Saturday, 14 November 2020
saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12
What is recorded here is based on what was said in the previous verse –
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice…”
With that context understood, the voice of the many angels is described now as megalē. It is variously translated as loud, mighty, great, and so on. Some translations also change the word “saying” to “singing,” to convey the idea that this doxology is actually sung out. Either way, their words are words of great exaltation and laud concerning the event that took place before them, beginning with, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.”
Like the previous doxology from the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, the focus is not merely on the Lamb, but that He was slain. What is implied is that the Lamb was worthy prior to having been slain, but that the slaying of the Lamb completes the idea of worthiness. In other words –
The Lamb was born worthy; pure and undefiled, and qualified to complete a mission.
The Lamb lived worthily without ever sinning. He remained qualified throughout His life.
The Lamb died in sinless perfection. Thus, He was not only qualified to take the scroll, but He was now worthy of doing so as well.
Death was a necessary part of the Lamb’s mission. Until death in a sinless state occurred, the argument by someone could be made that the Lamb could potentially sin. Thus, the scroll would need to be withheld from the Lamb based on this “what if” scenario.
However, in His death of sinless perfection, the mission came to an end. There could never be a challenge to the right to take the scroll. In Christ’s death under the Law of Moses, the law was fulfilled. In fulfilling the law, it was annulled (Hebrews 7:18), made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), and taken away (Hebrews 10:9). Paul gives the appropriate symbolism in Colossians 2 –
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13, 14
Nobody walked up to the cross of Christ and nailed a copy of the Law of Moses to it. Rather, the symbolism Paul is conveying is that Christ, the embodiment (and thus the fulfillment) of the law, died on the cross. As He embodies the law, and as He died, the law died (annulled, made obsolete, and taken away) with Him. In Christ, His people likewise die to the law.
This is what is being conveyed in the doxology. It is the slaying of the Lamb that makes this possible. In His death, He who was qualified and capable of receiving the scroll also become worthy:
“To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Power – (Note: there is an article in the Greek before “power.” It is “the power.”) As the Creator, He was entitled to all power and authority, but He set that aside to walk and dwell among us. However, after the resurrection, He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). With authority comes power. Jesus has complete and absolute power over the created order because of His having prevailed.
Riches – This includes every tangible part of the creation. Not only does He have rule over the creation, but He is the owner of it. He is the Creator and He is the Redeemer. Everything belongs to Him alone. We are only His servants participating in the abundance of His wealth.
Wisdom – In 1 Corinthians 1:24, Christ is called “the wisdom of God.” What God has done has been done through Jesus Christ. This includes the way creation occurred and how it continues to work and be sustained. Further, the way God has preordained the plan of redemption demonstrates the execution of His infinite intelligence. The depths of His wisdom are embodied in the Person of Jesus.
Strength – The concept of strength belonging to God permeates the Bible, such as in the psalms – “To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises” (Psalm 59:17). Jesus Christ is worthy to receive this honor because it came from Him and is now returning to Him as the Victor.
Honor – This includes reverence, respect, and worship. Because He prevailed, Jesus has the right to all of these now and forevermore. When we bow before God, when we proclaim the majesty of God, when we pray to God, we do these things through Jesus Christ.
Glory – In God, there is no darkness. He is the infinite brightness of splendor and radiance. Jesus Christ is the One who reveals this to us. Towards the end of Revelation, it says, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:23). Jesus Christ receives and directs the full glory of God. He is the very light that dispels the darkness.
Blessing – There are two types of blessing that should be noted. The first is the blessing from a greater to a lesser, such as when a father blesses his son. The other blessing is the one spoken of here and can be equated with “praise.” Jesus is worthy of all blessing and praise. He created us, and therefore He is to be blessed. He redeemed us, and therefore He is to be blessed. He sustains us, and therefore He is to be blessed.
Life application: The heavenly choir of angels – an innumerable number of them – joins with the living creatures and the elders to proclaim the infinite worth of the Lamb. This Lamb was slain, and He bears the marks of His death as a testament to the ages that He paid the price for the people of the world. They call out seven ways in which He is worthy. He is to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing.
Yes! Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is Jesus! For all eternity, may the souls of God’s people bless the Lord! He is great, He is glorious, and He is worthy! He is JESUS!
O Lord our God, You are infinitely worthy of power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing! May we never fail to give You these through the Person of Jesus. He is the One who humbled Himself even to death so that we may have life. Through Him we ascribe to You the splendor and majesty that You are due! Amen.