The OT "heaven" of Rev 4 becomes the NT "heaven" of Rev 5,
when the slain Lamb ascends to the throne of God.
Note //s with Eze: the 4 living creatures, a throne scene, a
scroll -- with judgments against Israel on it, to be fulfilled in a Babylonian
invasion. This similarity with Eze explains the correspondence between the
cherubim vision of Eze 1:22-28 and that of Rev 4:2-6
A SCROLL: In Rev 5:1... (1) Its opening dependent upon
sacrifice of Christ (Rev 5:5,6,9,12). (2) No one else could open it, whereas
many prophets saw future. (3) "Book of life" (Rev 13:8) appears to be ref to Rev
5. (4) Dan 7:9,10: a parallel passage -- ends with "the judgment was set and
books were opened" -- which links Rev 5 with Rev 20:12 ('the book of life'). (5)
The ensuing prophecies are seen when seals are opened. But when final seal is
opened (ie, book itself is opened), then is "time of dead... to be judged" (Rev
11:15,18). (6) Dan 12: The book sealed until time of end (Dan 12:4,9) is the
book of life (Dan 12:1,2) (WRev 44,45).
A LOUD VOICE: There was an urgency in the desire of
further knowledge of Yahweh's purpose. Even the angels desire to look, but are
not able (1Pe 1:12).
WHO IS WORTHY TO BREAK THE SEALS AND OPEN THE SCROLL?:
Daniel was given certain information, but also told that the book was sealed
until the end (Dan 12:4-8). The Apocalypse given at the end of Jewish times (cp
Heb 1:2), revealed in symbol what will be plainly revealed in the earth at the
end of Gentile times (Hab 2:3).
BUT NO ONE IN HEAVEN OR ON EARTH OR UNDER THE EARTH COULD
OPEN THE SCROLL OR EVEN LOOK INSIDE IT: "And there was found none worthy to
do so, neither an angel in heaven, nor any mortal man on earth, nor any of past
generations now buried under the earth. Well might John weep! The situation
emphasized that redemption and the reading of a Book of Life could never come by
angelic ministration nor by the efforts of any mortal man, nor by the
self-sacrifice of those prepared to die for others, but in one way and one way
only -- through the death of a divinely provided sacrifice (v 6). Is it
exaggeration or presumption or blasphemy to suggest that even divine omnipotence
and omniscience could have devised no other means to bring about human
redemption than that Purpose which is being worked out in Christ?"
I WEPT AND WEPT BECAUSE NO ONE WAS FOUND WHO WAS WORTHY TO
OPEN THE SCROLL OR LOOK INSIDE: "This shows how keenly John felt his
ignorance of the Divine purpose. He lived for the future, not the present, and
desired to have a spiritual vision that could take him into the glory to be
revealed. This anxious desire for knowledge of the Divine will and purpose
characterises all those who 'hunger and thirst' for knowledge. (See Rev 6:10;
1Pe 1:10; Dan 12:10; Hab 1:2)" (ApEp).
The "Lion" has triumphed, but (v 6) as a "Lamb"! The Lion's
triumph is a sacrificial triumph!
THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH: A ref to Jacob's
prophecy: "You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like
a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness -- who dares to rouse him? The
scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs [or 'until Shiloh comes'] and the obedience of
the nations is his" (Gen 49:9,10). The first part of this passage hints at
resurrection, while its conclusion suggests the wider purpose of God with the
ROOT OF DAVID: Because the father David obtains
(eternal) life thru the Son! Cp Isa 11:1.
"Rev 22:16 describes him as 'the Root and Offspring of David'.
The paradox is a striking one and yet perfectly true. Jesus was acknowledged
during the days of his flesh as Son of David, and his right to David's throne
(whether legally or by natural descent) is fully established by the two
genealogies of Mat and Luke. Hence Isa 11:1: 'There shall come forth a rod out
of the stem of Jesse, and a branch (Heb 'nezer', whence 'Nazareth') shall grow
out of his roots' " (WRev).
A LAMB, LOOKING AS IF IT HAD BEEN SLAIN: The "Lion" of
Judah (v 5; Gen 49:9,10), who lay down (death) and rose up (resurrection). Jesus
is the mediator of the new covenant: Heb 12:24; cp 1Pe 1:19. He was first slain,
but now he is standing again (Isa 53:7).
"In the Apocalypse the Lamb is brought to our notice in a very
striking way. John wept that none was able to open the seals which revealed
things which must come to pass. He was told not to weep: 'Behold, the Lion of
the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book' (v 5).
Thus encouraged John looked as commanded, but it was not a Lion that met his
eyes, but 'a Lamb as it had been slain.' The Lion phase is based upon the Lamb
phase; the foundation of all future power and glory being laid in the death of
the Lamb. The metaphor wears so thin that the Lamb becomes a title of the Lord
Jesus in several places of the Apocalypse (Rev 14:4; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7-9;
21:9,22,23)" (CJoh 34).
STANDING IN THE CENTER OF THE THRONE: Jesus in the
midst of: (1) thieves: Joh 19:18; (2) his disciples: Joh 20:19; (3) the teachers
of the Law: Luk 2:46; (4) two or three: Mat 18:20; (5) the lampstands: Rev 1:13;
(6) the throne: Rev 5:6.
SEVEN HORNS: Sym power (Psa 18:2; 89:17,24; 92:10;
112:9; 132:17; Luk 1:69). Christ possesses perfect and lasting power, of which
the other Apocalyptic horns are a mere shadow (Rev 12:3; 13:1,11;
SEVEN HORNS AND SEVEN EYES: Full power and full wisdom
HE CAME AND TOOK THE SCROLL FROM THE RIGHT HAND OF HIM WHO
SAT ON THE THRONE: Christ stands at veil, to sprinkle blood (Heb 9:24), then
approaches the very mercy-seat, or throne, of God, to recv "book of
"That this part of the vision is a 'flashback' to the day of
Christ's ascension is strongly supported by the literal translation given in the
RV mg: 'he came and hath (already) taken the book' -- what John is now seeing is
a representation of what had actually taken place nearly forty years earlier"
THE RIGHT HAND: The hand of privilege and power (cp Psa
80:17; 1Pe 3:22).
EACH ONE HAD A HARP: A symbol of gladness and
rejoicing. The priests in the Temple "prophesied with harps" (1Ch 25:1).
INCENSE... PRAYERS: Intercession of Christ on saints'
behalf in most holy place (Heb 7:25). Incense, symbolic of the prayers of the
saints (Psa 141:2). When the priest burned the incense every morning, true
Israelites engaged themselves in prayer (Luke 1: 9,10), recognizing the
significance of the ascending smoke of incense.
PURCHASED: Gr "agorazo": to be in the "agora", the
marketplace or forum; hence, to buy or sell there. See Lesson,
Note: The 4 living creatures and 24 elders stand closer to
throne than do the angels.
TEN THOUSAND: Frequently used as a large undefined
number: cp Deu 33:2; 1Co 4:15; 14:19; Psa 3: 6.
"All creation: angelic, immortal and mortal; both Jews and
Gentiles. The terms are symbolic. 'Heaven' represents the ruling places, the
government; 'earth' has relation to the 'first dominion' (Mic 4:8); 'under the
earth', the 'bottomless pit of nations' relating specifically to the Roman
Empire (Rev 11:7), 'the sea', other Gentile powers.
Thus all creation finally ascribe glory to the one for whom so
long has been ignored in the counsels of men and nations. And this wonderful
consummation is brought about by the 'prevailing' of the Son of God, by the
outpouring of Divine judgements upon the earth (Isa 26:9)" (ApEp).