Today I’ll cover the next 2 massive realities given to us in Revelation 4-5.
Reality #2: The Dilemma of Worthiness (5:1-4)
The scene in chapter 4 continues uninterrupted in 5:1, where we see the One sitting on the throne who is worthy of all worship, holding a sealed scroll in His right hand. Opinions abound as to what this scroll is or contains, some say it’s the Old Testament, others say it’s God’s providential agenda or will for all of history. I believe the scroll to be the God’s plan of redemption and judgment, I’ll explain why in a moment.
In v2 we hear a mighty angel loudly ask the question, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” v3-4 introduce us to the dilemma. No one comes forward in response to the angels question, there is only silence. That none of God’s creatures were found worthy to open the scroll and break its seals demonstrates their inability to execute the contents of the scroll.
Sensing that his own hope and the hope of the entire Church now stood in dire peril, John recognizes the dilemma of unworthiness and starts to weep because, as v4 says, no one was found worthy to open or look into the scroll.
Reality #3: The Work of Christ (5:5-7)
But that’s not the end of the story. One of the elder’s approaches John and calms his fear, answering the dilemma of the unworthiness of God’s creatures. The elder tells John in v5, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then John hoping against hope in his anxiety sees Him, “…between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.”
This ‘Lion-Lamb’ John saw is Jesus Christ, who though slain in His crucifixion, is standing in His resurrected glory, and walking to His Father’s throne to take the scroll.
Now we can return to why I believe the scroll to be God’s plan of redemption and judgment. When the scroll first came into view no one was found worthy to break it seals and open it, and then we see that Christ is the only One found worthy to open it. Why is it that Christ is the only One worthy to open the scroll? The reasons are given in v5, because He is the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, who has what? Conquered (!) by being both the spotless Lamb of God slain for sinners and the resurrected Son of God standing in Lion-like victory. The work of this Lionhearted and Lamblike Christ makes Him the only One worthy to break the scroll open.
We are now in a position to see the catholic, or universal nature of the Church.
What is the result of the angelic hosts of heaven when they see Christ, the Lion-Lamb, take the scroll? It is reality #4, which I’ll post tomorrow.