THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Savior 5:5-7
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."
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. Then He came and took the scroll
out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. - Revelation 5:5-7
But in the midst of John's anguish, there was a solution. One of the elders said to me ...
The elders, as representatives of the redeemed and raptured church, knew that there was indeed one worthy being who could receive
the scroll. The elder told John, "Do not weep," and then he said, "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah."
John would recognize this as a title of Messiah, -- the rightful heir to the kingly tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10). The lion, as king of beasts, was
the symbol of the tribe of Judah.
Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father's children shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion's whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes; - Genesis 49:8-10
Even today, the Lion of Judah is pictured on the coat of arms of the city of Jerusalem
(Jerusalem, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emblem_of_Jerusalem.)
Moreover, this person was of the Root of David, and was thus qualified to sit on the throne of Israel,
and be entitled to the rights and blessings of the covenant that God made with David (Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 1:1-7; Matthew 21:19; Luke 3:23-38;
John 7:42; Romans 1:3; Revelation 22:16).
When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he
commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it
from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established
forever. - 2 Samuel 7:12-16
As he continued to comfort John, the elder told him that this lion "has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its
seven seals." The narrative of the next section of Revelation describes the opening of each of the seals in chronological order, and the
whole sequence is still in the future. But to the elder, it was as if the seals had already been opened. This would be explained by the fact that
this entire scene in chapters 4 and 5 takes place in the heavenly throne room, and those who are with the Lord, are, like Him, not limited by time and space.
Physicists explain that time, as we know it, is an aspect of our physical universe. This is part of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Those who
understand such things say that at the speed of light time stands still. This is a difficult concept to grasp, but we do know that the Bible says
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God's omniscience and omnipresence are affirmed in the Bible, but both of them assume
that He is not limited by time. (See notes on omniscience and omnipresence in Chapter 4, verses 6-8, and the Third Heaven in Vol. 1, Chapter 2, verse 7;
also Chapter 4, verse 2 in this volume). This is not to say that there will be no progression of time in the New Heaven and New Earth--
Revelation 21 and 22--because they will also be part of a new physical creation.
At this point the focus returns to the scene in the heavenly throne room itself. And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne
and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders. But instead of seeing a lion, there stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.
The Apostle John might have been confused when the center of attention was not a lion, but a lamb. Though not named, this lamb could only be the
Lord Jesus Christ. Neither John nor his readers would have any other thought. John himself had recorded the words of John the Baptist when Jesus appeared at
his baptismal site:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! - John 1:29
This, of course, was a prediction of Christ's work of Salvation for all who will believe by sacrificing His own life in our behalf!
When an animal was offered as a sacrifice for one's sin, the owner was to put his hand on the head of the creature, thus
acknowledging that he deserved to die, but the animal was taking his place (Leviticus 1:4). John, as one of Jesus' Twelve Disciples, had also
witnessed and recorded these words:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own
who were in the world, He loved them to the end. - John 13:1
And Matthew quoted Jesus at that time:
"You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." - Matthew 26:2
Unlike any other lamb, this symbolic picture of our Lord Jesus shows Him having seven horns. Even
though He was as innocent as a lamb ("sinless" - 1 John 3:5; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21), these horns are symbolic of His power
(Deuteronomy 33:17;Daniel 7:7-9, 19-20). Strong animals often have horns or antlers with which they fight one another. As usual, the number seven
is symbolic of completeness. Thus He has all power.
And, furthermore, He has seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God
The "seven Spirits of God" was identified earlier in the book as the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (See the
notes on Vol. 1, Chapter 1, verse 4 and Chapter 3, verse1). Thus all three are present in this scene: the Father, sitting on the throne; the Son,
depicted as the lamb and the lion, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus as another Helper (John 16:5-14), and the
Disciples were instructed to wait for the Holy Spirit to be sent out into all the earth -- a pledge that was fulfilled on Pentecost a few days
after Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4).
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. The crisis
had passed. God the Son, the only one who was worthy to continue the process of revealing the future took the scroll from God the Father
in preparation for the opening of the seven seals. One by one, these seals will explain the events of mankind's future.
Come back soon for the next installment of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Revelation.
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