WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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THE LAMB OPENS THE SCROLL
(Blessing, glory, and honor to the LORD forever)
It is the strong conviction of every New Testament writer that all of human history will continue to hold as its meaning, the life, death, and resurrection of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. JESUS is “the axis” around which all of human history hinges, and indeed, all that we see now began in HIM, and through HIM. All things find their origin and meaning in JESUS, and without HIS work of redemption, history would remain an enigma at best, and we would have a future without hope, at worst.
In Revelation 5:1-10, through his vividly detailed writings, the Apostle John allows us to look in on his vision just as CHRIST is about to prove HIMSELF as being the only one worthy to take the scroll from the hand of GOD, and unseal it’s secret contents. John tells us that the scroll had writings on both, the inner and outer surfaces, and was sealed with “seven seals”. The scroll must have been rolled in such a way that the seals would have to be broken one seal at a time.
In the Greek, the word used here for “scroll” is “biblion” (bib-lee-on), and it is from that word that we derive our English word “bible”. A scroll that was sealed could only be read when all of the seals were opened. The symbolism here, in Revelation 5:1, is that, only when judgment has been fully executed, will the ultimate intent of GOD be revealed.
In Revelation 5:5-6, John’s vision serves to remind us that JESUS conquered all by giving HIS life for us. Here we see the Apostle raising his tear-filled eyes, expecting to see what the Elder had described as “a LION”, opening the seals, and instead, seeing a bloodstained “LAMB”, WHO is still bearing the marks of HIS execution, about to be revealed as the executor of GOD’s final judgment. Soon there will be a new song, never heard before, and all will be forced to acknowledge that JESUS truly is worthy to rule, and, to be praised.
Ultimately, the idea here is that GOD has a book in which “the history of time to come” is already written. When we are seeking to interpret this idea, it will serve us well to remember that this is a vision, full of symbolisms, shown to John, by GOD. It would not be wise to take this great vision too literally, and to think it means that everything was settled long ago, or, that we are in this “inescapable grip of fate”. What it is saying is that, GOD has a plan for the world, and that, the purpose of GOD, will, in the end, come to pass, or, be worked out.
In this chapter of Revelation both “the LION” and “the LAMB” are mentioned in reference to JESUS CHRIST. The lamb refers to HIS “first advent”, where HE came “to bring salvation” to the world through HIS vicarious sacrifice for the sins of man on the cross. JESUS, the LION, refers to our LORD and SAVIOR’s “second advent”, which will be “a time of judgment” on those who have rejected HIS salvation.
The “seven horns” of the LAMB in this chapter symbolize “great and complete authority and strength” of the ONE who is “a RULER over all kings”. The “seven eyes” symbolizes “complete awareness and knowledge of all things”, and is, in fact, “the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD”, the “seven spirits” that are sent into every part of the earth (v.6).
In verse 7 the “resurrected lamb” steps forward, and takes the scroll from the right hand of GOD WHO was seated on the throne, and as HE took it, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell prostrate to their knees before the LAMB and began to worship HIM. Each one had a harp in his hand, and they each also held “golden incense bowls” that contained the many prayers of the saints of GOD over the years.
The four living beings and the elders here were not serving as priests or mediators, for only the LAMB is qualified to deliver HIS OWN sacrificial blood up to the altar of GOD in Heaven. JESUS delivered the ransom for GOD’s people personally, as only HE could. And by doing so, HE caused us to become priests in GOD’s Millennial Kingdom, where “saved people” will serve in that capacity, here on earth for a thousand years (v.10).
Before JESUS came along, we had been living in a world, so far from GOD, that, there was no one worthy enough to even receive HIS message. JESUS solved this problem by way of HIS earthly ministry and subsequent vicarious sacrifice. HE revealed to us, the great and challenging truth that GOD cannot deliver a message to men, unless there first be a man fit and ready to receive it, and then, deliver it to others.
And so, we see in our world, the very essence of “a communications problem”, as we have alienated ourselves from the Word of GOD. There is a definite need in this world for us to keep ourselves sensitive to GOD’s communications, so that we will be able to receive HIM in SPIRIT, and in Truth. He has a message for the world in each and every generation, but it couldn’t be delivered until there was SOMEONE found, WHO was able and willing to receive it, and then, begin the process of “correctly” delivering that Word to others, here on earth.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website