Summary: When the Lamb takes the sealed scroll, all heaven erupts in a song of praise to the Lamb & falls down in worship before Him. For He alone is worthy. He alone can bring about the redemption of man & the purpose for which man & earth were created
REVELATIONS 5: 8-14
HE WHO ALONE IS WORTHY
This section continues the description of the vision of the throne. The scene concerns the One who sits on the throne of heaven, the Living Beings, the elders, and myriads of angels, but the main figure is now the Lion-Lamb. He is the One in heaven who eclipses all others.
Great significance in the preceding passage has been given to the sealed book and the search for One worthy to open it. When the Lamb takes the sealed scroll, all heaven erupts in a song of praise to the Lamb and falls down in worship before Him. For He alone is worthy. He alone can bring about the redemption of man and the purpose for which man and earth were created.
I. THE LAMB’S BLOOD BOUGHT BODY, 8-10.
II. THE NEW SONG OF REDEMPTION, 11-12.
III. THE PRAISE OF ALL HEAVEN, 13-14.
Verse 8 commences the description of what occurs in heaven the moment the Lamb, who alone is entitled and worthy, takes the Book. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
An exhilarating universal thrill through out the heart of the living occurs when Jesus takes the book of destiny from the right hand of God. The worthiness of this Lamb evokes an outburst of homage, praise, and worship. They fell down before the Lamb. The usual posture of profound worship is entire prostration on the earth (Mt 2:2; 1 Cor. 14:25).
You may wonder, “What is the significance of the objects they held in their hands?” Why a harp and a bowl?" Since old Testament days, the harp has been an instrument of worship. Psalms were often sung to the accompaniment of a harp, by choirs of priests and the congregation. Prophets of old prophesied with them (1 Sam. 10:5; 1 Chron. 25:3; Ps. 49:4). The golden bowls were saucer-like pans used in the tabernacle and the temple. They were filled with the prescribed incense and when ignited sent up an aroma that was pleasing to God. The incense produced an agreeable fragrance and the rising smoke ascending towards heaven represented prayer, the prayers of the saints rising up to the Lord (Ps. 141:2; Lk. 1:10).
The focus of the prayers of the saints is that the Lord would return to make things right. All those prayers that you have poured out to God that Jesus would return and bring His peace to earth are gathered up as in a bowl before God. Every true Christian of every age has prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Such is the desire of all God’s people. And who but God can count the volumes and oceans of such entreaties which to this day remain unanswered? But they are not forgotten. None of them has been lost. They are all treasured in golden bowls.
These prayers are sacred incense before God and before the Lamb. Sweet incense was used in O. T. times, especially before the Holy of Holies. Daily on the altar of incense before the inner veil fresh incense was offered morning and evening to God.
On earth, saints and their prayers are considered of no importance, but in heaven our prayers are precious, so precious that they are brought into the very presence of God Himself. Prayer meeting may be the least attended meetings in America, but our prayers are attended by the Lord God Himself.
Singing and prayer are integral parts of the Christian’s worship experience, both public and private. The two are often linked in Scripture. We may have a scratchy voice or sing off-key, but through song and prayer we can express our adoration to Almighty God. What about your times alone with God, and your public worship? Let them include both harp and bowl or, in other words, worship the Lord with singing and prayer. A heart aflame begins with the kindling of song and prayer in worship.
Once the book of destiny was taken, those in heaven pay adoration to the One worthy to take it. Verse 9 states, “ And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
The new (êáéíïò- in quality) song (Pss. 33:3; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1) is to celebrate a new act of divine deliverance. Old things are passing away and new things are being declared (Isa. 42:9). The 24 elders and the Living Ones lift a lofty anthem of praise to the Lamb of God for the glorious salvation He has brought to mankind. The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is ever central to the New Testament (Mk. 10:45; 1 Cor. 6:20). The fact that Jesus was slain as a sacrifice constituted the ground of His worthiness to open the book.