This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of Revelation. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
General Documents
Survey Videos
Individual Passages
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1:1-8 Introduction
1:9-3:22 In the Spirit on the Lord's Day
1:9-20 John's Commission
2:1-3:22 Letters to Seven Churches
4:1-16:21 In the Spirit - The Heavenly Vision
4:1-5:14 Worship in Heaven
  • 4:1-11 Worship in the Heavenly Throneroom
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-2a Introduction to the Vision
    1a After these things I looked
    This transitions from the previous vision - which included the vision of the resurrected Christ and His message to the seven churches (1:9-3:22) - to the next vision - the vision of the heavenly throne room - which will run through the end of chapter 16.
    The introduction to each of the visions in Revelation contains 1) a mention of John seeing something, or being shown something, 2) a mention of some heavenly messenger, 3) and a reference to being in the Spirit, among other things.
    1b And Behold - a door having been opened in heaven
    An opening in heaven is a regular symbol to show an intimate connection between heaven and earth - an access to heaven is given, which is not normally experienced (see Matt. 3:16, Acts 7:56). The curtain was pulled back, as it were, and John was given access to experience heavenly realities normally hidden and inaccessible to normal human life. The inaccessibleness of heavenly realities does not make them any less real. A major purpose of the Book of Revelation is to remind the readers of the impact that these hidden heavenly realities have on our everyday lives, even though we are not always aware of them.
    1c-f The commission to receive the vision
    1c And the first Voice which I heard as a trumpet was speaking with me
    This refers back to the voice John heard in his first vision (see 1:10), which turned out to be the voice of the risen Christ. Christ is the authority behind all of John's visions, even though some of them are mediated by angels and other heavenly beings.
    The voice was like the sound of a trumpet, which also refers back to Johns first vision. This may also refer to the loud sounds that accompanied God's glorious display on Mount Sinai (see Exo. 19:16, 19).
    1d-f The voice commanded to receive the vision
    1d Saying:
    This is just a discourse marker, transitioning and drawing attention to the content of what was said, as will be stated in the following propositions.
    1e-f Command to receive the vision
    1e Come up here!
    This is obviously an invitation/command to move up to the place where the speaker was. But it is more than just that. It is an invitation to experience the heavenly realities first-hand. In 11:12 of Revelation, the two witnesses are summoned into God's presence using the exact same language. And this language was used in Exodus 24:12 and 34:2 where God invited/commanded Moses to go up the mountain to receive revelation from God. So, in this proposition, John is commanded to come into God's presence in heaven, where he would be able to experience and then relate the revelation which would be given, as described in the following proposition.
    1f And I will show you the things which will inevitably happen after these things
    The promise is that John would be shown things. The word to show means to somehow exhibit something in order that it can be truly known. Throughout the book of Revelation, John is shown things, so that he can related them to his readers (see 17:1, 21:9, 22:1, 6, 8).
    In this verse, the promise is that he would be shown the things that must be after these things. That is, the things that will necessarily take place some time subsequent to when John was seeing the vision. In a few other places (1:19 and 22:6, see also Dan. 2:28-29, 45) the heavenly messenger uses this same phrase to speak of the things that will certainly happen. They are said to be under some sort of necessity, whether that is because of the inherent nature of the events or because of some fixed plan of God, were are not told. But it is stressed that these things must, and certainly will come about, though the exact timeline is not specified.
    However, the things which will take place in the future are not revealed only to satisfy the curiosity of those interested in the future. The primary purpose for these revelations is to encourage and change the readers who heard of them before they took place, so that they would be prepared and strengthened for whatever may come.
    2a And immediately, I was in the Spirit
    The term immediately not only tells the time when this happened. But it also emphasized the close cause/effect relation between the command/invitation given to John (1e-f) and the experiences given to him to enable him to fulfill this promise.
    In the Spirit is a phrase used a number of times in Revelation to signal the beginning of each of the visions (see 1:10, 17:3, 21:10). It means to be in some state where John was closely experiencing God's Spirit and receiving inspiration. But it cannot be defined more precisely with absolute certainty. This phrase probably refers back to the Book of Ezekiel (e.g. 2:2, 3:12, 3:14, 3:24 etc.) where God's Spirit lifted Ezekiel up, so that he could experience and receive the revelatory visions.
    2b-11 Vision of the Throne-Room of God
    The point of the vision of God's throne room is that God is great beyond our imagination. He is completely separate - completely different than any part of creation. He is in a class by Himself. He is Holy, completely sovereign and perfect in every way. This vision purposely obscures as much as it reveals, to show the transcendence of God - that He is beyond our ability to fully understand (even though we can truly understand what He has revealed about Himself, even if only in part). He is God and we are not.
    2b-8 The Throne of God
    2b-3a The Throne
    2b And behold - a throne was situated in heaven
    The first thing John described was a throne. And the throne is described as being in heaven, which is the dwelling place of God Himself - the transcendent place separated from, and somehow above our normal earthly experience. The throne is symbolic for authority, power, and sovereign rule of a king. Therefore, this throne is above all of heaven, which is above all of the universe. John's vision begins with the symbol of the highest authority in existence. It represents absolute sovereignty. There is nothing above, nothing more powerful or influential than the reality which John first described. And everything else throughout the rest of this vision is described in relation to this throne. Things are around the throne or before the throne, and God and the Lamb are on the throne. In fact, throughout the rest of Revelation, God is rarely referred to as God. He is usually referred to as the One sitting on the throne.
    2c-3a Non-description of the One seated on the throne
    I have called this a non-description because there is relatively little information given to directly describe the One sitting on the throne. And the description given is high symbolic and a number of steps removed from the full reality. Every word written is completely true, and we cannot deny the veracity of anything in these visions just because they are written in symbolic terms. But the words are inadequate to fully describe the reality. This is because the full reality of the God on the throne is far beyond description. He is depicted as so transcendent, so Holy and separate from our experience and ability to comprehend, as to defy description. We cannot in our current state comprehend God as He is in Himself. We can only understand God from His actions and interaction with His creation by which He has chosen to reveal Himself. That is why most of this vision described the things around the throne, rather than the One on the throne. And this vision assumes all the previous Biblical revelation for the reader to understand this description as referring to God. This book will add to this revelation of God by the actions coming from the throne throughout.
    2c And there was One seated upon the throne
    This obviously refers to God, the absolutely Sovereign One. There is plenty of prior reference in the Bible to God as sitting on a throne (see Isa. 6:1, Ezek. 1:26-28, 10:1, Dan. 7:9, I Kgs. 22:19, Psa. 47:8). This emphasizes His complete sovereignty, authority, and power over all that exists. God does not get His sovereignty from the fact that He is seated on this throne. But this throne is the symbol of all the sovereignty and authority inherent in God Himself.
    The One on the throne is the central focus of all of the Book of Revelation. Everything that happens in Revelation (and indeed everything that happens in all of history) has its source from the throne of God, i.e. from the One sitting on the throne. This would have been a tremendous comfort to the first readers who were suffering under various temporal authorities - to learn that these authorities did not have ultimate power. And the One on the throne is described as transcendent above all other reality, and only able to be known by what proceeds from His throne.
    3a And the One seated had the likeness similar in appearance to a jewel of Jasper and Carnelian
    The One sitting on the throne is described by connecting His appearance to Jasper and Carnelian. They are connected with two separate words: similar to and appearance of. These terms connect, but they also separate by two degrees. God is like these things, but only in a similarity of appearance. There is something about the appearance of these jewels that describes something about the appearance of God. And the appearance is similar in some way, but this also means that it is different in other ways. So, this description does say something real about God. But at the same time, it shows that God is beyond description, and what this description represents is only a small fraction of the reality of the One sitting on the throne. As Paul wrote, God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). And in Psalm 104:2, it says that God is clothed with light, as a garment.
    Jasper and carnelian are precious stones - jewels (probably greenish and reddish respectively). The emphasis is probably on reflecting or displaying light and splendor - being dazzling in appearance. In chapter 21, the holy city of God is said to have this same kind of radiant appearance (see vv. 11, 19-20). The vision of God in Ezekiel also described God in terms of this kind of radiance.
    The point is that this brilliant radiance says something about the greatness, splendor, and power of the One sitting on the throne. Throughout human literature, things that are supernatural are often described as having this kind of glow and radiance. And the One Who is the ultimate supernatural splendor is described in this way to emphasize His transcendent greatness.
    3b-8 Around the Throne
    The rest of this vision describes the things around the throne of God. They are described by their relation to the throne (and to the One sitting on the throne), because they all get their existence and purpose only from their relation to the One sitting on the throne. They represent, in essence, the intermediaries of God. Just like human leaders have their underlings and representatives, who carry out their directives and, in some ways, reflect back to their leader. In the same way, the character and purposes of God are partly shown in the description of the things and activities that surround His throne.
    John seems to describe the area around God's throne in a series of concentric circles. First, and closest, is the rainbow (3b), then, farther outward, are the 24 elders (4), and then are the four living creatures (6b-8).
    3b And a circle of light around the throne had the likeness similar in appearance to an emerald
    This circle of light can be translated either as halo or rainbow, depending on whether it is thought of as being horizontal or vertical. Though it also may be depicted as a sphere surrounding God in all three dimensions. It completely surrounds His throne. The phrase around the throne is early in this sentence for emphasis, showing that this circle of light is defined only in relation to the throne and the One sitting upon it.
    This kind of entity is also described in 10:1, and in Ezekiel 1:28. It represents an outward manifestation of the glory and radiance of God (depicted in the previous proposition), shown in light surrounding His presence. This may also be a reference to the rainbow in Genesis ch. 9, which is a symbol of God's mercy and promise.
    Its appearance is compared to emerald, using the same two terms (similar to and appearance of) that were used in 3a. John was describing to the best of his ability, within the limits of human language, a reality that surpasses description. Emeralds are greenish in color, but the exact significance of this stone in this proposition is debated.
    4 Around the Throne - 24 elders on 24 Thrones
    4a And around the throne [I saw] twenty-four thrones
    The phrase around the throne is first in this sentence, again emphasizing that these thrones exist and have their authority only in relation to the main throne in the center (and the One sitting on the throne). These are thrones, and therefore, they symbolize authority and power. The underlings of God are also powerful and sovereign. But their authority and power are only derivative, and come ultimately from God, and remain under His absolute sovereignty. The number of thrones is likely symbolic (though also accurately describing the actual number of thrones). The number 24 is obviously twice of twelve, which is also the number of the tribes of Israel, and of the disciples of Christ.
    4b And [I saw] twenty-four elders sitting upon the thrones, clothed in white garments
    Just like in v. 2, the thrones were described first, and then the ones seated on the thrones. They are called elders. This term did not primarily refer to age, but rather, to a position of trusted leadership and authority, based on the acquired wisdom and experience (that usually comes with age). They were somehow entrusted with delegated authority over certain aspects of God's creation.
    The identity and nature of the elders is debated. Some think that this refers to glorified human beings. This is primarily based on the number 24. It is argued that this represents the 12 patriarchs of Israel and the 12 disciples of Christ (who were promised that they would sit on thrones and judge the tribes of Israel, see Matt. 19:28 and Luke 22:30). However, this interpretation is awkward in the fact that one of the 12 disciples is also the one receiving this vision. So, if the elders represent the 12 disciples, John would have been seeing a vision of himself.
    Others think that the 24 elders represent a category of supernatural angelic beings. This explanation seems to fit best with the context, including later references in Revelation (see v. 10, 5:8, 14, 7:11, 11:16 and 19:4). In addition, in other passage (such as Isaiah ch. 6), God's throne is surrounded by seraphim and cherubim (which are types of angelic beings).
    And the elders are clothed in white garments (not necessarily robes, but that is the kind of garment that John's readers would have pictured). This is typically a symbol of purity and moral uprightness (see 3:4, 5, 6:11, 7:9, 13, 14, and 19:14).
    4c And [I saw] crowns of gold upon their heads
    Crowns are another sign of royal authority and power. But they are also a symbol of reward for faithful service and victory (see 2:10, 2 Tim. 4:8, Psa. 21:3). And gold is a symbol of wealth, value and preciousness. The elders are crowned with the symbol of highest value, authority and victory.
    The underlings around God's throne are described as having authority and power, and also as being pure and morally upright, and also as displaying victory and value. All of these things are derived from God Himself, Who is the source of all authority and goodness. And so, the elders represent the greatness of God in various ways.
    5a And from the throne went out lightnings and roars and thunders
    The phrase from the throne is emphasized in this sentence. Like the other items, this phenomenon is defined in its relation to God. These things go out from God's throne. He is the source of these spectacles.
    At this time, a lightning storm was the most powerful force of nature experienced by humanity, and so, lightning and thunder were associated with many gods. In this vision, the One True God is seen as the source of all of the power of nature. And this is a symbolic demonstration of the awesome power of God. This all points back to Exo. 19:16, where these same kinds of displays of power accompanied God's appearance on Mount Sinai to give the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic covenant.
    The terms for lightning and thunder are self-explanatory to anyone who has experienced a thunderstorm. An additional term noises is included. It is ambiguous, and may refer to any kind of noise which accompanied thunder and lightning. It may also refer to the loud trumpet-like blast which accompanied the appearance at Sinai (Exo. 19:16). All three terms are plural, and the verb go out is in present tense, so this likely refers to a continual occurrence of these phenomena. Lightning (8:5, 11:19, 16:18), thunder (6:1, 8:5, 10:3, 11:19, 14:2, 16:18, 19:6), and a loud noise/roar (8:5, 11:19, 16:18) are all used throughout Revelation to symbolically display the overwhelming power of God.
    5b-c Before the Throne - Seven Torches
    5b And seven torches of fire were burning before the throne
    The Old Testament tabernacle, and then later the temple (both built according to God's design), contained a lampstand with seven lamps before the presence of God (Exo. 37:23, 2 Chron. 4:20). These served the practical function of providing light inside the tabernacle. But they also served to symbolize that God is the One Who gives spiritual light to His people. Torches are a regular symbol for searching and enlightening. And in Gen. 15:17, God's presence is symbolized by a burning torch passing through the rows of sacrifice in ratifying a covenant. And the number seven usually signifies completeness and/or perfection. So, the seven torches signify that God's throne has, and provides, perfect and complete enlightenment.
    5c Which are the seven Spirits of God
    There is a debate over the nature of the seven spirits of God. Some think that they are seven archangels mentioned in Jewish tradition. Some think that this is a way to refer to the Holy Spirit, based on the sevenfold description of the Spirit of the Lord in Isa. 11:2.
    The seven Spirits before God's throne are mentioned in 1:4, without any other detail that would help us determine their nature or identity. Likewise, in 3:1, Jesus said that He holds "the seven Spirits of God" in His hand, without further elaboration. Revelation 5:6 is much more helpful for this question, because it equates the seven eyes of the Lamb with the seven Spirits of God. Having seven eyes is always a symbol for having complete and perfect knowledge. That fits well with this verse, which equates the seven Spirits with the seven burning torches before the throne. Torches, as we saw, are a symbol for searching and enlightening. This is reinforced by Zech. 4:10, which speaks of the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth.
    So, the seven Spirits symbolize the all-searching, all-seeing, and therefore, all-knowing character of God's throne. That is the purpose of the symbolism regardless of whether it refers to God's Holy Spirit, or to seven angelic beings. If it does refer to angelic beings, they are all-searching and all-seeing only because they serve as representatives and agents of the all-seeing God.
    6a And before the throne, there was something like a sea of glass similar in appearance to crystal
    The first words in this sentence are before the throne. As typical in this passage, this phenomenon is defined primarily in its relation to God's throne. And before shows a place in the sight of, and therefore, under the supervision of, the One sitting on the throne.
    This is, again, not a precise description, but only a comparison. John did not see a sea of glass, but he saw something like a sea of glass (see 15:2). This probably has reference to the expanse on which was placed God's throne, as described in Ezek. 1:22, and Exo. 24:10. This may also have reference to the expanse stretched between heaven and earth (Gen. 1:6-8). This sea was like glass. Glass, in that day, was not smooth and flat, and was only partly see-through. And so, it let in light, but also partly obscured view (kind of like the smoky glass used for privacy). But John emphasized that this glass was clear like crystal (see 21:11, 22:1). This may have the idea of purity. But it also had the connotation that it sparkled with the reflected light of the glory surrounding the throne.
    The overall picture of this expanse like a sea of glass was of something that separated God from creation, but also gave a view of His glorious greatness. God is completely inaccessible to creation on our own, but we cannot help knowing how marvelous He truly is.
    6b-8 Around the Throne - Four Living Creatures
    6b Four Living Creatures
    And in in the midst of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures
    As usual, the emphasis about the living creatures is their relation to God's throne. They are said to be in the midst of the throne. In the midst may mean that they are in the immediate vicinity, kind of an inner circle around the throne. Or this may look back to the symbolism of the cherubim making up part of the cover of the ark of the covenant, known as the mercy seat, because it was thought to be part of God's throne. If this is the case, the four living creatures would be symbolized as being a living part of God's throne itself.
    The main characteristic of these four creatures is that they are living. They are literally called the four livings, and in English, we need to add the living ones or living things or living creatures for it to make sense. These creatures are characterized as having life - being truly alive in some elevated sense. But, as with everything else, their life is derived and dependent on the One sitting on the throne. But because they are so near to the One Who is the source of all life, they are characterized by living.
    These creatures are reminiscent of the creatures, sometimes called seraphim and cherubim, mentioned in Old Testament visions in relation to God's throne (see Ezek, 1:4-5, 10:14). And these living creatures are mentioned throughout the rest of Revelation (see vv. 8-9, 5:14, 7:11, 14:3, 19:4).
    Full of eyes on the front and on the back
    John described them as being full of eyes. This is a standard symbol for being all-knowing. And John emphasized that they had eyes on their front and on their back. This is another way to emphasize that they see and know everything, similar to saying that someone has eyes on the back of their head.
    The underlings of God are characterized by life, and by seeing everything and having all knowledge. Therefore, God Himself is characterized by an even higher degree of inherent life, and an even higher degree of complete knowledge.
    7-8 Specifically - their appearance and activity
    7-8a Description of the four creatures:
    7 Distinctive description of each of the four creatures
    The description of these creatures is similar and different from the descriptions of comparable creatures in Ezek. ch. 1 and Isa. ch. 6. There is no reason to doubt that these are all accurate descriptions. But we are told that these are approximations of the creatures' appearance - as close as John could describe from a human standpoint. The first creature was not a lion. It was similar in appearance to a lion. The point is primarily about what the creatures' characteristics symbolize about them and about the God they serve.
    7a And the first living creature was similar in appearance to a lion
    A lion is typically symbolic of royalty and strength. A lion is the king of the jungle and therefore represents rulership and authority (see 9:8, 17, 10:3, 13:2).
    7b And the second living creature was similar in appearance to a young bull
    A bull or ox is typically symbolic of brute strength (see Ezek. 1:10).
    7c And the third living creature was having a face like of a human
    A human face is typically symbolic of intelligence (believe it or not).
    7d And the fourth living creature was similar in appearance to an eagle flying
    An eagle is typically symbolic either of speed or possibly of compassionate care (see 8:13, 12:14).
    8a And each one of the four living creatures, having six wings apiece, were covered with eyes all around and within
    This proposition describes some characteristics that were common to each one of the four living creatures. They each had six wings, just like the living creatures described in Isa. 6:2. And for the second time (repeating for emphasis), John mentioned that they were covered with eyes, probably focusing on the fact that all six wings were covered with eyes both on the outside and on the underside of each of the wings. This is to reinforce the all-seeing and all-knowing nature of these creatures, even as they swiftly move in the service of God. In Isaiah chapter 6, it says that the creatures cover their faces with their wings, because God is too pure to look upon. Even pure beings can't look at God's holiness unmediated. There may be a reference to the same dynamic here, based on the quote from Isaiah 6 in 8d proclaiming God's holiness.
    8b-d They continually proclaim God's Holiness and greatness
    The previous propositions described the appearance of the living creatures. This section describes their activities. We learn about them by noticing what they are, and also by what they do - their function in serving around God's throne.
    8b And they never had a pause, day and night
    This simply means that they never stopped doing what will be described in the next propositions. All the time, night and day, they continued. There is no sense of anything negative in this statement, like they needed a rest but were unable to do so. Rather, their nature and character (and delight) is to continually praise God without interruption. There is nothing they would rather do, and so they always do this. They are analogous to the Energizer Bunny in that they keep going without ever stopping.
    8c-d Proclaiming God is Holy
    8c Saying:
    This is just a discourse marker, introducing the next proposition. See on 1d. In this context, it might be better translated as proclaiming because there is a sense that they are uttering these things for all of heaven to hear.
    8d Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord, the God, the Almighty - the One Who was, and the One Who is, and the One Who is coming
    First, God is called holy, and this word is repeated three times. This is the same refrain used by the creatures in Isa. 6:3 (see also Exo. 15:11). And in Rev. 3:7, Jesus is called the Holy One. The repetition of the word three times signifies that He is wholly and completely holy - that He is the epitome of holiness.
    The word holy both in the New Testament and in the Old, means to be completely separate, to be in a class by itself. There is nothing else like God. He is completely unique in His nature and character. His creation can be in conformity with Him in some of His attributes, but only in a derivative and watered-down way. Nothing can ever truly be like Him. And because God is completely morally perfect, the word holy also has a secondary connotation of moral uprightness. God is perfect in every way, and there is nothing like Him.
    And then He is addressed with three terms: Lord, the God, and the Almighty. The words Lord and Almighty are a continuation of the quote from Isaiah ch. 6. And the word God is implicitly included in the term LORD as used in that context. The term Lord is a translation of the Old Testament Name Yahweh/the LORD with all that means, based on the OT revelation. But the term John used also emphasized authority and sovereignty - Lordship. God is in charge of everything. And the second term the God emphasized His deity. He is divine. He is God. And He is divine in a way that all the man-made gods were not. He is truly divine. He is the One True God, and all of the pagan gods are not. And the third term the Almighty obviously stresses that He is all powerful. He is omnipotent. There is nothing that He wills to do that He cannot do. He is infinitely more powerful than any creature in heaven or on earth (see 1:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 21:22, Gen. 17:1, Psa. 91:1).
    And finally, the four creatures proclaim His eternal nature. He is the One Who was, and the One Who is, and the ONe Who is to come. This is similar to the way both God and Christ are called the first and last (see 1:4, 8, 16:5). This also references back to God's revelation of His Name as I AM - the One Who exists (Exo. 3:14, see also Isa. 41:4). God has always existed and will always exist. God is above time, because time is His creation. God interacts with us in time, but He is not in time the same way that we are. John's grammar in this proposition is awkward. But he broke the grammar rules in order to describe God in a way that tells of His eternal existence (past, present, and future) without giving any hint that God changes through time, or is under time.
    God is the Eternal, All Powerful, Holy One, Lord over all time and space. And the four living creatures spend all their time praising Him and proclaiming His greatness in all these ways.
    9-11 The continual worship of God, because He is worthy
    9 And when the living creatures gave glory and honor and blessing to the One sitting upon the throne - the One living forever and ever
    This verse is a transition from describing the throne of God to describing the activity around the throne. In one sense, it gives the time context for the statements to follow: the following actions took place whenever this action took place. But, in another sense, this elaborates and interprets what the living creatures were doing when they proclaimed Holy, Holy, Holy.... By proclaiming God's holiness, His sovereign character and His eternal nature, they were giving Him glory and honor and blessing. And also, from the previous verse, we learn that they were doing this constantly, night and day. Therefore, we are to understand that the activities described in this and the following verses are also constantly happening. They are not occasional or sporadic. Worship is continual around God's throne, and in all of heaven. And it should be this way on earth, as it is in heaven.
    When the living creatures give glory and honor, etc. to God, they are not giving Him something that He did not have before. They are giving in the sense of recognizing, acknowledging, and rendering those things that are already inherently His. Glory is a recognition of status and prestige. It is the deserved fame and admiration of which God is worthy. It is also clearly tied to the inherent glory of God. He is glorious and has infinite splendor, and so, the living creatures recognize, delight in, and proclaim that glory. Honor, similarly, is an expression of esteem and reverence as the appropriate response to the God Who is infinitely honorable, in all senses of the word. It is to acknowledge and celebrate God's infinite greatness and status as Lord and God over all. And blessing is the expression of gratitude and thankfulness for all that God is and all that He has done. It is to proclaim, to brag about how wonderful God is. These and similar terms are used later in Revelation to describe similar scenes of praise to God (see 5:13, 14, 7:11-12).
    And finally, notice the two ways that God is described in this verse. They are typical phrases by which God is referred throughout Revelation. He is the One sitting on the throne (see v. 2, 10, 5:1, 7, 13, 6:16, 7:10, 15, 19:4, 20:11, 21:5) with all that conveys about His sovereign authority and power. And He is the One living forever (see 1;18, 10:6, 15:7, Exo. 15:18, Dan. 4:34, 6:26). He is the sovereign authority over all, and He is eternal. Because He has these two highlighted characteristics, He was able to be the creator of all, which is celebrated in the following verses.
    10-11 the elders worshipped God in deeds and words
    10a-c The elders fell and gave worship to God
    In this section, John listed three actions the elders (see 4b) did in response to the proclamation and praise of the living creatures. These are all different activities which express submission and worship in various ways. The elders constantly express the greatness of the One sitting on the throne, and their own dependence and submission to Him in heartfelt devotion and praise.
    10a The twenty-four elders fell before the One sitting on the throne
    To fall is a generic word for falling down. But in this context, it means to purposely throw oneself down as an act of devotion and/or humility. This response happens throughout Revelation (see 5:8, 7:11, 19:10, Psa. 72:11). And it is before the One sitting on the throne. God is once again referred to by the fact that He is in the position of sovereign authority over all. Notice the repetition of this phrase from v. 9.
    10b And they worshipped the One living forever and ever
    The word worshipped literally means that they bowed down, they prostrated themselves before God (see v. 9, 7:11, 22:9, 2 Chron. 7:3, Psa. 95:6). This bodily posture is an outward expression of an inward attitude - the attitude that God is greater, and deserves submission and devotion. And, in repetition from v. 9, God is called the One Who is living forever and ever. God is worthy of our worship and submission because He sits on the throne, and because He is the eternal, creator God.
    10c And they placed the crowns before the throne
    In 4c, John mentioned that the elders were crowned with gold crowns, symbolizing their royalty, value, authority and victory. Now we are told that in humility before the One sitting on the throne, the elders signify that their own royalty, value, authority, and victory pales in comparison to the royalty, value, authority, and victory of the One on the throne. This is also an acknowledgment that their own royalty, value, authority, and victory are derivative, and totally dependent on God. Without God, they would not have anything. In our culture, we tend to resist or reject the idea of hierarchies. We rightly resist the idea that some people are inherently better than others (though we are always in danger of taking this too far into the kind of nonsense that believes that everyone can and should be as good as everyone else in everything). We humans are all created equal in terms of our human dignity and rights. We all bear God's image. However, we need to avoid applying that equality idea to our relationship with God. He is inherently better than we are. There is a hierarchy of being in this case, and He is above us. He is above every creature. And so, the elders rightly acknowledge their complete dependence on Him, and reference for Him, and thankfulness toward Him. If the highest of heavenly creatures rightly display these kinds of attitudes of devotion and submission, how much more should we sinful humans.
    10d-11 Declaring the infinite worthiness of God because He is Creator
    10d Saying:
    This, again, is just a discourse marker, introducing the next proposition. See on 1d. Like in 8c, it might better be translated as proclaiming because there is a sense that they are uttering these things for all of heaven to hear.
    11 You are worthy of all because You are Creator of all
    11a O, our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive the glory and the honor and the power
    In this passage, the elders (heavenly beings) address the One sitting on the throne as our Lord and God. He is the One with all authority over them, and He is divine, the object of their Worship. They rightly relate to Him as their Master and Creator.
    And they proclaim that He is worthy (see 5:2, 4, 9, 12). He abundantly meets the standard of deserving all acclaim and glory. It is fitting and right to worship Him and ascribe to Him all the honor and greatness. In fact, He is worthy of infinitely more than His creatures could ever give, or even imagine. And, conversely, there is something completely twisted and wrong to not recognize and acknowledge His greatness. Something is perverted and broken in the minds and hearts of those who refuse to give God His due honor.
    He is worthy to receive - not that His creatures can give Him something that He does not already have, but, like above (see v. 9), it is recognizing, acknowledging, and rendering those things that are already inherently His.
    Glory is the same word used in v. 9. See the note on that verse. See also Psa. 29:2, 96:7.
    Honor is the same word used in v. 9. See the note on that verse.
    Power means the ability to do something, strength, and capability. This is acknowledging God's omnipotence - His unlimited capability and power to do anything He wills to do. Again, God does not actually receive strength (because He already has it all), but His infinite strength is recognized and celebrated.
    11b-d Because You are the source and creator of all things
    This section describes a reason that God is worthy to receive this kind of praise, recognition, and adulation. It is common (see throughout the Psalms) to describe the reasons God is worthy of praise as part of the activity of giving Him praise. This is not the only reason He is worthy, but it is a significant reason, which is highlighted in reference to His being the One on the throne with authority over all the universe.
    11b Because You created all things
    God is the creator, the source of everything. He is the authority over everything because He is the cause of everything. He is worthy of recognition and honor by everything created, because it all owes its very existence to Him. God is exalted as creator throughout the Bible (see 10:6, Exo. 20:11, Isa. 40:26, 28, Jer. 32:17, Acts 17:24, Col. 1:16-17, Rom. 11:36, among others). All heaven celebrates the One sitting on the throne, because He is the One Who created all of heaven and earth.
    11c-d And because of Your will, they exist and were created
    The last two propositions are similar in reference and meaning to the previous proposition. But the emphasis in the last two is on the phrase because of Your will. The purposeful decision of God is the reason why any of His creation came into being. God did not have to create. He was not lonely. He did not, and still does not, need anything from creation. But because of His gracious, good, loving purposes, He planned and decided to create all that exists for His glorious purposes, and for His glory. Therefore, all creation should give Him glory.
    11c And because of Your will, they exist
    This proposition states the reason because of Your will and then just states that they are - they exist. They clearly refers back to all things in 11b. All things have bare existence of any kind only because of God's choice. There is nothing that exists by accident. He created everything out of nothing, and without His purpose, nothing would exist.
    11d And they were created [because of Your will]
    And the last proposition echoes the previous ones, but with the emphasis on all things actually coming into being through an act of God's creation. This is implied to come from the same reason because of God's purposeful will stated in the previous proposition.
    All things owe their existence and creation (and all else that we have and experience) to God alone. And therefore, He is worthy of our honor and worship as Creator and Lord. He is the only uncreated being. All else depends on Him and finds its meaning in Him. God is King over all the universe. I am not. You are not. Caesar is not. No pretender that claims to be ultimate authority really is the ultimate authority, because God is the only One on the throne as true King of the universe.
  • 5:1-14 The Scroll & the Conquering Lamb
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    Intro:
    This passage is a continuation of the vision begun in chapter 4. The previous chapter was setting the scene for this chapter. Chapter 4 described God as sitting on a throne as sovereign Lord over all the universe, surrounded by creatures that demonstrate His holiness, power, omniscience, and greatness over all creation. And now, this chapter will describe how His sovereign Lordship is worked out in human history.
    1 The scroll in God's hand
    And I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One sitting upon the throne
    The focus of this drama starts with a scroll. This scroll, like everything else in Revelation, has its ultimate source in the One sitting on the throne (see ch. 4). It comes from His right hand.
    In order to understand what is going on in this chapter, it is important to understand the nature and function of this scroll. There are various options argued by scholars. In light of the fact that it had writing on both sides, (This was a common characteristic of will/testament documents in the Roman empire. A typical will had two parts: a description of the inheritance, and a list of the heirs), and in light of the larger context of this chapter, the scroll most likely represents God's purpose and plan for the universe, for human history, and His inheritance and Kingdom in human history. This is probably related in some way to the Lamb's book of Life, which is referenced throughout Revelation (see 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 15, 22:19, Psa. 69:28, and Phil. 4:3). In other words, the scroll represents and contains all that God is doing and will do to bring creation to its proper conclusion - to finally defeat all evil, and to bring about the full consummation of God's Kingdom and all of its blessings for His people. It is the content of God's Kingdom purposes for history and the consummation of God's plan for history.
    Written inside and outside
    The phrase that the scroll was written on the front and on the back (see Ezek. 2:10) uses terms that were used in chapter 4 to talk about the creatures having eyes on their front and back. In other words, they were covered with eyes, full of eyes. So, this may indicate that this scroll was completely covered with writing, which would indicate the completeness and fullness of God's purposes contained in the scroll.
    Sealed with seven seals
    this scroll was sealed with seven seals. The number seven typically represents completeness. So, this scroll was completely sealed up. Therefore, the consummation of God's purposes was not yet revealed and enacted. This represents history still being in the already/not yet tension, with God's full purposes not yet finished. This means that most of the events described/symbolized in the Book of Revelation (chapters 6-19) are not the content of the scroll. These events are just the preliminaries involved in breaking the seals and opening the scroll. They are the necessary final events of this age, that need to take place before the consummation of the age to come. In 20:12, at the final judgment, the scrolls are finally said to be opened. Therefore, the content of the scroll will only be fully realized in the events described at the end of the Book of Revelation, in the New Heavens and the New Earth, with the New Jerusalem coming down from God. This eternal blessing is what is represented by the content of the scroll, and it won't be fully revealed and realized until after God judges and eliminates all evil and rivals to His perfect reign.
    2-5 The quest to find One worthy to fulfill God's purpose
    2-4 No one was found to fulfill God's purposes, and therefore, John grieved
    2-3 Heaven sought who would fulfill God's purposes, but found no one
    2 A powerful angel issued a challenge to fulfill God's purposes
    2a And I saw a powerful angel
    The angel is described as powerful or strong primarily in reference to its ability to proclaim in a voice loud enough to be heard throughout the world.
    2b-e Proclaiming a challenge to open the scroll and fulfill God's purposes
    2b Proclaiming in a loud voice
    This proclamation was a challenge to go out to all the universe, and so, it was made in a voice strong enough to be heard by all intelligent creatures in all the world and in heaven.
    2c-e Who is worthy to open the scroll?
    2c Who is worthy?
    One of the purposes of this challenge is obviously to find the One Who would be worthy to open the scroll and bring God's purposes to their intended conclusion. Of course, God already knew Who this was, because God had already planned all of this - the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (see 13:8). But this was the way that God would reveal the Lamb as the One Who would fulfill His purposes.
    And the primary purpose of this challenge was to confront all creatures that we are not worthy to open the scrolls. The term worthy means to be of a degree of competency, merit and worth to fulfill this role and task. Just like in the Old testament, through the prophets, God confronted the false gods that they were not in control of history (e.g. Isa. 41:22-23). They were not competent and powerful enough to challenge God's role as sovereign Lord. They were not competent and powerful enough to challenge God's role as sovereign Lord. And throughout Revelation, the readers are encouraged to reject the false pretenders and worship the One True God. So, in this passage, God confronts all creation that we also are not in control of history. We are not worthy to bring about God's purposes. We are not the focus of God's plans (even though, by His grace, we have a part in them). We are not the hero of the story or the main character in this drama. We are not the agents that will bring about God's purposes. Creation is not about us. No one is worthy except the One that will be revealed in the following verses. The One sitting upon the throne is sovereign over all the universe, and the One Who is found worthy will be found to share in God's throne.
    2d-e Specifically: worthy to open the scroll
    2d To open the scroll
    To open the scroll is to access and thereby enact what is written in it. If (as argued above) the scroll contains God's purpose and plan to bring His Kingdom to consummation, then opening the scroll is to fulfill all of God's plans and promises, and to bring this age of human history to an end, and bring about the fullness of the next age.
    2e And to break its seals
    Seals were official marks closing a document, and therefore, signified punishment for any unauthorized person breaking the seal. Only those with the proper right and authority - those worthy - could break the seals, and only at the proper time. So, the one who could break the seals and open the scroll is the One with authority and ability to bring God's purposes to completion at the right time.
    3 No one in creation was found worthy to open the scroll
    3a And no one in heaven, neither on the earth, neither under the earth was able
    Even though this challenge went out to the entire creation, no one was found worthy. This confirms the purpose of the challenge - to clearly demonstrate that no creature is worthy and able to bring about God's purposes. No one on earth was found worthy - that is, no human leader, no matter how smart, powerful, or influential. No one under the earth was found worthy - that is, no deceased hero from the past. No great statesman or leader from history is worthy (not even David, or Abraham, or Moses), no matter how godly and influential they may have been. And no one in heaven was found worthy - that is, no angel or supernatural creature. Even the living creatures that live in God's presence are not worthy to bring God's plan to its climax and completion.
    3b-c Specifically: able to open the scroll and complete God's purposes
    3b To open the scroll
    This is the same phrase as 2d above. It is repeated for emphasis. Opening the scroll is a big deal in this passage (and throughout Revelation) because it sets in motion the final events which lead to the completion and consummation of God's purposes for human history. This is seen in chapters 6-8 where the opening of each of the seven seals is narrated, along with the consequences of breaking each seal.
    3c Neither to see it
    This phrase is different than what might have been expected from 2d-e. The emphasis is that no one is able even to see and know God's purposes for history, let alone bring it about. Not only are we unable to fulfill God's plan, but we are in the dark as to what His plans are. All we know is what He has already told us in other parts of Scripture, and then only in part. We are not able to independently know what God will bring about.
    4 John grieved because no one was found to complete God's purposes
    4a And I wept intensely
    This word wept and the modifying word intensely indicate an extreme form of crying. That is loud, passionate, wailing and lamenting. Why did John weep? Was he just emotional or overdramatic? No. But why was this such a big deal? Understanding why John was so distraught is a key to understanding this passage. And the reason is given in the following propositions.
    4b-d Because no one could open the scroll and complete God's purposes
    This section gives the reason why John wept.
    4b Because no one worthy was found
    If no one is able to break the seals and open the scroll, then God's purposes will remain unknown and unaccomplished. Millions of injustices will not be righted. The martyrs will not be avenged. If the scroll is not opened, then God is unconnected and unconcerned and distant, History would have no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Nothing will have any meaning if no one can open the scroll and bring God's plan to completion, because in that case, nothing will have a purpose and a goal. And, by the way, this is the conclusion of our secular culture: that life has no designer, it is just random, with everyone making up their own meaning. Therefore, for this worldview, life has no meaning or purpose, so nothing matters. This is why our culture is filled with such selfishness and despair.
    We also should feel the weight of this sadness and grief. We all are groaning, with creation, waiting for the time when God will right every wrong and bring history to its just conclusion. We all know that things are not yet right, and we are hoping for the time when our world will be fixed. We know that our own personal history (as well as world history) is unfinished business, and we long for the time when God will bring our salvation to its intended conclusion. But if there is no one who can do this, then that would be cause for intense grief and despair.
    4c-d Specifically: no one worthy to open the scroll and complete God's purposes
    These two propositions are the same as 3b-c, repeated to keep focus on the inability of anyone to complete, or even to know God's purposes for history.
    4c
    To open the scroll
    This is the same phrase as 3b. See the comments on that proposition.
    4d Neither to see it
    This is the same phrase as 3c. See the comments there.
    5 The Response: Don't weep, the Lion has triumphed
    It was totally appropriate for John to grieve at that point of the story. But thankfully, the story was not finished. John was about to be given more information that would turn his weeping into joy. And this reflects the larger purpose of the Book of Revelation. The readers where in a time of intense persecution and suffering, and so were rightly grieving and tempted to despair. But they were being given more information, which they did not yet have, through the Revelation given through John. This new information - this new way of looking at their same situation - would turn their grief to joy, if they truly understood and believed the whole truth about what was happening, which they did not yet see.
    5a And one from the elders said to me:
    That is, one of the 24 elders surrounding God's throne, who were introduced in 4:4. The elder spoke to John as an intermediary from God Himself.
    5b-d Don't weep, because the Lion has triumphed to open the scroll
    5b Do not weep
    Obviously, this is a command to stop mourning and weeping. The sadness which was the appropriate response to what John had seen, was about to be shown to be inappropriate, based on new information, which was about to be revealed.
    5c-d Because the Lion of Judah has triumphed to open the scroll
    5c Behold, the Lion, the One from the tribe of Judah, the root of David has triumphed
    Behold is a marker of emphasis. It drew John's attention, and focused it on the reason he should no longer weep. He was to notice and pay attention to the Lion and the fact that He had triumphed.
    Jesus is described in two ways in this proposition: 1) the Lion from the tribe of Judah, and 2) the Root of David. The Lion from the tribe of Judah is a reference to Gen. 49:9-10, where the tribe of Judah is described as a lion that is strong and conquers its prey. And then a ruler from Judah is predicted, Who will receive the obedience of the nations. And the Root of David refers back to Isa. 11:1, 10 (see also Jer. 23:5-6, Rom. 15:12), where a root from David's family will bring forth fruit, explained as nations rallying to His leadership. A descendant of David will rule the nations. And Jesus referred to Himself as the root of David in 22:16.
    Out of these prophecies, and out of the other prophecies connected with a descendant of King David (who was from the tribe of Judah), came the idea that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah, and rule over the nations. And this verse proclaims that those prophecies had been fulfilled. The promised redeemer has arrived, not only to rule the nations, but to open the scroll and fulfill God's purposes. He has prevailed in the struggle and won!
    The identity of the lion is not yet explicitly mentioned in this passage. But the New Testament often emphasized that Jesus was descended from David (from the tribe of Judah). And the fact that the lion symbolizes Jesus will be made clear in the following verses.
    The lion is said to have triumphed - to have been victorious over some obstacle or enemy. This is the same word used in chapters 2-3 in the promises to the one who overcomes. There, the readers were encouraged to overcome. And now we learn that they can overcome because the lion has already overcome. And the result of His victory/overcoming is elaborated in the next proposition.
    5d To open the scroll and its seven seals
    This proposition does not yet describe how the lion has overcome. But it describes the result: He can do that which no creature could do - open the scroll and fulfill God's purposes. What John hoped for had indeed happened. So, he could stop weeping and begin rejoicing with all the universe in the victory of the lion/lamb which is described more fully in the next section.
    6-10 Vision of the slaughtered Lamb - worthy to take and open the scroll
    6 I saw a victorious slaughtered Lamb sharing the role of God
    6a I looked/saw
    This is a common transitional phrase in Revelation. It serves to highlight and draw attention to the next part of the vision revealed.
    6b-f A slaughtered Lamb was on God's throne
    This section is a continuation of the revelation of the victory of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Lion is the Lamb, and the Lamb is the Lion. We are not supposed to visualize some blended creature that is half lion and half lamb. The book of Revelation often combines symbols, not in the sense of mixing metaphors, but rather, of adding one metaphor on to another, so that the combined truth of all the symbols tells the fuller picture about the thing which is symbolized. Therefore, Jesus is not part lion and part lamb. Rather, He is all lion and all lamb. He is not a wimpy lamb, but a Kingly, strong, warrior Lamb. He is not a beastly Lion, but a gentle, humble Lion, Who gives of Himself. All of the things symbolized by a lion are true of Him. He is strong and regal to rule. He is victorious over all His enemies. But all of the things that will be symbolized by a lamb in this section are true of Him as well. Part of the way that He is victorious is that He gave Himself as a sacrificial offering on behalf of the sins of His people.
    John wrote in such a way as to underscore the continuity between these two symbolic representations of Christ. But also, to show the contrast and significance of this second way that Jesus is symbolically represented in this vision, and what this tells us about His mission and the nature of His victory and accomplishments. One would have expected that a lion would be victorious by means of conquering violence. But John shows that Jesus was victorious by being the victim of violence. He rules as a Lion because He died as a Lamb. The voice of the elder announced that the Lion was victorious. And, against expectations, John saw a slaughtered Lamb.
    6b-c I saw a slaughtered Lamb standing in the middle of God's throne
    6b In the middle of the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb was standing
    In chapter 4, the throne room of Heaven was described with God's throne in the center, and a series of concentric circles moving outward, which contained a variety of heavenly creatures (see the comments there). This verse refers back to that description in order to emphasize that the Lamb which John saw was at the center of this reality, at the same place as God and His throne. The Lamb was further in than the elders and the living creatures. The Lamb was in the middle of the throne, with God. Or this may be better expressed as the Lamb being seated in God's place on the throne in order to emphasize that the Lamb is God. The Lamb is obviously referring to Christ, and will be used to designate Him throughout the rest of this book (see v. 8, 12, 6:1, 16, 7:9, 14, 18, 12:11, 13:8, 14:1, 4, 10, 15:3, 17:14, 19:7, 9, 21:9, 14, 22, 27, 22:1, 3). This is another evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity in John's writings. The Lamb (Who symbolizes Jesus, as we will soon see) is equal with God, sharing His throne. Yet, the Lamb is in some way distinguished from God the Father. This fits well with the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, and does not make much sense otherwise.
    There is almost certainly no contrast between the one sitting on the throne and the fact that he Lamb was standing. The word standing often does not have any connotation of being in an upright posture. Rather, it just means to be in a place. So, here, it most likely does not indicate that the lamb was in a standing position. Rather it could best be translated, a Lamb was positioned there or a Lamb was there.
    6c As having been slaughtered
    There is great significance in the description of the Lamb as having been slaughtered. The word slaughtered refers to a violent death. And this, connected with the typical use of a lamb as a sacrificial animal, refers to the Old Testament sacrificial system, where a lamb was often killed as a sacrifice in order to provide atonement for God's people. More specifically, this is a reference to the suffering servant in Isa, 53:7-8, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter for the transgression of God's people.
    It is clear from the context of the rest of the New Testament that this is a reference to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. In John 1:29, Jesus was called the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world. And Peter wrote that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Pet. 1:19). And this will be validated and elaborated in the following verses. And throughout the rest of Revelation (see v. 9, 12, 13:8), Jesus is called the Lamb that was slain.
    6d-f He had the symbols of all power and all knowledge
    John continued the symbolic description of Jesus as a Lamb by using typical symbols to speak of His power and knowledge.
    6d Having seven horns and seven eyes
    Horns are a regular symbol for power (see 1 Sam. 2:10, Psa. 132:17, Ezek. 29:21, Luke 1:69). And the number seven usually symbolizes fullness, completeness, and perfection. Therefore, the Lamb is said to have the fullness and perfection of power. The Lamb is all powerful. And therefore, He is stronger than all pretenders to earthly power. Later in Revelation, evil beasts are said to have ten horns, and attempt to challenge the rule of the Lamb (see 12:3, 13:1, 11, 17:3, 7, 12, 16). In math, 10 is greater than 7. However, in this symbolism, having 10 horns represents a lot of power, but 7 horns refers to the fullness of power. So, the Lamb is infinitely more powerful than the challenging evil beasts, even though they have significant power.
    And, as we saw in the previous chapter (see 4:6, 8), eyes are a symbol for knowledge. With the perfect number of eyes, the Lamb is aware of everything that happens in the world. And so, the Lamb, like God, is all knowing.
    6e-f Explanation: these are the seven spirits sent out to all the world
    6e These are the seven Spirits of God
    In 4:5, the seven torches before God's throne were said to be the seven Spirits of God (see also 1:4, 3:1). Here, the seven eyes of the Lamb are equated with the same thing. All of these together refer back to Zech. 4:2, 10. Zech. 4:10 speaks of the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth. Therefore, the seven spirits symbolize the all-searching, all-seeing, and therefore, all-knowing character of God and the Lamb.
    6f Sent out into all the earth
    This is a continuation of the reference to Zech. 4:10, where the seven eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth (see also 2 Chron. 16:9). The emphasis is the exhaustiveness of the Lamb's perfect knowledge. There is no part of the universe that He does not intimately know and control. Notice also, that the Lamb (Christ) is equated with the Lord God of the Old Testament, which is yet another confirmation of the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.
    7-10 The Lamb took the scroll and all Heaven responded with joy and worship
    7 He went and took the scroll from God on the throne
    7a And He went
    This is a subordinate action, which is not very significant on its own. John only mentions this as a preparation for the next proposition. Therefore, we should not find any significance in the fact that the Lamb moved. There is no elaboration of where He moved or how far, which would suggest that this does not have any deep meaning beyond setting up for the next action.
    7b And He took [the scroll] from the right hand of the One sitting upon the throne
    The taking of the scroll is the climax of this entire vision. All of chapter 4 set the scene for this drama, and chapter five starts with highlighting the scroll in the right hand of the One seated on the throne. All of this chapter so far has led up to this point. And the rest of this chapter describes the reaction and result of the Lamb taking the scroll. Then, beginning in chapter 6 with the opening of each of the seven seals, and continuing through chapter 20, Revelation narrates the results of the Lamb receiving the scroll, opening it, and putting in motion the purposes and plans contained in the scroll. And then chapters 21-22 narrate the contents of the scroll - the eternal blessing of God's people in His presence.
    On the one hand, the action of taking an article from someone else is not a very dramatic action. We all have done this. On the other hand, the significance of this action is in the particular article that was taken (the inheritance scroll containing God's purposes for His universe) and the identity of the One Who took it (The Lion/Lamb, Who is worthy). As we have seen, the scroll represents God's plan and purposes for the consummation of all of history, and so taking the scroll symbolizes the beginning of the consummation. All of God's good purposes are now in the final preparation for complete accomplishment.
    And, as I mentioned, the simple action of taking something in hand is not a big deal. But in this case, the fact of being worthy to take this particular scroll is a world-changing accomplishment. It was the demonstration that He had completed His perfect, effective work - that His sacrifice had been accepted. No one else in all of creation was found worthy. The scroll was not taken in the sense of forceful robbery. But rather, the sense is that God willingly handed it over to the proper recipient, Who received it from Him. As we'll see in later verses, the Lamb is considered worthy to take the scroll at least partly because He was slain and purchased people for God.
    The taking of the scroll is an extremely dramatic and climactic event in history because the cross and resurrection were THE dramatic and climactic events in all of history. The cross is where the action took place, and the taking of the scroll is the consequence of the cross. God's good purposes in history will be consummated because God's good plan of the cross has already taken place in history. All the events symbolized and described in the book of Revelation are the application and working out of the consequences of the Gospel, which had already been accomplished in history by the time of the writing of Revelation. John is just encouraging his readers that all the consequences of the Gospel are now in process of being worked out, even when it seems that evil is winning. The result of the atonement and resurrection is the consummation of all things, which is already in motion, as symbolized by the Lamb taking the scroll.
    8-10 When He took the scroll, Heaven rejoiced and worshipped, because He is worthy
    This section describes the response to the Lamb taking the scroll. Because of all this represented - because it was such a world changing event, the reaction in heaven is extremely dramatic as well.
    8 When He took the scroll, Heaven rejoiced and worshipped
    8a And when He took the scroll
    This proposition just connects the following actions with the previous proposition. All that happens next is the result of, and response to, the Lamb taking the scroll.
    8b-d The heavenly beings worshipped with joy and prayers
    8b The four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb
    The four living creatures and 24 elders were introduced in chapter four as heavenly creatures that surround God's throne to serve and worship Him. Now we see that their response to the taking of the scroll is to fall down before the Lamb in order to worship. They fell as a sign of devotion and humility, before someone of higher rank (see v. 14, 4:10, 7:11, 19:4). The fact that the Lamb is an object of worship in heaven, alongside of the One sitting on the throne, is another evidence for the deity of Christ. One of God's Ten Commandments was that no other god beside Him was to be worshipped. For the creatures to fall before the Lamb would have been blasphemy if the Lamb was not God.
    8c-d They had a harp and gold bowls representing prayer
    John mentioned these two propositions in order to symbolize the manner and type of their worship before the Lamb.
    8c Each had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense
    Each of the four living creatures and the 24 elders had the same implements (and by extension, the same attitude and actions) of worship. John emphasized that they all worshipped in the same way.
    First, they each had a harp - which is most likely what we would call a lyre, a smaller hand-held string instrument (not the large harps usually used in orchestras). The harp was the instrument that signified joy and celebration. And so, their worship was characterized by celebration of the accomplishment of the Lamb and an attitude of great joy. Heaven is a happy place, because God's greatness and justice, which are sometimes hidden on earth, have been made fully manifest in the glory and justice of the Lamb.
    And they each had a golden bowl filled with incense. Bowls were common articles used in the Old Testament temple worship. And the fact that they were made of gold symbolized the value and purity of the offering (which implied the value and purity of the One to Whom the offering was given). Incense is a spice that smells good when it is burned. It was used in the Old Testament to symbolize prayers going up to God. And it is used in the same way in this verse, as explained in the next proposition.
    8d Which are the prayers of the saints
    This proposition explains the golden bowls filled with incense. As typical, incense is a symbol for prayers going up to God (see Psa. 141:2). But in this context, they take on even greater significance. Later in Revelation (6:9-11) the people of God are described as crying out for justice, because they had been persecuted and killed for their faith. They prayed for vindication and justice. Then in 8:3-4, the prayers of the saints are again offered up to God as punishment is being thrown to earth. So, it is significant that the prayers of the suffering, persecuted saints are included in the worship of the Lamb, just as He had received the scroll and was beginning to bring about the consummation, which includes their vindication, justice, and eternal reward. Their prayers actually made it to the throne of God. Their prayers have been effective, and had been answered by the Lamb taking the scroll.
    9-10 And they worshipped the Lamb because He is worthy
    The previous verse emphasized the fact that the heavenly beings worshipped the Lamb. Now these two verses are a continuation of that theme, but concentrate more on why they worshipped the Lamb. In other words, the bulk of these verses relates why the Lamb is worthy of worship. This is a typical pattern in the Psalms, where a command to praise the Lord is followed by reasons why He is worthy of our praise.
    9a And they sang a new song
    Part of the heavenly worship was/is musical praise singing. Throughout the Bible, we get the sense that this kind of musical worship is continual around God's throne. But the focus in this verse is that they sang a new song. This phrase a new song has nothing to do with a different form or style of music, or even of different lyrics than had been sung before. There certainly is a place in the right context for fresh styles and arrangements for worship. But this verse is not addressing that issue at all.
    Whenever the Bible talks about singing a new song, it is in the context of God having done something new to sing about (see 14:3, Psa. 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1, Isa. 42:10). In other words, the new song is the response to something new that God has done - God's people have experienced a new facet of God's salvation to sing about. This is certainly the case in these verses. The content of the new song is in response to the revelation of the worthiness of the Lamb and His taking of the scroll. All heaven responds in a new manner of worship because the Lamb has overcome by His death and resurrection, and is now beginning to bring all of God's Gospel purposes to consummation. If Jesus had not died and risen, God's purposes would not be fulfilled. There would not be a single redeemed person. But Christ has died and risen! Therefore, there is a dramatic new thing to sing about. And so, heaven sang a new song.
    9b-10 Proclaiming the Lamb is worthy and the reason why
    9b Saying:
    This is just a discourse marker, introducing the content of the new song that was sung, as related in the rest of these two verses.
    9c-10 The Lamb is worthy to open the scroll b/c He purchased the consummation and destiny of His people
    9c-e The Lamb is worthy to open the scroll
    This section is basically repeating back to the Lamb the question from above: Who is worthy to open the scroll? (see v. 2) and the answer: The Lion of the tribe of Judah has overcome to open the scroll (see v. 5). The truth that the Lion/Lamb is the answer to that question is the ground for exuberant worship, because of the implications about the worthiness of the Lamb, and because of all the gracious benefits this brings to His people, ultimately bringing glory to the Lamb.
    9c You are worthy
    See the comments above on v. 2 for the concept of being worthy. This phrase was also used in 4:11 in praise to the One sitting on the throne, describing why He is worthy of worship. It will also be repeated in v. 12 of this chapter, continuing the worship of the Lamb.
    9d-e Specifically: what the Lamb is worthy to do
    9d To take the scroll
    This proposition echoes 7b and 8a where the Lamb took the scroll from the One sitting on the throne. See the comments on these propositions.
    9e And to open its seals
    This proposition echoes 2d-e, 3b, 4d, and 5e. See the comments there.
    9f-10 Reasons the Lamb is worthy:
    This section lists some of the (infinite) reasons why the Lamb is worthy to open the scroll, and consequently is worthy of our worship. They focus primarily on the cross of Christ, what the cross accomplished, and how this procured a destiny for God's people.
    9f Because You were slaughtered
    On slaughtered, see the comments on 6c. It is not just the fact that He died, or the manner in which He died, that made Him worthy. For thousands of people died on Roman crosses, and multitudes more have been slain in various other ways, and this did not make them worthy of worship. It is because He was an innocent substitutionary sacrifice voluntarily offered on behalf of other people. He had no sin for which He should die. And so, He could offer Himself to pay the penalty for the sin of others. And He is an infinite being, because He is God incarnate. And so, His death was an infinite sacrifice, sufficient to cover the sins of all His people. The meaning, purpose, and result of His death, as a substitutionary sacrifice to make atonement for sinners, is the reason why the Lamb is worthy of worship.
    9g And You purchased to God by Your blood [people] from every tribe and language and people and nation
    This proposition is a continuation of the previous thought - giving the result of the Lamb being slaughtered, which is another reason why the Lamb is worthy. By being slaughtered, the Lamb provided atonement and redemption for His people, buying them back from the punishment and slavery of their sin by paying the price for their freedom. The New Testament regularly speaks of God's people being purchased by Christ, using the language of redemption and ransom (see 14:4, Matt. 20:28, Acts. 20:28, 1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Titus 2:14, 1 Pet. 1:18-19). And they were purchased with His blood (see 1:5, 7:14).
    And the people who are redeemed come from every tribe and language and people and nation (see 7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6, 17:15). These four words cover the various ways that humanity can be categorized. And God's people are represented in all groups in all of these categories. Tribe refers to large groups of people who are biologically related. It is an extended family, which is a subgroup of a nation by being more closely related. Language refers to groups of people who all speak the same native language. All language groups are/will be represented among God's people. People refers to groups of people who are united by common customs and cultural bonds. They may not be related biologically, but because they all share common customs and worldview, they are considered together as a people. And nation is a community united by a common political and social reality. This is the largest unit into which the people of the world are categorized. A nation may be made up of people with different biological backgrounds, different languages, and different customs, but they are united by being under the same political structure. The people purchased by the Lamb are truly representative of all subgroups of humanity in all of these categories. Not every person in every subgroup is part of God's people, but every subgroup is represented.
    10 And You gave Your people a calling and destiny
    10a And You made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God
    Not only are God's people saved from the penalty of our sin. We are also saved for a purpose and destiny. We are made to be a Kingdom. The New Testament has consistently spoken about the coming of the Kingdom of God in Christ. And here we are told that the Lamb is worthy because He has made His people into that Kingdom. And we are also priest to our God (see 1:6, 20:6, 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). We have been restored to the priestly role of serving God and being mediators to the rest of creation. This is a fulfillment of the promise of Exo. 19:6, that His people will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The details of how this works out are not spelled out in detail, but part of the consummation is realizing the fullness of our priestly ministry and the benefits of being citizens of His Kingdom, as well as somehow taking part in His rule, as described in the next proposition.
    10b And they will rule upon the earth
    The sacrifice of the Lamb has brought about God's plan to restore His people to their calling as rulers over all His creation (see 20:4-6, 22:5, Dan. 7:27, Rom. 5:17). In the beginning, God created mankind to be His representatives, to steward and rule over His creation, because we are created in His image. But sin corrupted that image and sidetracked that calling, so that ever since, we have been in a broken relationship with creation, and creation has been groaning, waiting for the redemption and restoration of the children of God. (Rom. 8:19-21). And the atonement of the Lamb has brought about the restoration to this calling.
    The Lamb is worthy to be praised, because He has graciously brought about all these benefits for His people.
    11-14 Everything worshipped the Lamb
    The previous section focused on the Lamb being revealed as the One Who is worthy and Who took the scroll in order to bring God's purposes in history to their consummation. And part of that section was the heavenly court responding with worship to the Lamb. This section continues the response of worship, but it concentrates exclusively on the worship of the Lamb, and expands it to include all of Heaven and all of creation as well. Everything worships the Lamb, because He is worthy.
    It may seem that this section goes more closely with verses 8-10 because they all describe the response of worship to the Lamb taking the scroll. However, I have connected vv. 8-10 with verse 7 and separated vv. 11-14 as a separate paragraph. The reason I have outlined this passage in this way is that John used the transitional phrase And I looked in v. 11, which is a typical signal for a new topic of revelation. John has signaled a change of topic and I have tried to reflect that in this outline.
    11-12 All of Heaven praised the Lamb
    11a And I looked
    This, again, is the common transitional phrase in Revelation. See the comment on 6a.
    11b-12 I heard innumerable creatures praising the Lamb
    There are two main ideas in this section: 1) the description of the vast array of heavenly creatures that praised the Lamb, and 2) the content of their praise, which proclaims that the Lamb is worthy and why.
    11b-c I heard innumerable angels and other creatures
    11b And I heard the sound of many angels around the throne and of the living creatures and of the elders
    This is a listing of the heavenly creatures that were (and still are) praising the Lamb. John mentioned the sound that he heard, which will be elaborated in v. 12. But he quickly transitioned to describing the source of the sound - the vast crowd of heavenly creatures around God's throne. First, he mentioned many angels around the throne, which had not yet been mentioned in this vision. The mention of the angels dramatically multiplied the number of creatures described around God's throne, as will be explicitly highlighted in the next proposition. Next, John again specifically mentioned the four living creatures, which had been introduced back in 4:6 and were mentioned throughout this vision (see 4:7, 8, 9, 5:6, 8:14). And finally, John listed the twenty-four elders, which had been introduced back in 4:4 (see also 4:10, 5:5, 6, 8:14). These all represent supernatural heavenly creatures that are around God's throne to serve and worship Him.
    11c And their number was uncountables of uncountables, and thousands of thousands
    The point of this proposition is to emphasize how large was the crowd of heavenly creatures praising around God's throne. There are two phrases with the same structure used to define the number of these creatures. The first phrase is uncountables of uncountables. The word uncountables is literally the word myriad, which was the largest number designation in that language. It sometimes meant ten thousand when referring to an accurate counting. But it often was used to signify a number so large that it could not accurately be counted. This is most likely the way the word was being used in this verse. And the formula is x of x's which means x number of groups of x's. In other words, it means x times x number of things. So, I have rendered it an uncountable number of uncountable numbers or an uncountable number times an uncountable number. And the second phrase is in a similar structure. It is thousands of thousands or a thousand times a thousand. These two phrases together obviously refer to a number so large that it cannot be described or fully comprehended. The crowd of heavenly creatures was vast beyond belief. The earlier parts of this vision were concentrated closely around the throne. But now the scene of worship is expanded farther than the eye can see or the mind can imagine of heavenly angels worshipping the Lamb. The idea of a numberless multitude serving God is seen throughout Scripture (see Deut. 33:2, Psa. 68:17, Dan. 7:19, Heb. 12:22) and comes to its climax in Revelation (see 7:9, 19:6).
    12 Proclaiming the Lamb is worthy
    This verse gives the content of the sound of the numberless crowd of angels described in the previous verse.
    12a Saying with a loud voice
    In one sense, this proposition is just a discourse formula, pointing to the content that will be listed in the following propositions. But this also stressed that what was said was proclaimed/sang/shouted with a loud voice. Just like in v. 2, the strong angel proclaimed in a loud voice so that all the universe could hear the challenge to open the scroll, so now, all of heaven praises in a loud voice so that all the universe could hear that the Lamb has been found worthy to open the scroll.
    12b-c The slaughtered Lamb is worthy to receive praise
    12b The slaughtered Lamb is worthy
    In this proposition, two things are said about the Lamb: 1) that He was slaughtered, and 2) that He is worthy. On slaughtered, see the comments on 6c and 9f. On worthy see the comments on 2c and 9c, as well as 4:11.
    12c To receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing
    This verse echoes 4:11, where the One sitting on the throne was praised with similar language. Here the Lamb also is worthy to receive - not that His creatures can give Him something that He does not already have. Rather, these things about the Lamb are recognized, acknowledged, and rendered back to Him, which are already His (see 4:11, 7:12, 19:1, 1 Chron. 29:11, 1 Tim. 1:17).
    And there are seven attributes listed that the Lamb is worthy to receive. The number seven typically represents fullness, completeness, and perfection. So, it may here signify that the Lamb is worthy to receive the perfection and fullness of all praise and blessing and glory, etc.
    Power means the ability to do something, strength, and capability. This is acknowledging the Lamb's omnipotence - His unlimited capability and power to do anything He wills to do.
    Riches could refer to wealth. But it more likely refers to the over-abundance of all the good things that the Lamb is, has, and does. It is all the things which Christ possesses in infinite abundance, which have value far above the idea of worldly wealth (see Phil. 4:19, Eph. 3:8).
    Wisdom is the ability to understand and act in accordance with that understanding, to bring about the best and desired outcome. It is the capacity to act prudently and therefore to be successful in all things. Christ is the climax of all wisdom (see Col. 2:3).
    Strength is similar to power above. It is the capacity to function effectively, to have might enough to do what is necessary (see 7:12, Job 12:16).
    Honor is an expression of esteem and reverence as the appropriate response to all that the Lamb has done. It is an acknowledgment and celebration of His worthy status and His accomplishments.
    Glory is a recognition of status and privilege. It is the deserved fame and admiration of which the Lamb is worthy. It is also referring to the inherent glory which the Lamb has because He is God. He is glorious and has infinite splendor.
    Blessing is to speak about the Lamb in favorable terms. It is not empty flattery, but rather, an accurate celebration of how good and how great the Lamb actually is. Blessing is to praise the Lamb on account of His blessedness and the blessing He is to all creation.
    13 All creation praised God & the Lamb
    In verses 11-12, the praise of the Lamb expanded beyond the elders and living creatures to include all of heaven. In this verse, the praise is further expanded to include all of creation.
    13a And I heard all creation which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and upon the sea, and everything in them
    In v. 11, John heard the sound of the heavenly creatures. In this verse, John hears the sound of all of creation. This proposition echoes v. 3, where no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was found worthy. Now, all creatures included in that same range are responding to the One Who was found worthy. And in this verse, John added everything on the sea and everything which is in all creation (in the heavens, on earth, and the sea). This is comprehensive of all creation that exists (see 10:6, 14:7). Nothing is excluded from all creation which John heard giving praise to the Lamb. Just as Paul predicted that every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord (see Phil. 2:11), so John sees all creation proclaiming His blessedness and glory. At the consummation, all creation will be renewed and transformed, so all creation is part of the worship of the Lamb.
    13b-c Proclaiming the blessing upon God & the Lamb
    13b Saying:
    This is a discourse formula, introducing the content of the praise, which is expressed in the next proposition.
    13c To the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb, be the blessing and the honor, and the glory, and the power, forever and ever
    The content of this worship is directed both to the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb. They both together are the objects of worship, which is still more evidence of the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity. The One sitting on the throne and the Lamb are closely connected throughout the rest of the Book of Revelation (see 6:16, 7:10, 17, 21:1, 3).
    The to be verb in this sentence is implied and assumed, but not explicitly stated (which is the standard syntax in doxologies). Therefore, it could be stating a fact, i.e. these things are to the One on the throne and the Lamb. Or it could be stating a prediction, i.e. these things will be, or should be.... But most likely, this is stating a wish/command, i.e. Let these things be.../May these things be.../Let's all make these things be... The underlying idea is that God and the Lamb are worthy of these things, and therefore they should be, and so, we are doing all we can, and calling others to do all they can, to conform to the rightness and appropriateness of rendering the fitting praise and blessing to God and the Lamb.
    Blessing and honor and glory are all the same words used in 12c. See the comments there. Notice here that they all equally apply to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb (Who is also on the throne). The word power is a different word than used in 12c, but it has a very similar meaning. It is power and ability to do whatever is necessary. But this word also has a connotation of power exercised specifically in the activity of ruling and controlling. So, it shades into the meaning of sovereignty and sovereign power to rule. It is the kind of power appropriate for the One ruling on the throne of the universe, and the Lamb Who shares this throne.
    And all of these things are to be to God and the Lamb forever and ever. In chapter 4 (see vv. 9-10), it was emphasized that God lives forever. In 1:6, glory and power are to Him forever and ever. Here it is stated that their rule will never end, and this kind of worship will continue for all eternity. And the everlasting nature of God and His rule is yet another ground for heartfelt worship, which we should join.
    14a And the four living creatures said Amen
    The four living creatures have been mentioned already throughout this vision (see 4:7, 8, 9, 5:6, 8:11). They have already been described as continually worshipping. In this proposition, they agree with and participate in the worship of all creation which had been described in the previous verses. The word Amen is a strong affirmation and agreement with whatever had previously been stated. This word is a stamp of approval that what had been said is true and valid. The living creatures agreed with and participated in the praise and blessing just described.
    In this vision, the worship began in the closest circles around the throne. Then it expanded out to all of heaven and the uncountable multitude of angels. Then it continued to expand to all of creation and all parts of creation. Now the focus is beginning to return back to the center, toward the One sitting on the throne and the Lamb, by moving inward back to the four living creatures, and then (in the rest of this verse) to the 24 elders on the thrones that surround God's throne.
    14b-c And the elders bowed down and worshipped
    This echoes 8b where the living creatures and elders bowed down and worshipped. In this vision they are described as continually doing this. In other words, these descriptions are not of a one-time activity or only an occasional activity of bowing down in worship. Rather, they tell of the constant, consistent activity and attitude of worship around God's throne in heaven for all eternity. This is the fitting and proper response to the greatness, holiness and worthiness of God and the Lamb.
    14b And the elders fell down
    The elders threw themselves down as an act of humility, submission, and obeisance. See the comment on 8b. The elders are often described as falling before God in Revelation (see 4:10, 7:11, 11:16, 19:4).
    14c And they worshipped
    This is the companion action of the previous proposition. This word means to express both in attitude and bodily posture one's dependence, submission, reverence, and delight in the One that is bowed before. It is the standard New Testament word for worship, and it signifies a prostration of attitude - the attitude that God is infinitely greater than we are - and whatever form of bodily posture and actions most fittingly display that attitude in any particular context.
    In Revelation, everything begins at the throne of God, which is situated at the very center of the universe. And everything eventually returns to God's throne in the form of worship and celebration, because He is worthy of all praise, and He (through the Lamb) is bringing His purposes for humanity to their full consummation.
    Summary:
    The God Who is shown to be holy and sovereign over everything has a scroll containing His purposes and inheritance for all of creation. No one in all of creation is found worthy to open the scroll and complete His purposes. But a Savior is revealed, Who is described as both a conquering Lion and a slaughtered Lamb. This One (representing Christ) is worthy to fulfill God's purposes, because He has died for His people and risen from the grave. This One took the scroll from God's right hand and is in process of bringing God's purposes to consummation. Because He shares the throne with God Himself, and because He has already been victorious in the cross and resurrection, He will certainly succeed in bringing about the consummation of the Kingdom, even if His people live in the tension (which may include persecution and martyrdom in the meantime). Christ has overcome, and has set in motion the consummation of the Kingdom. And for this He is worshipped by all of heaven and all of creation. This is the true reality of human history. Christ is King and is bringing it all to its proper goal. Human kings and rulers pretending to have all control are not reality. They are only pretenders under the ultimate authority of the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, Who will bring His people to their destiny. So, His people, no matter how difficult it may be in the meantime, can trust Him and count on this true picture of Who is really running history. Therefore, we should see everything from this God-centered, heavenly perspective. If something in our experience does not match this reality, it is temporary, and ephemeral, and will soon be changed to conform to the heavenly reality. If someone disagrees with or denies this reality and perspective, they are wrong, and will soon be shown to be wrong. This is the right side of history, no matter who claims otherwise.
    This passage (including chapter 4) is a key to understanding the rest of the Book of Revelation. Starting in the very next verse in chapter 6, Christ begins to open the seals, which brings about monumental events to bring history to its intended conclusion. This includes pouring out punishment on sinful humanity. It also includes evil fighting back in a last ditch (futile) attempt to resist the sovereignty of the One sitting on the throne and the Lamb, even by persecuting God's people on earth. Evil tries to portray itself as a sovereign authority, even trying to counterfeit the glory and power of God, in order to deceive humanity. But Christ is on the throne, and will continue to expose evil for what it is, and eventually return on a white horse to complete the defeat of all evil and to inaugurate a new heavens and new earth without the presence of evil, which is the purpose of all creation, as written in the scroll.
    From this passage (including chapter 4), we learn some key things about the Triune God and our relation to Him: He is great and holy beyond description. He is not described, because He cannot be fully described in finite human language. He is self-existent, and depends on nothing in all of creation. He has life in Himself. And we are dependent on Him. God created everything. He is the creation and reason for everything. Therefore, all of creation is in debt to Him for its very existence, and finds its true meaning only in Him. God is Lord of history, writing the scroll of universal history, and being the only One Who is worthy to open the scroll. And therefore, our history only has meaning and purpose when we live according to God's meaning and purpose, which he has given us. History is not about us, because it is bigger than us. But we can find significance when we find our place in God's story. God is a gracious redeemer. He is a powerful, victorious Lion, but He is also the Lamb Who gave Himself as a sacrifice to purchase our pardon. Therefore, we are debtors to God, not only for our creation, but also for our salvation. We are dependent on God, not only for our existence, but also for our redemption. And God has destined us to be a Kingdom and priests, to somehow share in His rule over creation and to enjoy Him forever. We are double dependent debtors with a destiny beyond imagination.
6:1-16:21 Series of Sevens on Earth
6:1-8:5 Seven Seals
8:6-11:19 Seven Trumpets
  • 8:6-13 The First Four Trumpets
  • 9:1-12 Fifth Trumpet - Torment of Unbelievers
  • 9:13-21 Sixth Trumpet - 1/3 of Humanity is Killed
  • 10:1-11 The Mystery will be Completed
  • 11:1-14 The Two Witnesses
  • 11:15-19 Seventh Trumpet
12:1-14:20 Seven Cosmic Events
15:1-16:21 Seven Bowls
  • 15:1-8 God's is Justified in Giving Seven Bowls of Judgment
  • 16:1-11 The First Five Bowls
  • 16:12-21 The Sixth and Seventh Bowls - Judgment & Battle
17:1-21:8 In the Spirit - Vision of the Prostitute
17:1-18 The Great Prostitute
  • 17:1-6 Vision of the Great Prostitute
  • 17:7-14 Interpretation of the Beast and its Destiny
  • 17:15-18 Interpretation of the Woman & Her Destiny
18:1-24 The Fall of Babylon
  • 18:1-8 Announcement of Babylon's Fall
  • 18:9-20 The Three Woes as People Mourn for Babylon
  • 18:21-24 Babylon Will Be Thrown Down
19:1-20:15 Final Victory over Evil
  • 19:1-10 Three Hallelujahs & Worship of God
  • 19:11-16 The Rider on the White Horse
  • 19:17-21 The Feast of Judgment
  • 20:1-6 The Thousand Years
  • 20:7-10 The Final Deception and Defeat of the devil
  • 20:11-15 The Great White Throne Judgment
21:1-8 New Creation Purged of Evil
21:9-22:5 In the Spirit - Vision of the Bride
21:9-27 New Jerusalem
  • 21:9-14 The New Jerusalem
  • 21:15-21 Description/Measurement of the City
  • 21:22-27 The Glory of the City
22:1-5 Eden Restored
22:6-21 Epilogue
  • 22:6-7 Reiteration of the Introduction
  • 22:8-11 John's Testimony about the Book
  • 22:12-16 Jesus' Testimony and Blessing
  • 22:17-21 Conclusion