“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book 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, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”
Revelations 5:1-6 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The apostle John’s vision of the Heavenly Sanctuary continues in today’s selection from chapter 5 – “I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book.” This is the Book that completes the full Revelation of God. It is held in His Right Hand of Authority – the same hand with which witnesses who testify in courts of law seal their testimony, or take an oath of allegiance. This Book was “written within and on the backside.” Here we have further evidence of its completeness. Note that portions of the Book are sealed with one of seven seals. Before it can be understood, one of the seals must be removed. But subsequent books will remain sealed until unsealed. This is God’s manner of revelation – He reveals only that which we are able and privileged to know sequentially.
The matter of completeness is reinforced at the end of this Book: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelations 22:18-19) In this last passage is a dire warning to those who heretically tamper with the Word of God to remove entire passages and change meanings for profit in publishing counterfeit new Bible versions. I feel my understanding inadequate to explain the mysteries of the Bible, but I do pray the guidance of the Holy Ghost to be my Strong Tower in doing so – a Tower that lifts my soul above the mundane matters of this world, and which will enable me to see spiritual truths at a distance.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice.” This is no ordinary Angel of the common fare of Heaven, but a STRONG Angel – possibly of the caliber of the Archangel Gabriel or Michael. He is comparable to the mighty angel of chapter 10: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” (Revelations 10:1-3)
If the words of the Angel were of little significance, such a mighty Messenger would not have been required, He had an important message! “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” Of course, no man – minister, laity, or scholar – on earth is worthy to loose the seals of that Book – only the Lord. “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” To their spiritual ruin and damnation, many men today presume to know more of what our Lord intended than He knew Himself. The Higher Critics have given us only doubt, confusion and an altered perception of God’s Word as revealed in the greater number of Bible manuscripts. Their ultimate goal is to render the Lord Jesus Christ as a mere man like unto the rest of us. Not only do they not understand the Word of God, but they care little for it as well.
Man, left to himself, is powerless to know God. He is already dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2). The soul must be made alive (quickened) by the efficacious ministry of the Holy Ghost to make him both alive and to know God. He cannot understand Holy Scripture without the counsel of that Holy Ghost removing the scales from his eyes long subject to the darkness of the depths of the sea. His tears of sorrow will not avail to know God: “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” No man was worthy then, and no man is worthy today. John was promised of being shown things which must surely come hereafter, yet he cannot understand the sealed books. He wept at his own frustration. Should we not also be moved with sorrow at our own lack of understanding, and seek to know more?
What would we do without the Lord Jesus Christ as our hope, Master, Savior and Redeemer? Would we not be without any hope whatsoever? He is able to perform all things for our good; and He, indeed, has done so! “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelations 5:5) His sacrificial death in our stead opens every spiritual mystery in due course. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) Without His coming to pay our sin debt, we were weak and defenseless; and our understanding shrouded in darkness and unbelief. He is the Lion of Judah – Simba-wah-Yudah – as the Kenyan church calls our Lord. He died for us in DUE time – not before the time of greatest need; or too late in time to have maximum benefit for us – but in DUE time. One of the elders (or fathers of the ancient Church – either Old or New) counsels John, and us, not to weep for nothing is lost to the Elect of God. Not only is Christ accounted, in genealogical tables of legal descent, the Son of David, He is also the Root and Predecessor of David from which David derived his living and power.
Here is the summation of the whole matter: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is that Lamb that was slain as our Passover at Golgotha’s stony brow. His death ripped the Temple Veil that separated the believer from the Holiest of Holies (God) from top to bottom. No longer would we need a High Priest to intercede before the Throne of Mercy on our behalf because our Lord Jesus Christ has become our High Priest. We need no other intercessor – neither saint, nor angel, nor clergy – to intercede on our behalf.
Remember the Seven Golden Candlesticks and Seven Stars of Revelation Chapter One? Here we have another illustration of the Seven Spirits of God. He yet bears the marks of His sacrifice in Heaven perhaps making Him the only Person with marks of wounds in Heaven. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne.” The position we consider Christ to hold in the Kingdom of God is important for us to know Him, God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost. Where is Christ in relationship to that Throne of God? He is in the “MIDST” of the Throne. He is the central Person of the Godhead, and He is forever in the presence of the Father and Holy Ghost. But even more amazing is the fact that so illustrious a Personage is also in the midst of His people – the Church. He was in the midst of the scholars in the Temple at twelve years age; He was in the midst of Israel during His earthly ministry (see Acts 2:22); He was in the midst of His disciples after the resurrection (see John 20:19): He was in the midst of the transgressors (you and me) on the Cross at Calvary (John 19:18); and He is now and forever in the midst of those who are called by His Name (Matthew 18:20).
. It is to be devoutly desired that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of our hearts; in the midst of our marriages; in the midst of our families; in the midst of our nation; and in the midst of our Nation.
Is He in the midst of all that you consider important and enduring?