“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, which are the prayers of saints. 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. 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. 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. Revelations 5:7-14 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” Only the Lamb of God could approach the Throne of the Almighty in such a manner as to receive from Him the Book. Of course, that Book belonged to the Lamb and consequently to the Father since all that the Father has belongs to the Son; and all that the Son possesses belongs to the Father – including you and me as the elect of God. “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, which are the prayers of saints.” Heaven is a place of joy, and music, too. It is a place of great song and merriment. Godly hymns, even here on earth, enhance our spiritual understanding of both Doctrine and Biblical Truth. There, it will be crowned with a full knowledge and joy. These twenty-four elders and four beasts represents, among other things, the priests of the Old and New Testament Church who offered up the petitions of the people before the Altar with incense. As the intercessions were made at the Altar, the smoke of the incense added a sweet smelling savor to the worship service. Moreover, the smoke of the incense rising up above the Altar represented the prayers and petitions of the people rising up to God. These are the “golden vials full of odours, wjhich are the prayers of the saints.”
This Altar of Incense was described numerous places in the counsel God gave in the design of the Tabernacle. “And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same. And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about. And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal. And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.” (Exodus 37:25-29)
“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.” In our limited understanding of things Heavenly, we sing with great feeling and emotion at Church, and at random places; but can you imagine the joy of song in Heaven! Our singing there will be so anointed by Grace and Joy that it will be very much like a new song – not the silly songs of the modern church; but the deep and rich with meaning songs of complete understanding. Our Lord is the ONLY One who is worthy to take the Book from the Father and to open the seals which He broke at the moment of His resurrection. He opened the greatest seal on the morning of resurrection. The Jewish rulers approached Pilate with an impossible request. He told them: “…Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matthew 27:65-66) How did that work out for these culprits? “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (Matthew 28:2) So these present seals of prophecy should be a simple matter for the One who broke the seals of death and Hell.
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” The Old Testament priestly office of offering sacrifices was fulfilled at the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord; but God has a continuing priesthood of which Christ is the High Priest. It even continues in the Glory of Heaven.
“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.” Imagine millions of millions of voices singing praises to God; and among them both elders and angels. Such a choir could never be assembled on earth, but Heaven is rich in every beautiful attribute.
What song was this choir singing? “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” This is a very brief song with few words, but behold the profound meaning of these words that choir sang! Our Lord is represented as having Seven Horns and Seven eyes – perfection in power and knowledge. Now, these words of the choir add meaning to that concept. When was this Lamb slain? “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) In the economy of Heaven, there is no space-time continuum. That which was decreed before the worlds were made is as certain as the accomplished event. He is the Great I AM of Eternity, and He exists and works in the scale of Eternity.
“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.” Here is an acceleration of the time made reference to in verse 10 “and we shall reign on the earth.” It seems appropriate that, having accomplished the redemption of the Elect in His death at Calvary, the Lord would give a glimpse of the future time (not the present or past Church) that will exist at the time and discretion of God. Consider the mouldering bodies of the long buried dead (under the earth), and the flesh-picked bones of those who lie in the depths of the blue sea, and those who are in the Glory, and those who remain living on the earth, at the coming of our Lord when all things are fulfilled.
“And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Not only will these worship Him that is the essence of Life, and lives forever; but every knee shall bow to Him. We have no righteousness to claim a worthy inheritance, but we do have His imputed righteousness. “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45:23-25) Do not mistake “the seed of Israel” to describe some geographical, or racial, entity. It defines all who have believed the Promise made to Abraham. “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:14-16) “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:6-8)