The Reign of the Lion-Lamb
God's plan thwarted?
The scroll in 5:1 is crucial to the Revelation. It seems that the future is stalled while heaven waits for someone who can open the seals and make the words come to pass.
This was how Jews felt in the 1st. century A.D.; many wonderful prophecies awaited fulfilment. The words of God were sealed up waiting for someone to come and make them happen (see Isaiah 8:16-18, Daniel 8:26, 12:4 & 9). There were also many mysteries about the promises - the Jews could read the few words on the outside of the scroll but most of its contents were hidden (vs.1).
No one can bring in God's promised kingdom. No man or woman is worthy and no angel is suitable. Well might John weep! His people had put their hope in God's Word only to find that there is no one able to bring that Word to fulfilment.
No one that is among the creatures of God. But there is Another. The secret arrow, the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 49:2). Jesus is worthy.
The Lion like a Lamb
What a dramatic contrast between v5 and v6. John turns in relief to view the wonderful Lion of Judah and sees....a slaughtered Lamb! Or rather one who is alive yet bearing the marks of slaughter.
Christ's victorious reign as the Lion of God is based on the great achievement of His death as the sacrificial Lamb. The elder says he has ALREADY TRIUMPHED even before he opens the scroll because it was at the cross that Jesus won the right to save the world and rule the heavens.
He is the Lion OF JUDAH. He rules for His people and He is one of us. As the Root of David he inherits all the rights and promises of the Messianic King. Now the Kingdom of Judah has been greatly expanded (Acts 15:16-18) and includes people from every ethnic group (v9).
They are purchased by the blood of the cross (v9). They have been bought out of slavery to be God's own possession. This is a reference to Exodus 19:6. The redemption of Israel was symbolic, using the blood of ordinary sheep. Our Redemption is real and eternal because the blood of God's Son has purchased us.
We were bond-slaves to sin and death but Jesus paid the Law's demand for our blood by substituting His Own. The full weight of condemnation has been transferred to Him. This price of pain and blood has made us the property of God who has raised us up to the honour of the priesthood and citizenship in His Eternal Kingdom.
The New Song of Praise
The hymn of praise now widens to include legions of angels (v11) and ALL creation (v13). This is an anticipation of chs 21 and 22 when the boundary between heaven and earth is abolished. Jesus has reconciled ALL THINGS to God by His cross (Col. 1:20).
The singing of NEW SONGS is an important theme in the Bible. People sing a new song when God gives them a fresh deliverance. See Exodus 15, Judges 5, Psalms 40:3, 98:1, 126:1/2. This song is not just expressing gratitude since the angels and all creation join in praising Jesus Christ for His wonderful saving work. The Gospel of Christ is a beautiful thing, inspiring worship even in those creatures who are not saved by it..
Nevertheless, we must take the lead. WE are the ones who have been freed from our sins. WE were bought at such a dread and wonderful cost. WE shall inherit the Kingdom and Priesthood. So the song of praise is begun by the elders and taken up in chapter 7 by the immense congregation of saints.
As Levites in the Temple we sing the new song of praise and offer incense (v8). Our prayers reach God's throne and are a pleasant odour to Him. The cross has made our prayers (often weak and miserable to our ears!) into fragrant worship offered in bowls of gold before the throne. How noble our praise and prayers have become.
The Coronation of Jesus
This moment of coronation has already happened. Jesus has taken all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18).
It was a glorious moment which had been anticipated many times in Scripture. Psalm 110 is all about this exaltation of the Son of God to rule and is quoted many times in the New Testament with respect to Jesus.
The coming of the Son of Man to receive his authority is also prophesied in Daniel 7:9-14. There are so many remarkable parallels between that passage and Rev.5 that John痴 hearers must have been able to spot them at the first hearing.
The Daniel passage seems to connect the coronation of the Christ with the Final Judgement. We are going to learn that, although judgement has begun already, there is a lot of history to come before then.