Summary: Part Two
REVELATION IN PICTURES:
A PICTURE OF HEAVEN CONTINUED
THE SEVEN-SEALED BOOK (Vv. 1-5)
John’s attention is now drawn to the right hand of God. It holds something…our translation calls it a “scroll." However, there was something unusual about this particular scroll. Scrolls were normally only written on one side, but this one contains so much information that it’s written on both front and back.
Although it may have been unusual, it wasn’t unfamiliar to John. When the Lord first appeared to Ezekiel, He sent His message through a scroll that had writing on the front and on the back:
Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe (Ezekiel 2:9-10).
God had a message of warning for the people of Israel, foretelling what was going to happen to their nation. It was a message that contained the plan of God for the people of God and I think the scroll that John sees here in Revelation is the same kind of scroll. It’s a message containing the plan of God.
But the message is sealed; hidden from human eyes. We have no way of knowing what God’s plan is for mankind unless His sealed scroll is unfolded for us. And so the call goes out for someone who will be found worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals. But none is found. Not the angels. Not Gabriel. Not any of the saints in heaven.
John cries out of frustration because he’s experiencing hard times; sentenced to live the rest of his life on a lonely island. He’s aware of the significance of this scroll and that it contains information relevant to the world he’s living in. He knows that unless it’s opened, he’s going to continue to experience hard times. But then good news comes:
The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed. This is a title for Jesus, dating all the way back to the OT. Judah was called a lion’s whelp (Gen. 49:9). It was promised that from Judah would come the future king. Up until this point, John’s only heard about the Lion of the tribe of Judah. So naturally, he’s expecting to see a lion. But instead, as he looks up, he sees a lamb.
THE LAMB OF GOD (v. 6)
This was no ordinary lamb. It was a lamb that looked as though it had been slain. What does a lamb look like that has been slain? Its throat has been cut. It’s a bloody sacrifice. Again, the principle of the sacrificial lamb goes back to the OT. It goes back before the prophets and kings; before Moses and Abraham. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
Do you remember what happened after Adam and Eve fell into sin? They recognized their nakedness and they found themselves ashamed so they tried to cover up with fig leaves. But before God cast them out of the Garden, He did something special for them:
Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them (Gen. 3:21).
Now how do you suppose God made these garments of skin? Some animal had to be slain in order to provide the skins. Here’s a picture of Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice whose life was laid down to provide a covering from sin. It’s through His death that we’re clothed in righteousness, not our own.
This lamb has some other characteristics that you won’t find on your everyday, average run-of-the-mill lamb:
1. Seven horns.
The horn was considered to be a symbol of strength in biblical times. There are a number of Old Testament passages that illustrate this:
“All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.” (Ps. 75:10)
He has cut off in fierce anger Every horn of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand From before the enemy. He has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire Devouring all around (Lam. 2:3).
‘In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.’” (Ek. 29:21).
In each of these passages, the horn is seen as a symbol of strength.
2. Seven eyes.
We don’t have to guess at the identity of the seven eyes because the text tells us that they represent the “seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth”. So why then are they pictured as seven eyes? I think it’s because God wants us to know that He’s watching.