Friday, August 17, 2012

Why is the Lamb Worthy to Open the Scroll?


Revelation 5:

Then I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slain,
and with Your blood You purchased for God

persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

After this scene of worship in Revelation 4, we see God holding a scroll, the scroll that will unlock the power to punish the Anti-Christ who has begun to reign on the earth. The scroll, however, is sealed with seven seals. God is not willing to open it Himself, nor has He given anyone else the authority to open it.

No one, that is, except Jesus the Christ.

Jesus appears as a mangled lamb before the throne. He is the Lamb of God (Genesis 22:8; John 1:29), the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12; Mark 14:12-24; 1 Corinthians 5:7).

He also has the “seven spirits of God” as part of Him. As we said before, this is the perfect Spirit of God, not seven actual spirits. But the presence of God’s Spirit being a part of Jesus shows that Jesus and God are, in a sense, one. They are two individuals, but they share the same Spirit. God’s perfect Spirit is an integral part of Jesus.

The reason that Jesus is worthy and able to break the seals and open the scroll, though, is the same reason that He was given the right to sit on God’s throne with Him. That reason is because He accomplished our salvation. As Philippians 2:6-11 reads:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;
7 rather, He made Himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

It is the same reason the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures give in verse 9:

You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slain,
and with Your blood You purchased for God

persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

This scene of Revelation 4-5 is one of the most beautiful in the entire Bible because it shows us the entirety of the Gospel. God possesses all authority, but rather than opening the scroll Himself, He honors Christ with the privilege to do so because of Christ’s willing obedience to die for us. All three are honored – God, Christ, humanity – because we are the reason for God’s honoring Christ. Humanity is important enough for God to base Christ’s honor on. Isn’t that a humbling thought? It’s difficult for us to think of ourselves as being that important, but it shows us how much God really does love and value us, that He would honor Christ so highly for accomplishing our salvation.

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