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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Revelation 5

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-14

Revelation 5:1-3.

Much has been written about the meaning of the book written within and on the back side, and sealed with seven seals. What the book contains is no secret whatever. Beginning with the sixth chapter the seals are opened and after they are all broken the contents of the book are made known. The book contains the judgments for this earth preceding His coming in power and glory and the beginning of His reign. It is, therefore, the book of the righteous judgments of God, preceding the glorious manifestation of the King of Kings.

Revelation 5:4-5.

John receives the answer to the question the strong angel had proclaimed. One of the elders told him, “Behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and the seven seals thereof.” No further comment is needed; the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of Judah and the Root of David. “The King’s wrath is as a roaring lion” (Proverbs 19:12). He is now to be revealed in mighty power and strength to execute judgment. (See Genesis 49:9.) And He is also the Root of David.

Revelation 5:6-7.

And now He is seen who alone is worthy to open the book. He does not appear as a lion in majesty, but He is seen by John as a Lamb standing, as having been slain. The Lamb slain is the lion. His victory was gained by dying, and, therefore, He must have as the lion the victory over all His enemies. Thrice the number seven is repeated revealing His perfection. Notice especially three descriptions. He is “in the midst.” He is the center of God’s government and of heaven itself, as He is for His people the center of all their thoughts and affections. He is seen “as a Lamb standing.” Now He is seated at the right hand of God, but when the time comes when His enemies are about to be made His footstool, He will arise to act. He will arise and have mercy upon Zion (Psalms 102:13). And He is seen as “the Lamb slain.” The Greek word here suggests “slain in sacrifice.”

Revelation 5:8-14.

A great worship scene follows at once. The four living creatures join in with the elders, but the latter alone have harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. The harps express their great joy and praise and the bowls full of incense denote the priestly ministry of the redeemed. Such is part of our glorious future, an endless praise of deepest joy, and perfect ministry. The prayers of the saints are not the prayers of the past, but the prayers of Jewish saints, so beautifully rewritten in the Psalms, when the time of Jacob’s trouble is on the earth. And then the new song! This is redemption’s song, the song of redeeming love; the old song was the praise of God as the Creator in His glory (Job 38:7). Redemption is now accomplished for the saints in glory; they look forward to the glorious manifestation with Himself and the great new song bursts forth. The praise of Him becomes universe-wide. The innumerable company of angels joins in it. “The number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.” (This is according to the Greek.) And the praise described here leads us on to the time when God will be all in all. It is the never-ending praise, the hallelujah-chorus of redeemed Creation! The four living creatures say “Amen”; the elders worship. Omit “Him that liveth forever and ever.” as these words do not belong here.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Revelation 5:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/revelation-5.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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