Summary: Revelation chapter 5 looks at why Jesus, who heaven calls the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is seen by John as as Lamb . We explore what this means to us today. We also look at the scroll Jesus takes from the Father's hand and the prayers of the saints
Book of Revelation
“The Lion Becoming The Lamb”
In chapter five, John continues his dramatic description of the scene in heaven. Again his attention is drawn back to the throne of God.
Read Revelation 5:1-7
In the Lord’s hand is a scroll. There’s writing on both sides and it’s sealed with seven seals.
The way it’s laid out each seal must be broken in succession before more is revealed. Further, being that there are seven seals indicates that it was a document of importance. Roman documents, like a Last Will and Testament, needed to be sealed seven times.
The scroll could be reference to Daniel 12. Here Daniel is told to seal up the book until the time of the end, and when Daniel asked when that time will be, he’s told,
“Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9 NKJV)
The time has now come. But not just anyone can take possession of this scroll.
What is this scroll? It contains the rest of the book of the Revelation, the future of humanity and planet earth. Some have said it’s literally the title deed for the planet, a deed the human race signed over to Satan in the Garden of Eden.
The seals kept the document secret and with their breaking terrible things happen as God judges humanity’s sin. What John sees, therefore, is some sort of legal document, like a will or title deed, legally sealed with seven seals.
This scroll gives authority and power to its recipient to enact God’s final purpose. It contains the climax of God’s purposes to reward His people, to give them their inheritance, and on the flip side condemn the wicked. Remember it’s written on both the front and back. It contains the destiny of the world.
No angel, human, or creature could open the book. Not Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Peter, or Paul. Not Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, or president of the United States. Not Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, or the Pope. Not J. Paul Getty, H.D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates. Heaven, earth, and below the earth was searched, but no one in all creation throughout the ages was found worthy. No one.
We live in an age where people want to be self-made; we want to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps." We feel like we can forge our own destiny without God. But the call goes forth and no one is found worthy to open the scroll.
John understands the enormous significance of the scroll and begins to weep at the terrible calamity. John weeps because without the opening of this scroll evil will continue.
We should all be feeling such sorrow because without a Savior we’re merely pawns in Satan’s hands. We should all weep when there is no champion for us!
But just then, John is told: “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:4 NKJV)
The description of Jesus as a lion comes from Jacob’s blessing over his sons. To Judah Jacob says he’s a lion and that the scepter of rule will be his, Genesis 49.
Being from the root of David comes from the prophet Isaiah where he says that from Jesse’s descendant, whom King David comes from, the Messiah will come, who is Himself referred to as coming from the line of David, Isaiah 11.
John immediately turns to see this great lion that has just been described, but he doesn’t see a lion; instead he sees a lamb. And not just any lamb, but one with death wounds.
He’s just as John the Baptist described Him saying, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.”
And so, while the angels and heaven see Him as a lion, John sees Him as the Lamb. Why a lamb, because He gave His life as that perfect sacrifice for sin, and as the Lamb Jesus is the grace and mercy of God personified.
Jesus was able to take the scroll and open the seals because He was worthy having no sin, and He conquered and was victorious. He earned the right by paying the price by the blood He shed upon the cross, and when He rose from the dead He proved that He alone conquered sin, death, and Satan.
In the song the 24 elders sing they say, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12 NKJV)