Study of Rev 5
Prelude to the Judgments/Warning Signs for the Tribulation Unbelievers
The Creator – Redeemer is Praised
In Chapter 4, Christ is praised as the Redeemer with emphasis on Him being the Creator.
In Chapter 5, the praise is focused on Christ the Creator who is the Redeemer.
Rev 5:1, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.”
“And I saw” – Whenever a chapter in the bible opens with the Greek word Kai (often translated “and”), we know it should be joined to the preceding chapter. This is true in subject matter and chronology.
“right hand” – First mention of “right hand” is in Gen 13:9, and speaks to the separation of Abraham and Lot
Gen 13:9, Is not the whole land before you? Please separate yourself, from me: if you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
The first mention of the “right hand” in the New Testament also speaks of a separation, this time of that which causes evil.
Mat 5:30, “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”
In Zech 12:1-14, we see the prophecy of what the Lord will do in separating those who are against Israel.
In Rom 8:31-35, we see that based on our position in Christ, we have been separated from the world and are protected by Him.
“Right hand” speaks to the strength God provides to us so that we can separate from evil. 2Cor 6; Col 3:1
Col 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Christ was seated at the Right Hand of the Father, in order to separate Him from man and angels, so that He could fulfill His priestly duties and intercede for us. Eph 1:20; Heb 1:3, 13; 8:1-6; 10:12-18; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:21-22
Eph 1:20-21, “Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
Heb 1:3-4, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”
Rev 1:16-20; 2:1, Speaks to the majesty of Christ whose completed work has separated the Church from the world.
Rev 5:1, 7; 10:5, Speaks of the Revelation of Christ which brings about the final separation of believers and unbelievers.
Rev 13:16 – The antichrist calls for a marking on the right hand to separate those loyal to Him from those who are not.
“Seated at the Right Hand” signifies the battlefield Royalty of Jesus Christ.
The titles of our Lord’s three categories of Royalty are:
- Divine Royalty title: Son of God (or Jehovah Elohim in the Old Testament).
- Jewish Royalty title: Son of David.
These first two together were combined in His hypostatic union, giving Him the title: “Son of Man.”
- Battlefield Royalty title: “King of kings, Lord of lords; the bright morning star.”
“King of kings” gives Christ precedence over human rulers.
“Lord of lords” gives Christ precedence over angelic rulers, Rev 19:16.
a) This royalty is a result of the strategic victory of Christ in the angelic conflict.
By living in the prototype of God’s power system, our Lord was qualified by impeccability to go to the cross and be judged for our sins, (Separation from personal sin). That judgment is the beginning of the strategic victory of our Lord, (Separation from the Father in judgment). It was followed by His resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of the Father.
The cross was the greatest battlefield in history!
- This battlefield royalty makes Jesus Christ the ruler of elect angels and regenerate mankind, Col 2:14 Heb 2:14.
- The battlefield royalty was given to our Lord Jesus Christ as a verbal commission, “sit down at my right hand.”
His unique royalty makes Him qualified to Open the seals of the Book as we will see in vs 5.
“Sat on the Throne” = Christ has taken the throne, given by the Father, based on His strategic victory in the Angelic Conflict.
“King of kings, Lord of lords the bright morning Star”
“Book written inside and on the back”
Book = biblion βιβλίον – Accusative, neuter, singular = book, scroll; written statement (of divorce)
It has been said, “The seven sealed book in the right hand of the One on the throne mentioned in Rev 5 contains the secret of the chapter that follows and is the key that opens the entire book of Revelation.”
The word “book” refers to a scroll; bound books did not exist in those days. These scrolls were made of a marsh type plant (rush) that grew along the rivers and were very costly.
The first mention of “book” in the Bible is used in the context of Adam and Creation.
Gen 5:1, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.”
This scroll was “written on the inside and on the back,” implying fullness and completeness, so that nothing more needs to be added (Rev 22:18).
This book is similar to the book given to Ezekiel in Ezek 2:9-10, and the book shown to Zechariah in Zec 5:1-4. Both books speak of separating judgment brought onto the unbeliever.
This scroll contains the judgments of Chapters 6-9.
“Sealed up with seven seals” – Dan 12:1-4; Isa 29:11
- A Roman will was sealed with seven seals.
- A will could be opened only by the heir, and Christ is the “heir of all things.” Heb. 1:2
To understand this scene, we must consider the Hebrew system of owning land.
If a man became poor and had to sell his land, or himself, a kinsman could redeem him. The redeemer had to be a near relative who was willing and able to purchase the property and set the kinsman free.
The story of Ruth is based on this law, Ruth 4:1-6, as established by God in Lev. 25:23-28, and is the basis for Deut 25:5.
In Jer. 32:6-15, we see the story of Jeremiah who prophesized about the impending capture and captivity of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar. He also told of the subsequent release and restoration of Israel after 70 years of captivity. To signify this, he purchased a piece of land for 70 shekels of silver and gave the title deed to Baruch, his secretary, who sealed it and placed the deed in an earthen vessel.
After the release, one of Jeremiah’s legal heirs stood before the proper authorities, and on the basis of his kinship to Jeremiah, proved that he was “worthy to open the book” and to own the property.
This scroll in Rev 5 is the will or testament, giving Christ the title deed and right to claim creation by virtue of His sacrifice. Rev 5:9
Adam was given the title deed to the earth, Gen 2:19-20, but lost it through the fall, Gen 3:17, to Satan, John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph 2:2.
Gen 3:17, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you.”
1 Cor 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
All of creation has been under bondage to sin, Satan, and death; but now Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, is going to set creation free. (Rom 8:18-22 say that all of creation is under bondage)
God makes it clear that only Christ can redeem. Not even the “Strong Angel” is powerful enough nor qualified to open the seals.
No saint in glory, no person on earth, no soul in the underworld of death, could take that book.
No one was worthy.
Rev 5:2, “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”
“Strong Angel” – Ischuros – “Strong,” forcible, mighty with Aggelos – Messenger, “Angel.”
Gen 49:14 is the first mention of the word “strong” in the bible and is related to Issachar, one of Jacob’s son’s.
Gen 49:14, “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between the sheepfolds (couching between the hurdles).”
Issachar is the 9th son of Jacob and is from Leah. His name means, “Man of Hire”.
Gen 30:18, “Then Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my maid (Zilpah) to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.”
Leah’s wages were mandrakes picked by Reuben, given to Rachel for the purchase of Jacob for the night.
Nine signifies conclusion of a matter, finality, or judgment. It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man – the judgment of man and all his works.
Issachar is pictured as a humble servant to others, yet willing to bear their burdens that they might enjoy rest, rather than resisting and having personal liberty.
“Strong Ass” is Gerem Chamor in the Hebrew and literally means, “An ass of bone,” and therefore refers to strength.
“Couching between the hurdles”—the pens or stalls in which the cattle were lodged.
So, the application of Gen 14:19 to Issachar implies, that to rest in a pleasant land he felt would be good, yet rather than undertake the struggle for liberty and independence for himself, he became like the strong ass, a bearer of burdens, and a payer of tribute so others could enjoy the pleasantry and rest.
Therefore “strong ass” implies that he is an hireling by disposition, as well as by name Gen. 30:18.
The first mention of “Strong,” – Ischuros, in the New Testament is in Mat 12:29.
Mat 12:29, “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
This strong angel may be Gabriel whose name means, mighty one of God or strength of God. He is the angel who ordered Daniel to close and seal his book in Dan 12:4.
So “Strong Angel” implies, a worker for God, most likely Gabriel who serves mankind instead of enjoying the pleasantries of heaven. His work is to carry out the judgments of God for the benefit of mankind.
And we see, the mighty angel asking the question, “who is worthy?” concluding that he himself is not worthy to open the book even though he has tremendous power.
We also note that Satan was the strongest angel ever created (Ezek 28:11 – “seal of perfection”), and we see that not even the strongest is qualified to open the seal and only the Kinsman Redeemer is.
Rev 5:3, “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.”
“No one was able to open the book,” Why?
After a search was made of the three realms of creation (Phil 2:10; Rev 5:13), no one was found worthy.
This means that no created being is worthy to claim the kingdom or take care of the future of the world or to establish the kingdom of God on earth. Many have tried to solve the world’s problems, but all have failed.
Why is no one able? Because only the Kinsman Redeemer is worthy, Rev 5:1 w/ Lev 25:23-28; Jer 32:6-15.
No man is qualified, because all have sinned and fall short.
Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” w/ Rom 5:12; 1Cor 15:22
No Angel because they are not blood relatives to man and most likely have all fallen short and sinned too.
Deut 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever that we may observe all the words of this law.”
I believe the elect angels are called holy angels, because God made them holy by providing for them some non-meritorious way to receive His righteousness.
Mark 8:38; Rev 14:10 calls them holy.
Yet, Rev 15:4 along with 16:5 says;
“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU,
FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”
In Rev 7:10-12, resurrected believers praised the Lord for salvation, the angels join in by twice saying “amen,” in which they concur, agree, and express that they believe it.
Believe what? They believe salvation. They believe what God has provided. They say “amen” concerning salvation, because they personally understand it.
Then in Job 4:17-18, we find the statement that God charges error against His angels. This is used to argue that no man can be just before God. This argument would lack logic if some angels were charged w/ error and others were not.
Back in Rev 5:2-5, we have to conclude that the secret things belong to our Lord and to our God, but we have to compare scripture w/ scripture and conclude that there were no angels who could be called holy.
Rev 5:4, “And I began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it;”
He alone is worthy; therefore, all angels had to have a fall. Also see Rev 14:10; Psa 89:5-8; Col 1:19-20
Compare Ezek 28, Isa 14 w/ Gen 3 for the fall and temptations of Satan.
Heb 2:2-4, says the gospel was given to angels.
Here’s the logical reasoning:
- Christ is the only Holy One, the only! Holy One!
- Therefore, since others; men, angels, and things are called holy, His unique holiness must be in that it is perpetual, not merely present. He’s the one who keeps Himself holy on a perpetual basis. The angels did not.
- Elect Angels are called holy, and thus must have been made holy from a status of not being holy like the Christian is.
We have seen that no one was able to “open the book,” because no created being is qualified to be the kinsman redeemer.
We also note that, “no one can look into it.” Why? Because once again, qualification is necessary to break the seals and look into what is written on the scroll.
Looking “into” something is very different than looking “at” something.
“Looking at” something is very simple and requires no qualification of the one looking to perform the task. It requires plain old non-meritorious faith to “look at” something, as in Num 21:8.
But here we have the Accusative, Neuter, Third Person, Singular, Pronoun of Autos which means, “self or himself, herself, itself.”
The qualification requires a pure heart of self-reflection. A heart filled with the Holy Spirit to not just look at it but to understand its meaning. Acts 15:5-11. The apostles had to gain deeper understanding of the Christian way of life versus living by the law.
Jesus Christ is the only One who truly understands the plight of creation. So much so that He made a covenant with creation, in which He remembers its plight, and does the most He can for creation. (i.e. ensuring the Son is able to come forth from the seed of the woman and be the Kinsman Redeemer). This is called the Noahic Covenant.
Gen 9:16-17, “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
In the KJV, which uses the Textus Receptus for its original Greek translation, it has an additional phrase, “to read” in Verse 4.
No one was qualified “to read” the book, because absolute obedience to the Father’s Plan was required for the reading of this book. Only Jesus Christ demonstrated absolute obedience by arriving at the cross without sin (impeccable).
Ex 24:7, “Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’”
“I began to weep” – Why was John weeping?
“Weeping” is the Greek imperfect, active, indicative of Klaio. Imperfect means, “continuous or linear action in past time.” (i.e., John kept on weeping.)
To answer this question, first we need to note that there was something about the character of the scroll to tell him this was of extreme importance, because no voice had yet said anything as to its nature or contents.
What would cause a Spirit filled man to weep?
- He had a strong heartfelt desire to see creation set free from bondage.
- He wanted the promise of Rev 4:1 to be fulfilled.
- He knew that the O.T. promises to Israel could never be fulfilled unless the scroll could be opened.
- As long as the scroll remained sealed, unread, and undiscerned, Satan would remain in control of the earth.
- John was sharing in the “groaning” of 8:22-23. In a single moment in time he was representing all of creation.
Rom 8:22-23, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
Rev 5:5, “and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.’”
Then in Rev 5:5, an Elder dried his tears by pointing to someone very special.
“Lion of Judah, Root of David, Overcomer”
- The “Lion of Judah” alludes to Gen 49:9-10, which predicted the Davidic dynasty and was understood as a sign for the coming Messiah in later Jewish literature. See also Num 24:7-9; Isa 9:6, 7; 11:1; Psa 89:20-29
This prediction did not begin to be fulfilled until the time of King David, about 640 years after Jacob’s prophecy.
It was later emphasized at the division of Israel into Northern and Southern kingdoms, where the southern Kingdom was called Judah and occupied Jerusalem.
“Whelp” in Gen 49:9 is used for a cub or young lion.
The meaning is that Judah would have a little power, till it became “an old lion” (i.e., calm and quiet, yet very formidable.) Speaking to the growth of Israel, as a picture of Christ’s incarnation.
Lions are symbols of strength and authority.
Lions were used on Torah shrines (containers which housed law scrolls) in early Jewish art and were regarded as figures of strength and authority, but a more direct background lies at hand.
“Couches, lies down, and who dares to rouse him up” is a picture of the mature lion that is secure in his position as leader of the pack.
As the Lion, Christ is portrayed as the strong, warrior, King.
Coupled with the name Judah, which means, “praise,” He is the Warrior King to be praised.
Gen 49:10, “the scepter” signifies authority and rule.
“Ruler’s staff” is from the Hebrew word Chaqaq, and literally means, “engraver,” but comes to mean, “scribe of the law or Lawgiver.”
“Between his feet” means, “offspring.”
This verse predicts that “Shiloh (“The Peace/Rest-Giver,” Christ) will come”….
Josh 18:1, “Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them.”
… and this was fulfilled when Jesus was born and will be culminated at His Second Coming.
Judah is identified with the lion, the kingly beast; because out of Judah, the lawgiver (Christ) would come, and all the world will praise and worship Him.
Gen 49:11-12 promise great material and prosperity blessings to Judah with vines so plentiful that there is no concern that the donkey would eat of the choice fruit. There is more than enough.
Vs. 12 would better read, “Red are his eyes above wine, and white his teeth above milk.” Again speaking to the Prosperity that will come through the line of Judah.
Kidner says that every line of Genesis 49:11-12 “speaks of exuberant, intoxicating abundance: it is the golden age of the Coming One, whose universal rule was glimpsed in vs.10c.” (Genesis, p. 219). See also Isa. 61:6-7; 65:21-25; Zech. 3:10.
The blessing given to Judah is seen fulfilled in Rev. 5:5, as Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
- Then we have the next identification “Root of David.” This phrase refers to the promise given to David that He would have a son who would sit on the throne eternally. 2 Sam 7:8-16; Psa 89:20-37
“Root of David” also alludes to Isaiah 11:1-10; 53:2 w/ Rom 15:12, which says that the Messiah would come after the Davidic line had seemed to be cut off. (“Jesse” noted in Isaiah was David’s father.)
Solomon Prayed in 1 Kings 8:25, “Now therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’”
The cutting off of the royal line is a reference to what is known as the Coniah Curse. Jeconiah (a.k.a. Jehoiachin) ruled Judah in 597 BC for 3 months and 10 days. He was captured and taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar for 36 years, Jer 22:28-30; 36:29-31. This was seemingly the end of the Davidic line through Solomon who, by the way, were descendants of Joseph, Jesus’ adopted father. Mat 1:11-12
But David had another son Nathan, in whom the line continued down to Mary and subsequently Jesus, continuing the promise to David and to Israel by extension. 1 Chron 3:5 w/ Luke 3:31
So, the Coniah curse was actually fulfilled in Joseph, because the bloodline did not pass from Joseph to Jesus. However, qualification for the royalty of our Lord is continued in Joseph, as Jesus was his legally adopted, eldest son and heir. Just as we share in the royalty of Christ because of our adoption as sons of God. Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5
The “Root of David” provides the bloodline heritage of Jesus Christ through Mary, identifying Him as a Kinsman of David, which fulfills the Davidic Covenant and proves the earthly royalty of our Lord, 2 Sam 7:8-16; Psa 89:20-37; therefore, the Jewish royal title of our Lord is “Son of David.” As Jewish royalty, our Lord fulfilled the Davidic covenant. In resurrection body, in Hypostatic Union, Jesus Christ will reign forever as the Root/Son of David.
Because many people have not accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah and instead claim that David is the Messiah, we must point out that David calls Our Lord his Lord. This notes that David is not the Messiah, but that Jehovah Elohim / Jesus Christ is. Psa 110:1; Mat 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34
- The third qualification causing our Lord to be worthy to open the scroll, the fact that “He has overcome.” 1 Cor 15:54-55
This is the Greek word Nikao and means, “to conquer, prevail, overcome, or to win the victory.” Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 6:2; 15:2
Christ is the one who overcame, and we (church age believers) share in His victory through faith in Him, 1 John 5:4-11. He overcame the penalty of sin for all of mankind by purchasing it with His own blood, Psa 74:2; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; Rev 5:9. Jesus Christ overcame every form of sin temptation that Satan and Cosmos could throw at Him. Mat 4:1-11
Then having no sin of His own, He voluntarily submitted to the Father’s plan by delivering Himself to the Cross. Once upon the cross the sins of the entire world were placed in His soul. He was judged for those sins and paid the penalty for those sins, which is separation from the Father.
Jesus died Spiritually (separation from the Father) and then physically. John 19:28-30
After three days, the Father, Spirit, and Deity of Christ raised the body of Jesus from the dead into resurrection form. He then ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is today in His session as King of kings and Lord of Lords.
Because He took on the sins of the entire world, He is qualified as the overcomer. Death and Satan no longer have dominion because of Sin. Jesus Christ has overcome Sin. 1 Cor 15:54-55
So, Jesus Christ is worthy to open the seven sealed scroll because:
- He is a Kinsman Redeemer (Open it)
- He truly understands the plight of creation (Look into)
- He was absolutely obedient to the Fathers Plan. (Read it)
- He has the proper strength and authority (Lion of Judah)
- As a man, He has the earthly royalty (Root of David)
- He has defeated sin (Overcome)
Comparing the first three with the second three of the above list, we see something very interesting.
- To open it (Kinsman Redeemer), He has the strength and authority (Lion of Judah).
- To look into it (plight of creation), He is a man of royalty (Root of David).
- To read it (obedient to the Father’s Plan), He has defeated sin (Overcome)
So, we see in Rev 5 that there are three qualifications required to possess the scroll, with three descriptions of the one qualified to possess.
Three in scripture represents that which is solid, real, and complete, and marks Divine completion and perfection.
So, we note that the qualifications to possess the scroll are divinely perfect and complete, and the qualifications of the possessor are divinely perfect and complete.
With three descriptions of both qualifications and possessor we arrive at the number six. Six represents the number of man in scripture, and it speaks to human labor as apart from God’s rest.
So, we see that Jesus Christ, in His humanity, completed all the Divinely required work to qualify Him as the possessor of the scroll, the title deed to planet earth, but so far we have only seen work.
You’ve heard the saying’s “Where is the Beef” from that famous hamburger commercial and then used by Bush Sr. when running for President.
You’ve heard “Where is the Love” from a new pop song that is actually pretty good related to calling upon God to solve the world’s problems and that’s exactly what He is doing here in Rev 5.
So, I’ll add a new phrase, because we have seen the work.
We have seen that there’s a whole lot’a work that’s go’in on.
Work that is in Jesus.
Work that has been performed.
Work that is completed.
Work that is finished
Work, work, work, work, work.
But, “Where is the Rest?”
Well, after the qualifications and descriptions are given, six in all, we then have a seventh form revealed to us.
Seven in scripture represents spiritual perfection culminating in rest.
And after we have seen six forms for qualification, representing the work of a man, we then are shown a seventh form, which ultimately brings about spiritual perfection and rest.
With all of the pictures, qualifications and royalty shown to us by God, they are all summed up with a most remarkable and powerful picture in Rev 5:6.
Rev 5:6, “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.”
A “slain… Lamb,” there is your rest.
Your rest is in the body of a cute and cuddly little lamb that followed Mary to school one day.
The Lamb that has all the signs of work smeared on its body, so that you would never forget. A body full of contusions and open wounds, with nail holes and spear thrust marks, pieces of flesh ripped from the skin, covered in blood.
The genesis of the British saying, “A bloody mess.”
Christ bears the marks of His death even in His glorified state. Luke 24:40; John 20:20, 27
John 20:20, “And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
The bloody, scarred Lamb is qualified, because He has taken the victory! Rev 17:14
Rev 17:14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings.
In Rev 5:6 we have the picture of the “Lamb, as if slain.”
This is a remarkable scene because John does not see the Lion of strength and majesty. He does not see the Man of Royal descent. He does not see a Victor riding on his chariot in parade through the City Square.
He sees a lamb, and not just any old lamb, but a “lamb as if slain.”
Don’t lose the importance of the phrase “as if” here.
John’s statement is not said in a “clueless” fashion as Alicia Silverstone or any self-respecting valley girl would say, “As if.”
No, John is saying something that should floor you. John does not see a poor helpless dead lamb. He is seeing a lamb that is quite alive, yet bearing all the marks that would bring about death. Yet those marks did not accomplish their intended task to kill and be rid of the lamb.
No, they instead show that death was at hand, yet the lamb is ALIVE.
And this itty, bitty, little lamb is seen like no other, scarred and mutilated, and much more.
This lamb is seen “with seven horns and seven eyes.”
“Horns” are the symbol of strength and power. Gen 22:13; Numb 23:22; 24:8; Zech 1:18
“Eyes” are a symbol of all seeing and all knowing. Gen 3:5; 1 Peter 3:12; Rev 5:6
Both are seen here with the number seven, which speaks of spiritual perfection that brings about rest.
So, this unique lamb has spiritual perfection of strength and power and spiritual perfection of knowledge.
Once again telling us that the lamb has the strength to “open” the seals of the scroll and the knowledge required to “look into” the scroll.
But this is not just strength and knowledge. It is SPIRITUAL PERFECTION of strength and knowledge.
This strength and knowledge can only be gained one way; by having the mind of Christ and the power of God the Holy Spirit.
In hypostatic union, as a man, the lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ had the Word of God resident in His soul, and the power of God the Holy Spirit to sustain Him to accomplish, in perfect obedience, the will of the Father. (This is an example of kenosis.) Luke 2:52; 4:1
1 Cor 13:10-11, “but when the perfect comes, (the Word of God) the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
So, in the spiritual perfection of power and wisdom, from God the Holy Spirit, Jesus is qualified to open the scroll.
Let’s look closer at the power of the Spirit as depicted in the phrase “Seven Eyes.”
“Seven Eyes” are mentioned here and in Rev 1:4 and 4:5, and speak to the ministry of the Holy Spirit working within Jesus Christ.
The first time we see “seven” and “eyes” in scripture is in Lev 13:5, where these words are used for the test of leprosy.
“Leprosy” represented sin, and the test was to see if the sin remained or was gone.
That same test is what the “seven-sealed scroll” is all about, “To give unbelieving man an examination in the hopes that the sin of unbelief would be removed.”
In 2 Kings 4:35, we see Elisha as a type of Jesus on the cross. saving the life of a young lad.
That is the hope of our Savior via the opening of the scroll, to save as many as possible.
In Zech 3:9 and 4:10, we see the prophecy of salvation in the Lord. and the strength of His coming rule. Compare with Micah 4:1-8; 5:4-15
It is prophesized, and inevitable, that Jesus will return and rule. He only hopes that He can save as many as possible before it is too late. To save as many as possible, the Lamb was slain on the behalf of all of mankind.
So, “as if slain,” becomes the key to this chapter.
It is the reason or meaning behind the worship cries to follow in Rev 5:9 & 12.
This tells us that Jesus Christ, the creator of heaven and earth is worthy to take back the title deed scroll of creation, because He purchased the deed with His blood.
In Chapter 4, He was praised as the “redeemer – CREATOR.”
In Chapter 5, He is to be praised as the “creator – REDEEMER,” who gave His life to save the entire world and will reign in glory alive forever and ever.
“Seven eyes…” denotes the fact that the Lord is about to remove the iniquity from the Land of Israel and the entire earth. Lev 13:5; 2 Kings 4:35; Zech 3:9
“…which are the seven Spirits of God”
A better way to say this phrase is the “sevenfold Spirit of God,” because this is the same Spirit which in Chapter 4 burned as “seven lamps of fire before the throne.”
We see this sevenfold Spirit represented:
- In Rev 1:4, described as co-author of blessings.
- In Rev 3:1, as being in union with Christ, empowering and enabling His humanity – reference to Isa 11:2, with Mat 4:1.
- In Rev 4:5, as seven lamps, speaking to the power of the Spirit related to the church.
- In Rev 5:6, as seven eyes, representing the ministry of the Spirit to the entire world in Christ, with the hopes of salvation to the Tribulational unbeliever.
This is God the Holy Spirit who is the active agent to take the wisdom and power of the Lamb into all the earth. This sevenfold power was prophesized in Isa 11 and resulted in a sevenfold praise in Rev 5:12
This verse also indicates to us that the Lamb remains concerned about His creatures and about carrying out God’s will for all of creation. “Sent out into all the earth.”
He was concerned so much that He takes action in Verse 7.
Rev 5:7, “And He came, and He took it out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
The Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, with the sevenfold Spirit of God, took the scroll out the hand of the One who sat on the throne.
Both the Lamb and the One sitting on the throne are Christ.
The Lamb reference is obvious to us that it is speaking to Jesus.
The Throne reference is made obvious to us that it is speaking to Christ because of the description of the Throne and One sitting upon it in Chapter 4.
Jasper: Diamond, Clear = Glory of God, 12th – Benjamin = Son of right hand
Sardius: Ruby, Red = Redemption, 1st – Rueben = Behold a Son
Emerald: Emerald, Green = Eternal Power, 3rd – Levi = Joined, attached
The Lamb emphasizes the completed work of His humanity. The Throne emphasizes the completed work of His Deity.
Here, as in Rev 1:4-5, both natures of our Lord Jesus Christ are in view, His deity and His humanity, along with the two sides of His authority.
- The Lamb takes back the title deed to creation.
It was the legal act by which He was given the authority to reign on this earth and over this earth. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Dan 7:13-14.
In that vision, Daniel saw the Son of Man come before the throne and receive the Kingdom from the hand of the “Ancient of Days.”
Jesus Christ will powerfully bring in the new Kingdom Age.
As the Lion of Judah, Christ will occupy His property, which He created and bought back with His blood. As the sacrificial Lamb, He paid the price for it all by shedding His own precious blood.
Past payment is the basis of future power. Col 2:15; Heb 2:14
Col 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
Heb 2:14, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;”
- We have the phrase “Him who sat on the Throne”
We are not given any description of this throne. Yet, we are given information about the One who is sitting on the throne and the green rainbow around it. The one on the throne is by no doubt the Lord Jesus Christ. The emerald rainbow around the throne emphasizes eternal power, priesthood, and union.
As the Lamb represents the Humanity of our Lord, the throne emphasizes the Deity of our Lord with his humanity in view. So, we can say that Christ occupies this throne and it emphasizes His uniqueness as the God/Man.
Remember that the scene in Rev 5 is setting the stage for the Second Advent of our Lord, where He will begin His Millennial reign. He is qualified to return and reign at the Second Advent because of His accomplishments at the First Advent.
Heb 10:12, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.”
1 Peter 3:21-22, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”
Because of Jesus’ unique birth, remaining without sin, dying for your sins and resurrection, He will forever remain as the unique person of the universe, the God/Man. He will remain that way in royalty, because the two natures that He possesses both demand royalty. Therefore, He is qualified to reign, because His Deity demands royalty and His humanity demands royalty.
Given the two natures of His royalty, combined in the one person Jesus Christ, how will His royalty function at His Second Advent?
The two natures actually combine to form three royal patents: Divine Royalty, Jewish Royalty, Hypostatic Union Royalty. Each part of our Lord’s royalty will perform a specific function when He returns.
The Divine Royalty of Christ: He is God with the royal title, the Son of God.
- Changes creation for the millennium, Rom 8:19 22; Zech 14:10; Joel 3:18; Hos 2:18.
- Judges ecumenical religion and removes it, Rev 19:2.
- Destroys the armies of the world, Rev 19:11-19, 21.
- Removes all unbelievers under the baptism of fire; (Jewish unbelievers) Ezek 20:34-38; (Gentile unbelievers) Mt 25:31-46.
In His divine royalty, Jesus Christ controls history. Therefore, Jesus Christ judges the world both on the battlefields of Armageddon and in the Baptism of Fire for the surviving unbelievers. Isa 34:1-3
- Establishes perfect environment for the millennium.
a.) Plant and animal life abounds, Isa 35:1 7.
b.) Animals lose their ferocity, Isa 11:6 9, 65:25.
Jesus Christ also establishes the Millennium and its 1,000 years of perfect environment, as the last dispensation of human history, a parallel to the first dispensation of perfection in the Garden.
The Jewish Royalty of Christ: He is Man with the royal title the Son of David
- He regathers Israel, Ezek 20:33-34, 39-44; Isa 10:19-23; 11:11-16; 60:4-6; Zech 10:6-12.
- Terminates the fifth cycle of discipline on Israel, Isa 62:1-9.
- Establishes Israel as the last client nation to God in history, Isa 14:1-3; 62:10-12.
- Fulfills the unconditional covenants to Israel, [God’s promise that Israel would have a People, Land, King, and Kingdom forever. (Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants)], Dan 9:24; Zech 8:22-23; 14:9.
- Causes Israel to become a great source of blessing during the millennium. Zech 8:22-23.
Hypostatic Union Royalty: He is 100% God and 100% Man with the Battlefield royal title King of kings, Lord of lords. Rev 19:16
- This makes Christ the strategic victor of the angelic conflict, and replaces Satan as the ruler of the world, Rev 19:1-2.
- Imprisons Satan for one thousand years, Rev 20:1-3.
- Removes all demons from the world, Rev 19:20.
- Rules the earth for one thousand years, Rev 20:4-6.
All of this is summed up and fulfilled in the “New Covenant” that is founded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jer 31:31-34 w/ Heb 8:8-13; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 9:15
So, with His three royal patents, our Lord will come again to establish His eternal reign. And remember that when He comes back, we will be coming with Him to share in all His royalty.
Col 3:1-4, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
“He came” – Verb; Aorist, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of ἔρχομαι – erchomai, which is ēlthen – ἦλθεν
Because of the Aorist Indicative, this is stated as action in past time with reference to the present time of John speaking. (Absolute time.) In other words, Christ performed the task of coming to take the scroll in the past, but the action is visible presently. In this case, the present is the future time of the Rapture and Tribulation, (when John sees this vision).
Just as Christ died for you in eternity past, it is presently effective for you at the moment you believe, Rom 5:6; Eph 1:4. Your salvation was from long ago, but it may have occurred just a day or two ago, or will happen at a future point in time.
“He took” – Verb; Perfect, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular of λαμβάνω – lambano which is εἴληφεν – eilēphen = “Has taken”
Here with the Perfect Tense, we see completed action in the past with present results that are present. The Perfect Tense in essence combines the Aorist and Present to indicate continuance of completed action. This again emphasizes something that our Lord did in the past, but in this case, the action is completed and has impact in the present time. Based on our Lords work upon the Cross, at His first coming, He has completed the task of taking back, once and for all time, the title deed to planet earth.
Next we have the phrase, “Him who sat on the throne.”
“Sat” – Verb; Present, Middle or Passive Deponent, Participle in the Genitive, Masculine, Singular of κάθημαι – kathémai which is καθημένου – kathēmenou = “Sitting”
The verb, being a Participle in the Genitive form, gives it a noun (person, place, or thing) like form. The Genitive indicates possession of a thing. So, we note that this Throne belongs to Christ.
Passive and Middle Voice means that both receiving and performing the action are in view.
The Deponent Voice tells us that the action of the verb has a benefit back to the subject of the verb, (the One sitting). In other words, Jesus Christ both received and took for Himself this throne, which has a direct benefit to back to Him.
He is the King of kings and Lord of lords and that King/Lord demands our honor.
That sets the stage for what follows in Verses 8-14.
Up to this point, all the worship and praise was given to the One on the throne, the Creator, Jesus, in glorified deity.
But now that the Lamb came forward and took the scroll, and there was a great outburst of praise to the Redeemer Jesus in resurrected humanity.
In Chapter 4, the worship began with the angelic beings and was followed by human beings, because God created the angels first.
Col 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
In Chapter 5, the angel and human leaders begin the worship of the Lamb first. That is followed by all angelic beings worshipping Him.
This order is appropriate, because the Lamb reconciled all of creation to Himself, yet He did so as a man by paying the price for man’s sin.
Jesus Christ did not die as an angel for angel’s sins.
Yet, His death demonstrated to angelic beings the perfect nature of God via His righteousness and justice, as demonstrated at the cross toward man.
The cross, either in whole or in part, had a reconciling effect on elect angels. Col 1:20; Eph 1:3-10
This shows us the summing up of all things to the God/Man who is on the throne.
Rev 22:3, “There will no longer be any curse; and the throne (singular) of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him.”
Rev 5:8, “And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb; having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
It is interesting to note how they praised Him. Verse 8 says that “each had harps and golden bowls of incense.”
“Harp” is the Greek word κιθάραν – kitharan / κιθάρα – kithara (kith-ar’-ah) which is where we get our English word, “guitar.” Kithara refers to what was also known as a “lyre.” So, music is definitely in with God, music which worships Him.
They also had “golden bowls of incense,” which typify “the prayers” of God’s people. Ps. 141:2; Luke 1:10
This does not mean that Christians on earth can access believers now in heaven and should petition them to pray for us.
All praise and honor should go to God and to no one else, not even to the virgin girl who God blessed by allowing her to carry the child. Luke 1:42
Rev 22:8-9, “And I, John am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9But he (the angel) said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”
Don’t lose this point. When you pray to someone, you are worshipping him or her, because you are placing them above you and are asking for their graces towards you.
You are a Royal Priest. In royalty you have the privilege to pray to God. As a Priest you represent yourself before God. 1 Peter 2:9
This is simply a symbolic reminder that God remembers the prayers of His people, and our prayers are pleasing to Him. Rev 6:10; 8:3-4
How do we know this? Well, let’s look at what the symbols are:
First, “gold” represents deity. This is clearly evident in the formation of the earthly Tabernacle. Gold represented God, “wood” represented man. When combined, it represented the God/Man, Jesus Christ.
So, we see that the “incense,” our prayers, are held in “golden bowls.” In other words, our prayers are held and kept by God.
Even though the incense is stated to be our prayers, let’s not forget the underlining meaning. In the Tabernacle, incense was burned to indicate God’s acceptance of the sacrifice committed outside the Holy Place.
In this way, there is no way we could offer our prayers up to God if not for the sacrifice of the Lamb. This picture of our prayers is then pointing to the fact that, the Lamb’s sacrifice led to the redemption of creation and is accepted by God as a perfect sacrifice.
So, this is not a picture of fat little babies who have wings and are hang out on the clouds.
It’s a picture of mature men and angels worshiping the Lord in music and song. Just as we should be doing every day. And we are able to worship and praise Him because of His sacrifice. And our praise and worship is acceptable to God and remembered by God for all of eternity.
Rev 5:8 again shows us who is surrounding the Throne of God.
“The Four Living Creatures and the Twenty-Four Elders.” The “Four living Creatures (Zoa)” are the same as described in Rev 4:6-8.
These are leader angels who are concerned with guarding the holiness of God and represent the hope (confidence) of salvation for all of creation. Ezek 1:10; 10:14; w/ Rom 8:18-22
Each creature represents a part of creation, a Lion – wild animals, a Calf – domesticated animals, a Man – human race, and an Eagle – flying animals.
Each represents something about our Lord as represented in the gospels:
- Lion = Matthew – The King
- Calf = Mark – The servant
- Man = Luke – Son of Man
- Eagle = John – Son of God
It is very interesting to note that in Ezek 10:14, the calf’s face is not seen as a calf, but instead, it is seen as a cherub (four-winged angel).
The calf / ox represents servant-hood and was the sacrificial animal.
But Ezekiel sees the face of a Cherub, which may allude to another picture of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Angel of the Lord of Ex 3:2; Num 22:22 and many other verses
This brings to mind that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was not only effective for man, but also for “those in heaven”. Eph 1:3-10; Col 1:20; w/ Phil 2:20 & Rev 5:13
In addition, it is interesting to note that tradition holds that these four faces were the emblems on the standards/banners of the four lead tribes of the twelve tribes of Israel. The lead tribes would establish the encampment for the entire nation around the Tabernacle as they wandered in the wilderness for 40-years.
The tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe, first surrounded the Tabernacle. Next the lead tribes encamped around the tabernacle and its banner identified each. Num 2 & 10 w/ Gen 49:9 & Duet 33:17
Remember that everything about the Tabernacle was created after the pattern of things in heaven. Ex 25:40; Heb 8:5; 1 Chron 28:12,19
Judah was to the east, Reuben to the south, Ephraim to the west, and Dan to the north.
The tribe of Judah was to the east and led the procession when in march.
Based on the numbers in each camp, it formed a picture of the cross, where Judah on the east was the base or foot of the cross.
- Judah’s banner was the Lion of course (w/ Issachar and Zebulun)
- Reuben’s was the Man (w/ Simeon and Gad)
- Ephraim’s was the Ox (w/ Manasseh and Benjamin)
- Dan’s was the Eagle (w/ Asher and Naptali)
- Judah – “Praise Yahweh”
- Reuben – “Behold a son”
- Ephraim – “Double fruitfulness” (for God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction – God/Man – Double blessing)
- Dan – “a Judge”
Our Lord’s return is from the East through the East Gate of Jerusalem. (Matt. 24:27; w/ Ezek. 10:16-22; 11:22-25; the prophet saw God’s glory depart from the temple by the east gate, but later (Ezek 43:1-5) he saw God’s glory return “from the way of the east.”)
Each creature is “full of eyes,” representing the fact that they have the mind of Christ, which is the Word of God.
If it was important enough to tell us that the angels had doctrine resident in their souls, don’t you think it is important for you to have it too? It was their mode of operation, just as it should be ours. Heb 4:12-13
The other group we see is the “twenty-four elders.”
These are also depicted in Rev 4 and represent “redeemed mankind.”
So, the two groups, Leaders of Angels and Leaders of Redeemed Man come together with guitars and incense to lead in the singing of a new song of praise to our Lord.
“Incense,” by the way, represents prayer, but more importantly, it represents acceptance. That is, the acceptance of our prayers by God because of the completed work of Christ to redeem all of creation back to Himself.
Verse 9 & 10
Rev 5:9, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art thou to take the book, and to break its seals: for Thou wast slain, and did purchased for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; And they will reign upon the earth.”
The new song is heaven’s worship of the Lamb and is sung by those who have been redeemed by His blood (i.e. completed work) by all of created beings.
The phrase “Your blood” applies to Redemption, Propitiation, and Reconciliation.
- Redemption means the Lord Jesus Christ has paid for your sins. Eph 1:7; Phil 2:5-11
Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8which He lavished on us.” w/ Col 1:14; 1 Pet 1:18-19
“Lavished” – eperisseusen – ἐπερίσσευσεν, from perisseuó (per-is-syoo’-o) = “Above and beyond, super abound, in excess, be superfluous.”
Phil 2:5-11 gives the entire story. Verses 5-9, “Keep on thinking this doctrine within you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who though He existed in the essence of God, He did not think equality with God a gain to be seized and held, 7but He deprived Himself [kenosis] of the proper function of deity when He had received the form of a servant, although He had been born in the likeness of mankind. 8In fact, although having been discovered in outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore also, God the Father has exalted Him and given Him a title which is above every title and every rank [third royal patent].”
- Propitiation means that God the Father is completely satisfied with the price Jesus paid. You don’t have to pay anything further. 1 John 4:7-16
1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- Reconciliation means God has brought you to Himself. Rom 5:8 11
2 Cor 5:19, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
You’ve been entered into the family of God because of your non-meritorious faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Jesus died, sins paid for, God’s happy, you live!
The song of triumph not only acknowledges that Christ was slain, but its singers are forever reminded of the ground of their acceptance with God and to their right only through the blood of Christ to occupy celestial spheres.
Eph 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Phil 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
The redeemed in heaven recognize their right to be in glory as a privilege extended to them only through the blood of the cross.
2 Tim 1:9, “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
Heb 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Those who are singing understand that they did not reach their position in heaven through some form of merit of their own, nor will anyone in the future. “You have purchased us for God”
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
We, redeemed man on earth, should sing the same.
Their song is certain in truth that only those redeemed, who stand on Christ’s merit, will be in His glory. “For You were slain.”
Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
And it is sad to note that all those “Christ-rejecters” who dream to be received into glory through the love of God apart from redemption are toiling in vain. They say for their redemption “As long as I’m good or if I live a clean life.”
If He don’t pay, you don’t play!
We see this in Rev 7:14 that those who have attained through faith, by His grace, to the courts of glory are identified not by their works, or sufferings, or personal merit, but they are described as those “whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Eph 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Don’t screw up the free lunch. Confidently enjoy the banquet!
Rev 5:11, “And I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads and myriads, thousands of thousands.”
In Rev 5:11, we now see a new group entering into the praise of the Lamb as if slain.
This group is described as myriads and thousands.
A Myriad = 10,000,
“myriads” – μυριάδες from myriad μυριάς, άδος, ἡ – murias (moo-ree’-as)
So myriads of myriads is tens of thousands times tens of thousands or 100,000,000 at a minimum plus at a minimum 1,000,000 (thousands of thousands).
This is given not to indicate the exact number of angels, but to provide us the picture of the enormity of the angels, by saying they are innumerable. Also in Psa 68:17; Dan 7:10; Heb 12:22-24; Jude 1:14-15
Jude 1:14-15, “Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied (Enoch 1:9) about these people. He said, “Look, the Lord is coming with thousands of his holy ones. 15He will bring the people of the world to judgment. He will convict the ungodly of all the evil things they have done in rebellion and of all the insults that godless sinners have spoken against him.”
So, we have a picture of 4 angelic leaders, 24 redeemed man leaders and an innumerable number of angels singing the praises of The Lord Jesus Christ. As we see this new group come into focus, let us focus on them to better understand who they are, and why they are praising our Lord.
Doctrine of Angels
“Angels” whether Malak of the O.T. or Aggelos of the N.T. means, “messengers.”
The term angel is generic in that it applies to all orders of angels, and it is expressive of their office or service.
There are two main categories of angels:
- Elect angels – messengers of God.
- Fallen angels – messengers of Satan who they elected to follow.
We are also told from the Bible that angels are grouped into various classes such as thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, authorities, and the host of heavens. Rom 8:38; Col 1:16; 2:15; Eph 1:20; 3:10; 6:12
These terms describe the relationship among angelic creatures. Nevertheless all are subject to the Lord. 1 Peter 3:22
As we have noted in Rev 5:11, angels are innumerable.
They are called the “heavenly host” which has a dual meaning.
It means both angels and literal stars. Gen 15:5; Duet 17:3; 1 Kings 22:19; Jer 19:13; Neh 9:6; Dan 7:10; Luke 2:13
Angels live in the heavens:
- 1st heaven = Earth’s atmosphere,
- 2nd heaven = The stellar universe and
- 3rd heaven = God’s throne room outside of our universe.
Gen 1:8; Mark 13:32; 2 Cor 12:2; Gal 1:8: Eph 3:15; Jude 1:6;
This was depicted in the pattern of the Tabernacle. Heb 8:5
- Outer Court = 1st heaven
- Holy Place = 2nd heaven
- Holy of Holies = 3rd heaven
Heb 9:24, “Christ passed through heavens.”
Angels have existed for many ages prior to the creation of man. Job 38:7
God’s plan and purpose for the angels continues today and will continue into the future. It is not dependent upon man.
Angels are said to have interest in the things of the earth and some serve in that manner. 1 Pet 1:12; Eph 3:10; Luke 15:10; 12:8-9; 1 Tim 3:16; Rev 14:10-11
They are said to be present at:
- The creation of material things, Job 38:7.
- Giving of the law, Gal 3:19; Acts 7:53; Heb 2:2.
- Birth of Christ, Luke 2:13.
- Temptation of Christ, Mat 4:11.
- Resurrection of Christ, Mat 28:2.
- Ascension of Christ, Acts 1:10.
- Second Coming of Christ, Mat 13:37-39; 24:31; 25:31; 2 Thes 1:7.
No revelation is given as to the extent and nature of the facts and forces, which constitute the reality in which the angels live.
The Bible is not directed towards the angels, and therefore does not go into depth about their society or mode of operation.
Angels are unseen to the human eye, but this does not mean they do not exist. Every now and then God allows man a glimpse of the angelic host. 2 Kings 6:17; Luke 1:26; 2:8-15
If angels were seen on a regular basis, man would worship them. Rev 22:8-9 w/ Col 2:18
Angels are more than mere power emanating from God. They are individual beings created and empowered by God that live, congregate, move, and function autonomously with their own free will. Yet, they are not self-originating, self-sustaining, or capable of self-annihilation.
Angels do not have the power to create, act without means, or search the human heart. They, just as all created beings, live and move by the virtue of divine empowerment. Jude 1:9 (Michael fighting with Satan)
Angels may, however, influence the human mind as one person may influence another.
They can possess the unbeliever, Mat 12:22; Luke 13:11 16, and influence any member of the human race, 1 Tim 4:1-2.
Decisions that can result in demon possession include:
- Idolatry, 1 Cor 10:19 21.
- Drug addiction, Gal 5:20.
- Religious reversionistic sensitivity, dabbling in the occult, consulting mediums, the function of necromancy, Isa 8:19.
- Phallic cult activity, Isa 2:6; Luke 8:2; Mk 16:9.
This includes demonic orgastic response, auto eroticism, lesbianism, homosexuality, verbal response demons, promiscuity demons, group orgies, human sacrifice, idolatry, and unrestrained sexual lust. (In themselves, these things do not imply demon possession.)
The believer, however, is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit who makes a temple out of the body of the believer, 1 Cor 6:19 20. A demon cannot dwell in that temple.
Demon influence is the infiltration of satanic thought into the soul of a believer or unbeliever, 1 Tim 4:1; Eph 4:17, and/or the substitution of emotion for thought.
Man can stop and reject demonic influence through the use of the Divine power provided to us by God. Eph 6:10-12; 1 John 4:4
1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Angels who are still embodied have finite bodies made to operate in the law of their being and dwelling place. Compare 1 Cor 15:39-40 w/ 44; and Phil 3:21.
Their appearance can change as occasion demands, how else could Heb 13:2 say, “some have entertained angels,” yet elsewhere they are described as dazzling white and blazing glory, Mat 28:2-4.
Christ said that they do not have flesh and blood as men do, but this does not mean they don’t have bodies of their own kind. Luke 24:37-39
Demons however are disembodied and seek embodiment whenever possible. Mark 5:9-13; Luke 8:30-33
Angels are free moral beings and have, at least in the past, held their own destiny within the power of their own choice.
With their volition, some sinned and did not keep their first estate. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6-7; Rev 12:4
For those who remained in sin, try as they might, they did not and cannot break away from their relation to the Creator, and will ultimately give an account to Him. Isa 14:13-14; Ezek 28:16-17; Matt 25:41
Angels are intelligent spirit beings who experience emotions, as noted that they:
- Render intelligent worship. Ps 148:2, Rev 5:11-12
- See the face of God. Mat 18:10
- Know their limitations. Mat 24:36
- Know their inferiority to the Son of God. Heb 1:4-14
It is assumed that all angels were created simultaneously. Col 1:16-17
Similarly, it is assumed that their creation was completed at that time and no more were or will be added.
Angels are not subject to death the way humans are, nor are they subject to any form of extinction.
They do not increase nor do they decrease in number. Mat 22:28-30
Though they had sex with women and had offspring of a mixed race, it appears that they cannot propagate further angelic beings. Gen 6:2-4
Angels are individuals, yet are subject to classifications and varying ranks of importance.
Those angels that remained in rebellion against God. There are two categories of fallen angels under the command of Satan.
- The non-operational angels.
1.) The angels of Gen 6, who were involved in the angelic attack to infiltrate the human race, who are incarcerated in Tartarus.
2.) The 1st demon assault army incarcerated in the Abyss. They are not permitted to come out of the Abyss until the Tribulation. Luke 8:31; Rev 9:1-12
3.) The 2nd demon assault army incarcerated under the Euphrates River. Rev 9:13-21
- The functional fallen angels. These are the demons that are operational today. The fact that Satan has an organization of fallen angels means that he is prepared to attack the human race. His organization is described in Eph 6:12
There is a specific meaning to each classification:
“Rulers” – (Generals)
“Powers/Authorities” – (Officer Corps)
“World Forces” – (Ambassadors)
“Spirits of Evil” – (rank and file)
Those angels who received a form of redemption or probation and remain in the service of God.
1 Tim 5:21, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels.”
2 Thes 2:13 (In relation to man): “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. w/ Rom 11:7; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 2:10; 1 Peter 2:9
Similar to Eph 6, there are other verses which describe hierarchy of authority among the angels, both elect and fallen. Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; Col 1:16; 2:10, 15
Eph 3:10, “So that the multi purposed wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”
This hierarchy includes; Thrones, Principalities, Rule, Authority, Power, and Dominions, meaning those who: occupy places of authority, rule, govern, exercise supremacy, and those invested in imperial responsibilities.
There are three titles that have been given to angels. They are: Cherubim, Seraphim and Living Creatures:
Cherubim angles who have four wings.
They are said to be:
- Defenders of God’s holy character and presence.
- Defenders of His righteousness in relation to the perfect sacrifice of Christ.
They demonstrated this:
- In the Garden of Eden, protecting the holy presence in the Garden from man polluting it with sin. Gen 3:24
- On top of the Ark of the Covenant, being made of one piece with the Mercy Seat, see the effectiveness of the blood sacrifice. Ex 25:18-20
- Being embroidered into the dividing veil in the temple, separating divine holiness from unholy man. Ex 26:1, 31
Satan was a Cherub Angel. Ezek 28:14
Seraphim angels who have six wings. The root of their name means burner. In plural = burners. In other words, these angels are on Fire for God!
They are purposed to:
- Unceasing worship.
- A ministry of purification and humility.
- Administering judgment for the purpose of cleansing and humility to bring about salvation. Isa 6:1-8; w/ Num 21:6 (fiery serpents) and Rev 4-6
The Cherubim and Seraphim combined show us that the sinner will have access to the divine presence only through a sacrifice, which vindicates the righteousness of God (Rom 3:24-26), and that the believer will be cleansed before serving God. 1 John 1:9
Therefore, we can say that the Cherubim have to do with the Altar of sacrifice, and the Seraphim have to do with the Laver of cleansing.
Living Creatures/Beings. They are closely related to the Seraphim and Cherubim, but are identified uniquely, Rev 4-6 and Ezek 1, 10. In Ezekiel, they are the Living Beings said to be Cherubim, because they each have four wings.
They each had four faces (Man, Lion, Bull and Eagle), except in Ezek 10:14, the Bull was replaced with the face of a Cherub and placed first in order. (This may represent Jesus Christ, the sacrifice, as the Angel of Jehovah.) They had a wheel each and were under the throne of God.
In Rev 4-5, they are the Living Creatures said to be Seraphim, because they each have six wings. They had one face each. One was a Man, one was a Lion, one was a Bull and one was an Eagle. They were around the throne of God. They are purposed with manifesting the fullness of divine life by representing all created beings. They have unceasing activity, lead angelic creatures in the worship of God and call forth the judgments at the beginning of the Tribulation.
Two winged Angels may be alluded to in Zech 5:9.
Angels are also called “Heavenly Hosts“. They are purpose as the rank and file angels including all guardian angels. Ps 91:11f; Luke 2:13
The function of the angelic armies described in Ps 103:21 is praising the Lord. Ps 148:2. They are also seen as the, “river of fire battalions.” Dan 7:10
When a rank and file angel announced to the shepherds the birth of Christ, he was joined by a multitude of heavenly armies praising God. Lk 2:13
The ministering spirits of Heb 1:14 are also rank and file angels.
In the Old Testament, the angels are sometimes called sons of God, while men are called servants of God, Gen 6:2-4; Job 1:6; 2:1 w/ 1 Chron 6:49; Daniel 9:11; Neh 10:29.
In the New Testament, Angels and man are joined together, in that both are called servants and sons of God. Rev 19:10 w/ Mat 5:9; Luke 20:36: Rom 8:14, 19; Gal 3:26 (son – huios / child = teknon)
This may be due to the fact that in the OT men are seen as related to this world over which angels are superior; while in the NT saints are seen as related to their final exaltation into the likeness of Christ, compared to which the angels are inferior.
1 Cor 6:3
What’s important is not their relation to the inhabitants of the earth, but rather their service to God, the service of worship.
Angels are not mentioned in the Bible until Abraham, Gen 16:7; 19:1 (Lot); 21:17, and then they are prominent during the time of Christ.
They are mentioned the most in the Gospels, Revelation, Zechariah and Hebrews.
Visible manifestations of angels does not appear to be prominent during the Church age, and this may be because of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit indwelling every believer in our age. A more permanent, vital, exalting, and perfect ministry than the angels could render.
But at the end of this age, they are prominent once again in the calling home of the believers at the Resurrection of the Church and on into the Tribulation and Millennium. 1 Thes 4:16 (Rapture); w/ Mat 24:29-31; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21; Heb 12:22-24; Rev 21:21(End of the Tribulation)
- Angels transported a soul at death into another sphere. Luke 16:22
- Angels delivered the apostles from prison. Acts 5:19; 12:7
- Angels delivered messages to the saints. Luke 1:19, 26-28; Acts 8:26; 10:3; and 27:23, Dan 9:21.
- They protect God’s people. Daniel 6:22; 10:10-21; 12:21: Jude 1:9
Dan 6:22, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”
- Offer encouragement. Genesis 16:7ff, (Hagar)
- Give guidance. Exodus 14:19, (this was actually a theophany)
Ex 14:19 The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.
- Bring punishment. Rev 6,
- Patrol the earth. Ezek 1:9-14; Zech 1:9; 6:7
Ezek 1:14, “And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning.”
- Fight the forces of evil. 2 Kings 6:16-18; Rev 20:1
Ministered to Jesus: Mat 4:11
There is a group of angels called Guardian Angels:
- For example, an angel guided Joseph and His family when they escaped to Egypt. Mat 2:13-15, 19-23
- Angles minister to Jesus after his temptation. Mat 4:11
- An angle strengthened our Lord when He was in torment over the prospects of the Cross. Luke 22:43
Luke 26:43-44, “Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”
Legions of Angels could have delivered our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mat 26:53
Mat 26:53, “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions (12 x 6,000 = 72,000) of angels? “
There are three categories of guardian angels:
- The guardian angels of children. All children have a guardian angel to protect them during their childhood. Mat 18:10
Mt 18:10, “See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that their guardian angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
- Angels are the guardians of Church Age believers who are superior to angels. Heb 1:13-14; Acts 12:15
Heb 1:13-14, “But to which of the angels has He ever said, `Sit down at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to service those who inherit eternal salvation?”
Acts 12:15, “They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind!’ But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, ‘It is his angel.’” (She was speaking about Peter who was release from prison by an angel.)
Other passages speaking of Guardian angels include. Ps 91:7-14
- There are guardian angels of client nations. Dan 10:13-21; 12:1
Daniel also spoke of Watcher Angels in Dan 4:13-23.
When we view the angels in heaven and see their powers and abilities, it should pierce our souls as to the true glory of God. To see magnificent creatures so honestly and humbly singing praise and worship to our God, it should lead us to greater heights of prayer, worship and works for our Lord.
If the angels treat Him as such, we who are currently lower than the angels should treat Him with even more earnestness and vigor.
Now we continue in Revelation 5.
Greek, λέγοντες φωνῇ μεγάλῃ , Ἄξιόν* ἐστιν τὸ Ἀρνίον τὸ ἐσφαγμένον , λαβεῖν τὴν δύναμιν , καὶ πλοῦτον , καὶ σοφίαν , καὶ ἰσχὺν , καὶ τιμὴν , καὶ δόξαν , καὶ εὐλογίαν
Transliteration, legontes phōnē megalē , Axion estin to Arnion to esphagmenon , esphagmenon tēn dynamin , kai plouton , kai sophian , kai ischyn , kai timēn , kai doxan , kai eulogian
Rev 5:12, “saying with a voice loud, Worthy is the lamb – having been slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”
This sevenfold (noting spiritual perfection) praise was in response to the elders’ hymn of Rev 5:9-10.
Each word describes a quality of God that was bestowed upon Christ, as a result of His worthiness.
“saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
“saying” is a Verb Participle, Present, Active, Nominative, Masculine Plural – λέγω (legó), which means, “to say, set forth, systematic discourse.”
First note that they said the praise, this was not a song or done by singing.
“voice” is a Noun, Dative, Feminine, Singular – φωνή (phóné), which means,
“voice, sound, blast, tone.”
“loud” is an Adjective, Dative, Feminine, Singular – μέγας – (megas), which means, “great.”
They said this in One Voice, singular. Noting that they were of one voice, one mind, one thinking. They had unity about their opinion and praise of the Redeemer/Creator, just as we should have. Phil 2:1-2
“Worthy” – Adjective, Nominative, Neuter, Singular – ἄξιος – (axios), which means, “of weight, worthy, deserving.”
“is” – Verb, Indicative, Present, Active, Third Person, Singular – εἰμί – (eimi), which means, “to be, is.”
“the” – Determiner, Nominative, Neuter, Singular – τὸ – (to), which means, “the.”
“Lamb” – Noun, Nominative, Neuter, Singular – ἀρνίον – (arnion), which means, “Lamb.”
“that” – Determiner, Nominative, Neuter, Singular – τὸ – (to), which means, “the.”
“slain” – Verb, Participle, Perfect, Passive, Nominative, Neuter, Singular – σφάζω – (sphazo), which means, “butcher, slay, slaughter.”
The idea here is the fact that He was slain, or was made a sacrifice for sin. This is the ground or reason for what is ascribed to Him. A part of these things were His by virtue of His very nature, Deity.
Others such as: “wisdom, glory, riches,” were given to Him, as the result of His work in His humanity.
Once again, we can say that Christ alone is worthy. Worthy for what?
Based upon His completed work on the cross, He not only is worthy to open the seals of the scroll, but He is worthy of every aspect of the praise that follows.
“To receive power” – Verb, Infinitive, Aorist, Active – λαμβάνω – lambano = “receive.”
“the” – Determiner, Accusative, Feminine, Singular – τὴν – ten = “the.”
“power” – Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular – δύναμις – dunamis = “power, might, dynamite.”
Power or authority to rule over all things.
Mat 28:18 “All authority (power to act) is given to Me in heaven and on earth”
The “Son of God,” as “Creator,” had an original right to all things, to control them and dispose of them. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:8.
But the universe is put under Him, especially as Mediator, that He might:
- Redeem His people.
- Gather a church.
- Defend His chosen.
- Subdue all their enemies.
- Cause us to be conquerors and more than conquerors,
Eph. 1:20-23; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; John 5:22-23; Phil 2:6-11; Rom 8:37.
It is undoubtedly in reference to this that He speaks of Power and Authority committed to Him over all things, that He might redeem, defend, and save the church purchased with His own blood.
His mediatorial government extends; therefore, over the material world, angels, demons, evil men, and over His own people.
“Power” and “strength” are synonyms in Luke 11:22; 1 Cor 1:24
1 Cor 1:24, “But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
“And riches” — Conjunction Coordinating – καὶ – Kai, which means, “and” with the Noun Accusative, Masculine, Singular, “riches” – πλοῦτος – Ploutos, which means, “riches, wealth, abundance.”
Abundance, that is, He is worthy that whatever contributes to honor, and glory, and happiness should be given on Him in abundance.
He is the original proprietor of all things; it is fitting then that He should be recognized as such. Having performed the work on the Cross, it is proper that whatever may be made to contribute to His honor should be regarded as His.
“Wealth” is also associated with kings, which He is. 2 Cor 8:9; Eph 3:8
2 Cor 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
“And wisdom” — Conjunction, Coordinating – καὶ – Kai – “and,” with the Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular – σοφία – Sophia, which means, “wisdom, intelligence.”
In other words, this is saying that He should be esteemed as eminently wise. That is, that as the result of the work which He has accomplished, He should be regarded as having the ability to choose the best ends and the best means to accomplish those ends.
The feeling here is what comes from contemplating the work of salvation by the Redeemer, as a work entirely characterized by wisdom.
His wisdom is manifested in:
- Meeting the evils of the fall of man.
- Honoring the law of God.
- Showing men and angels that mercy is consistent with justice.
- Adapting the whole plan of redemption to the character and needs of man.
If wisdom is ever demanded, it is in reconciling a lost world to God.
If wisdom is ever displayed, it was in the arrangements and execution of that work by the Redeemer. Mat 13:54; Luke 2:40, 52; 1 Cor. 1:20-24, 30; Eph. 1:8; 3:10
Wisdom is often regarded as a gift received from God. 1 Cor 1:24
Jesus Christ, the Slain Lamb is worthy to receive that gift.
1 Cor 1:24, “But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
“And strength” — Conjunction Coordinating – καὶ – Kai, which means, “and,” with the Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular, “strength,” – ἰσχύς – Ischus, which means, “strength, might.”
This says that He has:
- The ability to accomplish His purposes.
- The power to overcome the great enemy of man.
- The strength to control winds, storms, diseases, and the demons.
- The strength to triumph over death.
- The power to save His people. Eph 1:15-22; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Cor 15:50-57
“And honor” — Conjunction, Coordinating – καὶ – Kai – “and” with the Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular, “honor” τιμή – timé, which means, “honor, value bestowed, reverence.”
He should be esteemed and treated with honor for what He has done. He is the author and perfecter of the Royal Family Honor Code. Heb 12:2
“Honor” is used to describe His Deity (Rev 4:11; 7:12), and here His humanity (the Lamb (Rev 5:13), denoting the status and respect that is due Him. Phil 2:11
Phil 2:11, “and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
“And glory”— Conjunction, Coordinating – καὶ – Kai – “and,” with the Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular – δόξα – Doxa, which means, “Glory, of good opinion.”
The Greek word Doxa means, “brightness, radiance, splendor, magnificence, fame, renown, honor, or glory.” And is similar to the Hebrew word Kabod, which means, “honor, glory, riches, nobility, splendor, and majesty.”
This word refers to a higher ascription of praise than the word honor. “Glory” always has the connotation of honor inherent in a person, a distinction, greatness, renown, fame, nobility, or majesty. The glory of God refers to the sum total of His divine essence or to some part of divine essence.
In Rom 5:2, glory refers to the integrity of God which is the combination of His Righteousness and Justice.
Rom 5:2, “through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
There is a point at which we see God for the first time.
Deut 5:24, “behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness.”
No one has seen God, John 1:18; 1 John 4:12, speaking of seeing His true Deity, yet we can see God through His essence and attributes, John 3:11.
More specifically, glory refers to God’s integrity, while greatness refers to His other attributes.
You cannot see the greatness of God, until you can see the glory of God.
2 Cor 4:6, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Seeing the glory of God is seeing the integrity of God, through pertinent Bible Doctrine.
“Glory” is used of Jesus Christ’s Deity (Rev 4:11; 7:12; 19:1) and His humanity (“Lamb,” in Rev 5:13).
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“And blessing” — Conjunction, Coordinating – καὶ – Kai – “and,” with the Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular – εὐλογία – Eulogia, “blessing,” which means, “praise, fine speaking, blessing, bountiful gift.” Everything that would express the desire that someone might be happy, honored, and adored.
To Eulogize someone is to desire that he may have happiness and prosperity; that he may be successful, respected, and honored.
To ascribe praise to Jesus Christ, is that state where your heart is full of love and gratitude, and where it desires that He may be honored, loved, and obeyed, everywhere as He should be.
Neither man nor angels can effect blessings to God or man or angels, only God can make blessings effective to someone.
This is praise as an expressed wish that all of creation will ascribe all love, honor, and adoration to the Redeemer. God will cause this to happen. Rev 5:13; Phil 2:11
Praise/blessing is used in Rev 4:11 and 7:12, and describes what all creation can give to Him who already possesses everything.
The “Lamb as if slain” rightly receives this praise, because the Father justly gave these things to the humanity of The Lord Jesus Christ, based on His completed work on the Cross.
It is interesting to contrast this praise of the angels with the earthly life of Christ.
- His enemies said, He was worthy of death (John 19:7), but the angels say, He is worthy of praise.
- Men accused Him of working by the power of Satan ( 12:24), but the angels say, He is worthy of power.
- He became poor for our sakes (2 Cor. 8:9), but He deserves all riches.
- “The preaching of the cross is foolishness” to sinful man (1 Cor. 1:18), but it is wisdom to the angels.
- On earth, Jesus was “crucified in weakness” (2 Cor. 13:4), but in heaven He is lauded for His might.
- Dishonored on earth (Mat 27:39-44), He is honored in glory in heaven.
- Made a curse on the cross (Duet 21:22-23; Gal 3:13), He is today both the recipient and giver of blessing.
This sevenfold praise by the angels is directly related to the Seven Church message previously given in Chapters 2-3.
Each praise is related to the description of Christ to the church, the church’s problem, and the promise of rewards for the overcomer.
Outline of the Seven Churches from Revelation 2 & 3
|I.||Ephesus:||The Backsliding Church||(2:1-7)|
|II.||Smyrna:||The Suffering Church||(2:8-11)|
|III.||Pergamos:||The Worldly Church||(2:12-17)|
|IV.||Thyatira:||The Unrepentant Church||(2:18-29)|
|V.||Sardis:||The Dying Church||(3:1-6)|
|VI.||Philadelphia:||The Serving Church||(3:7-13)|
|VII.||Laodicea:||The Apostate Church||(3:14-22)|
- “Power” (Authority to rule) – Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
– Christ described as, holding the seven stars (He has all authority over the church).
– Their problem, left their first love (rejected the authority of their right man): 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:22-25; Titus 2:4
– The “overcomers reward,” eat of the Tree of Life (Eternal life with their right man)
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Power = Ascribing all authority over the Church to Jesus Christ.
- “Riches” (all abundance) – Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)
– Christ described as, the first and last (all abundance is His).
– Their problem: the people thought they were poor, yet in Christ they are rich.
Eph 2:7, “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
– The “overcomers reward,” The Crown of Life, not hurt by second death.
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Riches = All things are His to give as He sees fit. 1 Cor 3:10-15: 2 Cor 5:10
- “Wisdom” (eminently wise) – Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17)
– Christ described as, Sharp two-edged sword, which is the mind of Christ, His eminent wisdom. Heb 4:12; John 1:1
– Their problem: they sucked in false doctrine.
– The “overcomers reward,” hidden manna (sustenance), a white stone and new title. Deut 8:3: Mat 4:4
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Wisdom = all knowledge to sustain our every need.
- “Might” (ability, reserved strength) Eph 1:18-20 – Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29)
– Christ described as, Eyes of flame of fire, feet of burnished bronze (Knowledge and capability to judge).
– Their problem: Acts of immorality and false religious worship without repentance (i.e. self-judgment, 1 Cor 11:30-31; 1 John 1:9)
– The “overcomers reward,” Authority over nations to judge accordingly, order of the morning star (a signet of having the authority of Christ.)
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Might = Everything necessary to be a perfect judge.
- “Honor” (highly esteemed, a price set or paid) – Sardis (Rev 3:1-6)
– Christ described as, having the Holy Spirit and as the Leader of the Churches. (By means of the Spirit, Christ paid the price for our sins, He is the head of the church.) Mat 4:1; Eph 5:23b
Eph 5:23b, “Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”
– Their problem: Dead works that are incomplete and without honor. 1 Cor 3:12: James 2:20-26
– The “overcomers reward,” Walking with Christ in white, Name in the Book of Life, their name confessed before the Father and Angels (High honor)
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Honor = Based on His completed works through the sustaining ministry of the Holy Spirit, He is held in High esteem/regard.
- “Glory” (revealed righteousness and justice of God) John 1:14 – Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13)
– Christ described as: Holy (righteousness and justice), has the key of David (He is the Messiah – son of David, entrance into heaven), opens and no one will shut, and shuts and no one opens (the revealed glory of God in eternity).
– Their problem: None. They used the power they had, (i.e. the Word of God + filling of the Holy Spirit).
– The “overcomers reward,” Enemies bow at their feet, removed from the hour of testing (Rapture), made a pillar in the temple (historical record section in heaven), stay in the temple, name of God and city and Christ’s new name written on them (all will attest to the perfect righteousness and justice, the Glory, of God and Christ)
So, the angels praise the Lamb as having: Glory = The righteousness and justice of Christ to save.
- “Blessing/Praise” (Eulogia) – Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22)
– Christ described as: The Amen (truly, trustworthy, affirm), the faithful and true Witness (servant/lamb of God), the Beginning of the creation of God (the Creator)
– Their problem: neither cold nor hot (no works or ministry), spit/vomited out of His mouth (the opposite of praise), trusting in their earthly riches when they are poor in heavenly wealth.
– The “overcomer’s reward, “Dine with Christ, sit on the throne of God, (receiving His praise being with Him).
So, the angels praise the Lamb culminating the entire worship ceremony in Chapters 4 & 5: Blessing/Praise = He is the trustworthy, faithful servant (The Redeemer), witness of God, The Creator.
So, the City Code of Rev 5:12 is:
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamum and Thyatira and Sardis and Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
The next interesting fact about this seven-fold praise is when we bring together: both the seven-fold messages to the churches in Rev 2 & 3 with numerology.
Numerology is the study of numbers in scripture, where each number used in the Bible consistently represents a biblical fact or aspect about God or man.
When we compare numerology with the seven-fold praise and seven-fold messages, we again see the omniscience of God, His infinite wisdom in fascinating ways.
This is what I am calling the:
Numerology Code of Rev. 5:12
- Ephesus – 1st church – Power – DUNAMIS – 1st praise – having the authority to rule. This power is inherent power that our Lord holds, giving Him the supremacy to rule.
The number one has the meaning of unity, primacy, and sufficiency.
The Ephesians left their first love, and therefore ignored the unity that they had with God and Christ. God reminds them that He is all sufficient, all powerful, for their every need, and encourages them by reminding them of the eternal unity they will have with Him.
- Smyrna – 2nd church – Riches – PLOUTOS – 2nd praise – All Abundance.
The number two is the number meaning division or divided.
The Smyrnaians thought they were poor, yet they were rich in spiritual wealth.
Some said they were believers, but they were not.
They were a divided bunch. The true believers were divided in their thinking, not realizing all that they had. The others said one thing but thought another and were truly not saved.
God reminds them that if they went forward in unity, they would receive a great blessing, the crown of life, and that if they truly believed, they would not be separated at death from God by being thrown into the Lake of Fire.
- Pergamum – 3rd church – Wisdom – SOPHIA – Eminently wise.
The number three is the number of completion, that which is solid and real.
The Pergamums sucked in false doctrine and didn’t always hold to the solid foundations of the Word of God.
God reminds them that if they held on to the Word of God, which is complete and perfect, they would receive eternal sustenance, privileges and a new title.
- Thyatira 4th church – Might – ISCHUS – having the ability to judge.
This form of strength has to do with inherent and actionable strength, physical strength.
The number four speaks to the creative work of God and means material completeness and is the “world number.”
Here we see that Christ has all the “might,” necessary materials to judge the world.
God’s promise to the mature believer is that they too will have authority (everything necessary) to judge over the nations.
- Sardis – 5th church – Honor – TIME – based on His completed work, He is held in high regard.
The number five is the number of grace.
Here we see 7 and 5 mixed together in Rev 3:1, Spiritual perfection with Grace.
We noted that the people did not finish their work, because they did not appropriate the grace of God after their salvation to complete their work.
Rev3:3 says, “Remember… what you have received and heard:”.
God promises them that if they wake up, by appropriating His grace for rebound and recovery, they will be honored before the Father and angels.
This also notes that the only way we can wake up, either from our spiritual dead state or reversionistic state, is by the grace of God in providing the work of Christ on the cross. Work sufficient for salvation and recovery.
- Philadelphia – 6th church – Glory – DOXA – the revealed righteousness and justice of God.
The number six is the number of man or refers to man’s labor.
We noted that glory is the revealing of the righteousness and justice of God through the work of Jesus Christ.
This is work that He performed in His humanity, it is not work performed in His Deity.
The Philadelphians also labored, but their labor was based on the work of the humanity of Jesus Christ, coupled with the power that He provided for them – Filling of the Holy Spirit + the Word of God, (FHS+WoG).
God’s promise to them is that because they trusted and relied upon the righteousness and justice of God, as demonstrated by the humanity of Jesus Christ, they will be glorified in heaven.
- Laodecia – 7th church – Blessing/praise – EULOGIA – trustworthy, true witness of God (Redeemer), The Creator.
The number seven means spiritual perfection.
The Laodecians where the complete opposite of spiritual perfection.
This last message and praise sums up all the other messages and praises. It points to the Creator / Redeemer as having established all things and completing all that is necessary for the reconciliation of everything created, and He is praised for that reason.
He is the trustworthy true witness (Redeemer), who created all things.
In spiritual perfection, both in Deity and humanity, these were accomplished, and He is without a doubt worthy of all the praise that can be mustered up.
So, the Numerology Code of Rev 5:12 is:
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and Seven.”
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
Then in Rev 5:13, after the angels completed their praise, John hears all of creation joining to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
John now is carried beyond the Tribulation, beyond the glorious appearing of our Lord, and beyond the end of the Millennium, to the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, when every living creature will worship Christ.
This verse is very similar to Psa 148:7-14 and Phil 2:10-11.
“Every creature” in Rev 5:13 and “every knee” of Phil 2:10 suggests that all creation anticipates the redemption that will come, when Christ culminates His victory over the enemy and establishes His kingdom. Rom 8:20-25
Both Passages clearly indicate that every living creature in Heaven, on the earth, under the earth, or in the sea awaiting the Day of Judgment, will one-day worship Jesus Christ. That includes all those who in this life have voluntarily rejected Him.
All believers both man and angelic will worship Him.
All unbelievers both man and angelic will, at their resurrection, be forced to worship Him just before they are cast into the Lake of Fire. Rev 20:15; 21:6-8
The praise now given by all of creation is directed both to the Deity of the Son who is sitting on the throne as God, and the humanity of Jesus Christ the Lamb.
“Every knee should bow” – Pan Gonu Kampto,
Kampto is an Aorist, Active, Subjunctive. This Subjunctive is tied to the earlier conjunction hina, thus making the phrase more like the Imperative Mood, a command or strong desire. Because of the Subjunctive, this is not saying, “maybe they will bow or maybe they won’t.” Rather it is pointing to the option of how it will happen, either voluntarily or forcibly. Either under genuine humility or by enforced humility.
Heinrich Schlier commenting on the word’s NT usage, writes, “Kamptein gonu (gonata) is the gesture of full inner submission in worship to the one whom we bow the knee.” Thus in Rom. 14:11 bowing the knee is linked with confession within the context of a judgment scene, Rom 14:11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” And in Phil. 2:10 it again accompanies confession with reference to the worship of the exalted Kurios Jesus by the cosmos. In Romans 11:4 kamptein gonu te Baal signifies surrender to Baal. (Which they did not do). In Eph. 3:14 the formula kampto to gonata pros ton theon is a solemn description of the attitude of submission to God in prayer. The figurative use of the expression kamptein to gonata in connection with the demand to cast oneself down and repent makes it clear that kamptein ta gonata may also be understood as a gesture of humble obedience” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament volume 3, pages 594-595).
In other words, some will bow with genuine humility (believers) others with enforced humility (unbelievers).
Isa 45:23, “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”
Col 1:20, “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
So, in Rev 5:13; Phil 2:10, Rom 14:11 and Isa 45:23, we have what is call the:
Definition and description.
The Big Genuflex is the interim event between the Rapture and the Great White Throne Judgment Seat of Christ.
It is both the glorification of the Father’s plan, and the recognition of our Lord’s battlefield royalty, which was bestowed at His session.
At this time, the entire royal family is present, and they confess to the battlefield royalty of Jesus Christ. This explains the phrase, “every tongue shall confess to God.” What is confessed is the fact that our Lord’s royalty demands the resurrection of His royal family.
We must have a resurrection body as he does, because we are his family. In resurrection body, the entire royal family will identify the head of the family, Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father.
In our moment of greatest happiness, we will be talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. Our greatest moment of happiness will be thinking and talking about our Lord. This explains the relationship between Rom 14:11 and Phil 2:9 11.
The Big Genuflex is the moment of maximum happiness, which is perpetuated forever. Even if you don’t receive rewards at the Judgment seat of Christ, due to your failure in life, you won’t lose this fantastic happiness.
Jesus Christ has three categories of royalty.
- Divine royalty; He is coequal with the other members of the trinity. His title is “Son of God.”
- Jewish royalty; Mary is descended from Nathan; Joseph from Solomon. His title is “Son of David.”
- Battlefield royalty; The first and second royalties combine to form a third royalty at the cross.
At the cross, our Lord received the judicial imputation of our sins, which provided salvation for all mankind and was the strategic victory of the angelic conflict. This victory plus His resurrection, ascension, and session is the basis for our Lord’s battlefield royalty.
This unique royalty establishes Christ as the ruler of both regenerate man and elect angels forever. His title is “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
This new battlefield royalty explains several passages in revelation, where Christ returns with the bride to be acknowledged by all. Rev 19:12-16
- At the Big Genuflex, we will acknowledge Christ’s battlefield royalty.
We can understand the confession of the royal family for we will be in total awe of him. This moment will be the fulfillment of all our doctrine, and the realization of the purpose of our new birth. We will each personally praise the strategic victory of the angelic conflict and relate it to our very purpose for living, Rom 14:11.
Our praise of our Lord’s strategic victory is our recognition of what Christ accomplished from the cross to the session. Christ was willing to suffer on the cross that we might share in the plunder of His victory.
The Big Genuflex, our acknowledgment of Christ in eternity, will be the greatest moment of worship in history, full of great singing.
In time, we acknowledge Christ by our daily intake of doctrine.
This praise says that the following are His: Blessing, EULOGIA; honor, TIME; glory, DOXA; and dominion, KRATOS.
We have noted the first three aspects of this praise in the praise of the angels (Vs. 12), which emphasized the words of our Lord found in the messages to the seven churches.
“Blessing/praise” – EULOGIA – Laodecia (7th church) = Trustworthy, true witness of God (Redeemer), The Creator. (Seven meaning, “spiritual perfection.”)
“Honor” – TIME – Sardis (5th church) – Based on His completed work, He is held in high regard. (Five meaning, “grace.”)
“Glory” – DOXA – Philadelphia (6th church) = The revealed righteousness and justice of God. (Six meaning, “the number of man, man’s labor.”)
So the first three say that, “The Redeemer / Creator in spiritual perfection, completed the work of the Father, in the Grace of God, revealing the righteousness and justice of God in His humanity.”
Then we have the 4th praise, which is a new one. This praise says something about our Lord’s power, which carries into all of eternity.
Previously He was praised as having strength in the realm of:
“Power” – DUNAMIS- Ephesus (1st church) – Having inherent strength which is the authority to rule. (One meaning, “unity, primacy, and sufficiency – He’s been given the authority to rule by the Father.”)
“Might” – ISCHUS – Thyatira (4th church) – Having strength in reserve, which is the ability to judge. (Four meaning, “creative work, material completeness – He has everything necessary and all the ability to judge.”).
But in Verse 13, we have a similar word, yet giving us a different essence of His strength, power, might, dominion.
Rev 5:13, “And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, Be Blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’”
Here we have the Greek word Kratos. Kratos means, “force, strength, might, but more specifically “manifested power.”
The root word KRA means, “to perfect, to complete,” (Creator is probably connected.). It signifies “dominion” in doxology (Praise of God) in; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 Peter 4:11; 5:11; Jude 25: Rev 1:6.
“Dominion” – Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty. A territory or sphere of influence or control; a realm. The right and power to govern or judge.
Synonyms: authority, command, control, domination, dominion, mastery, might, power, sway, force, weight, rule, supremacy.
“Kratos denotes the presence and significance of force or strength rather than its exercise.” (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. III, Pg. 905)
The verb form is Krateo and means, “to have power over or to be lord of something, to gain the upper hand, to have the right of possession.”
Nowhere in the NT is Kratos ascribed to, said to be given to, or gained by man.
It is ascribed to Satan as having the dominion over death. Heb 2:14
The Word of God is said to have this type of power and dominion. Acts 19:20
Eph 1:19, “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power (dunamis) toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength (kratos) of His might (ischus).”
Read: Col 1:10-12
Kratos denotes more particularly the outer aspect of the divine strength, perhaps its supremacy. (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. III, Pg. 908)
In Doxology, (The praise of God and or the Lamb), Kratos is used in, 1 Peter 4:11; 5:11; 1 Tim 6:16; Rev 1:6; 5:13 and Jude 25.
So, the added praise here is to say that God and the Humanity of Jesus Christ have all authority to rule that will be real, seen, heard, felt, and perfect.
Here all creation praises the Son.
Many people say, “I worship God, but not Jesus Christ.” To ignore Christ is to insult the Father. John 5:22-24
John 5:22, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
If you don’t honor the Son in belief, you can never honor the Father, try as you might.
In heaven, every angel and every raptured saint will honor the Father and the Son and praise them.
Rev 5:14, “And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.”
In Vs. 14 “the four living creatures kept saying amen”.
“Kept saying,” is the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of Lego.
The Imperfect refers to continuous or linear action.
Amēn – Ἀμήν – “Amen”
- firm, metaphorically faithful
- verily, amen
When “amen” is at the end of a prayer or discourse, it means, “so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled.”
It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he, who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded, Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.
So, the praise bestowed on Christ, by all of creation, is affirmed and taken as a truth that has an effect on the Four-Living Creature, Seraphim Angels. Once again telling us that the Cross had a reconciling effect on the Angels too.