Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134
Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
Conquering Lamb of Revelation
David, Life of
Glorious Kingdom, The
Holy Spirit, Disciple's Guide
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Listening for God's Voice
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
Sermon on the Mount
José Campeche, Agnus Dei (1806-1809), Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, oil on wood, 30.5 x 22 in.
The passage we've been looking at that centers around the Lamb in the throne room begins with a precious scroll in the hand of God on the throne, sealed with the seals of this awesome God.
"1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?' 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it...." (Revelation 5:1-4)
Important documents were written on parchment or papyrus, then rolled and sealed with sealing wax, to prevent undetected tampering. Impressed into the wax seal was the unique imprint, initials, or sign of the writer of the document.
Documents from low-level bureaucrats could be opened by other low-level bureaucrats. Documents from high-level officials could only be opened by a person of similar high rank, or someone authorized to do so. In a national security or military context, we might think in terms of security clearance levels -- "top secret" and above. Only someone with the very highest security clearance of all is authorized to open this document.
The document in the hand of God is sealed with God's own seal, not once but seven times, indicating its full sanctity and protection from unqualified readers. It contains the future of how the End of the Ages is to unfold, the divine plan for the culmination of all things.
"And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a
'Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?'" (Revelation 5:2)
No one knows or can know this future. No one is qualified to break the seals, open the document, and initiate those future events. No one is found who is of sufficient rank and worth to open the scroll. So when John hears this, he begins to weep loudly. Then one of the elders declares:
"Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe
the Root of David,
so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.
And ... I saw a Lamb standing,
as though it had been slain." (Revelation 5:5-6)
As we have seen in previous devotions this week, the conquering Lion appears as a Lamb, standing though slain -- all powerful, all knowing, full of God's Spirit. John continues the narrative:
"And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne." (Revelation 5:7)
There is great praise in heaven (which we will look at on Day 5), and then the Lamb opens the first seal.
"Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the
and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder,
'Come!'" (Revelation 6:1)
As the first four seals are opened, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are released to ride forth upon the earth to bring judgment (Revelation 6:2-8). Opening the fifth and sixth seals release further judgment upon the earth. Then the seventh.
"When the Lamb opened the seventh seal,
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)
The key question remains:
"Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" (Revelation 5:2)
Who, indeed, is worthy of opening up the future -- especially your future and mine? The Greek word for "worthy" contains the idea of weightiness. Whose stature is weighty enough? Who has a high enough rank or privilege to give him the right to open the scroll and break its seals? Who is "worthy, fit, deserving" of this right and exclusive privilege?7
John the Baptist -- the greatest prophet according to Jesus -- recognizes the Master's exalted worthiness, "the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie" (John 1:27). Only Jesus is worthy!
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John weeps because no one worthy is found. But then the Lamb steps forward and takes the scroll from the hand of God. He is worthy. Why? He "has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals" (Revelation 5:5).
Sometimes we bemoan our own unworthiness -- our weakness to temptations, our fumbling attempts to serve God. But this isn't about us. It is about Jesus and his worthiness. Consider that the Worthy Lamb felt you were important enough to be slain to atone for your sins! His holiness, his worthiness makes you holy and worthy -- all by grace!
Jesus, so often I take you for granted, rather than honor you with the honor to which you are due. Forgive me. Lead me as I get to know you, that my relationship with you might not pull you down to my level, but raise me to yours. In Jesus' worthy name, I pray. Amen.
Day 4 Meditation (Revelation 5:1-8; 6:1). What does it
say about you that Jesus, the Most Worthy One, died for you. How does he value
worth? How casual should you be before the Lamb who is Most Worthy? What is the
appropriate relationship with him? In what ways has he humbled himself to reveal
himself to you?
 Axios, BDAG 93, 2a.
In-depth Bible study books
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- Conquering Lamb of Revelation
- 1, 2, and 3 John
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter & Jude
- 1 & 2 Thessalonians
- 1 & 2 Timothy
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- Abraham, Faith of
- Apostle Paul
- Christ Powered Life (Romans 5-8)
- Christmas Incarnation
- Colossians and Philemon
- David, Life of
- Glorious Kingdom, The
- Great Prayers of the Bible
- Holy Spirit, Disciple's Guide
- Jacob, Life of
- Jesus and the Kingdom of God
- JesusWalk: Beginning the Journey
- John's Gospel
- Lamb of God
- Listening for God's Voice
- Lord's Supper
- Luke's Gospel
- Moses the Reluctant Leader
- Names and Titles of God
- Names and Titles of Jesus
- Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
- Resurrection and Easter Faith
- Sermon on the Mount
- Seven Last Words of Christ