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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 5

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-14

(b ) V :1-14 —A scroll is seen in God’s hand, covered with writing but so closely scaled that no one can read it. John laments this, but hears that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered and can open it. Forthwith he sees between the Throne and those who surround it a Lamb that had been slain and yet is standing upright. The Lamb advances and takes the scroll and all Creation acclaims him as worthy to open it since his Blood has ransomed men throughout the world, and made them kings and priests before God. The whole spiritual world and then all Creation repeat and amplify this acclaim.

1-5. The Scaled Scroll (cf.Isaiah 29:11 and especially Ez 2:9) is an ?p?sT???aF??, i.e. written on both sides, but so tightly sealed (seven seals) that it cannot be unrolled and read by any created thing. But the Lion of Judah, of the stock of David (i.e. the Messianic King) has conquered, and so, can do so. This scroll is the world’s history, an enigma apart from the Incarnation, Saving Death and Resurrection of the Son of God. 6-9. The Lamb, slain yet alive (cf. 1:18), stands ’between’ the Throne and Creation—a Mediator. His ’7 horns’ are the plenitude of Power; the ’7 eyes’, the plenitude of Wisdom (see 1:4; 4:5; Zach 3:9-10; 4:10—the Seven Eyes of Yahweh This plenitude is in God, and in the Lamb, and is sent by him throughout the world. The symbols are not disconnected, but indicate the Trinity. 7. When the Lamb ’takes’ the scroll, (9 ) Nature sings a ’new’ song. ’Newness’ is a key-word in the Apoc: ’behold, I make all things new’ (21:5 and often). A ’new song’ often in OT, as fit for solemn occasions (Psalms 32:3, etc.). Nature is not to be abolished, but made new (cf. 2:17; 3:12; 21:1). Nature, then, offers praise and prayer (incense, already symbolical in OT): the Lamb prophesied in Isaiah 53:7 as future, has now been sacrificed and effected a universal ransom: he is worthy to explain the Book—in fact, is its Explanation. (The Martyrs, by union with him, share in this worthiness: cf. 6:9.)

9-12. After this song of sub-angelic Nature, innumerable spirits (cf.Daniel 7:10) utter their sevenfold shout of praise. 13. Then the whole of Creation unites in worship before the One Throne belonging alike to God and to the Lamb. ’Heaven, earth, and under-earth’ is merely part of Hebrew literary tradition: ’all that is’. Upon this praise, Nature and Church alike set their ’Amen’, seal of absolute agreement. (In 12, Greek MSS have ’riches’; the Latin ’Godhead’ is wrong, for Godhead is not one among several attributes belonging to the Lamb on the same plane as the others.)

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on Revelation 5". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/revelation-5.html. 1951.
 
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