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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 5

D.S. Clark's Commentary on RevelationClark on Revelation

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Chapter five opens with a scene in heaven.

Verses 1-6

V. 1-6. John sees in the hand of him that sat on the throne a book, or rather a roll, written within and on the back side and sealed with seven seals. The book in the hand of God corresponds with the first chapter that this was a revelation given by God.

Heaven resounds with a voice: "Who is able to open the book." This book was a revelation of things to come. Several times we have been told that things will be revealed that must shortly come to pass. Here was the future, to some extent at least, wrapped in the roll.

Who will open the book? One came forward, called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and -John was told that he had prevailed to open the book and to loose the seals. This can be no other than Jesus Christ. Christ is the revealer. He reveals God and his will. He is prophet, as well as priest and king; and he executes the office of a prophet by revealing to us the will of God for our salvation.

No sooner is he called a lion than he is also called "a lamb as it had been slain." He is described as having seven horns and seven eyes; the horns indicating strength and the eyes, knowledge; and the further explanation given, "which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Almightiness and omniscience are here involved.

We find in these chapters a great many sevens; seven lamps, seven churches, seven horns, seven eyes, seven spirits, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, etc. The bible makes much use of the number seven which is usually regarded as a sacred number, and sometimes as a number of completeness.

However I do not think it legitimate to draw from all this that the world of mankind is to last seven thousand years. The author of "Dispensational Truth" has schemed human history into seven periods of one thousand years each; and assumes that we are now six thousand years from Adam, and that the millennial period of one thousand years is presently upon us, at the close of which our earthly history will end.

Such schemes are not justified by anything that we know. We do not know certainly that we are six thousand years from Adam. And besides the division into historical periods of one thousand years each is artificial and man-made; and the Lord has not told us so definitely as this just how long the world is to last.

Verses 7-14

Vs. 7-14. This Lion-lamb came and took the book from the hand of him who sat upon the throne; and the heavenly beings fell down before the Lamb with harps and golden vials full of odors which are the prayers of saints. The prayers of God's people on earth seemed to have something to do with the revelation about to be made. The prayers of agonizing saints in the throes of bloody persecution come up to God's throne; and in answer thereto the Lamb has taken this book of destiny to reveal to them that God will judge their persecutors and lead his church to triumph.

And they sang a new song. They had sung an old song in Rev_4:11 praising God for creating all things; but now a new song of redemption saying: "Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation." Two good songs! praise to the Creator and praise to the Redeemer. The song ends by saying: "And hast made us (or them) kings (or a kingdom) and priests unto God; and we (or they) shall reign (or do reign) on earth." The manuscripts are very uncertain on this text, but it shows, at least, that God's cause will not always be persecuted and cast down; but will arise and grow and triumph on earth. That would be good news to the poor persecuted churches of that day. The chapter ends with a hallelujah chorus.

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