Author: Ron Graham

Book of Revelation

The Scroll and the Lamb
—Revelation 5:1-7

The Revelation of Christ (Revelation 1-5) >Seven Scenes in Heaven >Scenes 3,4 >The Scroll and the Lamb

We continue to study the second vision in the book of Revelation, consisting of seven scenes in heaven. Now we come to scenes 3 and 4. These are in chapter 5.

1 The Sealed Book

A book This book was in the form of a scroll. Three things are true of it...

There are no prizes for guessing what the scroll contains. It is, of course, the gospel, God's plan and promise of salvation.

2 Who Can Open the Book?

Worthy to open Someone had to be found who is worthy to break the seals of the word, open it, and look into it. The prophets of old, and the angels of heaven, had desired to look into the gospel of salvation, but were not allowed (1Peter 1:10-12).

No one No one "in heaven or on earth or under the earth" was worthy to open the book. They searched among...

Take special note No one could one be found worthy to give effect to God's plan of salvation. The only one who would be worthy to open the scroll is one who is so worthy as to be able to offer up his own life for the sins of the world and have God accept his offering.

John wept greatly, because the world needs the gospel and the plan of salvation that is shut up in this scroll, yet no one could open it. This is the end of the scene, but in the next scene John will stop weeping, for a unique one will be found who is worthy to open the scroll.

3 Worthy is the Lamb

The Lion of Judah One of the elders comforts John and proclaims that the Lion of Judah the descendant of David (Revelation 22:16 Isaiah 11:1,10) has overcome the great problem, and he is worthy to open the scroll. This Lion is of course Jesus, who "has the key of David" and when he opens no one will shut (Revelation 3:7). Jesus is called the Lion to represent his kingship, for the house of David is the royal house.

A Lamb standing as if slain Our Lord does not appear in this scene as a lion, but as a lamb. The Lamb portrays the priesthood of Christ. He appears as a Lamb standing as if slain because he offered himself as a sacrifice for everyone's sins. Without the Lamb of God there could be no gospel, and the scroll would remain shut and sealed.

Take special note The Lamb is not dead. He is alive and only "standing as if slain". He takes this attitude to portray that he was indeed slain on the cross. Nevertheless he is not dead now, but alive and alive for evermore. In the songs of scenes 5 and 6, praise is given to "the Lamb that was slain" (Revelation 5:12) and his worthiness to open the scroll is attributed to the fact that he "was slain and purchased for God with [his] blood men from every tribe and tongue..." (Revelation 5:9). This is the very heart of prophecy and vision in scripture.

Horns and eyes... the seven spirits The seven horns and eyes are explained. They "are the seven spirits of God" which is to say they stand for the same thing that the seven lamps of fire stood for in scene 1 (Revelation 4:5). The significance of the seven spirits was dealt with fully in the lesson on John’s introduction to Revelation. Because the Lamb was slain, "the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth" are able to reveal to all the world the message of salvation in the scroll (Revelation 5:6).

And he came and took it The Lamb comes to the throne and takes the scroll out of the right hand of the Father. This might seem a presumptious and arrogant act, however it really symbolises Christ's subjection. He does not speak his own words, but takes the message from God the Father. Jesus said, "When you lift up (crucify) the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as my Father taught me" (John 8:28, cf John 16:13).