This is Part Two of a Bible Study of Revelation. It was given at the parish on Friday, June 26th, to a parish group of 40 participants.
You should do Part One of the Study before embarking on the below info.
PART TWO OF THE STUDY OF REVELATION 5
Are you ready now to review again the passage of Revelations 5:1-12? Let’s do a second pass and try to understand the images in the text. First, go over the text again, and then, stop and close your eyes for a moment and try to picture what is written in this chapter.
Did you read it? (Ok, you can open your eyes now!) Let’s do an image review.
I would like to do it two ways: First, as a review pertaining the Catholic Church today in her practice. Then,
second, as a verse by verse probing again, as to getting to the meaning of St. John’s words to us of The Word of God.
Revelation 5 – The Lion, the Lamb, and the Scroll
The Catholic Church and this Chapter in Scripture
We are a Church who believes in connections all the way back to Jesus, and into our Hebrew covenant background that Christ, the Eternal Son, was laying down in those pre-years of His Coming. We know as Catholics that the Lion is the Image of God’s authority. He is the Lion of Judah, the One of Judah’s tribe (one of the 12) who brought the line of God’s covenant from Genesis to the Gospels, from Jacob/Israel to Jesus Christ.
Just as we claim that we are of the unbroken line back to Jesus, as Catholics with our one, holy, catholic and apostolic church– so do we similarly connect even further back to the Lion of Judah hope going back the Genesis times on earth. Only the Catholics (as well as Orthodox line of us) claim such Christianity connections to Jesus and even to His people Israel, His chosen ones.
I like my patron Saint Anthony’s prayer: “Behold the Cross of the Lord, flee ye hostile powers of darkness. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered.”
Why is this title used in a Catholic saint’s prayer? You just need to know the Scripture connections and line of the Lion of Judah of Catholics today back to the covenant line of the Hebrews with God. Read Genesis 49:8-10: “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise…Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts— who would dare rouse him? The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs…”
As the Lion’s line went forward (in the tribe of Judah–which locates near Jerusalem), you see it kept going in King David’s lineage. Read in 1 Samuel 16 how “The smallest and seemingly weakest of the sons of Jesse is smeared with an oil of anointing, and from that moment, the power of the Lord rushed upon David, turning this shepherd into the first Lion of Judah.”
Go forward several more hundred years and you have the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 1) describing Jesus as being born into that tribal line, and even in the territory of Judah (at Bethlehem), as well as the bloodline. Thus, Jesus, Who comes in the power of God, to triumph over sin and death, does so as a Lion of Judah and in Divine authority (as Jesus is God and man).
Revelations 5 proclaims the victory as from the side of Heaven, as witnessed in this vision by John the Apostle. John, as an Apostle, and writing to the 7 churches in Asia Minor (of the Catholic Faith in its first century), tells the churches that the Jesus we adore and worship and serve IS truly Lord of All. He will be the Lord and Head of the Church through to the Second Coming. As Revelations 5 is of His Triumph; Revelations 22 is of His Second Coming (vs. 7 “See, I Am coming soon!…vs. 12 “See, I Am coming soon; My reward is with Me…I Am the Alpha and the Omega”… vs. 20 “Surely I Am coming soon.”).
We Catholics practice a life in line with Jesus, and thus to His Authority as the Lion. Jesus gave His authority to His apostles (the original bishops and pope), and we have acted in His authority ever since (Matthew 16:18-19; Luke 9: 1-2, Matthew 28:16-20). There also is an authority of believers (Luke 10:17-24). Because the Catholic Church was appointed by Jesus and with His authority, we often receive a lot of flack from non-Catholics over our identity. We get protested against, abused, persecuted, and fought against—just due to our identity with the Lion of Judah, as Jesus’ Church. He said it would come. God’s authority is challenged by the darkness. He will appreciate the Church remaining steadfast to Her Lord Jesus Christ and living out the last Beatitude which the Savior gave: “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice of that Day (the Second Coming) and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in Heaven, for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)”
Catholics live in the Lion of Judah. We are a Church of Authority; His Authority, as appointed to us.
Catholics also live in the Lamb of God. We are a Church that knows how God came among us. As Scripture says, “…and as he watched Jesus walk by, he (John the Baptist) exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” In every Mass, the words are echoed, as we behold Jesus the Lamb come to us on the altar, and offered for us “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”
We Catholics claim Jesus is our Eucharist, truly Present, and our Lord in humble appearance again (like a lamb) in Holy Communion. We believe our Sacred Liturgy unites us on earth (in the prayer of Mass) to His Mystery in Heaven, as the Book of Revelation describes Him as the Lamb (chapter 5 and also chapter 21). We receive the Lamb in Sacrament, as the Holy Offering and Sacrifice for our sins. We cannot save ourselves; we need to put ourselves in Him. The humble Jesus lets us do that, even as He gloriously reigns in majesty, too, as the Lion and Power on High. This is how and why we worship the Lord as we do at Mass; to present ourselves to God in Him, The Lamb and the Lion.
This interpretation of Revelations 5 sees Catholics uniquely* living out the Lion and Lamb mystery on earth. We are not living just in symbolic imagery; we really are in Christ’ Body and we really share in Christ’ Body, the Lamb of atonement. As the Church in the Covenant life back to Genesis 22 on Mt. Zion, we trust, like Abraham, that “God Himself will provide the lamb for an offering (vs. 7) and we believe His blessing is on us for recognizing Jesus as Lamb (as He revealed at the Last Supper and Calvary), as God once favored Abraham: “Because you have done this… I will indeed bless you…and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars or of the grains of seashore sand… by your offspring (ultimately in Jesus) shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves.” We Catholics see that our fidelity to the Lord in such matters as Church and her Eucharist help us to be truly Jesus’ ‘offspring’ to the earth, which is why we call ourselves catholic (it means global, a universal people) and one with Him (blessed are those in the Supper of the Lamb) and holy (God is Holy in Jesus the Lion and the Lamb) and apostolic (we serve as a Church appointed by Jesus, and her shepherds/bishops are in an unbroken line back to the original ones–in fidelity).
The figure of a Scroll in the chapter 5 is about a Mission to unfold. That Mission needs a very special person and ambassador. Later in the Book of Revelation we see the Lamb (chapter 14) and He stands on Mt. Zion in some victory with 144,000 persons who are redeemed (vs. 1-2)… is says they are first fruits for God and the Lamb (vs. 4c). People in that company are mentioned to have followed the Lamb whereever He goes (vs. 4b). (Note: They are still following Him, as in the first fruits of Resurrection and Redemption by Jesus.)
Catholics see this triumphant verse as referring to the many who do trust the Lord and blamelessly serve Him (vs. 5)…who have not been defiled by the world and its sinful enticements(vs. 4a)… and now sing a new song before the Throne, a reference to the Lord as Lion here (vs.3) and each are marked with the Father’s Name on their foreheads (vs.1), which is a reference to Lion (belonging to Him, as by the Sacraments signing us into His Name) and also as Lamb (as many are marked, and so are we–again by Sacraments and by our repentance and turning over our will to God, in submission to Him. (Jesus saw us like lambs needing a Shepherd, remember?)
The Mission seems to have been accomplished, of whatever was on that scroll to have done. We suppose it was the Book of Life, of which Jesus told His followers that they were not so much to exult in their power over evil, but to rejoice that their names, His disciples, were written in Heaven (Luke 10:20).
Revelation 5 – The Lion, the Lamb, and the Scroll
Now, as we have above interpeted the chapter of Revelations 5 as logically applied to the Catholic Church today, let us take a second verse-by-verse sweep of the great chapter in John’s Revelation. We will do it in outline form, with commentary.
Revelations 5 all starts with a Figure Who is Worthy to open up a scroll. We know that Figure is Jesus!
Revelations 5, starting verse…It speaks of One worthy to take the scroll.
1. (a) The throne and the scroll.
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.” The focus of Revelation 4 was the throne. Here, in Revelations 5, John begins with reference to the throne, but now shifted his focus to the scroll held by the enthroned Lord. As if almost in modern lingo, we could hear John commenting: God has got this! He’s got it in control!
b. Written inside and on the back:
This means that this scroll was unusual. It wasn’t common practice to write on both sides of the scroll. This means that whatever information was on this scroll, there was a lot of it – almost more than the scroll can contain. God definitely has taken a lot onto Himself to do, at least from our perspective1 Yet God can handle it.
What did John see about this scroll? All the important recorded things (such as Scriptures or agreements or maps)needed to be put down. This papyri scrolls did the job. Ancient scrolls were read horizontally, not vertically. The rolls of the scroll were on the left and the right, and the writing lay in narrow columns about three inches (8 centimeters) wide, written on a substance somewhat like brown paper. The scroll was held in the left hand, and unrolled with the right; as the reading went on, the previously read portion was re-rolled. On such a typical scroll, the Book of Revelation would fill a scroll 15 feet (4.5 meters) long. Since it was written in Jewish form, the writing went right to left, too.
c. Sealed with seven seals: When a roll was finished, it was fastened with strings and the strings were sealed with wax at the knots. This scroll was sealed with seven seals; there were seven strings around the scroll, each string sealed with wax.
These were not seven writings each separated by a seal; but seven seals all set upon one scroll. All the seals must be opened before the scroll could be read. So this means that whatever the Lion/Lamb is doing, it will be done in full and all comprehensive and all in accord with everything held in time and captivity of sin.
d. A scroll written: Through the centuries, commentators suggest many different ideas for what this scroll is, and what was written upon it. It’s important to remember that whatever was on this scroll, no one except Jesus was (and is) worthy to open it (Revelation 5:3-4).
Some think the scroll was the Old Testament, or the Old and New Testaments together, or fulfilled prophecy. But these ideas look back, not forward, and John wrote of things related to things which must take place after this (Revelation 4:1). Additionally, if the scroll was the Old or New Testament, who is unworthy to open that scroll? Unless it means that the heavens wonder who can tie all of history together and mend the world and its people. That could be an interpretation.
Some think the scroll was God’s claim of divorce against Israel, but there is little Scriptural evidence for this idea, and who is unworthy to open that scroll? Yet, in that idea, if it were a list of sins and all the infidelity of humankind against God, Who could deal with it all except for Divinity?
Some think the scroll was God’s sentence against the enemies of the church. Perhaps this is true, but only in an indirect sense; but who is unworthy to open that scroll?
Some think the scroll was the text of the Book of Revelation, or the next few chapters. But this is rather unlikely considering how the idea of the scroll is communicated, and who would be unworthy to open that scroll?
Some think the scroll was something like the title deed to Planet Earth. This is an attractive idea, especially because the coming time of tribulation will end with Jesus ruling over all, and His Lordship over earth will be clear. But it is hard to demonstrate this interpretation with certainty. Maybe the best connection in this idea seems to be with Jeremiah 32:6-15, which describes Jewish title deeds as sealed. But there is no doubt that the earth is the Lord’s (Psalm 24:1), though the governments of this world belong in some sense to Satan (Luke 4:5-8). If God has to get the title deed back, when did God ever “lose” the title deed to planet earth? In fact, God holds this scroll – it isn’t lost. But the scroll must be opened, it must be revealed. Maybe it is a reference to the world getting back to its innocence, like at the start. There’s nothing like a new home or a new car or new something! Some realtors or car dealers try to put in a new smell and look to their property they are re-selling. Some old things, or aged people, can be disguised by new smells and creams and colors, too—but what of Earth and humanity, in such a fallen, hopeless state, with things separate and lost and dying? Who can save such
e. A scroll written: The best solution is to see the scroll as “God’s will, his final settlement of the affairs of the universe.” (Barclay) This is based on the idea that customarily, under Roman law, wills were sealed with seven seals, each from a witness to the validity of the will.
Notes: “Roman law required a will to be sealed seven times as illustrated in the wills left by Augustus and Vespasian for their successors.” Perhaps it is the comprehensive program of God culminating in the second coming of Christ.” (Walvoord)
“The book may mean the purposes and designs of God relative to his government of the world and the Church; but we, whose habitation is in the dust, know nothing of such things. We are, however, determined to guess.” (Clarke) “(I think this is) the book of the counsels, decrees, and purposes of God relating to his church, as to what more remarkable things should happen to it to the end of the world; which book was in the hand of the Father.” (Poole)
Comments: Well, the idea here (behind the above thoughts) is that God has a book in which the history of the universe is already written (or a place is laid for all things to happen in it). God has written the history of the world in advance, or some plan, and He holds in His hand the history of the world in advance, in that a victory can come to it, even while the world fell into sin. God in Christ initiates the consummation of all history. Only God can hold this scroll.
We find it fascinating, then, that Jesus’ Last Words on The Cross contained the phrase: “It is (all) consummated.”
Where did Jesus go in His Ascension to Heaven? He went to “the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll. Realize what the emphasis is His going there, in not so much on the content of the scroll, but on its seals and that He indeed is the One who is worthy to take it there, as like to bring a guest book of names of who can be admitted into Glory.
2. (2-4) Who is worthy to open the scroll?
[These are the next words in Revelations 5, are you following me?]
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
a. There’s a strong angel: We don’t know who this angel is. Many have suggested that it is Gabriel, but we don’t know. Is it Michael? Maybe so. Nonetheless, this angel issued a challenge to all creation: Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? This is a challenge no creature can answer because no creature is worthy to open this particular scroll.
b. No one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it: John could not have said it any stronger. It was as if the strong angel looked through the entire universe to find someone worthy, and did not find anyone worthy to even look at the scroll.
There was no answer to the strong angel’s challenge because the creation is utterly incapable of deciding or effecting its own destiny. Someone above the order of created beings must determine the course of history – only God can unfold this plan.
c. So I wept much: John wept either because a previous promise to see the future may now be denied (Revelation 4:1), or more likely, because the consummation of history would now indefinitely postponed.
d. No one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it: To look upon the scroll, one must have the right to open the scroll and possess it – and no creature was found worthy.
3. (5-7) The Lion of the tribe of Judah is worthy to open the scroll.
But one of the elders said to me, “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.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
a. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah: One of the elders (not an angel) rescued John from his grief, showing him the one who has prevailed to open the scroll. This One was the great figure of Old Testament prophecy: the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Messiah of Israel and of the Gentiles. The Eternal Son.
Notes: The Messianic title Lion of the tribe of Judah comes from Genesis 49:9-10, Isaiah 31:4, and Hosea 11:10. The title Root of David comes from Isaiah 11:10 and is repeated in Revelation 22:16.
A Lion is a fitting image of our Messiah, “1. For the excellency of his strength. 2. For his heroic spirit. 3. For his principality; the lion is the king of beasts. 4. For his vigilance; as the lion sleeps with open eyes.”
b. And I looked, and behold . . . stood a Lamb: Because of the elder’s announcement, John expected to see a Lion, but saw a Lamb instead. John even used the specific word for a little lamb; he “Signifies a little or delicate lamb.” (Clarke)
Notes/Comments: The Lamb is presented in a way both sympathetic and powerful; He is living (stood as a Lamb), but He still had the marks of previous sacrifice upon Him (as though it had been slain).
It is a bit fascinating: When men want symbols of power they conjure up ferocious beasts and birds of prey such as those that represent nations and sports teams. But the representative of the kingdom of heaven is a Lamb, representing humility, gentleness, and sacrificial love.
What is the image? The Lamb looks as though it had been slain. It’s hard to describe what John saw, but this Lamb had the marks of sacrifice on it. The coming judgment beginning in chapter six is dictated and administrated by the Lamb who already offered an escape from judgment by taking judgment upon Himself. The judgment will come upon a world that hates the Lamb and all He stands for, and rejects His offer of escape.
c. As it had been slain: The idea is that the sacrifice of Jesus is still fresh and current before God the Father. There is nothing stale or outworn in the work of Jesus on the cross. Thousands of years later, it is still fresh as the day He died on the cross. This is our whole basis of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ is the Eternal Offering. His Sacrificial Offering is given for all generations, as if it were always “new.”
Notes: “This form of speech is put to show the continual recent virtue of Christ’s death eternally effectual before God, as whereby once for all he has purchased eternal redemption.” (Trapp)
As it had been slain: “As if now in the act of being offered. This is very remarkable; so important is the sacrificial offering of Christ in the sight of God that he is still represented as being in the very act of pouring out his blood for the offenses of man. This gives great advantage to faith; when any soul comes to the throne of grace, he finds a sacrifice there provided for him to offer to God. Thus all succeeding generations find they have the continual sacrifice ready, and the newly-shed blood to offer.” (Clarke)
d. Having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth: Even though the marks of His sacrifice were evident, the Lamb was not presented as an object of pity. He also bore the marks of omnipotence (seven horns) and omniscience (seven eyes). What a figure! A slain Lamb, who has the marks of omniscience and omnipotence! The seven eyes of the Lord are a picture of omniscience drawn from the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 4:10 and 3:9).
Throughout the Scriptures, eyes suggest knowledge and wisdom, and horns suggest power. This Lamb has knowledge, wisdom, and power fulfilled perfectly: seven horns and seven eyes. Which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth: The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of God (in the sense of being the “Spirit of the Father”), but also the Spirit of Christ (see Acts 16:7 and Romans 8:9).
e. Then He came and took the scroll: No created being was found worthy to take the scroll, but the Lamb can take it. His rank, character and ability to take the scroll and open it (and thus dictate the destiny of creation) has been permanently demonstrated by His work on the cross.
B. Praise to the Worthy One.
1. (8-10) The song of the elders and the cherubim.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
a. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb: When the Lamb took the scroll, the response was immediate. High-ranking angels and redeemed man joined to worship the Lamb.
b. Each having a harp: The harp is “Properly, a zithern or kind of guitar, played either with the hand, or with a pick.” Neat! Worship in heaven is accompanied by music. As one might expect, this is the passage that started the idea that people in heaven will have harps.
I wonder if I can pack my Martin guitar to go with me after my passing?! I might need it!
c. And golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints: With their golden bowls full of incense, the elders symbolically presented the prayers of the saints.
Comment: Not everyone appreciates how the Church today likes to use incense at her liturgies, and the great connection to what the Bible describes as the prayers and praises of the saints rising up like “holy smoke.” While we need not have the holy smoke of the lamb or tutledoves or oxen slain for a holocaust– we do need Christ to be our presented offering. The incense reminds us of the necessity of An Offering and Sacrifice made to God. We are reminded that there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Lord Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). It is noted that all prayers go to Him in the end. All intercession by the Church of today or yesterday or tomorrow will pass to Him.
Comment: See the golden bowls full of incense: In this we see how precious the prayers of the saints are to God. He regards them as a sweet smelling incense, as if set in precious golden bowls. The connection between prayer and incense is shown in Psalm 141:2: Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Incense has a pleasing aroma, it ascends to heaven, and it needs fire before it is of any use.
Our fire for prayer is the Holy Spirit, of course.
d. And they sang a new song: The elders sang a new song, for mercies that are forever new.
In the heavens it is described that there are 24 small thrones or chairs around God’s Prominent One.
It shows that there are some special persons to be seated near God. The Twelve Tribes of Israel will likely have a rep as will the original apostles (with Matthias in for Judas the Iscariot).
The picture here is of earthly persons around a Supreme Person Who is Earthly, but also Heavenly: Jesus.
Note: “It is a new thing that the Son of God should become man. It is a new thing to ascend into the heavens with a body. It is a new thing to give remission of sins to men. It is a new thing for men to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is a new thing to receive the priesthood of sacred observance, and to look for a kingdom of unbounded promise.” (Victorinus)
e. You are worthy: In the days of the Apostle John, Roman Emperors were celebrated upon their arrival with the Latin expression “vere dignus,” which is translated “You are worthy.” Here the true Ruler of the world is honored. John gives the salute to the Lord of All.
f. For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth: In the praise of Revelation 4:11, the emphasis was on God’s work of creation. Here, the emphasis is on His work of redemption. A song honors the price of redemption–and here is a short list to pay respects:
The songs honor the fact that God paid dearly, because He held us dearly in regard to save.
· The song honors the destination of redemption: have redeemed us to God
· The song honors the payment of redemption: by Your blood
· The song honors the scope of redemption: every tribe and tongue and people and nation
· The song honors the length of redemption: have made us anointed ones! (kings and priests to our God)
· The song honors the result of redemption: and we shall reign on the earth.
There is some new heavens and new earth plan of God that somehow John the Revelator can see coming ahead.
It is a great vision John is having.
g. Kings and priests to our God: Believers are kings because of their royal birth and their destiny to reign with Jesus. They are priests because they receive the righteousness of God to be put into them. In the Catholic Baptism Rite, we always mention these things. We also count in our prophets role.
In the Baptism Rite, we also announce how a person is joined into the whole Body of Believers to God (in history) including the saints and angels and all in our faith line or family tree of Christ’ disciples.
2. (11-12) Countless angels join in, declaring the worthiness of the Lamb because of the redemption He accomplished.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
a. I heard the voice of many angels around the throne: The angels and the elders fell down before the Lamb together (Revelation 5:8). Yet it seems that only the elders sang the song of the redeemed (Revelation 5:9-10), as there is some role of them as shepherds who speak in behalf of the flock.
Notes: In Revelation 4:9-10, the angels prompted the elders into worship. Here, the elders seem to prompt the angels. It is a wonderful cycle in heaven, with the angels and elders encouraging each other to more and more praise.
b. The number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: This is an innumerable company of angels. The number just means endless in number…
c. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain: In their song, the angels did not offer praise for their redemption. Their relationship to God is different here. There were the faithful angels, who remained with God. There were the lesser number of unfaithful angels, who were banished for good from God’s Presence. Thus, you have angels here praising God for His redemption of sinful humankind. We have been given a way back to God out of our sin; the angels rejoiced in God’s merciful offer. (1 Peter 1:12 and Ephesians 3:10).
3. (13-14) All creation praises the Father and the Lamb.
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, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
a. Every creature: John couldn’t be any more complete in his description. Truly, this is every creature – in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them.
b. Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb: This combined worship of the Father and the Lamb is strong testimony to the deity of Jesus. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the Lamb is to be reckoned with God and as God.
Notes: Now if Jesus Christ were not properly God this would be idolatry, as it would be giving to the creature what belongs to the Creator.” Yes Jesus is God. No idolatry exists if the Real God is worshipped.
Depend upon it, that noone ever will go to heaven unless they are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God. They are all doing it there: you will have to come to it, and if you entertain the notion that he is a mere man, or that he is anything less than God, I am afraid you will have to begin at the beginning and learn what true religion means. You have a poor foundation to rest upon. I could not trust my soul with a mere man, of some nice religious figure in human history. He need to be God in our humanity. Our Mass is a real rehearsal for the worship we know God is due!
c. Fell down and worshipped Him: The ancient Greek word for worshipped is literally “to prostrate” or “to lay before another in complete submission.” The scene may be that the elders fell down to their knees, then laid themselves before Him who lives forever and ever as an expression of their total submission and worship.
Note: This is the eastern method of adoration: first, the person worshipping fell down on his knees; and then, bowing down touched the earth with his forehead. This latter act was prostration.
d. Forever and ever . . . worshipped Him who lives forever and ever: The living God reigns eternally. The Caesars come and go, including those who persecute God’s people. But the Lord God lives forever and ever and is ever worthy of our praise. The Roman Catholic Church has long outlasted the Roman Empire, hasn’t it?
END OF STUDY