Study Notes

Revelation 5:1-7


John has been caught up to heaven, and described for us the Father, Who sits on the throne of heaven. The light of His glory radiated out so fiercely that all John could describe were the colors of light emitting from Him.

Now, John tells us that God is holding something.

5:1-4 The Right Hand

The Father is holding a book in his right hand. Have you ever noticed how prominent the right hand is in the Bible? It is mentioned well over a hundred times in Scripture. Being a left-handed person myself, I could take exception to that fact!

But in that culture, the right hand indicated authority, strength, and power. For example, Moses sang,

Exod. 15:6 "Thy right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.

The Bible tells us that He is the one who strengthens our right hand.

Ps. 16:8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When God is the source of our power, we can do all things.

Now, the Lord is holding this book in His right hand. This tells us that He is the one with all power and authority over what is written in it.

A Book

What is written in this book? Actually, it isn't really a book, at least not in the way we think of books. A better translation would be that it is a scroll. It is written inside and also on the back, and sealed up with seven seals.

What is it? What is written in it? The details give us a clue as to what it is. First, it is sealed. The Lord told Isaiah,

Isa. 29:11 And the entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, "Please read this," he will say, "I cannot, for it is sealed."

A sealed book is here symbolic of a vision from the Lord. What is written in the book is something that the Lord will do.

In addition, we see something else regarding a sealed book written in Jeremiah 32. There, we see that a sealed scroll is a title deed to some land. I am going to suggest to you that this is exactly what the Lord is holding in His right hand - a title deed. Specifically, the title deed of the earth.

Redemption of the Land

Now in order to understand this concept, and what is going to happen as a result, we need a refresher course on some Old Testament Law regarding land transactions.

Remember that the Lord had given each of the tribes an allotment of the promised land. And these allotments were divided and given to each of the families of those tribes. The Lord told them in Leviticus 25 that the land was really His, and so they had no right to sell it permanently:

Lev. 25:24-25 "Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold."

So we have the concept of the "kinsman redeemer" - a family member who had the right to buy back the land. A good example of this is found in the book of Ruth, when Boaz went to the gate and first asked Naomi's closest relative if he would redeem her land. The guy said no, because he would then have to marry Naomi's daughter-in-law, and that would mess with his own inheritance. He told Boaz that he was free to redeem it himself. (I find it quite interesting that this transaction took place in front of the elders of the city!)

Another instance is found in the book of Jeremiah. The Lord told Jeremiah to redeem his cousin Khan-am-ALE's field, for he qualified as a kinsman redeemer. Jeremiah writes,

Jer. 32:9-10 "And I bought the field which was at An-aw-THOTH from Khan-am-ALE my uncle's son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. And I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales.

Again, the title deed is a sealed scroll.

Now, why would the title deed of the earth need redeeming? God had given man the earth as an inheritance.

Gen. 1:27-28 ...Male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

But man lost the earth by selling himself into bondage to sin when they ate the fruit. That is why at the temptation of Jesus in the desert, satan was able to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and say,

Matt. 4:9 .."All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me."

Jesus doesn't deny it, as a matter of fact, He makes it even more clear by calling the devil, "the ruler of this world" (Jn 12:31). The devil had been given the authority over the earth by man.

The Redemption

How can we buy the earth back? Who can afford it? Who qualifies as a kinsman redeemer? Only a man can buy back what a man lost.

But because the earth was lost by sin, it must be redeemed by someone with no sin. How are you going to find a man with no sin? All have sinned, there are none who are righteous. So an angel with a loud voice says, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"

They looked all over - every man in heaven who had been raptured, every man who was still dwelling on the earth, and every man who had died and was awaiting the judgment after the millennial kingdom. But no one was found worthy to redeem it - and John wept profusely.

5:5 Jesus Can Open The Scroll

One of the 24 elders tells John that Jesus is able to open the scroll. After all, He is a sinless man, is He not? Notice the two titles that he uses of Jesus: the Lion of Judah, and the Root of David. Where did these titles come from?

The Lion Of Judah

When Jesus Christ returns, He will come again as a conquering lion. This is a theme that runs all through Scripture. The Lord said in the book of Hosea,

Hosea 5:14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver.

Isa. 31:4 the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, against which a band of shepherds is called out, will not be terrified at their voice, nor disturbed at their noise, so will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill."

Hosea 11:10 They will walk after the LORD, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar, and His sons will come trembling from the west.

The symbolism of the Lion speaks of the Lord as the King, the mighty conqueror. Now the reason that He is called the Lion of Judah, is that His human ancestry through Mary comes from the tribe of Judah. The gospels tell us this, as well as the writer of Hebrews, saying

Hebr. 7:14 ...It is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah...

Jesus is the conquering Lion of Judah.

The Root Of David

The other title used of Jesus here is "the Root of David."

Isaiah had written a prophecy of the Messiah, saying that He would be a descendant of Jesse, who was David's father.

Isa. 11:1, 10 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit... Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.

How could anyone be both a branch and a root in this family tree? Jesus Christ is the root of David and the branch of David. As the Creator of the universe, He divinely created David, yet we also see that in human genealogy, Jesus descended from David (Matt. 1:1). That is how He was able to confound the Pharisees with the question,

Matt. 22:42-45 ..."What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord', saying, 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT THINE ENEMIES BENEATH THY FEET'? If David then calls Him 'Lord', how is He his son?"

David called Jesus, "my Lord," yet He was also his son. Mind-boggling!

5:6-7 A Lamb

John fully expects to see a great lion standing there, but when he looks, there's a lamb. Jesus has been known from the beginning of His ministry as "the Lamb of God." John the Baptist announced,

John 1:29 ..."Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

The Jews might not have understood all that was going to happen to Jesus, but they knew what John was talking about: As the Lord was accomplishing the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt, He told Moses to tell the people, "Take an unblemished male lamb and kill it. Take some of his blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of your house.

Exod. 12:12-13 'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments - I am the LORD. And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

In God's plan to provide salvation, He provided His Son, a sinless, spotless, unblemished male lamb. His blood causes judgment to pass over us. It is not the conquering Lion Who is the kinsman redeemer, but the slain Lamb who purchased us and the creation with His own blood.

As If Slain

John saw the Lamb standing, yet appearing "as if slain." Why would Jesus look like a butchered, yet living, lamb?

When Jesus was arrested, His suffering was brutal. His scalp was lacerated from a crown of thorns being shoved down upon His head. His eyes were blackened and face swollen from the punches He's received in the face, many of which He had received while having a bag over His head. They plucked His beard right off of His cheeks, and whipped him into a mess of blood and flesh.

That torture, combined with the crucifixion, caused the Bible to say,

Isa. 52:14 ...His appearance was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.

But some of us have gotten this idea from movies and Sunday School posters that after the resurrection, He was back to normal, that everything was fine.

But when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus in the garden, she

John 20:14 ...beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

Why on earth could she not recognize the face of the Man who had cast seven demons out of her? The Man she had followed and devoted her life to? It is because He had been brutally butchered three days before.

Later, when Thomas wanted physical proof that Jesus was resurrected,

John 20:27 ...He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side..."

Jesus said, "Put your hand INTO My side." This wound from the spear is still open!

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were walking along,

Luke 24:15-16 And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.

Zechariah writes that when Christ comes back at the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus says,

Zech. 12:10 "...They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."

Zech. 13:6 will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, ' Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'

Jesus Christ still appears today as a Lamb who has been slain.

Seven Horns

I remember when I first began to read the Bible, I would be confused when I'd read a verse that said something like,

2Sam. 22:3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence.

I would think, "why would you call someone a horn?"

You see, the horn in Scripture speaks of strength. This word picture was much more obvious in the days before man had guns. The animals with horns, tusks, and teeth were the ones with the power. The horn of an animal is like the right hand of a man - his defensive and offensive power rests in it.

So the "horn" in Scripture represents power and authority.

The Lamb having seven horns shows us that Jesus Christ has complete power. After the resurrection,

Matt. 28:18 ...Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

His power and authority are complete.

Seven Eyes

He also is described as having seven eyes, in other words, His vision is complete. That is comforting, for He made a promise about the land of Israel,

Deut. 11:12 a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year

Since God has promised to always be looking at Israel, if He could only look in one place at a time, He'd never be looking at us! Fortunately, the Spirit of God is His eyes,

Zech. 4:10 ...these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.

God's eyes see all that happen.

Between The Throne And The Elders

In conclusion, notice where Jesus is. He is standing between the throne of God and the 24 elders. As we saw in our last study, the 24 elders represent the church. Here, Jesus is between the church and the Father.

This is exactly where He is today - standing between the church and the Father.

1Tim. 2:5-6 For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all...

Jesus stands as a mediator between God and man. Without that mediator, we have no right to approach the throne of God.

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