The Lion and the Lamb – Thursday, 33rd Week in ordinary time – Revelation 5:1-10

Chapter 4 introduced us to heavenly worship around the throne of God. The focus shifts from the throne and the one who sits on the throne, to the scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne, in chapter 5.

The one on the throne holds a seven-sealed scroll with writing on both sides (Rev 5:1). No one in all of creation can be found worthy to open the scroll except the “Lamb that was slain” (5:2-5). This scroll is an important symbol in this chapter, but also for chapters 6-7 since a series of things occur as the seals on the scroll are opened. How did John intend for us to understand this scroll?

The scrolls have unique qualities. The first unique characteristic is its seven seals. This indicated its degree of total inaccessibility to the unauthorized, hence no human could open the scroll. The scroll is fully sealed until the proper time and the proper person to open the scroll. The scroll which was a papyrus roll,  possibly contained a list of afflictions for sinners (cf. Ez 2:9–10) or God’s plan for the world. Some suggest it is his final settlement of the affairs of the universe. This is based on the idea that customarily, under Roman law, wills were sealed with seven seals, each from a witness in order to validate the will. 

We will also notice as we continue our study of Revelation in future lessons, that as each seal is broken (6:1), an event happens on the earth. This imagery will be important to keep in mind as we study through the book. The seventh seal is broken in 8:1.

The other unique aspect of the scroll is that it has writing on both sides. Usually a scroll had writing on only one side. The simple meaning of the image presents itself to us. A scroll with writing on both sides pictures a complete message. The whole scroll has writing, even on both sides. Therefore, God’s complete message is ready to be revealed. The image of a scroll with writing on both sides is not unique to the scriptures. In Ezekiel 2:9-10 we read that in Ezekiel’s vision he is given a scroll that has writing on both sides.

But, John weeps when he realises that no one is found worthy to open and reveal the contents of the scroll, until one of the 24 elders tells him that there is someone who can open the scroll and read it. He is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David”. The Lion of the tribe of Judah comes from Genesis 49:8-10. The “Lion of Judah” is a messianic title found where Judah is referred to as a “lion’s cub” and promised the right to rule “until he comes to whom it belongs”. The “Root of David”, from Isaiah 11:1, 10, points to a future saviour-king descended from King David. Our Lord Jesus, of course, is indicated here.

Spread the love ♥
Continue Reading