1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” ~ Revelation 5:1-5
In Revelation 5 the theme changes from the worship of the Creator, as seen in Revelation 4, to the worship of the Redeemer. It is our privilege to worship the Creator because all that we have is a gift from Him.
Many have desired to rule this world. Certainly there is Lucifer, now known as Satan and the devil. He desired to rule the world and the universe. Only one individual has the right and the power to take back the universe from sin and the curse and Satan’s usurping attempt at rebellion. That one is the central figure here in Revelation 5. No one other than He is worthy to rule all.
In v.1 we read, "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals."
The earth and the universe came under captivity in the fall of man. But the document that displays who really owns it, God has had all the time in His possession. And, this scroll is the official document that grants the created universe to the Lord Jesus to be reclaimed from Satan. This scroll is a rolled up parchment with seven seals on the end so that as the seals are broken the scroll is unrolled and the writings upon it can be read. This scroll contains detailed descriptions of God's judgments, wrath, and vengeance. This is what the book of the Revelation is all about.
In v.2 we read, "And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, '"Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?"'
As indicated in Revelation 4, God's wrath being unleashed upon sinful man is a done deal. He is about to ignite the tribulation which pins sinful man to the floor and his painful judgment is near. This is why there is a last ditch effort to find someone to make a difference. The outcome is not just temporarily awful, it is eternally awful.
Then in v.3-4 we read, "3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside."
In these two verses despair is drilled down as far as it could go. Who can throw out Satan? Who can obliterate sin? Who can reverse the curse on all of creation? All hope was lost, producing an uncontrollable mourning that seemed to be an eternal mourning. John wept! He wept because no one could unseal the scroll or even look inside it.
Then in v.5 we read, "Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
At the center of Revelation 5 is the One who leads mankind to redemption. This is the moment that no one in heaven except one of those who wore a white robe and a gold crown could believe. No elder could redeem the universe. No angel could redeem the universe. Only God could do this.
And, we are directed to "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" which is a title for the promised Messiah. It’s taken out of Genesis 49:8-10 which reads, "8 Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his."
Judah is a lion and he will produce a lion who will rule the nations. The Messiah then became known as the lion that would come from the tribe of Judah. As the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ rules the nations. But, when He first came, He didn't come as the Lion of Judah. He came as the Lamb led to the slaughter. He had to come as the Lamb before He could come as the Lion.
And this, in part, is why they killed the Lord Jesus because He was not lion-like in His first coming. As the Lamb, there was nothing devastating, menacing, and threatening about Him. Quite the opposite. He was set on laying down His life so that mankind could be made right with God and avoid His wrath.
The genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ comes right through the tribe of Judah. The Lord Jesus Christ is that lion, but His lion-like work awaits the moment anticipated here in Revelation 5.
He is also called, in v.5, "the Root of David." This is another messianic title. The Old Testament very clearly indicated that the Messiah would be a Son of David, that He would be an offspring of David.
In Isaiah 11:1-5 we read, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”
That’s talking about His kingdom. He will come and He will be a shoot out of David. And He will have the Spirit of the Lord on Him. And He will be righteous. And He will be just. And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth.
Every Jew expected that when the Root of David came, He would come in power and with force. He would come with a rod. He would come in destruction and devastation. He would come and He would force the wicked of the earth to succumb to His authority. He would judge sinners. And, He come out of the Davidic line.
And indeed He was. The Lord Jesus Christ came from the line of David, both as to His father and as to His mother. Joseph was in the line of David, and so was Mary. The genealogies of His father in Matthew and of His mother in Mark point out very clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of the lineage of David.
But, at His first coming, He wasn’t like a king, and they killed Him. Because He didn’t act like a lion, they killed Him. But now John sees Him step forward again. The elder says to him, “Look, the lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” Now, He’s going to act like a lion, and now, He’s going to act like a king. He’s going to come in furious judgment against the nations of the world, and establish His rightful throne.
The elder says, “He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” This is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the rightful King from David’s loins, both through Mary and Joseph. He is the fierce lion with the power to destroy, the power to devastate. And, how can He be such? Because He was the Lamb led to the slaughter.