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Revelation 5:1-10 – The Lamb Who Is Worthy

Summary

In John's vision the conquering Lion of Judah is equated to a slaughtered Lamb. This Lamb is the only one worthy to open a sealed scroll given by God.

Analysis

John hears a heavenly elder speak about the Lion of Judah, an expression that recalls God's promise to send a powerful king from David's line, who would build the kingdom of God (Genesis 49:9-10). When John turns to see the Lion, however, he sees a Lamb, standing as if it had been slaughtered. The image of the slaughtered Lamb recalls the Passover, when the blood of lambs protected people from the power of the destroyer (Exodus 12:1-13). It also recalls how God's servant in the book of Isaiah was like a lamb that bore human sin (Isaiah 53:6-7). God keeps the promise concerning the Lion by sending the Lamb, for it is through Christ's sacrifice that the power of God is unleashed. The heavenly company gives praise because the blood of the Lamb builds God's kingdom by ransoming people of every tribe and nation for lives of service to God.

Revelation 5:1-10

The Scroll and the Lamb

5Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed* with seven seals; 2and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. 4And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’

6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 8When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9They sing a new song:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
   saints from* every tribe and language and people and nation;
10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving* our God,
   and they will reign on earth.’

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10 February 2011

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