Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Revelation 5: Jesus is Worthy of Worship

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Before I get started, I wanted to again mention that it is not always easy to tell if these things are supposed to be taken literally or figuratively. As I was reading today's passage, I was wondering if the description that certain things represent other things is a hint that we should look at these things figuratively. Example, v. 6 "with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God"

The Scroll and the Lamb (v. 1-14)

John noticed that the guy on the throne (presumably God), is holding in his right hand a scroll which has writing on the front and the back and is sealed with seven seals.

I'm not sure what the scroll is supposed to represent, my best guess is either something about salvation, or something about the impending apocalypse.

Unless otherwise stated, Guzik will be my source today for the Christian perspective. The writing on the front and back indicate the scroll is unusual, as that is not normal, and therefore it can contain twice as much information as is normal. Apparently the seals consist of a string around the scroll sealed with wax. All seals must be opened before the scroll can be read. As to what the scroll contains, there is much discussion, which Guzik goes into detail about and why he thinks various ones are not correct. He says the best is that it is God's "final settlement of the affairs of the universe." It is mentioned that wills were sealed this way.

A strong angel loudly asked who is worthy to open the scroll and break the seals.

It's funny to think of a strong angel, I'm picturing a bodybuilder with wings.

No one on heaven, the earth, or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it.

'Under the earth' really caught my attention. Is this supposed to be people in hell? Why would people in hell even have the opportunity to come to the throne of God to attempt to open the scroll?

My question is unfortunately not answered here, but look at this quote from Guzik 
There is no answer to the strong angel’s challenge because the creation is utterly incapable of deciding or effecting its own destiny. Someone above the order of created must determine the course of history; only God can unfold this plan.
I find this mentality appalling. The idea that we are completely incapable of effecting our own destiny, that we  need God to unfold history according to his plan. This is what we give up when we buy into this religious worldview.

Because no one was able to open the scroll, John weeped loudly, and one of the elders told him to stop because "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals"

Are these descriptions of Jesus?

Apparently yes, these are descriptions from Genesis, Isaiah, and Hosea

Near the throne there was a lamb standing, as though slain, with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Standing as though slain? Gotta be Jesus. I don't understand the horns or eyes.

Eyes suggest knowledge and wisdom, horns suggest power.

The lamb took the scroll and the creatures and elders worshiped the lamb. John looked around and saw that there were thousands around worshiping the lamb. All people and creatures in heaven, on earth, in the sea, and under the earth all fell down and worshiped he who sits on the throne and the lamb.

Yeah, I think the lamb is Jesus.

What did we learn today?

I don't know, I guess that we should worship Jesus.

Revelation 5:13 Jesus is worthy of worship

"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"


  1. I get stuck on the people "below the earth"...if that is hell, why would they agree that Jesus is worthy of worship or even be included in this story. If in fact, they were worshiping Jesus, should that not lead to salvation (at least according to some)?

    1. That's funny, I didn't really think about the 'under the earth' people the second time it came up. I think what this really demonstrates is that the picture of hell that we have today is vastly different from what was thought about back then. I think it was just an underworld, not a place where you are tormented.

  2. "I find this mentality appalling. The idea that we are completely incapable of effecting our own destiny, that we need God to unfold history according to his plan. This is what we give up when we buy into this religious worldview."

    As we've seen, the bible is full of all sorts of conflicting stuff that can justify almost any sort of world view that one wants. It's almost grotesque, particularly when it comes to hell. On one hand, everything is God's plan, but somehow if you bring up the question of hell to a Christian, it suddenly becomes a question of free will. I suppose one could try to argue that God has an overall plan, but we are left up to do what we want and to make the choices we want (the details). However, aren't heaven and hell eternal? Sort of a "final solution"? I don't have a problem using that term because for all intents and purposes that's where the end of the road is for every single person in this belief system. Forever. No appeals, no "doing your time and earning your freedom." It's not exactly grounding or spanking a child and then forgiving them. It's pure unfathomable torture. As said elsewhere, "an infinite punishment for a finite crime."

  3. I look at "below the earth" as a tell of an antiquated belief system where Heaven was literally above the earth, while Hell was literally below the surface of it. ;-)

    I believe that the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" and "the Root of David" are pretty well defined in the OT prophesies as being rulers from King David's lineage who will again be earthly kings over the Jews, but Christianity definitely seized the prophesies for themselves to bolster the claims about Jesus.

    As you suspect, the lamb is definitely supposed to represent Jesus. The "lamb" is a reference to an animal used in atonement sacrifices per the OT Law.

    The number 7 represents perfection. The number 6 represents imperfection, and also man. Horns do represent power, and are used in some prophesies to represent kings. So I think 7 horns represents perfection in kingship.

    The 7 eyes I am less certain of, but I think it is mainly just a commentary on how Jesus' spirit is perfect, and how He sent that perfect, holy spirit into the world. The eye reference may be because the eyes guide you in your path, so this would instead perhaps be the perfect guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  4. "The number 7 represents perfection."

    That is interesting. I've been wondering why that number is showing up so many times :)


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