Because it is easy to forget, with so much information in Revelation; it is worth here reminding readers that the purpose of Almighty God is to re-establish Israel as "Ammi" (My People Hos. 1 & 2), and to bring the Gentile Nations to account; due to their rejection of both Israel, and Christ Jesus. This is leading to the Millennial Reign, the purpose of which can be studied at "Millennial, the Purpose". See: Millennial Purpose.
(Note 2014); as we observe the events of the Middle East; the comments at the beginning of Chapter 13 start to look realistic.
(Note Dec. 2015); the recent events in Syria and Iraq (Babylonia); with ISIS groups world terror attacks; make it imperative for Christians in particular; but all people in general, to pay careful attention to these events, as regarding Scripture prophecy.
(Note July 2018); Many Bible students and Commentators have recently noticed the very marked activity in the Middle East.
Since the “Arab Spring” of 2011, and the ISIS emergence, Syria and Iraq (Babylonia) have had/have massive political changes taking place. There is a fluidity now that was not present pre-Saddam Hussein.
Iran (Persia) has powerful relationships with Hamas and other terror groups including Hesbollah linked to the PLA; all with the avowed open purpose of “elimination of Israel”! Iran has openly stated that it wishes for a “worldwide Jihad”, and a “Sharia Law” in position and rule!
It has recently strengthened ties with Turkey and Russia, and has established an airbase in Syria (although it is called Syrian), which is within easy reach of Israel.
Russia’s Crimea “annexation”; has given them the sea port of Sevastopol, which allows their military assets easy access to the eastern Mediterranean.
The stage is clearly being set for conflict with Israel, which may be the one leading to the eventual negotiation with “Anti-Christ”; for the building of the next Jewish Temple; of Dan. 9:27!
V.1 And I saw and perceived upon the right hand of (a)the One (b)sitting on the throne a (c)scroll / roll written within and on the backside, (d)sealed with seven seals.
(a) "The One"; clearly "Lord God Almighty", referred to in V.8 etc., of Chapter 4.
(b) "Sitting"; the King James translation gives the meaning in the past tense, the correction (Companion and Interlinear) show the present tense, and confirms that the Almighty is always in control on The Throne; despite appearances to the contrary.
(c) "Scroll", "backside"; this document, "on the Right Hand of the Majesty", with much detail contained within, is clearly of huge import to events about to take place in the prophetic timing. This written, sealed document, on the right hand of Jehovah Elohim (God in Covenant relationship with Israel) and under His control; is the last written by the Almighty in Scripture. The first, (Ex. 32:15) is also written on both sides on stone tablets, and was broken in pieces almost immediately, (representing the breaking of the Law by Israel). In Ezk. 2:9-10 the scroll is also written on both sides, with words of "lament, mourning and woe", from Jehovah to Israel, who were still in rebellion against their God. The third in Zech. 5:3, also double written, is also against the Law breakers, but this time with pertinence to the whole Earth as opposed to only Israel. In this book, God's title is Jehovah Zebaoth (God of all Creation and created beings), and the time context is yet future, and deals with Israel and all mankind, because they have been exposed to the Salvation and message of CHRIST (MESSIAH). The scroll here in Rev. 5:1 is the detail of the Zech. 5:3 reference, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God, the Risen Lord, is alone worthy to open the seals. The only one of the above writings in the hands of men was the first, with the inevitable outcome, as well described by Paul, Acts 13 & 15 and Rom. 2, 3 & 4. The rest are in the Hands of the Almighty (and His control), where they cannot be sullied by men or Satan. The fact of the double written, probably means no room is left for alteration or addition, showing that Jehovah Zebaoth knows the end from the beginning perfectly.
(d) "Sealed", "seven"; the fact of the "sealed", document shows that much earlier in the past, (see Isa. 29:11), the actions known to the Almighty were closed and sealed till a precise moment in time had been reached. The fact of seven seals (Comp. App. 10), with 7 representing "spiritual perfection", shows the timing is perfect, and is the Hallmark of the work of the Holy Spirit. As has been seen in Chps. 1,2,3 and 4, the objective is working towards the re-establishment of Israel in their role as the chosen people with the lost inheritance and Isa. 29 gives a summary of that.
V.2 And I saw a (a)mighty angel (b)proclaiming with a (c)great voice, "who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loose the seals thereof"?
(a) “Mighty angel"; this show of strength is the recurring mark that a change is taking place. For more than 2000 years the Truth has had to be perceived through the babble of lies, misguided and perverted shepherding, and deliberate misleading. By contemplative prayer, study and listening, and revealing by the Holy Spirit, the Truth is available now.
(b) "Proclaiming"; proclamations are the prerogative of Governments and Authorities, those in control and in power, this again shows the beginning of a change, which is that power and control are being wrested from and relinquished by men and Satan, and the Almighty is starting something new, (Isa. 34:8), (Isa. 61:2) & (Rev. 1:10).
(c) "Great voice"; the great voice, and mighty question, cannot be missed, or ignored. The question is rhetorical! The question the great angel is asking points to the qualification needed to open the scroll, and seals. It is rhetorical, and is meant to focus the attention on CHRIST the Lamb of God, His work on the Cross, and that He alone is worthy to initiate the next stage of the Almighty's plan of retribution, restoration, and completion. The Truth is no longer a question of debate, but a clearly stated fact, and ultimatum.
V.3 And (a)no one in the Heaven, neither in Earth, neither under the Earth, was able to open the book, neither to (b)look thereon.
(a) No entity living or dead, able to qualify.
(b) Not even able to "look thereon"! This can only refer to the totally degraded and bankrupt state of humanity, in all of the standards of Almighty God; and to point to the perfect state of Jesus, as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:20) & Ex. 12:1-14).
V.4 (a)And I (b)wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the scroll, (c)neither to look there on.
(a) This and previous verses shows the completely bankrupt state of humanity in the spiritually worthy sense.
(b) John much moved by the incapacity of all created beings not to be able to take the next step of opening the scroll. This points to the impossibility of man in all endeavours to make success and progress in the fallen state. The fact that John is in such sorrow, is an expression of the utter impossibility of mankind to deal with and overcome the human condition, as evidenced in all the history of humankind, and underscores the juncture that has been reached at the scroll vision. Many men of God have been smitten when being exposed to Almighty God, from the beginning of the Bible; notably Jacob, Abraham, Moses, Daniel & Paul etc; when they were being recruited for special service or knowledge!
Only Jesus the Christ, successfully "Overcame" the world; John 16:33! That was in the "Age Time", (Administration) of His Earthly Ministry.
(c) This phrase repeated from the last verse, underlining the impossibility even to "look there on", see 3(b).
V.5 And one of the (a)elders said unto me, "Weep not: behold, the (b)Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, prevailed to open the book, and the seven seals thereof".
(a) One of the 24 mentioned in 4:4.
(b) (Gen. 49:8-10), Judah the fourth born to Jacob (Israel), (Gen. 49:10), "The sceptre ( rule-(r) ) shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet, (from his posterity), until SHILOH come”; (until He, SHILOH comes); this place in the "Promised Land", was in the early history of Israel for sanctuary, festival, and later worship. It became synonymous with Messiah, Gen. 49:10, and “unto Him shall the gathering (obedient submission) of the people be".
The Lord's seed line is from Judah, via. king David. As the "Lamb of God", He satisfied all righteousness in the Law, as the substitute Sacrificial Lamb, the principle of the Jewish Egyptian delivery, for His people Israel, at that moment in time; (“the Exodus”).
As the perfect sacrifice, He became the Only One to satisfy the Righteous Perfection of God Almighty; to bring down Satan (see: Satan's Demise! ) and to save His people by substitution, (later also Gentiles). Also to later be worthy to open the 7 seals of the scroll, and to look there on. As such He is the only one that prevailed! When He (Shiloh) returns to His people, He will take over the sceptre (authority), and Rule for 1000 years on Earth (Rev. 20).
V.6 (a)And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four Zoa and in the midst of the elders, (a)a Lamb standing as it had been slain, having (b)seven horns and (c)seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God (Theos) sent forth into all the Earth.
(a) The fact that the Lamb (see last verse comments), is standing in the most auspicious place, is confirmation of His (CHRIST JESUS) qualification and eminence. The fact that He is standing (not sitting Psm. 110:1 & Heb. 1:13) implies imminent action, as His enemies are about to be made His footstool.
The "slain", refers to "the Lamb of God", (see notes V.5).
(b) "Seven horns"; in Scripture horn symbolises power, (2Sam. 22:3 & Zech. 1:18). Here, the seven (spiritual perfection) horns, indicate seven powerful actions, and the immediate context are the seven seals, (see notes V.5).
(c) "Seven eyes", "seven spirits of God's"; (THEOS God the Father as revealed, APP. 98, I i 1). The "eyes" = to the seven Spirits of God coincides in timing with Zech. 4:10, which clearly gives the time context. The true "Menorah", (7 branched lamp Zech. 4:2) comes into play, with the Holy Spirit of Jehovah feeding through the 7 lamps (Zech. 4:6), which is stated again above. The delivery of Israel is about to start, and as Zech. 3:9 states will be done "in one day", (Isa. 66:5-9).
V.7 And (a)He came and took the scroll out of the (b)right hand of Him sitting on the throne.
(a) He (The Lamb of God, Christ in Resurrection Glory), Dan. 7:9-14.
(b) Right hand; from Scripture, the right hand of the Majesty (Almighty God) denotes favour, acceptance, grace, etc., but as in this case "the scroll", yet sealed with seven seals contains righteous judgements which are yet to be visited on the Earth and peoples. This indicates that the ensuing judgements are perfect in timing and content, which will not be the human opinion, which is much used to compromise, bias, vested interest, and Satanic control. The left hand on the contrary, speaks the opposite; i.e. disfavour, judgement etc. (Matt. 25:33-46).
V.8 (a)And when He took the scroll, the four Zoa and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one (b)a harp, and (c)golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.
(a) As soon as the Lord takes the sealed scroll, there is an immediate reaction. The taking symbolises acceptance, (the worthiness has already been established and shown). The reaction is from very special, and eminent entities. The four Zoa and their special duties and guardianships, and the twenty four elders. The histories and duties of these beings allows them to be in the presence of the Majesty and the Lamb. Their whole being and purpose lean constantly towards the fulfilment of Jehovah Zebaoth's purpose and its mystery (Rev. 10:7). This further reinforced by the "prayers of the saints", which are, and have been prayed over many centuries, by those that sought out the purpose of God in Christ, and have come to love and yearn for its fulfilment.
(b) The Harp in Scripture is for "joy and praise", 1Chron. 25:1-6, 2Chron. 29:25, Psm. 71:22 & 149:3; so we have here the joyful exclamation of praise to the Lamb, as it/He takes the next step in the plan of Jehovah Zebaoth!
(c) The golden bowls (of the Divine Alter, Zech. 14:20, 1Kings 7:45-50, 2Chron. 4:22, Ex. 25:23-29, 27:3 & 37:10-16).
Jesus referred to the "prayers of the saints", in Luke 18:13 & 11:2-4, and refers to the future Kingdom of God on Earth, and is linked to Rev. 2:19, 13:10 & 14:12, Matt. 24:31 and Dan. 7:18, 22 & 27.
V.9 (a)And they sing a new song, (b)saying "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase to God by Thy blood out of every (c)tribe and tongue, and people, and Nation;
(a) The Elders and Zoa praising the Lamb (Christ) for His Great Redeeming Act. "New song"; this "new", not possible until the Lamb takes the scroll, and therefore the next part of His role. It also marks a new era, as the Lamb will no longer be passive.
(b) This is the first time the 'Zoa' have spoken. The last is Chp. 19:4.
(c) "Tribe and tongue, and people, and Nation"; the standard teaching on this is that this represents all the redeemed (the Body, i.e. those known before the Overthrow/Foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4 and 1Peter 1:20); although it of course applies in the universal sense.
This is the opinion of many, but not the writers, these will probably have left the Earth by Translation and Resurrection, (1Thess. 4:16). However, that is the subject of intense debate. Also included are the Overcomers, who will share the throne of Christ in Millennial (Rev. 3:21).
This comment in this case mainly refers to the tribes of Israel in dispersion worldwide. A precedent for this can be seen when the Word, i.e. the Gospel of the Kingdom and of Christ was first presented by Paul, the majority then were Jews, with a percentage of Gentiles.
However, we are certainly dealing here with a new class (group), whose credentials are that they love God, Christ and the Word; and have not worshipped the beast nor received his mark. They are also included in the "Book of Life of the Lamb slain, since the Overthrow of the world" (see: Foundation /Overthrow; Rev. Chps. 3:5 & 13:8 ). They have certainly been redeemed by the Blood of Christ and are of "every Nation", (see this verse and Rev. 5:9-10, 7:3-15 & 20:4). The definition given early in Revelation is "Overcomers". It is clear from Zechariah, Ezekiel and elsewhere that resurrected/restored Israel has an important function in the Millennial Kingdom, but it is probable that this group are often confused with the Overcomers. There seem to be 4 main groups on Earth during the Millennial.
1) The Body of Christ (the True Church), known from before the overthrow/foundation of the world, and who are "ever with the Lord", (1Thess. 4:17). (Some say that these are in Heaven, but as they are "ever with the Lord", they are wherever He is; which means that as He is in motion between Earth and Heaven and elsewhere frequently; so is His Body)!
2) The "Overcomers"; these start from the commencement of Revelation, are "known since the Overthrow/Foundation of the world", they love God, Christ, and are purchased/redeemed by His Calvary Blood; they do not receive the beast's mark, or worship him. They are of all Nations, tribes and language, and may possibly be evangelized by the sealed 144,000. (Paul's first commission was "to the Jew first"), so possibly here also Jews worldwide are to be out reached by the sealed 144,000. Many will accept that the rejected, crucified Christ is the Messiah of prophecy. From the Scriptures in Revelation, it is clear that Gentiles will also be affected and proselytised. All this group (other than the 144,000) are "before the throne of God, and serve Him continually in His Temple", Rev. 7:15, during the Millennial. The 144,000 "follow the Lamb wherever He goes", and "are the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb", Rev. 14:4. These "firstfruits" are almost certainly the nucleus of the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9-12) and (Rev. 14:4 & notes).
3) Restored/resurrected Israel, serving God/Christ in a form of Temple Worship, and having the land borders promised by Jehovah God, (see Ezk. 40 to 47). They also will probably be evangelisers worldwide, see below.
4) Peoples of the world, who have survived "the wrath" of God Almighty (Jehovah Zebaoth), (as opposed to the Satan inspired and perpetrated persecution of the Jews). These also have seen the "sheep and goat judgement", of Christ (Matt. 25:32-33), and because of their sympathy and help for Jews (Christ's brothers) they have at that time a flesh life.
The above comments of course are speculative like all comments at this time. However, we must never forget or ignore our Lord's comments to the Disciples; of John14:2; “in My Father’s House are many Mansions". (Understood by most teachers as meaning many divisions in the Father's domain, and where He is in control). (See: Millennial Purpose).
V.10 (a)And hast made them for our God a Kingdom, a Priestly Kingdom, and (b)they shall reign on the Earth".
(a) This verse clearly shows the eventual function of those redeemed out of the 12 tribes of Israel, and those retained at the Resurrection and Judgement of Israel (Ex. 19:6), they are to be a Kingdom of Priests to CHRIST and the Father in the Millennial (see Chp.1:6), (called Overcomers).
(b) "They"; the Authorised Version (A.V.), states "we", as also does The Interlinear Bible. However, on examination of the Greek (Str. No. 936 ) refers to "power", or "rule". The "we", or "they", must be deduced from the context, which in this case refers to (V.9) those redeemed from the 12 tribes of Israel. Therefore the word in context should be THEY. Dr. Bullinger gives "they", J.N. Darby "they", N.I.V. "they", Revised Standard "they", Moffett "they", PeshittA "they", NKJV "they" in footnote.
V.11 And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the Zoa and the elders; and the number of them was (a)ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands:
(a) This number is literally 100,000,000 but is clearly greater by the comments "thousands of thousands", which probably means thousands of thousands times 100,000,000; a clearly uncountable number of Heaven's beings, and much greater than the Earth, (7 billion 2015), could ever contain.
V.12 Saying with a loud voice, (a)"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing".
(a) This great seven fold ascription (compound praise) to the Lamb, by the innumerable Heavenly host; by the sevenfold character acknowledges the perfection of the Lamb, for the purpose of the seal opening, and adoration due to Him for His faithfulness to the Will of Jehovah God, in His Self-sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha!
V.13 (a)And every created thing which is in Heaven and on the Earth, and under the Earth, and on the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and (b)power for Government, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever".
(a) This fourfold ascription, from created beings etc., denotes the material Creation by the fact of the four ascriptions (Earth's number).
(b) A notable exclusion in the text from the Greek to the English by the Church of England translators, is "Power for Government" which is the main point that is about to take place on Earth. The reason for its omission is due to the fact that the Roman and English Churches, and other groups, are not focused on what is coming, but on the power they hold now, over people and communities. Heaven and Earth has been awaiting this great, blessed, and momentous event, when man’s rule ends, and Jehovah/Messiah’s rule starts.
All people of goodwill are looking forward to this event eagerly, in similar vein to the angels message and joy when The Baby Jesus was born!
V.14 And the four Zoa said (a)"Amen".
(a) The "Amen"; of the Zoa, they who are entrusted with the overburden of the physical Creation, who support the partition between the throne room and the Earthly events, say this Amen with great emphasis, meaning (SO BE IT).
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