Revelation 5:1-7

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 9, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

We have come to that point in Revelation where we are looking into the future.

For John, the future starts when a door opened in heaven and he was caught up before the throne of God. He began to describe what he saw.

The throne of God. A green rainbow around the throne. Twenty-four elders with golden crowns. Lightning, thunder, and voices. Four living creatures known as the cherubim. And lots of worship.

This only sets the stage for the main event … chapter five.


An anthropologist went to study a far-flung tropical island. He found a guide with a canoe to take him upriver to the remote site where he would make his observations. About noon on the second day of travel up the river they began to hear drums. The anthropologist asked his guide, “What are those drums?” The guide turned to him and said, “Drums okay, but VERY BAD when they stop.” As they traveled the drums grew louder and louder. The anthropologist was nervous, but the guide merely repeated, “Drums okay. Drums not bad. When drums stop, then very bad!” Then the drums suddenly stopped. Terrified, the anthropologist yelled to the guide: “The drums stopped! What now?” The guide crouched down, covered his head with his hands and said, “Guitar solo.”

The drums have stopped and we’re ready for the big event … and it’s not bad, it’s good!

5:1-7 The Lamb


There are a few things that are helpful in understanding what’s next.


Property was meant to stay in the family.

When God brought the nation Israel into their promised land, He gave each family an inheritance, a portion of land.
It was very important to God that each family retains their inheritance, their land. The land was never to leave the possession of its family.
But God knew that there would be instances where a family might become poor and need to sell their only possession left, their land.
Yet even in these circumstances, the sale of the land was not permanent. It could be bought back by a “redeemer”, if the redeemer was from the same family as the original owners.
(Le 25:25 NKJV) ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.

redeeming relativeqarowb – near; kinship

to redeemga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, do the part of a kinsman

Land that had been sold could be bought back, but it had to be bought by a near relative.


You see how this “redemption” takes place in the book of Ruth.

A poor widow named Naomi has come back to see if someone will “redeem” her family property. And besides the land, there’s a young gal named Ruth that goes along with the purchase. A relative named Boaz who is eligible to buy the property, and he likes Ruth, but before he can make the transaction, he has to deal with another relative who is “closer”.

(Ru 4:1–4 NKJV) —1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.

There is a piece of property (and a gal) involved.
There are “kinsmen” who are qualified or “worthy” to make the purchase.
The transaction takes place at the city gate where the “elders” hang out.


In Jewish custom there were two copies of a deed of sale. One copy was available for records and reference. The official copy was sealed and could only be opened by the rightful owner as identified in the open copy. A transaction could not be complete until the rightful owner came forward to break the seals and show that he had the right of ownership. (Revelation Record by Henry Morris, p. 97)

You see an example of this with Jeremiah, when he was bought his uncle’s land.

(Je 32:10–12 NLT) —10 I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. 11 Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, 12 and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
The title deed of the land was written on a scroll and sealed.


1. God gave each family an inheritance, and wanted the land to stay with each family

2. If a man sold his land, it was not a permanent sale, but a near relative could later buy back the land.

3. The transactions of redemption were sealed and took place at the city gates, before the elders of the city.

:1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

:1 the right handdexios – the right, the right hand

John notices that there is something in the right hand of God or “at the right” of God.

The right hand is typically seen as the place of authority, as an “important” place.
The word “hand” is simply understood.  No word for “hand” in the Greek.

:1 a scrollbiblion – a small book, a scroll, a written document

Not a large scroll, but a small scroll.

This is one of two “diminuitive” words in our passage – “smaller”.

:1 inside and on the back

There is writing on both sides.  No extra space.

:1 sealed with seven seals

Not sealed side by side, but one after another. One seal on the outside, a little further in the scroll is the next seal, and then another.  Each seal reveals more of the scroll.

I think this fits best in the context – as each seal is broken, something happens.

What is the scroll?

There are no shortage of ideas. Some say it’s the “book of the new covenant”, others a “book of judgment”.

Walter Scott considered it “the revelation of God’s purpose and counsel concerning the world.”

Some suggest it is a scroll of judgment – that it is all about God’s judgment of the earth.  When the scroll is unrolled, this is what takes place.

I’d suggest it’s the title deed of the earth.

1. God gave man the earth for a possession.
(Ge 1:28 NKJV) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
2. Man sold his inheritance to Satan at the fall.
Adam’s sin brought judgment.  Adam was removed from the garden.
(Ro 5:12 NKJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
You see this when Satan tempts Jesus by offering to give Jesus the kingdoms of this world.
(Mt 4:8–9 NKJV) —8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

We're now at the gates of heaven, before the throne, with the elders watching.

:2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

:2 angelaggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent; an angel

:2 strongischuros – strong, mighty

:2 proclaimingkerusso – to be a herald, to officiate as a herald; always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed

:2 loudmegas – great; used of intensity and its degrees: with great effort, of the affections and emotions of the mind, of natural events powerfully affecting the senses: violent, mighty, strong

:2 worthyaxios – having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value

:2 Who is worthy

Who has the qualifications?

It has to be someone who is a “near kinsman”.
The redeemer has to be related to Adam, the one who sold the property.
An angel wouldn’t do. An animal wouldn’t do.
It has to be someone with human blood in His veins.
It has to be someone who can pay the price.
You or I could not pay the price because the price-tag is too high.
(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death
Someone has to pay for our sin. Someone has to die.

:3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

:3 was abledunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

:3 in heaven or on the earth or under the earth

In all of creation, no one was qualified.

No one met the qualifications.

:4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.

:4 weptklaio – to mourn, weep, lament

If this scroll was just a list of judgments, why would John weep when no one can open the scroll?

If it’s the title deed of the earth, weeping would be appropriate if no one was able to come and buy back the earth from Satan.

:4 open … read … look

No one was worthy.


Weeping for the world

John is totally bummed that no one is qualified to open the scroll. The idea is that no one is qualified to purchase the earth back from Satan.
Sometimes we as Christians are just a bit too shallow.  We don’t care much for others.  PlayShallow Small Group
John sees the world going to hell, and it makes him weep.
Do you weep for your unsaved friends?

:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

:5 one of the elders

One of the twenty-four elders – the guys on thrones with golden crowns.

:5 prevailednikao – to conquer; come off victorious; to win the case

Someone has been found that can meet the qualifications.

:5 the Lion of the tribe of Judah

The tribe of Judah has long been associated with lions.

This is what Jacob prophesied over his son Judah:

(Ge 49:9–10 NLT) —9 Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey. Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.
The Lion was the king of the beasts, and Judah would be the one with the ruler’s scepter.
King David came from the tribe of Judah, and the Messiah would be a descendant from King David.

Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.

When Solomon built his grand throne out of ivory and gold, he had lions placed next to the armrests and twelve lions next to the steps that ascended up to his throne. (1Ki. 10:18-20)
(1 Ki 10:18–20 NKJV) —18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests. 20 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.

A lion speaks of ferocity, authority, and power.

C.S. Lewis wove Jesus into the Narnia books as the character Aslan, a lion.
When the Pevensie children first hear about Aslan, they are having supper with the beavers. They hear that Aslan is a lion.
Susan says, “Ooh! I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (pg. 75-76)

This is part of who Jesus is. This is how the elder describes Jesus.

:5 the Rootrhiza – a root; that which like a root springs from a root, a sprout, shoot

:5 the Root of David

I think this is hinting at Isaiah’s prophecy:

(Is 11:1 NKJV) There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
Jesse was the father of David. The prophecy is that the Messiah would come from the family of David, with David and Jesse being at the root of the family tree.
But here Jesus is actually the “root” of David.

Jesus is the One who has existed since eternity past.

I think this answers the dilemma that Jesus presented to the Pharisees:

(Mt 22:41–46 NKJV) —41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The Pharisees were stumped at why David would be calling his offspring “Lord”, when a father is always a “lord” over his children.  Yet Jesus is not just the offspring of David, He is the “Root” of David.

Micah hints at this paradox as well:

(Mic 5:2 NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Bethlehem was the city of David, the birthplace of David. The Messiah would come from Bethlehem, the city of David, but He would be the One who has existed since eternity past.

Jesus was not only from the root of David, Jesus is the root of all things.

:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

:6 a Lambarnion – a little lamb

It’s not just a “lamb”, but a “little lamb” (diminuitive of “lamb”)

He is introduced as the “Lion”, but He appears as a Lamb.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus …

(Jn 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John was talking about a sacrificial lamb.  Jesus took on human flesh in order to be a sacrifice, to pay the price for our sins.

:6 as though it had been slainsphazo – to slay, slaughter, butcher

The Lamb has been slain, but he’s not lying down, he’s standing.

I think you could make the case that Jesus will still have nail-pierced hands and a wounded side in heaven.

These are reminders of the price that He’s paid for us.

:6 seven horns … seven eyes

The Lamb has “perfect” power and “perfect” knowledge.

Horns are representative of power in the Bible. This Lamb has “perfect” power.

:6 seven eyes

Eyes are related to knowledge. This Lamb has perfect knowledge.

:6 which are the seven Spirits of God

The Lamb’s knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.  One strange picture.

:7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

:7 tooklambano – to take; to receive (what is given)

:7 took the scroll

Is Jesus qualified?

1. He is a near-kinsman

He was fully human, born of the virgin Mary. We’re related.
(Heb 2:14 NKJV) Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

2. He paid the price

He is the Lamb that was slain for us.
He was also fully God. He laid down an infinite life to pay an infinite price.
(Heb 9:24–26 NKJV) —24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.


Only One Way

There was only One who was worthy.  Jesus said,
(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

In heaven, we will see all the pieces come together.

There is only One who is worthy.  Only One who has paid for us.

He also said,
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus. Are you trusting in Him?