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Bible Commentaries

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT

Revelation 5

Verse 1

1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

A. God is holding a book . This book (scroll) is important.

B. It has writings on both sides . There are two types of scrolls at this time - Parchment and Velum. Parchment is made with strips of reeds pressed together. The topside was laid horizontal for easy writing. On the backside the reeds were laid vertically. This made writing on the back said very difficult. The other type of scroll was velum (animal leather, usually deer). Again, one side of leather is smooth and easy to use. The backside of leather is rough and more difficult to write on.

C. By writing on both sides there are two indications - a) the message is important and no space must be wasted. b) There is a scarcity of writing materials - either very costly or not available.

D. It is sealed . The seal is not like one seals a Mason jar with fruit inside. Some have tried to make this teach the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” They have implied that God seals us in and we cannot escape.

E. But the seal here is for three purposes .

1. The seal shows the item to be genuine

2. A seal proves the document is official

3. A seal demonstrates that it has not been tampered with or altered.

Verse 2

2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

A. Strong angel - It is assumed that this is one of the four living creatures around the throne.

B. He cries, “Who is worthy to open the book, loose the seals?”

C. The issue is not - Who can (has the ability), but who has the authority and power?

Verse 3

3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

A. The search was extensive. No man on earth and no man in heaven had such authority.

B. No man under the earth (among the dead and buried) could open the book or look inside.

C. No human (saved or lost, living or dead) could open the book.

Verse 4

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.

A. John wept. He was searching for answers. The answers are in this book. John can’t just walk up to God and open the book to learn what it says.

B. There is important information in this book and no one can open it and share its content with the suffering Christians.

Verse 5

5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

A. An elder points to the LION of the tribe of Judah. Judah = tribe of kings - David, Solomon, and Christ.

B. The Lion is the symbol of rule and power. The lion is the “king of the jungle.”

C. He (Christ) is triumphant. He is of the root of David (in the line of kings).

D. He has the power to open the seals and reveal the contents of the book.

Verse 6

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

A. John turns to see the LION.

B. And - there - in the middle of the 24 elders and the four living creatures - stood a lamb. NOTE: Jesus is the lion of Judah AND the Lamb of God.

C. He had 7 horns and seven eyes = 7 Spirits of God.

Verse 7

7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

A. Jesus takes the book out of the hand of God.

B. Only Jesus could reveal its content.

Verse 8

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

A. The 24 elders and four living creatures fall down and worship the lamb.

B. They have harps and golden bowls full of incense.

C. The incense represents the prayers of the saints.

D. If the bowls are symbolic, the harps must be also. Bowls = prayers; harps = praise. (See 14:2)

Verse 9

9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

A. They sang a “new song”.

B. New because this song could not be sung in the OT. It was not sung before the cross.

C. This song praises the one who redeemed us.

D. Every kindred, tongue, people and nation = Jesus redeemed all people of all ages.

Verse 10

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

A. We (Christians) are kings and priests on this earth.

B. Christ is our king and we are reigning WITH Him (20:4).

C. We are a priesthood of believers. We do not go to a priest to communicate with God. We ARE the priests. (1:6)

Verse 11

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,

A. Angels surround the throne - around the 4 living creatures - around the 24 elders.

B. They number 10 thousand times 10 thousand PLUS thousands of thousands. (See Heb_12:22 )

Verse 12

12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

A. The angels agree, “The lamb is worthy to receive -

1. Power

2. Riches

3. Wisdom

4. Strength

5. Honor

6. Glory

7. Blessing.

There are 7 qualities listed here - the number of perfection.

Verse 13

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

A. Around the angelic host are all humanity.

B. Every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea.

C. All humanity - worship and praise God and the Lamb.

D. There is a sigh of relief. There is a “Hallelujah” from all humanity. Now we can learn what God has in store for His people.

Verse 14

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

A. The 4 living creatures and the 24 elders joined in the worship.

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Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Revelation 5". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/revelation-5.html. 2021.