The Weekend Word
The Scroll and the Lamb
1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
- This is a continuation of what John is seeing through the ‘open door’.
- In chapter 4 he sees one seated on the throne – now he sees a scroll, and now we are introduced to someone else.
- Scrolls are big in the Bible;
- Ezekiel 3:3 = “And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.”
- Jeremiah 36:27 = “Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
- Luke = Jesus goes to the synagogue and reads from the scroll of Isaiah and speaks of its fulfillment in their hearing.
- Who holds the scroll? God – in his right hand = power & might. God is in control and God is always running the verbs.
- Exodus 15:6 = “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.”
- Psalm 44:3 = “for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.”
- Sealed – when something is sealed it is the opposite of revealing. When something is sealed there is no action going on. You do not know the content and you do not know what it is to be doing.
- When you have something open, then you have revelation –something happening – action.
- 7 seals = complete sealing.
- Look at the paradox – the open door to see the ‘closed’ scroll.
2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
- So who is worthy to open this scroll? No one!
- Note the loud voice. I guess even angels are excitable.
- Who is this mighty angel? Gabriel? Michael? We do not know.
3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
- Look at the certainty of the statement. No one! In heaven or under the earth – no one nowhere.
4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
- Think of this impact on John as he is brought to loud weeping.
- I imagine there is silence once it is realized – no one.
- Think who is here and they are still silent – 24 elders … silent. The 4 living creatures … silent. The millions of heavenly hosts gathered around God’s throne … silent.
5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
- Note the difference in the descriptions laid out in v. 5 & 6. How heaven describes Jesus (5) and how we see him (6).
- Lion of the tribe of Judah = a political type description of messiah. He is going to be a king. The Son of David 2 Sam 7
- Root of David conquers – v. 6-14
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
- Wait, saw a lamb? I thought I would see a lion. Not just any lamb but one that has been slain … slaughtered and butchered for sacrifice (the sacrificial Passover lamb.)
- Note in v 5 it says he has conquered – this is where the victory is – in the sacrifice – on the altar.
- Is this lamb the hope of the church? What about David before Goliath?
- What is the normal future of a lamb? To become lamb chops … not to give life.
- The lamb John sees is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world – John 1:29. He is the Passover lamb to which all previous Passover lambs pointed.
- Paul writes of this in 1 Cor 5:7b – “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
- 1 Peter 1:19 – “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
- Hebrews 10:1-18 – this entire section is about Jesus as the only sacrifice that counts. The one sacrifice, once for all for all people.
- This is the Christian religion – that Jesus, his passion, his death, his resurrection, IS victory, this is the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell.
- It is heaven for us – for all generations.
- Seven horns = horns are always a symbol for power.
- Seven eyes = sees all, knows all
- Seven spirits = the Holy Spirit. The 7 spirits of the Lord (1) will rest on him says Isaiah the prophet – (2) the spirit of wisdom, (3) of understanding, (4) of counsel, (5) of power, (6) of knowledge, (7) and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
- The picture of God sitting on his throne is very important. God has done his Good Friday; he has done his Mt Calvary.
- This whole scene in Rev 5 is needed to interpret the whole Book of Revelation – John turns looking for a lion and sees a lamb.
- The lamb, not the lion, is God’s revelation to you and to me.
- God’s revelation is always different than the revelation we look for. We look for lions and he gives us a little David. We look for lions and he gives us a slain lamb.
- In Jesus we see God for who he is.
- In Jesus we see the very heart of the gospel.
- In Jesus we are given to see all of reality – the facts of our lives.
- In Jesus we know what God thinks of us, we know how God treats us and we know what God has done for us.
- And, we would not expect this. Everything we see here contradicts our values and our ideas of how things should be done – how things should be done in this world.
- How do we do this? We keep maps and charts – we are score keepers, tit for tat, quid pro quo kind of world.
- We look for lions, we look for Goliaths – this is how our world works.
- If you want to see God doing his best work, you look here. However, we are prone to ask “where are you God? The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
- He is working here in Christ – the lamb who is slain. He died. He is the victim.