One who is able to redeem us. Christ died for our sin and He triumphed over death by His resurrection. Jesus is worthy to open the scroll because He alone has paid the price for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7). John saw the Lamb bearing the wounds as if it had been slaughtered but it was now standing (5:6). Christ fulfilled God’s plan of salvation by dying on the cross. He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29). The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). He is in the center of the throne. He is equal with God. Jesus is the risen and he is the living redeemer. The Lamb’s seven horns speak of His power. He is able to save us completely (Heb 7:25). Seven eyes speak of His omniscience. Seven-fold spirit speaks of Christ’s omnipresence. He is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Only Christ is worthy to open the scroll.
Christ is Worthy to Receive Worship: 5:8.
When Christ received the scroll, the four living beings and the 24 elders fell down before Him and sang a new song. Angels are created being and their main role is to worship God (Isaiah 6:1-3; Rev 4:11). Only God is worthy of worship (Rev 22:9). In worship we glorify God (Psalms 29:2; 50:23). Some worship God to appease God’s wrath. Others worship God to be blessed. But the true worship is always in spirit and truth (John 4: 24). Someone has said “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him”. God seeks true worshipers (John 4:23). The end of evangelism is worship. It is the chief occupation of the church on earth (John 15:8). Worship is the constant activity in heaven. It is beautiful in the sight of God (Psalms 147:1). We are commanded to offer the sacrifice of praise to God (Heb 13:15). Doing good to others is an act of worship (Ephesians 2:10; Phil 4:15; Heb 13:16). Angels could not sing the song of redemption because they are not redeemed. They join in the celebration of praising the lamb holding harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Who are these saints? They are the redeemed people of God (Rev 18:20). The gift of music comes from God and it will enrich our worship (Rev 14:2; Psalms 33:2). Incense and golden bowls were used in the temple of worship in Israel. They are symbols of praise and prayers (Psalms 141:2). Prayer is an act of worship. It shows our dependence on God. Prayer includes our adoration, confession, thanksgivings and supplications. Christ’s High Priestly intercession makes our imperfect worship and prayers acceptable and pleasing to God. God's ears are opened to our prayers (Psalms 34:15). He seeks true worshipers (John 4:23).
They Sang a New Song: 5:9-12.
Only the redeemed can sing the song of redemption. Angels were saying ”Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood you have ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev 5:9, 10). The only place where we read angels were singing was at the time of creation (Job 38:7). At the birth of Jesus, angels praised God, saying “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). Angels cannot sing the song of redemption. The angels praise the Lamb who unveils the plan of salvation. Jesus is the Lamb of God who is worth of our praise because He was slain to redeem us from our sin. Our outward expression of praise should come from an inner wellspring of overflowing gratitude towards God. Our praise should be expressive and meaningful. Christ is worthy to open the scroll and complete the redemptive plan of God. His death provides a ransom for our redemption. He purchased us from the bondage of Satan and set us free to serve God. He has made us kingdom of priests to reign with Him in His kingdom (Heb 2:5). We are saved to make Him known to this lost and dying world (1 Pet 2:9). The believer's worthiness before God is solely based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. John heard the voices of millions of angels joining in the celebration of praise. They were saying in mighty voice “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” These are the attributes of Christ, who is worthy of our praise. Perhaps nothing more clearly declares the deity of Christ than the fact that He is the focus of worship in heaven.
Every Creature in heaven Praise Christ : 5:13-14.
Finally every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth and in the sea praised the Lamb saying “Blessings and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever” (Rev 5:12). The whole created universe joined in this worship. There is no excuse for not worshiping God their maker (Rom 1:20). He redeemed us from our sin. The celebration and worship in heaven assured us of the final outcome of redemption plan of the Lamb (5:14). God has highly exalted Christ and given Him a name which is above every name. When Christ receives the title deed of the universe from God the Father every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9-11). All those who are saved will be there to witness this great event and worship the Lord. Because Christ has paid the redemption price with his own life, he is fully qualified to open the seals. He is worthy to receive our worship. With the opening of the seals, the tribulation begins. Now is the right time to believe, today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). Before it is too late believe in Christ and be saved.