Revelation 4 and 5

In Revelation 4 the scene changes and John is brought up through a door to see God’s throne room.  It is a scene of incredible power and purity.  God reigns in majesty and glory as well as in wrath and judgment.  Yet this is tempered by His mercy.  His royal court surrounds him.  It consists of 24 heavenly angelic beings and 4 “living creatures.”  They worship Him continually.  Thunder and lightning, symbolic of imminent and powerful action, explode from the throne.  The seven spirits of God, or the Holy Spirit, are before the Father on the throne.  In Revelation 5 John notices that the Father is holding a scroll in his right hand of authority.  It is written on both sides and sealed with seven seals.  What is it?  Scholars have offered various answers including the Lamb’s Book of Life, the Old Testament, and more.  The best answer is, given the context and where Revelation goes from here, that the scroll contains God’s will and purpose for the creation and is at the same time a deed of inheritance.  This means someone needs to take this scroll and open it for God’s plan to be successful.  John weeps at this point and it is a deep, mournful weeping.  He knows that there is no one worthy enough to open it.  The word “worthy” carries the idea of sufficient more than it carries the idea of purity or morality.  In other words no one is sufficiently able to open the scroll and see God’s purposes fulfilled.  Then one of the elders points out that Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has triumphed.  These terms represent the patriarchs and the kingdom of Israel.  The one called by them is the fulfillment of both.  John looks for what will surely be a strong individual and sees a lamb, as if it had been sacrificed.  He is the worthy one.  He takes the scroll and the praise in the throne room turns from focusing on the Father to focusing on the Son for His redemptive act.  Significantly the Holy Spirit, who is before the Father in chapter 4, is on the Son in chapter 5.  John clearly wants to communicate a Trinitarian theology to us.  In these two chapters, then, we see the powerful and mighty God who is able to overthrow Caesar but who conquers by means of sacrifice.  The first century believers certainly resonated with this message as they considered their own weakness before the Empire.  Their God, who is Almighty, conquers by means of sacrifice.  They will need this to endure.


About bob

I am a Vineyard pastor and a passionate student of the Bible with an instinctive distrust of "business as usual" when it comes to the story of the Bible. Gratefully I have the opportunity to dig a little deeper and my purpose with this blog is to share what I discover.

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