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Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
Revelation 5



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Questions For Revelation Chapter Five

1. Where did John see one sitting?

2.Tell what was in his hand.

3.On what side was it written?

4.How was it sealed?

5.What kind of angel did he see?

6.Tell what kind of voice he had.

7.What did he wish done to the book?

8.And what to the seals?

9.Could a man be found to do this?

10.What three places were scarched in vain?

11.Was inability restricted to opening the seals?

12.What did this cause John to do?

13.Who then spoke to him?

14.Tell what he bade him not do.

15.To what lion did he then refer?

16.How was he related to David?

17.What had he prevailed to open?

18.Tell what he could do to the seals.

19.Whom did John then behold?

20.Where was it standing?

21.What had happened to it?

22. Tell what parts it possessed.

23.What did they represent?

24.To what place are they sent?

25.Who then came to the one on the throne?

26.What did he take from his hand?

27.At this who fell down?

28.Before whom did they fall?

29.What did everyone of them have?

30. Tell what they represented.

31.What kind of song did they sing?

32.To whom did they ascribe worthiness?

33.What was he worthy to take?

34.After taking it what could he do?

35.Tell what happened to him.

36.To whom had he redeemed them by his blood?

37.Who were the ones here said to be redeemed?

38.From where had they been redeemed?

39.To whom had thy been redeemed?

40.They had been made to be what?

41.To whom were they to be in this service?

42.What were they then to do?

43.Where was this to take place?

44.What did John then hear?

45.Tell where they were when heard.

46.How many of them?

47.With what kind of voice did they speak?

48.Whom were they praising?

49.What was he worthy to receive?

50.Tell who else John heard speaking.

51.Whom were they praising?

52.Where was he sitting?

53. Tell what they ascribed to him.

54.For how long was he worthy of it?

55.What did the four beasts then say?

56.Tell what the24elders then did.

Verse 1

Revelation 5:1-14

Him that sat on the throne was God, for he is said to be the creator of all things, in the last verse of the preceding chapter. What was called a book in old times is the same as we call a roll; something like a long strip of paper and rolled up from one end. Let us remember we are in a book of signs or symbols. This book or roll is a symbol of the future events, and being sealed signifies that the future is unrevealed to all unless the seals can be broken so that the writing can be read. There were seven seals which is the complete number again, signifing that the future is hidden from the world. If the seals can be broken and the writing read, each one will reveal a part of the events that are to come in the future.

Verse 2

Strong angel proclaiming. He was asking a question with a loud Romans -ice which signifies a general call in order to give all a chance. The call was to the task of opening the book which means to make predictions of the coming events.

Verse 3

Heaven. (where God dwells), earth (the abode of living human beings), under the earth (the abode of departed spirits). These three regions take in all intelligent creatures in the universe. Note that no man in any place was able to respond, which signifies that the future is a sealed book as far as uninspired beings are concerned, whether they be in heaven or on earth.

Verse 4

Since the loud request had been made by a strong angel the importance of the subject was evident, which explains why John wept when no one (the word for man is not in the original) was able to respond. Read the book, neither to look thereon signifies that unless the seals can be broken, no uninspired person can even see the writing much less read (understand-and interpret) it.

Verse 5

One of the elders means one of the four and twenty who represent the two great systems of religion. He was able to console John and bid him refrain from weeping, because there was one available who would be able to open the book. Lion of the tribe of Juda (Judah). In Genesis 49:9-10 this lion is predicted and Hebrews 7:14 tells us that Christ came from the tribe of Juda. Root of David means that Christ was the very important descendant of David the son of Jesse ( Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 11:10). This conversation represents the leaders of the two organized systems of religion as understanding that the great plans in which they were only agents in the service of God, were made good through the merits of this Lion.

Verse 6

In the midst, etc. Thayer gives us the rendering as follows: "And I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and the elders." He then offers his explanation as follows: "In the vacant space between the throne and the living creatures (on one side) and elders (on the other side), accordingly nearest the throne." As it had been slain. A lamb may be slain and then come back to life still bearing the marks of its death wounds. Thus Jesus was permitted to retain the wound marks until He had completed the great work with His apostles. (See John 20:20.) Hor-ns in symbolic language means authority, and seven of them means complete-authority. (See Matthew 28:18.) Seven eyes signifies a perfect vision which would be necessary in order to see into the future. Seven Spirits is explained at Revelation 1:4.

Verse 7

He (this Lion and Lamb) came to the throne to get the book. Him that sat upon the throne means God, and in giving the book to the Lamb signifies that God gave his Son the ability to reveal the future events. This fact is stated literally in the first verse of the book of Revelation.

Verse 8

When God gave to his Son the right to open the book it caused rejoicing of all concerned in the great plans. The verse symbolizes this by telling of the actions of the four beasts (living creatures) and the four and twenty elders. They all fell down before the Lamb which is the usual practice of manifesting homage and recognition to a superior. Harps in symbolic language signify instruments of praise, and the next verse will tell us that these instruments were the human voice because they were used by which to sing. Odors in literal performances refers to incense offered tobGod in the services to Him ( Exodus 30:7-8), but John interprets it as prayers of saints. This denotes that under whatever system of God's religions a man has lived, he is regarded as a saint (righteous person) and has the privilege of praying to God. This explains why it was said to Cornelius, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God" ( Acts 10:4), he having lived under the Patriarchal Dispensation, the unorganized system of religion. And it also accounts for the fact that Saul of Tarsus spent the time praying in Acts 9:11. It is true the system under which he was brought up was done away but he had not realized it as yet.

Verse 9

It is important to note that the pronoun they means the four beasts (living creatures) and the four and twenty elders of the preceding verse. Also that the connection shows the word saints (righteous persons) applies to those who have lived under the systems designated by these four and four and twenty. After their performance of homage to Christ these creatures state their reasons for it, that He was worthy to be the one to open the book. In stating their reasons they will give their identity to which reference was made in the comments at Revelation 4:7. They say, Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and-nation. We know that human beings only are the subjects of salvation, therefore these living creatures represent the redeemed human beings of the earth. The reason there are just four of the creatures in the one group is the fact that the surface of the earth has just four directions, and hence the saved would all come within the scope of those four areas. The four and twenty could join in the identifying declaration on the principle that both of the organized systems of religion were conducted in a way that was looking toward the universal salvation of mankind. Sang a new song. It was new in that they could not sing the praises of Christ as the actual Redeemer until he had qualified by being slain and giving His blood.

Verse 10

See the comments on Revelation 1:6 for the explanation of this verse.

Verse 11

The several phrases in the end of this verse are represented by only two Greek words in the original which The Englishman"s Greek New Testament renders "thousands of thousands." Whichever translation we adopt, we should understand it to be a. figurative statement to indicate a very great number of the heavenly host. They were joining in the praises of the four creatures and the four and twenty elders.

Verse 12

The praises of these angels were along the same line as those that were given by the creatures in Revelation 5:9 and for the same reason. The favors named in the verse do not refer to any specific blessings. As a group they signify that the Lamb of God is entitled to every blessing that God can bestow, and that they will rejoice in the great honors thus given to Him.

Verse 13

Heaven, earth and under the earth is explained at Revelation 5:3. In the sea and all that are in them. This cannot mean the men who had lived on the waters for they are included in the creatures on the earth. It means the living creatures of that domain which constitutes three fourths of the surface of the earth. Of course those dumb things cannot intelligently praise the Lord, but their very existence and service-to humanity under the supervision of Him is a form of praise and an evidence of the existence and wisdom and power of the Almighty. (See Psalm 148:1-10.) H im that sitteth upon the throne is God the Father and the Lamb is God the Son.

Verse 14

The four creatures and the four and twenty elders had already expressed their admiration (See verses8 , 9), and when all these other beings uttered their praises it caused the creatures and elders to voice their pleasure by an umcn. of approval.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 5:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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