Revelation 5

Revelation 5 … John’s vision in heaven continues in this chapter, as he sees a Man on the throne with a book that’s sealed with seven seals. An angel with a big voice wants to know who can open the book but no one in heaven is qualified! No wonder John wept at that! But an elder intervened (v.5), and here all the symbolism and history of the Scriptures helps our understanding. The Lion represents sovereign majesty. The Root of David represents the fulfillment of God’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:12-17) of a descendant who will reign forever and also represents our near and willing kinsman who’s able to redeem (the book of Ruth gives that concept). He is the Overcomer who can open the book.

There is also a vision of a Lamb, representing the sacrifice of our Savior. It has seven horns (“horns” represent refuge) and seven eyes, (the “eyes” represent the seven spirits of God – also mentioned at Revelation 1:4 and in Isaiah 11:2). The Lamb (Savior) then takes the book and the holy scene in heaven begins a crescendo of worship and praise, highlighted by a “new song” (v.9-10), reminiscent to our modern ears like the contemporary and worshipful hymn “Thou Art Worthy.” This heavenly scene is a prophecy, or an apocalypse (unveiling or revelation) of a future end-time event, which will be one of the most climatic events of all history.

You might be interested in a few technical notes: First, there are three more Revelation doxologies in Revelation 5, verses 9-10, verse 12 and verse 13b. Second, in verse 9, the pronoun following the words “purchased for God with Your blood” is “men” in the NIV and NASB, is “people” in the ESV, and “us” in the KJV and Douay versions. The reason for the variances in pronouns is that there is no word in the Greek original; the translators supply the pronoun to aid sentence structure in the English versions.

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