Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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APOCALYPSE - Chapter 5

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Apocalypse 5

Supplemental Commentary:

II.  THE SEVEN SEALS  4, 1 -- 8, 1 (continued)

1.  Preparatory Vision  4, 1 -- 5, 14 (continued)

5, 1-8:  The Scroll and the Lamb.  John's attention is now directed to the scroll in the hand of the throned One.  As the vision in 4, 1 ff centers around God the Creator, so this vision attends to God the Redeemer who executes the divine decree.

A scroll: such heavenly books are mentioned by the prophets.  Cf. Isa. 29, 11; Ezech. 2, 9; Mal. 3, 16.  Written within and without: with writing on either side.  Seven seals: symbolizing that the divine judgments and counsels are a profound secret.  What were the contents of the scroll?  Probably all the future history described in the Apocalypse to its close.  Who is worthy? no one in all creation was found worthy.

5-8.  The lion, etc.: Christ.  He, by reason of His divine Sonship and His victory is worthy to open the book, to reveal the secrets of God to mankind.  Cf. Mark 12, 35; Matt. 20, 41-45.  A Lamb: the lion of victory is now a lamb suffering for the sins of mankind.  Seven horns, etc.: the horns denote fullness of power, the eyes denote omniscience, the spirits are the Holy Spirit.  And he came, etc.: in the Greek the tenses here indicate the permanent results of the action.

5, 9-14:  The Three Songs of Praise.    9 f.  The adoration of the Lamb by the living creatures and the elders.  Their doxology has three members because the Holy Trinity resides in heaven.    11 f.  The adoration of the myriads of angels.  Their praise is sevenfold, because Jesus completes the work of creation and dispenses the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.    13.  The adoration of all creation.  This doxology is fourfold, because of the four regions of the earth.    14.  Praise echoed in heaven.


Confraternity Bible:

The Scroll and the Lamb  1 And I saw upon the right hand of him who sits upon the throne a scroll written within and without, sealed with seven seals.  2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to break the seals thereof?"  3 And no one in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth, was able to open the scroll or to look thereon.  4 And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look thereon.

5* And one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep; behold, the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, has overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals."  6 And I saw, and behold, in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent fort into all the earth.  7 And he came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him who sat upon the throne.  8 And when he had opened the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

The Three Songs of Praise  9 And they sing a new canticle, saying,
"Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals;

For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us for God with thy blood,

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

10 And hast made them for our God a kingdom and priests,

And they shall reign over the earth."
11 And I beheld, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." 
13 And every creature that is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are on the sea, and all that are in them, I heard them all saying,
"To him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, blessing and honor and glory and dominion, forever and ever." 
14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshipped him who lives forever and ever.
__________

*

5: Root of David: the lion is also the symbol of the royal house of David.  Christ comes of the seed of David and the prophets described Him as the branch that would spring from the ancient stock.