Revelation 5:1-15 Part 8


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

a.     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.


The four topics of the “new song” are the reasons the Lamb of God is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals.  The song has to do with the work of the Son – God’s Lamb.  And the song is new because of its content.  The work of the Lamb of God is accomplished – as prophesied.  That’s why the content is new… it is accomplished!

The new content (i.e. the accomplished work of God the Son) shows the direction of all of history.  The redeemed of the Lord from every nation, tongue and tribe, already a nation of kingly priests, are moving, through the work of Holy Spirit, toward the complete dominion of God’s creation.  It was lost in our heritage from Adam.  But in Christ Jesus, the second Adam, we are redeemed and restored to royal priesthood, in order that we might reign with Christ upon the earth!

We are promised ever-increasing victories in the definitive victory of Christ over all His domain (for He has overcome the world).  And as we bring the Gospel and the Law of the King to maturation in all the earth, person to person and family to family and Church to congregation, Holy Spirit will bring honor and glory and increasing rule and dominion to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  That’s His work.

As we’re promised in Old and New Scripture, all peoples in every nation will bend the knee to Christ the King!  And that is the very nature of our confidence, isn’t it?  Of the four “new songs” of the creatures in the heaven (as we heard last Lord’s Day), the first three are the accomplished work of the Lamb of God – all prophesied of old.  And the fourth is ever increasing dominion of the King through the “sending forth” of Holy Spirit into all the earth.

The seven eyes of the Lamb of God pour forth the fire from the seven burning torches on the seven lampstands… in midst of which our glorified Lord stands (chapter one)!  And the seven Churches are to remain faithful and steadfast, anticipating our Lord doing all that He has promised… confident that all His people, as vice-regents and vice-priests, will sit with Him on His throne until all the earth acknowledges that He does, indeed, have all authority in the heavens and upon the earth!

That’s called “optimism” by some.  In actuality it is confidence.  That’s what our Lord requires of us – confidence in what He’s done; confidence in what He said; confidence in what He promised.

But let me tell you that confidence in what Jesus has done and what He has promised is not held by those who say that God the Son and God the Spirit are now in a “failure mode”, and the Church will fail during this “Church age” and have to be “raptured out” of an evil world that’s far superior!

And that confidence in what Jesus has done and what He promised is not held by some others who say that “good” and “evil” will be about the same as they are now when Jesus returns and takes all of His people to “heaven” (wherever they think that is).

And that confidence in what Jesus has done and what He promised is not held by even others who say that this world will have to be totally destroyed by fire, because that’s the only way God can deal with it… it’s just too evil.

And that confidence in what Jesus has done and what He promised is not held by those who don’t celebrate the salvation and restoration of God’s creation in full victory – in space and time – over all of Christ’s enemies!

What did He tell His apostles?  “Be confident.  I have overcome the world!”  And what’s the last song sung by the creatures in the heaven?  The ones out of the nations who Jesus bought for God in His blood will reign with Him upon the earth!

Does that sound like a vote of “no confidence” among the creatures in and around God’s judgment seat?

It seems to me that those with a lack of confidence in what Jesus Christ has done and what He promised to do is exactly what Jesus reveals in the letters to the seven Churches.  Do you remember those?

First, some of the Churches are full of life-deadening anxiety because of the heavy-handed rule of the Roman government, and because of the lies and false accusations of judaists;

Second, some in the Churches are open to any wind of doctrine offered by judaists and by idolaters of mythological gods and goddesses;

And, third, they eat the sacramental meals with the idolators, because they have to do business with these people who live in this ugly, fallen world;

Fourth, they participate in the lusty and lascivious lifestyle of the romanists, because, after all, it really doesn’t matter.  Things are going to continue just as they are anyway;

And, fifth, they copy the world-views and philosophies of the seemingly knowledgeable and charismatic and well-spoken people around them.  They are “charmed” by those with high-sounding oratory who sound really smart… but who see cultural and social and political issues from man’s point of view rather than from God’s.

And these issues are all present today in those who have no confidence in what God the Son has done and what He promised to do.  And I would add another (there are certainly more than one, but one more will do for now); many enter into an internal, emotional and idolatrous relationship with one Person of Triune God.  Because there’s no confidence in Jesus Christ’s promised salvation and restoration of the creation, this highly personal – and terribly deformed – relationship with Holy Spirit is composed and configured solely in their own minds.  Father and Son are somehow excluded to some degree because there’s no confidence there.  So, as a result, “it’s ME and HIM.  It’s just me and the Holy Spirit – one on one….  That’s all I need.  I’m safe – even if the whole world goes to hell, I’m safe!  I am filled with the Holy Ghost!”

But, you see, confidence is absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another; and that “other” is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  Holy Spirit is, Himself, God.  And His work is not to direct God’s people to Himself – but to lead us and point us to the Christ!  He testifies of Him!  And the personal and emotional attachment to Holy Spirit alone is a magnet for a negative and unbalanced life.  It is a form of idolatry, for that is not God the Spirit’s work.

The lifestyle of one who has confidence in everything that Jesus has done and promised is described in a number of ways, and with a number of Biblical and theological terms, such as trust, assurance, conviction, hope (which is anticipation), faith, certainty, reliance, boldness, courage, steadfastness….

And that lifestyle is characterized by thankfulness, celebration, obedience to God’s Law-word, public worship, delight in learning God’s Revelation, joy of life and faithfulness in family, automatic resistance to idolatry and false teachers, love for others (especially confessing believers) and a desire that they, too, have confidence in the Christ, a positive and optimistic outlook on things, no matter how they may seem at the moment, for what one sees and feels at any point in time is not as trustworthy as that which Jesus Christ has done and what He has promised to do!

And the lifestyle that is characterized by confidence in The Christ is one of expectancy!  We expect the overwhelming and victorious progress of our Lord’s Kingdom.  And our prayers that rise to the nostrils of Almighty God regarding that expectancy are pleasing to Him, for the victory of Jesus Christ is prophesied all through God’s Word.

Now.  As we go forward in the text – verses twelve through fifteen – John has heard the “new song” sung by the four throne-creatures and the elder creatures.  And, by the way, I don’t know of a hymn of praise that we can sing together in Church that is Revelation’s “new song”.  Isn’t that amazing?

A goodly portion of God’s Word has been put to music.  Our Trinity Hymnal includes portions of at least sixty psalms; and quotes from other books of the Bible are included in many other hymns, and they are liberally sprinkled all through the hymnal.

But I just can’t imagine why someone in the last two thousand years hasn’t put this song to music for the Church to use in public worship!  Maybe that could be one of the reasons that the Church is showing signs of weakness in our time!  We don’t know this “new song”; and therefore we aren’t confident and expectant!  Or at least our confidence and expectancy aren’t at their fullness due to a lack of knowledge of this song, and our inability to sing it in public worship!

But a great majority of our Reformed forefathers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were postmillennialists; and so were the Puritans who were among those who settled this country originally.  And there were some good hymnists!  It’s just a bit of a mystery to me.

Anyway, in our text John has heard the “new song” – the completed work of the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world, and His promised further work!

And now he hears the thunderous roar of speech, as a response to the new song, the sound of every creature in the heaven.  It is praise to the Lamb that was slain (verse twelve).

As John the baptizer said when first he saw Jesus, “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”!

Because of the Person – the Son of God/Son of man – and His work, and the promise of the completion of His work (all there in the new song), the myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angel/messengers join with the throne creatures and elder creatures in a roaring, thunderous vocal response to the new song!  And that response is that the Lamb is worthy to receive the inheritance of all things in the heavens and on the earth!

The vocal enumeration of items now inherited by the Lamb is a perfect seven (there are seven of them).  Every creature in the heaven shouts the perfect seven!  And these seven elements of praise comprise all things in the heaven and upon the earth.

We’ll come back to that in a minute, but (verse fourteen) as if in joyful response to Christ’s receiving all authority in the heaven and upon the earth, the entire creation – fourfold – immediately joins in with all the creatures in the heaven in praise to The One Who made atonement for the sin of the world, and Who has overcome the world, and Who now has dominion over the world, and Who will restore the creation!  That’s His promised work!

Remember that the creation is referred to in terms of “four”.  The four throne-creatures have to do with God’s creation.  And here in the text, as the creation itself joins all the creatures in the heaven in joyful praise of the Lamb, it is fourfold!

And that’s why the apostle Paul writes that the creation itself groans for its redemption!  Everything in it yearns and groans and cries out to be redeemed!  Listen to that in Romans chapter eight:


18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.

19) For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.

20) For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope

21) that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.


And that’s why John sees a fourfold creation response of praise to the Lamb of God.

Truly this is the One Who is worthy to open the seals of His Own Word, for the opening of the seals is the occasion of the termination of the apostate covenant nation, and the incorporation of God’s people from every tongue and tribe and nation!  It is the occasion of Christ’s dominion over everything in the heavens and the earth!  It is the occasion of the “sending forth” of Holy Spirit into all the earth to bring Christ’s dominion to a successful conclusion!  It’s no wonder that the entire cosmos groans for its redemption!

And as John sees and hears all these things at the throne, the time is near for that which is necessary to be done in quickness.  The thirty-five years from the time of Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the time of His Parousia is a period of “holding back”, or inhibiting, the pouring out of the sanctions of the covenant.  And the purpose of that was for the apostolic establishment of the Church in the nations, and for the rescue of the 144,000 of God’s elect from Israel before the seals are opened!

And now as John looks on, and as he hears the roar of praise, the further work of the Christ is about to commence.  And I would refer you to the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi, in which he wrote this:


5)    Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6)    Who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7)    but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;

8)    and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.

9)    Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the Name which is above every name;

10) that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,

11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


One day all of creation will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.  But the apostle John hears the praise of all the creatures in the heaven as all together they proclaim the Lamb’s worthiness to inherit all of this.  And they enumerate seven components of that which the worthy Lamb of God receives – the “seven” indicating the “fullness”, or “completeness”, of his inheritance.  You see, He is worthy to receive all things!

The first of these being “power”.  And I’ll read only two passages to you, the first being from Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome:


1)    Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God,

2)    which He promised afore through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,

3)    concerning His Son, Who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,

4)    Who was, according to the Spirit of Holiness, declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.


And secondly from Luke chapter 21:


20) But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.

21) Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein.

22) For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23) Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people.

24) And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25) And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows;

26) men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world:  for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28) But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh.

So, the first of the perfect “seven” that the worthy Lamb of God receives is power.  The second thing that the Lamb Who is worthy receives is “abundance” (verse thirteen).

This word is usually translated “riches” in the common translations; but the Greek word is singular.  So “abundance” is a better word to translate it.  Now, there’s a contrast in Scripture between the riches of this world and the riches (abundance) that Jesus receives at the completion of His work as the Lamb of God.  And I have a couple of short passages for you that allow some insight.

First is the apostle Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus, chapter one:


5)    having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6)    to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:

7)    in Whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the abundance of His grace,


And Paul again, writing to the Church at Philippi, chapter four:


19) And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His abundance in glory in Christ Jesus.


So the Lamb of God is worthy to receive an abundance of glory from His Father, and we in Him, and that is contrasted with the riches of this world.  The judaists gloried in the abundance of what was given to them rather than the abundance of the glory which Christ Jesus received.  And when this issue comes up in Scripture, it’s always good to mention that the contrast in Scripture is not one between riches and poverty, but between riches and the abundance of glory in Christ Jesus.

The third component of the perfect seven inheritance of the worthy Lamb of God is wisdom.  And once again the wisdom of this world order is contrasted with the wisdom of God which the Lamb of God is worthy to receive.  Here is Paul in I Corinthians one:


19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.

20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21) For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.

22) Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom:

23) but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness;

24) but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.


The fourth of the seven items that the worthy Lamb of God receives is might.  One could ask, “What’s the difference between power and might?  The Lamb of God, because of His work, receives all power from God the Father.  Now He receives all “might”!

Well, the Greek words are totally different.  This one has to do with “ability”, especially regarding His saving activity.  Paul makes that clear for us in Ephesians chapter one:


17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him;

18) having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the abundance of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19) and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might

20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,

21) far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22) and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

23) which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.


“The strength of His ability to save….”

Moving quickly… the fifth item of the perfect seven that the Lamb is worthy to receive is honor.  And glory (the sixth in the list) normally occurs with it in Christological statements.  Honor (as in God’s Law-word….  Honor your mother and your father – the verbal form) honor (the noun) means dignity, esteem.  And there’s no place better to see that than in Hebrews chapter two:


7)    Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, And didst set him over the works of thy hands:

8)    Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him.

9)    But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God e should taste of death for every man.


As I said, honor and glory are often linked together in Christological passages, as that one is.  And glory is His brightness and esteem which He put away for a time to be born of a woman.  But here John hears from the host of heaven that He is worthy to receive it again because of His work.

And lastly, to complete the perfect seven, is praise.  The Greek word simply means “good words” or “well-spoken”.  And who better to illustrate what the worthy Lamb of God receives than the apostle Peter in his first letter to the Christian refugees from Israel in the nations:


7)    that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:

8)    who not having seen ye love; on Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9)    receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.


“That your faith may be found unto praise….”

The Son of God, having put away all of these things in order to be born of a woman, now has completed His work as the Lamb of God; and He has been deemed worthy to receive it all again, being victorious in all His work of taking away the sin of the world and overcoming it.

And then everything in the creation joins in the praise of the Lamb.  At every point the creatures in the midst of the throne say “Amen”.  And the elders around the throne prostrate themselves before the One worthy to receive His inheritance – all His glory which He had put away for a time, and all authority in the heavens and on the earth.