Chapter 38



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(Rev 5:1-5)  And I saw in the right hand of him [The Father] that sat on the throne a book [Gk: scroll][1,2]  written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David [3], hath prevailed [4,5,] to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. [6]

1.       The Living Bible: The scroll John sees contains the full account of what God has in store for this world, and only Christ can open it. The seven seals indicate the importance of its contents.

2.       The Pulpit Commentary: Here, as everywhere in this book [of Revelation], it is the ideas, and not the forms which symbolize them, which are of consequence. It [the book-scroll] is the title-deed of the purchased possession – the redeemed inheritance – which no one has a right to touch or open but him to whom it belongs.

3.       Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Who it was that would do the thing  - The Lord Jesus Christ, called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, according to his human nature, alluding to Jacob’s prophecy (Gen 49:10), and the root of David according to his divine nature, though a branch of David according to the flesh. He who is a middle person, God and man, and bears the office of Mediator between God and man, is fit and worthy to open and execute all the counsels of God towards men. 

4.       prevailed = Gk: to subdue (lit. or fig.):--conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.

5.       The Nelson Study Bible: Prevailed refers to the death and resurrection of Christ on behalf of those who would be redeemed.

6.       The Pulpit Commentary: The very idea of a “book” is that of something which comes to an end, which is for a definite and limited purpose. Christ must reign, not for ever, but “till he hath put all thing under his feet.” Then cometh the end (1 Cor 15:24-28). The book is a definite thing. The existing systems of grace and providence are not everlasting; they subserve ends beyond and higher than themselves; they are but preliminary and initiative; their completion is yet hidden, and will fill and brighten eternity.

 (Rev 5:6-8)  And I beheld [1], and, lo, in the midst of the throne [2] and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns [perfect (omnipotent) power] and seven eyes [perfect (omniscient) wisdom], which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours [the anti-type (fulfillment) of the golden altar of incense in the Tabernacle, which represents mankind in the Tabernacle], which are the prayers of saints.

1.       The Living Bible: Jesus Christ is pictured as both a Lion (symbolizing his authority and power), and a Lamb (symbolizing his humble submission to God’s will). One of the Elders calls John to look at the Lion, but when John looks he sees a Lamb. It is the Lamb, not the Lion, that becomes the focus in this vision. Christ the Lamb was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind; therefore, only he can save us from the terrible events revealed by the scroll. Christ the Lamb won the greatest battle of all – defeating all the forces of evil and death by submitting humbly to God’s will and dying on the cross, the perfect sacrifice for mankind’s sins. Christ the Lion is victorious in battle against Satan (19:19-21). Christ the Lion is victorious because of what Christ the Lamb has already done. We will enjoy the rewards of victory not because of our power and might but through our humble submission to God’s will.

2.       The Pulpit Commentary: The Centre of heavenly adoration. See where he is – “in the midst of the throne,” standing on that central space immediately in front of the throne, the Centre of all that holy throng, on whom all eyes rest, to whom every knee bows, and every tongue confesses. And what a circle that is! See its members. But he is the Centre; to him their adoring worship is given. Are we in sympathy with this? Is he the Centre of our heart’s worship and love? The Lamb is the Centre of heaven. Hence his cross claims his crown; the sufferings of Christ, the glory that should follow.

(Rev 5:9,10)  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth [1,2].

1.       Matthew Henry’s Commentary: High exaltation: Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Every ransomed slave is not immediately preferred to honour; but thinks it a great favour to be restored to liberty. But when the elect of God were made slaves by sin and Satan, in every nation of the world, Christ not only purchased their liberty for them, but the highest honour and preferment, made them kings and priestskings, to rule over their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one; and he has made them priests, given them access to himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices, and they shall reign on the earth; they shall with him judge the world at the great day.

2.       The Pulpit Commentary: They are priests in relation to their Maker, offering up the sacrifice of a devout and grateful soul; they are kings in relation to their race, wielding a governing influence over their thoughts and hearts. A true Christian is a moral sovereign [syn: ruler, monarch].

(Rev 5:11-14)  And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts 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 that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing [Don’t you find it strange to be called to give to the Lamb what He already has? After all, He is God. What will the Lamb do with these?]. 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, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

1.        The Pulpit Commentary: “riches” = How do the monarchs receive the tributes of their people? Not directly, but through the established agencies. Christ has established an agency on this earth for this purpose, and that agency is his Church. Whatever is done to further the evangelizing views and well-being of his Church, he regards as being done to him. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Why is Christ worthy to receive your wealth? 1. BECAUSE HE IS THE ORIGINAL PROPRIETOR OF IT. The gold that any man holds in his hand is his in a very secondary sense. His property a few years ago was in the possession of others, and a few years hence it will pass from him into other hands. All material wealth belongs to Christ. “The beasts of the forest are mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Man is but the trustee of his wealth; Christ is the proprietor. 2. BECAUSE HE HAS ENABLED YOU TO PROCURE IT. Why have you wealth more than others? Has it come to you through heirdom, legacy, or your own industry? In either case you have it through Christ. Perhaps you ascribe it to your shrewdness, your industry, your management: but whence came these? All business aptitudes and opportunities are the gift of Christ. All the conditions by which your wealth has been attained are according to this arrangement. 3. BECAUSE HE GIVES YOU THE QUALIFICATIONS TO ENJOY IT. Do you enjoy your wealth? – enjoy all the conveniences, comforts, and powers which it imparts? If so, why? All do not. The miser does not, the invalid does not, the idiot does not. Who gave you the unmiserly spirit, the bodily health, the mental capacity, by which you enjoy your riches? All the qualifications that you have for enjoying your property are his gifts. 4. BECAUSE HE WILL MAKE THE BEST USE OF IT. The best use of it for yourselves. There is no better investment. In truth it is for you sake that Christ wishes you to give it to him. He could have planted churches on every hill, schools in every valley, written his Bible on the broad heavens; but he knew right well that you would be better by contributing of your property to the diffusion of his truth. Your contributions to him serve you in many ways. (1) Serve to test your character. Until you can give freely that which you value most, what evidence have you of your love to him? None. (2) Serve to detach you from materialism. Wealth tends to materialize the soul. Every contribution to spiritual objects counteracts the tendency. Is another step up the ladder whose foot is deep down in materialism, but whose top reaches to the holy heavens of spirit and love. (3) Serve to ennoble your character. It is a great thing to be trusted, to be thrown upon your honour. Christ trusts you. The best use of it for the world. When you are gone, Christ’s Church will be here working with the means you have entrusted to it, and working to spread truth, virtue, and happiness through the world. “Worthy is the Lamb to receive riches.” Don’t shirk collections, don’t regard them as trials. Hail them as blessings, and remember that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”


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