The question was asked by a strong angel in verse 2, Who is worthy (and able) to open the book and loose the seals thereof?
There is a sense of hush over the inability of no man being able to open the book and loose the 7 seals. John is weeping over this failure to find a man able to open the book.
But then Rev 5.5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David (Messianic title), hath prevailed (overcome, conquered) to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah and The Root of David is The Lord Jesus Christ. We are here this morning because Jesus Christ has prevailed. He’s paid the debt of sin. He’s risen from the dead. He’s ascended to the right hand of The Father.
What is the significance of Jesus being The Lion of the tribe of Judah? The “Lion of the tribe of Judah” takes us back to
Genesis 49.8-10, Judah, thou art He whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.
In these verses, the patriarch Jacob calls his twelve sons together to pronounce a blessing upon them. As he comes to Judah, Jacob likens him to a lion’s whelp, and then says that power and authority (the scepter) would be his until the coming of Messiah.
In the springtime of the year 12AD, the Roman government issues a decree declaring that the Jewish people would no longer be able to carry out capital punishment. The rabbis’ response to the decree was immediate because they believed capital punishment was the cornerstone of government as defined in the Noahic Covenant.
When they were denied this fundamental right of government, and thereby rendered powerless as a nation, the rabbis rushed into the streets of Jerusalem, rending their clothes and smiting their breasts. In fact, we are told the whole city was filled with the wailing of rabbis who understood that something terrible was happening. The scepter had departed. The authority was gone. Yet Messiah had not come—or so they thought.
For on that very day, guess Who was sitting in the temple in Jerusalem as a twelve-year-old confounding the scribes and thinkers of the day? Jesus Christ- The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
This is an incredible word in season for many of you precious people this morning. How often do we find ourselves like those rabbis throwing our arms in the air and crying, “Lord Jesus, where are You?”
Beloved, as a child of God, you may not feel The Lord this morning because of difficult situations. Perhaps you find yourself in dire circumstances this morning. A horrible breakup that has crushed you and broken your heart. A doctors notice that has put your life into an unexpected tailspin. A prodigal that has brought you to tears night and day.
But know this beloved, Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. He is the God of all comfort. Jesus knows what it is like to have sorrows and pain. Jesus is The One Who shares your sorrows and pain this morning beloved.
What is the significance of Jesus being The Root of David? It was prophesied that The Messiah would be
born of the house and lineage of David. But it was also prophesied that The Messiah would be David’s Lord. King David declared:
Psalm 110.1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
King David refers to his Son as his “Lord” (Mk 12:35- 37). The promised Messiah descended from David but is greater than David, because He is David’s Lord.
Revelation 22.16 I am the root and the offspring of David. Jesus Christ is the source (“root”) of David’s life and line of descendants, which establishes his deity. He is also a “descendant” of David, which establishes his humanity.
What does it mean that Jesus Christ has prevailed? It means that Jesus Christ has already won the battle. The sin debt is forever settled. It’s over. He’s won. He defeated the enemy on the cross. He defeated the enemy of physical death when He rose from the grave. The victory is His. From God’s point of view, Satan is already defeated.
And according to God’s word, all believers are already seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! When we take the elements of The Lord’s Supper this morning, remember beloved that we will prevail because Christ has prevailed for us!
Jesus prevailed on the cross to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3.8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Jesus told a couple of hell, fire and brimstone apostles who wanted to destroy a village of Samaritans that Luke 9:56 The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
The cross of Calvary is the greatest demonstration of the love of God for fallen man.
1Jo 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
What is going to happen when Jesus Christ opens these seals? Lets take a quick review of tomorrows newspapers headlines together.
When Jesus opens these seven seals, they are going to bring forth various judgments on the earth that are described as the wrath of The Lamb. This is not the same wrath of God that Paul wrote about some 30 years earlier in Romans 1.18 that is presently being poured out against ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
When Jesus opens the seventh seal, it contains seven trumpets of judgment. When the seventh trumpet sounds, it brings forth seven bowls of judgment. The seals, trumpets, and bowls collectively describe the end-time catastrophes that will come upon the earth in the last days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to set up His millennial kingdom on earth.
When John sees Jesus Christ, He is in His exalted position and in sovereign control of all the events that take place on planet earth. We need to understand beloved that absolutely nothing is left to either chance or coincidence in God’s universe.
This scene in heaven confirms a truth that is repeated countless times in Holy Scripture. It is recorded for our comfort and it is the truth that every single soul in this sanctuary needs to hide in the very depths of his or her soul.
No matter what is going on, or what appears to be happening to the eyes of natural man, our King, Jesus Christ is right where John saw Him.
Jesus Christ is seated on the throne of the universe, watching over every detail of life. Nothing escapes His gaze. While the world seems to be falling apart, He holds the scroll. While the nations rise up against one another, He holds the scroll. When terrorism is running rampant, He holds the scroll. When the future of American seems to be decaying faster than a speeding bullet, He holds the scroll.
In the midst of perplexing circumstances, let this thought bring you hope. The Lamb holds the scroll in his hand. He controls the destiny of the nations. Out times are in His hands. Nothing is out of His control.
6 ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (a term used used 29 times in Revelation; arnion and it suggests a gentle lamb.) as it had been slain,
Now the image that John sees changes from The Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David to The slain Lamb- The Lord Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God, is our Passover Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1.29).
Precious saints, Jesus Christ, The Lamb that was slain on Calvary’s cross has conquered death, and is standing “in the midst” of the throne and in the midst of the elders. Jesus Christ, The living Savior is in our midst this morning. Jesus is not a fond memory of the past, nor is He hanging on a cross.
Jesus Christ is the central figure of the heavenly scene; “in the midst of the throne and of the living creatures, and of the elders.” Jesus is the focal point of heaven and the center of all attention.
Herein is a key the abundant life for the child of God. Let your life revolve around Jesus Christ, and devote your life’s full attention to living out His will and for His kingdom and glory.
This is why we were created and redeemed. Col 1:16 all things were created by Him, and for Him: 17 And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (are held together). 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
We were created by Jesus and for Jesus and His good pleasure. Jesus holds us together and in all aspects of our life, Jesus is to be preeminent.
having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 horns- In Scripture, horns always symbolize power. Seven horns signify complete or perfect power. Jesus Christ, The Lamb of glory has complete, sovereign power.
7 eyes -The eyes are emblematic of knowledge. In Zech 3.9;4.10, we see that these 7 eyes are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
Jesus Christ is The One from Whom none can hide and from Whom none can escape.
7 Spirits of God speaks of the fullness of the Holy Spirit that was sent by Jesus Christ into all the earth.
We read in Rev 22.17 And the Spirit and the bride (the church) say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
7 And He (Jesus) came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne (The Father).
On the basis of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven, Jesus has prevailed to take the book out of The Father’s right hand.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts (living ones) and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The moment that the Lamb Jesus Christ takes the book out of The Father’s hand, the four beasts (living ones) and the four and twenty elders fall down before Him.
By their obeisance before the Lamb, it should be clear that Jesus Christ is not a created being. Jehovah does not tolerate idolatry on earth, let alone in heaven. Jesus Christ is The Lord and God of both heaven and earth.
Harps- These are not symbolic harps. There are musical instruments in heaven!! The harp was one of the chief instruments of thanksgiving in the temple service, and the temple was to be a reflection of what was going on in heaven.
Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Psalm 98:5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
One commentator said that “heaven is revealed to earth as the homeland of music.” God created music…all the notes and beauty of music comes from Him and was created to bring Him glory.” In speaking about the fact that Our God created music, J.S. Bach All music should be for the glory of God and the refreshment of the human soul.
Golden vials/ordors-In the Old Testament, when the priests went into the holy place of the Tabernacle each day, they bore a little golden bowl that was attached to these golden chains, and in this little golden bowl there would be incense. As he would walk past the altar where the sacrifices had been offered, he would take a burning coal from the altar and would place that burning coal into this little bowl of incense. And of course, the smoke of the incense would begin to rise, and then he would go into the holy place where they had the altar of incense, and he would wave this little golden bowl of incense before the altar and the sweet savor of smoke would ascend up before the veil, behind which dwelt the presence of God. And it was the offering of incense unto God, which was representing the prayers of the people.
Because of the imparted righteousness of The Lord Jesus Christ beloved, our prayers are compared to incense Psalm 141:2: Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.
Revelation 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
According to our text, our prayers are kept in vials, or bowls. How full is yours?
One quick word of encouragement about prayer beloved. An angel appeared to Zacharias (John the baptizers father), saying, “Your prayer is heard. Your wife, Elisabeth, is going to conceive” (see Luke 1:13). Both Zacharias and Elizabeth are old and stricken in years. What do you mean? Zacharias must have thought. I haven’t prayed that prayer for a child in decades—which shows us even the prayers we forget about are still in God’s “In His time” box.
I’m convinced that every single one of the blessings in our lives are answers to prayers that we or somebody else prayed for years previously.
I am also convinced that some of the prayers that we are praying will outlive our earthly lives. I believe that you and I being here this morning are in part the answer of the prayers of the first saints who worshipped in this building back in 1905.
Should The Lord tarry beyond our earthly lives, many of us are praying prayers that will impact our children and grandchildren and the next generation of the church.
As glorious as it is to know that we are heaven bound people, the incredible thing that I want us to consider this morning is this. Through prayer, you and I have access to Our Father, Who are in heaven. Through prayer, you and I are able to have fellowship with The Father.
When you and I pray as believers, we are talking to The Great Physician of both our bodies and souls….the Wonderful Counsellor Who will never lead us in the wrong direction….The Mighty God…The Prince of Peace….The God of all comfort…the God of all grace….Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain (a sacrifice of propitiation), and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
In the days of the Apostle John, Roman Emperors were celebrated upon their arrival with the Latin expression vere dignus, which is translated You are worthy.
Here the true Ruler of the universe is honored with the words, Thou are worthy.
In the praise of Revelation 4:11, the emphasis is on God’s work of creation. Here, the emphasis is on His work of redemption.
It is the redeemed that sing, and they sing a new song—the song of redemption.
You have redeemed (past tense; it’s a done deal as far as God is concerned) us to God by Thy blood- redeemed from what? From the debt of sin, from the guilt of sin, from the ruling power of sin and eventually from the presence of sin.
By virtue of Jesus Christ’s victory on the cross, all believers (not some) have been redeemed from the tyranny of Satan; from the curse of the law (which demanded total sinless perfection without one sin); and from the wrath of a justly offended God.
And what we receive is the gift of eternal life, which is much more than an extension of life. It is a divine quality of life through the indwelling Jesus Christ.
Please note carefully that the saints in glory do not sing about sacraments. They do not sing about being redeemed by water baptism. They do not sing about how worthy Peter or Paul or John Calvin or John Wesley or any other human are. There is no mention at all about their denomination. They certainly are not singing about how hard they worked or how much they sacrificed for Jesus. They sing you have redeemed us to God by Your blood. We are redeemed by the blood of The Lamb, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else!
Redeemed unto God by Thy blood.
Hebrews 9.22 without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins
Jesus Christ had to die and His blood was shed for a definite purpose.
1Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Jesus Christ tasted death for every man because in the eyes of God, ALL LIVES MATTER.
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Earlier in the Revelation, John refers to believers as kings and priests.
Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
The apostle Peter refers to believers collectively as a holy and royal priesthood.
1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light
John tells us that as kings and priests, we shall reign on the earth. Are we reigning on earth now as some say that we are? What did Paul sarcastically say to the saints in Corinth?
1 Corinthians 4.8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
In Revelation 20, John gives followers of Jesus Christ a sneak preview of things to come and a few more details about the duration of this reign on the earth.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
There are 6 references to a 1,000-year period in Rev 20. There is no reason whatsoever to interpret this as meaning anything other than a literal period of time.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the amazing revelation that God The Father Who sent God The Son does not demand that you shed your blood for Him. The gospel is that Jesus shed His blood for you on the cross.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.
On the eve before His crucifixion, The Lord Jesus said, Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The gospel is not what we do for God, but what God does for us in The Person of His Son Jesus Christ.
We are redeemed unto God buy the blood of The Lamb!