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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 5

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Chapter 5 relates to God’s Lamb (Jesus Christ) and his work of “buying men for God.” The last two verses of this chapter are the praise of the total Universe, joined together in worship to God and the Lamb.

Verse 1


Scroll. This is symbolic of God’s Eternal Plan – his purpose for the total Universe throughout history. [Books in ancient times, were made by gluing together pages to form a sheet many feet in length. These were rolled up for storage.] Sealed. Scrolls were sealed to prevent unauthorized use. These were often arranged so that breaking the first seal would allow access to the first part. Then a second seal would have to be broken to give access to further material. The SEALED scroll symbolizes God’s Plan undisclosed and unexecuted.

Verse 2


Who is worthy? Only someone with authority could break the seals.

Verse 3


But no one was found, No one, man or angel, had the authority to break the seals and execute God’s Plan.

Verse 4


I cried bitterly. John, in the vision, feels the dismay of Creation as God’s Scroll remains sealed.

Verse 5


Then one of the elders. Not an angel, but an elder (Revelation 4:4), speaks the good news! Look! Jesus Christ has won the victory! He is the “Lion from Judah’s tribe” (Genesis 49:9-10); and “the great descendant of David” (Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 22:41-45). He won the victory through his death (Luke 9:31)

Verse 6


Then I saw a Lamb. Not the Lion, but the Lamb. Center of the throne. This shows both the authority of Jesus, and the authority of his act of sacrifice on the Cross. Seven horns, Symbolic of his authority. Seven eyes. Symbolic of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 1:4; Ephesians 2:22).

Verses 7-8


The Lamb went and took the scroll. The sovereignty of both heaven and earth is given into his hands! [See Hebrews 1:2; Philippians 2:6-11.] As he did so. As he takes the scroll and is made King of Creation, there is a great burst of praise from the four living creatures [Creation] and the twenty-four elders [God’s people in all ages of time]. Harps. Symbolic of great happiness (compare Revelation 18:22). Gold bowls. Symbolic of prayer and thankfulness.

Verses 9-10


The praise of the created and the Redeemed! By your death. The bloody death of the Cross is the PRICE of buying men [men and women] for God (Revelation 1:6). A kingdom of priests. In Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13) everyone is a priest. Christ himself is the high priest. Alford (Greek Testament) says: “The present BASILEUOUSIN [they shall rule] is not to be rendered as a future, but keeps its own meaning (the whole aspect and reference of this heavenly vision being not future, but present: the world and church as now existing, compare Ephesians 2:6).” Those who are bought for God: (1) are made into a Kingdom; (2) become priests; (3) receive kingly authority. These things are true, even though God’s people are persecuted and insulted.

Verse 11


Again I looked. Still a vision. The angels of heaven join the Created and the Redeemed to praise Jesus.

Verse 12


And sang in a load voice. They sing the praises of Jesus for his act of death which sets men free from the results of sin. Christ demonstrated that he is “worthy” by his heroic sacrifice (Ephesians 3:8-11).

Verse 13


And I heard every creature. Every being joins in the chorus of praise to God and the Lamb! It is God’s act in Jesus the Lamb, which allows God to give the verdict of “not guilty” in regard to those who were “paid for” by the death of Christ. The total Universe shares in the benefits of this act (Romans 8:20-21; Colossians 1:20).

Verse 14


Amen. The four living creatures place their seal of approval on the worship. And the elders. They, too, fall down to worship the Triune God, and especially the Lamb. [It was a custom in the ancient world to fall down with the face pressed to the ground as a sign of submission and worship.]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/revelation-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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