WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – If you weren’t overawed with the worship of the Father on His throne in chapter 4, you surely will be with the exaltation of the Lamb of God in chapter 5.
The chapter opens with a vision of how our current phase of history closes. The Father holds a scroll that seems to outline the next and final saga of this world (see chapter 6 and following). The scroll is “sealed with seven seals.” The cataclysmic events of the end times cannot proceed until someone is found worthy to take the scroll and to break its seals. Every angel in heaven and every human in history is examined, and none is found worthy.
Then one of the 24 elders announces that “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” is the only being besides the Father who is worthy to hold the destiny of the world in His hands. John looks for this Lion, but what he sees instead is a Lamb. And not a healthy lamb but one that appears to have been slaughtered. This bloodied lamb approaches the throne, and Eternal God releases the scroll into His hand.
“When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb … And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slaughtered, and you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev 5:8-10).
Though all seven seals remain intact and the scroll is not yet opened, the hosts surrounding the throne know it is in the hands of the Lamb who is worthy of it. The four living creatures and the elders burst into a hymn of praise and adoration. They are quickly joined by countless millions of angels and then by “every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them.”
A new age calls forth a “new song.” Its theme is the worthiness of the Lamb to this hour and this task. And His worthiness is due, not simply to His divine birthright, but to His slaughter – the heavy price He willingly paid for the souls of men and women “from every tribe and language and people and nation.” You and I, dear friends, are among those He purchased.
We were bought “for God” – that He might own us and that He might work through us: “You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – Some people say they have little interest in heaven, “because all you do is sit around and worship Jesus.” I’m pretty sure they’ve never had much of a glimpse of the Jesus who is worshipped.
He’s more breathtaking than the most beautiful sunset or symphony, more worthy of adoration than the dearest lover. The things He does are so much more thrilling than the most electrifying, game-winning play for which thousands in the arena and millions at their screens stand and leap and scream and cheer. He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He will be exalted and applauded through eternity. And praise God: We get to start now!