Revelation 5:7

Monday, 9 November 2020

Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Revelation 5:7

In the Greek, there is a changing of the tenses of the verbs which is skipped by most translations, and yet it makes the entire scene much more graphic. The Greek goes from the aorist to the perfect tense –

“And He came, and He has taken the scroll out of the right hand of Him who is sitting on the throne.”

With this understood, it can be analyzed more precisely. John begins with, “And He came.” One can imagine anyone approved to do so coming before the throne, just as is seen in any royal setting. For example, Esther was granted permission to stand before King Ahasuerus in the book of Esther –

“Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king.” Esther 8:3, 4

In this heavenly scene of Revelation 5, the Lamb came before the One on the throne. He has been granted this royal privilege. But there is a specific reason for His approach. It next says, “and He has taken the scroll.”

One can see the definitive nature of the act. Not only did the Lamb come forward, but when He came, He is shown to be worthy. The completed and definitive act of receiving the scroll – has taken – demonstrates that it occurred, and it is fully accomplished. Worthy is the Lamb!

At this point, some scholars devolve into over-speculation of what is being presented – “How can a Lamb that doesn’t have hands take a scroll.” From this, all kinds of fanciful analyses are whipped up and presented as tasty treats for the reader to consider. Such things are wholly unnecessary. John is using apocalyptic terminology, but that terminology is used to reveal the many aspects of Christ Jesus.

We are not to get bogged down in what is not said, but to mentally consider what is said. Christ is as a Lion. He is as a Lamb. He is the One on the throne. And so on. God is revealing Himself through His Christ, but the account is using apocalyptic symbolism to convey aspects of Him. A lamb, for example, speaks of innocence. A slain lamb speaks of sacrifice. The innocence and the sacrifice are what have made His coming forward and taking the scroll possible. Getting bogged down in unnecessary speculation is what will cause the reader to miss the overall point of what is being portrayed.

Next, this innocent One who was sacrificed (but who is obviously alive), is said to take the scroll “out of the right hand.” As has been seen, the right hand is the position of power and authority. Again, as cited before, this looks back to Jesus’ own words at the end of the book of Matthew –

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

The scroll in the right hand has transferred from “Him who sat on the throne” to the Lamb who died and yet rose again. This is exactingly explained by Paul in Philippians 2 –

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

God has returned this title deed to Himself through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. He is the One on the throne, and He is the Lamb that was slain. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is on full view in this heavenly scene.

We can see that what is presented in Revelation 5 is a similar expression to what was already presented to Israel in Daniel 7 –

“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14

Life application: The right to receive and to open the scroll has been given to the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is the King of kings, and the right has been given to the Lamb of God who fulfilled the law on behalf of fallen man and then paid the penalty for their sins at the Cross of Calvary. His blood was shed as a substitution for those who are willing to accept Him. The guilt is transferred, and the sins are removed; the righteousness is thus transferred from God to man.

Jesus has won the victory and gained the right to the title deed and He has paid the price for those who call on Him. He offers mercy based on His paying this price, and He has provided the grace by exalting all who accept the call. The choice is made and now the scroll can be opened. When it is, the entire earth will be affected by the result. Get ready, big events are on the horizon. The Lion has prevailed, and the Lamb has been found worthy. He is great, and He is glorious. He is JESUS!

All hail the great and exalted name of Jesus. He is the Lord God Almighty who rules the universe; He is the Lion of Judah who rules the earth; He is the Lamb of God who provides atonement for His people; and He is the One to open the scroll and let loose judgment upon an unrepentant world. He is Jesus – Hallelujah and Amen… He is Jesus!


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