Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5
AND I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

The Creator God sits on the throne and those around cannot but to worship him. The attention of John was directed now to a book (Greek biblion) in the right hand of God. Probably it was a scroll, as it was written within and on the outside and was sealed with seven seals. John would have liked to know what is written in it and so do I. Was it the previously mentioned book of life with the name of all who are saved, or maybe even the entire Holy Scriptures? A mighty angel appeared into the heavenly scene and asked the rhetorical question, who is worthy to open the scroll and break the seals? John wept bitterly because no living or dead man was found to open and read. Why did he get such a strong emotional outburst? Couldn’t he figure out that Jesus, who is appointed as the heir of all things (Hebrews 1, 2), would appear in the midst of the throne?

A great mystery was hidden on the book or scroll and the things written in and on it. Could it be a testament, as the packaging with the seven seals looks like a contract or the last will, which is authenticated by a notary. After the historical tradition of Roman law (many laws have been included in the German Civil Code – BGB), seven witnesses were required before the record (today three witnesses are enough in case of an emergency will § 2250 BGB).

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, on earth,” is part of the Lord’s Prayer often spoken from Christians to heaven, where the prayers of the saints are collected in golden bowls. I come near to tears when I consider how many times we say the words but still don’t care about his will. Funerals are often the contemplative occasion where people take stock of oneself in really scrutinising God’s plans. However, the problem is to apprehend his thoughts, for thus saith the Lord in Isaiah 55, 8 & 9: My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So who is worthy? The solution is already prophesied in Genesis 49, 9 & 10: Judah is a lion’s whelp, from the prey my son thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of people be.

When the innocent sacrificial lamb hung on the cross, he could come down as King of the Jews and with one roar a huge host of angels would have come for his aid. But without his patience you and I would have never come to life. Jesus, the only man without sin, descending from the line of Adam, Abraham, Judah, and David, endured in obedience unimaginable pain until death, because he saw in faith the future reward, namely an innumerable offspring like the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seaside. The roar of the lion Shiloh will be heard at the day of judgment from all people, because everyone will have to give an account for himself, and once every knee will bow before him and every tongue must confess that he is Lord (Romans 14, 11 &12 Philippians 2, 10 &11).

The Lord Jesus is yet not recognised as the fearsome lion of the tribe of Judah, but more as an innocent sacrificial lamb. Lion and Lamb are temperament contrasts as nature can not show more differentiated. In the future, he is the awe-inspiring, coming again on the clouds King, who alone is worthy to break the seals. As a historical figure, he is the lamb, wounded to death, who through his resurrection stands now in the midst of the throne of God.

Seven horns are a symbol of complete power. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts in Zechariah 4 verse 6, and explained to the prophet, the significance of the seven eyes that roam the earth.

God is a spirit who seeks the true worshippers. Those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4, 23 & 24). The heavenly divine worship service, which was given in the first two songs to the eternal Creator God, now is addressed with harps to the Lamb through the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. Thereupon, thousands of angels attuned to worship the alon worthy lamb.

To sum up, the fifth hymn of all creatures addressed collectively to him who sits on the throne and the Lamb at the same time.

Amen – so be it, a short sixth tone sounded. How many on the sixth day created people will become kings and priests to reign on the new earth? We can start here and today in praising the Lord, since the psalms encourage God’s people again and again to do it:

Praise the Lord! This is a command for all who want to obey the one who is alone worthy.

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