Revelation 5:1-15 Part 6


1)    And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)    having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

3)    And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

4)    And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)    And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)    And one of the elders says to me, “don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

7)    And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)    And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)    And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10) and singing new songs, saying “worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11) And You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

12) And I did see and hear a sound of many angels and the creatures and the elders around the throne, and was the number of them myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands

13) saying in a great sound, “worthy is the Lamb, the One slain, to receive the power and abundance and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise.

14) And every creature which is in the heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and upon the sea, and all things in them I heard saying, “the praise and the honor and the glory and the might into the ages of the ages to the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb”.

15) And the four creatures kept on saying “Amen”!  And the elders fell down and paid homage.


“And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.” (verse seven)

Now, the view that the apostle John has of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the once-dead but eternally standing Lamb of God Who was chosen before the foundation of the earth to be the Lamb Slain.  And you must see the record that John has left for us in that light.  We’ve already seen instances of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the text of the Revelation.  He appears to John as Daniel saw Him, in all His resurrected, ascended and glorified body.  His head and hair white as snow, His eyes as flaming fire, His feet like burnished brass as in having been fired in a furnace, His voice as a sound of many waters, having seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth, and His face as the sun shines in its power….

He also appears in the scroll itself, for the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us.  He also appears to John in the same manner as He appeared to Ezekiel – in the likeness of a Man upon the throne in the heaven.  John also says that He is “in midst of the throne”, and we read that the creatures in the heaven are worshipping Him “as” God.

And here is Daniel’s view of Him, from the seventh chapter of his prophecy:


13) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.


The prophet Daniel, while greatly disturbed by the fourth great beast with eleven horns, sees our Lord ascend into the Glory Cloud to receive His glory, His dominion and a Kingdom.  And it was during the world-wide reign of the eleven successive “horns”, or emperors, of Rome.

And this was repeated to Daniel by the messenger/angel when the prophet was perplexed by this fourth kingdom.  And he was told that the book (scroll) would be shut up and sealed until the end.  But during this world-wide, civilization-changing sovereignty there arose One Who was given all authority in the heavens and on the earth; One Who overcame the world; One Who was given all the nations as His inheritance; One Who was crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and Whose Kingdom would be an everlasting Kingdom – the FIFTH great Kingdom of the prophecy of Daniel.

So, during the dominion of Rome, the fourth great beast, represented in Daniel’s prophecy by eleven “horns”, (during its dominion) arose the King of the fifth great, civilization-changing, language-changing, law-changing dominion over the earth.  And there would never be another, for His reign would be forever.

And here He stands in John’s full view.  Not with one horn in succession, but with a full array of seven.  The perfect fullness of Daniel’s vision of the fifth Kingdom.

The Lamb of God Who decisively and definitively defeated sin and death, having made atonement for the sin of the world.  The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us in order that HE might be the sacrificial Lamb in exchange – FOR us!

And having ascended once into the Glory Cloud Holy of Holies, He was given His inheritance – absolute sovereignty.  And here He stands, the Lamb of God in perfect fullness of His Own prophetic Word through the prophet Daniel – the seven horns of absolute power and authority in all of God’s creation.  Never again would there be a sovereign ruler over all the nations of the earth – other than Him, for His is the perfect-seven-dominion of all that’s in the heavens and all that’s on the earth!  And, as the apostle John looks on, it is HE, Jesus, Who is now ready to loose the seals of His Own Word, and show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness.

And as John describes Him, He also has “seven eyes”.

Here’s a little history for you to chew on for a while as we contemplate John’s description of our Lord.  In the years just before 586 BC, God brought His servant Nebuchadnezzar out of Babylon to conquer the world.  Babylon was the first great world-dominating beast/tyrant – the first of Daniel chapter seven. And in that year (586) Israel was ravaged, Jerusalem was destroyed (along with Solomon’s temple), and most all of the nation’s people who were left after the slaughter were relocated to Babylon along with all of the wealth of the nation.

As God’s Word reveals, Israel had disobeyed God’s Law-word with regard to the Sabbath rest; so the whole nation would go into Babylonian captivity and enslavement for seventy years.  (Daniel’s prophecy occurred during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel was one of those enslaved in Babylon.)

And while Israel was enslaved, the second great beast of Daniel’s prophecy was called forth by God out of the sea of humanity.  Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great, of the Medo-Persian empire ruled the entire world, having defeated the armies of Babylon.

At the end of the seventy years of banishment and enslavement, during which time the land of Israel lay at rest and fallow, God moved the earth’s ruler/king to release His covenant people to return to the land of promise.  And, at the same time, He also moved to establish a new high priest of Israel.  His name was Joshua.  Joshua the high priest was the first person chosen to be the high priest for the reconstruction of the temple on the mount after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian and Medo-Persian captivity.  Although some stayed in Babylon, two generations having been born and reared there, most Jews returned to Israel in that re-settlement, which was complete in 516BC.  At that point, the land of promise had been seventy years in sabbath rest in exchange for the nation’s desecration of the land in its disobedience of the fourth Commandment.

But now it would be re-populated, re-planted, re-settled….. and the temple on the mount would be re-built under the direction of Joshua the high priest.

Now, that little bit of history is important for you to remember, but its value for this morning rests in the setting which it provides for an absolutely incredible passage of Scripture.  And that passage is in the prophecy of Zechariah chapter three.  Please listen to this carefully, because it has everything to do with the appearance of our Lord, as recorded by the apostle John here in Revelation five verse seven – the appearance of the Lamb slain Who has seven eyes:


3)    Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel.

4)    And he (the angel of Yahveh) answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him (Joshua the priest) he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel.

5)    And I said (i.e. the angel of Yahveh), Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Yahveh was standing by.

6)    And the angel of Yahveh gave charge unto Joshua, saying,

7)    Thus saith Yahveh of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by.

8)    Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch (i.e. the root and branch of David).

9)    For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes:  Behold, I Myself will engrave the inscription thereof, saith Yahveh of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

10) 10 In that day, saith Yahveh of hosts, shall ye invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig-tree.


The prophecy of Zechariah is clearly the Word of God concerning the coming Christ of God – the Stone inscribed by the hand of God – the Branch of David.  And IN HIM shall all the sin of this nation be washed away in a baptismal flood of wrath, as the King of the fifth great Kingdom terminates the covenant with this adulterous nation.

He is the Stone; He is the Rock of salvation and the stone of entrapment and crushing.  And that Stone has seven eyes… exactly what we see in the Lamb slain, standing in the midst of the throne of God – the atonement for the sin of the world – the perfect fullness of the Word of God in the prophecy of Zechariah.

And John records that these are “the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth”.

First let me say that the word “sending forth” is a perfect passive participle in the Greek.  And the word itself is the same word from which comes the English word “apostle”.  An apostle, as in the twelve apostles of Jesus, is one “sent forth”.  Therefore the translation “sending forth”, with the participial construction, in the perfect tense, in the passive voice.

The “sending forth” the perfect Spirit of God economically into all the earth is a point of Theology that has a long history of division, separation and discord in the Churches of Jesus Christ.  And I need to spend just a bit of time on that for you, not only for the historical value alone, but certainly for the purpose of Biblical understanding.  And as before, Dr. Nigel Lee has lent valuable insight into much of this as I cover it briefly for you.

The earliest version of the Apostles' Creed simply states: "I believe in God the Almighty Father and Maker of Heaven and Earth…; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord...; [and] in the Holy Ghost."

Now, progressing through Church history, the A.D. 381 Nicaen-Constantinopolitan Creed adds that the Father made "all things visible and invisible." It declares of the Son that He was "begotten by the Father before all worlds"; that He is "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" – and that it is by the Son that "all things were made." It also states that "the Holy Ghost [is] the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father" and "Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified."  Who proceeds from the Father…”!

And yet later, attempting to remove the very last traces of any possible subordinationism in her understanding of the Son's relationship to His Father, the Western Church declared in the eleventh century that the Spirit proceeds not only from the Father. Consequently, she added to the above creed also the word Filioque (which means "and the Son").  God the Spirit proceeds, or “sends forth” from the Father and the Son!  (And that’s what we see in our text here, isn’t it?)  Unfortunately, the Eastern Church didn’t follow suit, and so has lacked the subsequent dynamism of the Western Church (whether Roman Catholic or Protestant Reformed).  And it’s been marginalized to a liturgical curiosity as a result.

Calvin then recognized the exaltation of the Son yet further, by declaring that not just the Father but also the Son was Auto-Theos ("Himself God") – not deriving His divinity from that of the Father.  Corrective to any neo-pentecostal over-reaction toward solopneumatism ( i.e. "by the Spirit alone") – the present Church of Jesus Christ, and the future Church of the twenty-first century ought to officially recognize that also Holy Spirit is “Himself God”.  For He has always essentially proceeded, or gone forth, or “sends forth” – and keeps on proceeding – just as much as the Father essentially has always fathered or "paternalized" (and keeps on paternalizing), and just as much as the Son essentially has always been a son, or "filiated" (and keeps on filiating).  The “Holy Spirit alone” theology of pentecostalism is therefore idolatry, and all sorts of “babble” comes forth from it.

Yet to guard against tritheizing (which means making three gods), the Church, now and in the future, should also do its “Bible work”, and stress that the Father has never had auto-paternity; that the Son has never had auto-filiation; and that the Spirit has never had auto-procession (or auto-sending forth). For the Father could never have paternalized from all eternity, without there always having been a co-eternal Son, in the power of Holy Spirit. Nor could the Son have filiated from all eternity without a co-eternal Father, in the power of the Spirit. Nor could Holy Spirit ever have proceeded from all eternity – without always having sent forth, and kept on going forth, from a co-eternal Father toward a co-eternal Son (and vice-versa).  So any theology that tends toward “three gods” is also idolatry.

The existing Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Church-of-the-future will need to set out, in the various inter-relationships of human society, the full implications of the Father's paternity, the Son's filiation, and the Spirit's procession (or sending forth)… for the Church needs to distinguish the various personal attributes of the Deity ontically (i.e. within Himself – His being) – (distinguish the attributes) from their application economically (i.e. within the created cosmos).

The Church has distinguished between the Ontological Trinity and His economic coming into the created world. But the Church now needs to distinguish between the Father's ontic and His economic paternity – that is, between His “being” and His “work” as Father; and between the Son's ontic and His economic filiation; and also between Holy Spirit's ontic and His economic procession (or His sending forth). Because if the Church doesn’t emphasize even these ongoing economic movements, or activities – she will undermine her own credibility; and, indeed, she will also undermine humanity's perception even of the ontic realities which undergird the economic movements, or activities, of Father, Son and Spirit.

Cornelius Van Til, late of Westminster Theological Seminary, is of special interest here, in that his insights into Triune God, and the necessity of the Church to “progress” in its understanding of Him, are invaluable.  Because not only does the Church expand its “presence” in all the nations of the earth, but it is also to progress in its understanding of the Biblical text!  That’s what those of the reformation mean when they say “always reforming”.  In “reformation”, we “conform” ourselves as we learn more about what God has revealed.  And it is Holy Spirit “sending forth” into all of the earth from Father and Son Who “reforms” us and “conforms” us to that Revelation.  So there is progress numerically and in physical presence; but there is also progress in understanding God’s Revelation of Himself, and the theological, social and cultural implications of that progress.

So, by the Father's economic paternity (i.e. the work of being Father), we mean implementing the recognition by Christians – in His Church and in all of God's world – of the full theologico-socio-cultural implications of His Word, especially in passages such as Mal. 2:10 and following and Eph. 3:14 and following.

By the Son's economic filiation (i.e. His work of being Son), we mean implementing the recognition by Christians –  in His Church and in all of God's world – of the full theologico-socio-cultural implications of the Word, for example in passages such as Prov. 30:4-11 and I Cor. 12:12-20.

By Holy Spirit's economic procession (or His work of sending forth), we mean implementing the recognition by Christians – in His Church and in all of God's World – of the full theologico-socio-cultural implications of the Word of God, especially in passages such as the creation narrative in Gen. 1:1-28 and Isa. 63:10-19 and II Cor. 3:8-18.

Here in John’s record we see the Son in His economic filiation – that is, His work as God’s eternally begotten – His work of atonement for the sin of the world, and in His work as King of the fifth Kingdom, and in His work of executing the terms of the old covenant.  And He has seven eyes which are the Spirits of God “sending forth” into all the earth… proceeding!

In the work of eternal Father (Himself God), and in the work of eternal Son (Himself God), we see eternal Spirit (Himself God) “sending forth” into all the earth.  This is His work, having proceeded from Father and Son into all the earth, reforming and conforming all of God’s people, and pointing all to the Christ of God Who is the Savior of the world.  And, as I said, there are theological implications to His work; there are social implications to His work; and there are cultural implications to His work.  For we are the judges of the earth, sitting with the Christ on His throne.

However, it isn’t our work this morning to begin the long and extensive explication of the economic procession of God the Spirit into all the earth.  That would be far beyond the scope of the text.  Just let it be said that the Church of our Lord Jesus, as far as it has progressed to date, has gotten it right when it now confesses: “And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.”

The word “proceeds” there in the Nicene Creed means “sending forth”  As the “Stone” laid in Zion by the very hand of God, in the prophecy of Zechariah, had “seven eyes”, so the Lamb of God, slain and standing in midst of the throne in John’s Revelation has seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God “sending forth” into all the earth.

It is the economic procession of God the Spirit into every part of God’s creation – that is, the work of “sending forth” into the world of mankind – into societies and cultures – pointing all to the Savior Who overcame the world and took away the sin of the world.

Please remember that it was our Lord Himself, in His message to the Church at Sardis, Who said “These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you live, but you are dead.”

And also John’s description of the throne of God in chapter four of this Revelation: “And out of the throne proceed lightnings and sounds and thunderings.  And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God”

These are both views of Holy Spirit at work!  One is a view of Him at work in the Church of Jesus Christ; the other is a view of Him at work in all the earth, all of which belongs to Jesus Christ.  He “sends forth”, or proceeds, from Father and Son to do a perfect work in all the domain.

There is no sense whatever here of God the Spirit being seven in number.  That would be another idolatrous conception.  Rather the sevens indicate qualitative perfection, excellence and superiority.  They would mean totality and completion of the work of Holy Spirit among the people of God in Christ’s Church, and in all places of Christ’s domain. 

And remember that not only has there been decisive victory in the crucifixion and resurrection and ascension of the Christ of God; but there has also been complete victory over the idolatrous and adulterous nation with which God had covenanted, for there has been a complete exchange for all its sin; and there is a progressive and total victory over all the creation.  And it is Holy Spirit Whose work that is!  He is Himself God; and it is His procession, or “sending forth” from Father and Son to do the work of the Covenant.

He is, Himself, God.  And His economic procession (sending forth) from Father and Son into all the earth is perfectly evident in the text of Scripture as He creates and rebirths and sanctifies and reforms and conforms.

I’ll read just a few short passages for you in order to illustrate that fact.  And the first, of course, is the work of God the Spirit in creation – from Genesis chapter one:


1)    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2)    And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God hovered upon the face of the waters.


Now, since the apostle John, in his Gospel, tells us that the Son of God, O LOGOS The Word, was the One without Whom nothing was made that was made, it is easy to see that our Triune God, Father Son and Spirit was “at work”; and God the Spirit was “sending forth” in creative work “In the beginning”.

And in Luke chapter one a similar word is used in the text by the angel-messenger of God regarding the One Who is being born of the virgin Mary.  Listen to it:


35) And the angel answered and said unto her, Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall (hover over) you: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.


So, you see the “moving”, the activity, the work of Holy Spirit is quite clear in His “hovering” over the earth – bringing forth creative activity, and in His “hovering” over the virgin – bringing forth the creation of God-man in the womb of Mary.

And further theological, social and cultural implications of Holy Spirit’s work of procession, or “sending forth” into all of God’s creation are all through Scripture.  Although we’re near the end of our time this morning, I just have to read one more for you.  This is the Isaiah chapter 63 passage that I mentioned earlier.  Please listen carefully:


7)    I will make mention of the lovingkindnesses of Yahveh, and the praises of Yahveh, according to all that Yahveh hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

8)    For he said, Surely, they are my people, children that will not deal falsely: so he was their Saviour.

9)    In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

10) But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.

11) Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit in the midst of them?

12) that caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses? that divided the waters before them, to make himself an everlasting name?

13) that led them through the depths, as a horse in the wilderness, so that they stumbled not?

14) As the cattle that go down into the valley, the Spirit of Yahveh caused them to rest; so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.


Now, I didn’t read it all (you certainly should!), but the chapter is filled with Triune God – Father, Son and Spirit – and the Son’s coming wrath and anger toward this rebellious people.  It is also filled with Holy Spirit’s “economic procession” – that is, His work of “sending forth” into the beloved nation of God’s covenant.  The chapter is filled with the work of God the Spirit.

Holy Spirit – Himself God – eternally proceeding from Father and Son.  And the theological, social and cultural implications of His economic procession into all the earth is a matter for the Church to study at length for its own “progress” in this fifth great Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, I leave you with just one further reading of the work of Holy Spirit, pointing us to the Christ, unveiling our eyes and our hearts to the Christ, causing us to see the glory of the Christ.  It is the work of God the Spirit – Himself God.  And I also leave you with the duty of working through all of the implications of His work.  This is Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth, chapter three:


12) Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,

13) and are not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away:

14) but their minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, it not being revealed to them that it is done away in Christ.

15) But unto this day, whensoever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their heart.

16) But whensoever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

17) Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18) But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.


As John saw Him, the Lamb slain was standing in the midst of the throne; and He had seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.