God’s Word of Praise and Thanksgiving
Revelation 5:1-14: Today’s reading introduces the Lamb of God (Jesus), who alone is worthy to break open the seven seals of a scroll. Last wills and testaments were usually sealed with seven seals, and the image of the scroll evoked here indicates that of a will to be executed once opened. The chapter concludes with a hymn of praise to the Lamb, sung by all creation, similar to the conclusion of chapter 4 and the hymn of praise to God.
The Scroll and the Lamb
1 I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne; it was covered with writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel, who announced in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3But there was no one in heaven or on earth or in the world below who could open the scroll and look inside it. 4I cried bitterly because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look! The Lion from Judah’s tribe, the great descendant of David, has won the victory, and he can break the seven seals and open the scroll.”
6 Then I saw a Lamb standing in the center of the throne, surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb appeared to have been killed. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that have been sent through the whole earth. 7The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. 8 As he did so, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 They sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to break open its seals.
For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God
people from every tribe, language, nation, and race.
10 You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God,
and they shall rule on earth.”
11 Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, 12and sang in a loud voice:
“The Lamb who was killed is worthy
to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength,
honor, glory, and praise!”
13And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea—all living beings in the universe—and they were singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,
be praise and honor, glory and might,
forever and ever!”
14The four living creatures answered, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
Today’s Key Verse: Revelation 5:12b
“The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength, honor, glory, and praise!”
Who are the ones standing around the throne? What are they doing? The number seven appears several times in today’s reading, a number that signifies completeness and perfection. In what verses does the number appear? In each instance, to what does the number refer? How do you envision what is described in today’s reading?
Worthy is the Lamb! To him be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever! Amen!
Isaiah 11:1-16: A vision of a peaceful kingdom and ideal kingship is described.