We begin this chapter reminding ourselves that this is a spiritual book inspired by the Spirit of God for the spirit of man to give us a spiritual understanding of God. I want to point out that as you read it is important to notice when the events of this chapter take place. Most theologians will try to study this book as a futuristic event. However, in this chapter we read in verse six that the Lamb was slain and has redeemed us to God by His blood. This happened over 2000 years ago. Jesus does not need to be crucified twice. He did it once, and for all (Hebrews 10:10).
Verse One: "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne." This chapter begins with God the Father sitting on the throne. A throne is a picture of having a position of sovereign power and authority. There is only one God who is creator of all and in all (John 1:1-3). The position of sitting is a posture of rest. God rested on the seventh day.
This takes us to Genesis 2:1-3 when God finished the heavens and the earth and all the host of them. The host is ALL of those in heaven and earth who serving God with a heavenly mindset. True service to God is not slavery, but unconditional love for "as He is so are we in this world" (I John 4:17).
God is Spirit. We are His body. He is not somewhere sitting on a literal throne up in the sky ready to strike a whip at us. The words: Throne, sat, and rest are all symbolic to help us understand spiritually what John is writing. God is in His kingdom. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 11:17). "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). This allows man's heart to enter into God's rest. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
The "right hand" through-out scripture is symbolic of a person who has equal honor and dignity with the king. (I Kings 2:19, Psalm 15:9, Matthew 22:44). It is Christ who sits at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3, I Peter 3:22). Jesus is the head and we are the body of Christ.
God has in His right hand "a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" (Rev. 5:1). This book is our heart. Proverbs 21:1-2 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will. Everyway of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts."
Words originate from an eternal realm of thought and are spoken into a physical realm where the manifestation of the authorized word is made evident. An example is: a couple speaks their wedding vows, but it is the marriage certificate that gives the authenticity that they were married. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 8:10 that the Lord will make a new covenant, and it will be the Lord who puts it into our mind, and writes it in our hearts. It is our heart that God has placed in His hand and has sealed with seven seals. What did He seal? Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us it is ETERNITY, which is Himself.
The sealing of seven seals is not a literal seven seals. Seven symbolizes perfection. The location of our heart is not our choice. He created us; He put our heart in His hand, and He put His seal of perfection on creation. He calls us a book written within and on the backside or afterward. God wrote on our heart and afterward sealed it with what He wrote.
A seal is given for authenticity, approval, and to bind something. God's written word is bound in our heart. Ephesians 1:13 says, "You were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise;" and Ephesians 4:30 says, "Ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." In Genesis 2:3 scripture tells us that, "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that IN IT (your heart, your spirit) he had rested from ALL his work which God created and made."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life: and the life was the light of men" (John 1: 1-4).
This first verse of chapter five shows us that God created out heart before time in a fashion that is equal to His identity, power, and authority. This identity can only be unconditional love, mercy, and grace. He sealed this identity with His Spirit (perfection) which could not be released by anything or anyone's natural ability. When trials and pressures come, He causes our hearts to draw from our Christ identity within.
Verse 2: "And I saw a strong angel." This angel or messenger is the Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." If Jesus has all power, and our heart was sealed by the perfection of God, Christ is the only power that can break the seal to release our true identity that God placed in our heart. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet wrote in Chapter 29:10-14,
"For the Lord hath poured out upon YOU the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed YOUR eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of ALL is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this I pray thee: and he saith I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."
Isaiah 29:18-20 says, "And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off…verse 24, "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine."
In 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…verse 7, "Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's."
Continuing with more scripture in I Corinthians 2:6, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world…verse 7, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory…verse 9-10, but as it is written, eye hath not seen, or ear hear, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yes, the deep things of God…verse 15-16, but he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Revelation 5:3 - "And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." The word "thereon" means to look at one's self. Only God can search the thoughts and intents of our hearts. He is asking us, "What is our motivation for what we do? Will the outcome produce unconditional love, or will there be either praise or judgment that stirs our ego?" There are many people that do a lot of good things calling themselves Christians, but they are not things of God.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have we cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Revelation 5:4 - "no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon." In this verse John is weeping for humanity. Out of all the characters and personalities that had a relationship with Jesus Christ, only John laid his head on his chest and heard the heartbeat of God. He was boiled in oil and left for dead on the Isle of Patmos because of this unique relationship; yet, he was still unworthy to open the heart of mankind.
The word "read" in this verse means "in the midst of," and the word "look" means "discern." No man can open the heart of humanity and discern for themselves the truth of God. Only the Holy Spirit can unveil the word of God, or the Christ that is in our heart.
Verse 5: "behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David." This verse takes us back to the fourth child of Leah, the first wife of Jacob (Genesis 29:35). Why was the linage of Judah chosen instead of Reuben, the firstborn who would culturally have been the blessed and honored?
Jacob's first wife, Leah, was a victim of cultural circumstances forced into a marriage with a man that did not love her. Even though she was the first wife, she lived in the shadows of her sister Rachel whom Jacob loved. In order for Leah to survive she began her effort to win Jacob's love and affection by producing children. He may not have loved her, but she had the right as his wife to have sex with her husband and to bear his children.
The name of her first child, Reuben, means "look at me." Leah was trying to gain Jacob's affection by having his first child which was suppose to be a great honor. It didn't work. He didn't give her any special recognition so she tried again. She named her second son Simeon which means "to hear." Leah was desperate in her attempts to have Jacob notice her beyond just a sex partner. Each time she spoke Simeon's name she was telling Jacob to listen to her; however, he still didn't treat her any different than before.
Leah tries a third time naming this son Levi which means "to be joined to." Leah is having a physical relationship with her husband, but there is no love relationship. At this time in history for a woman to give birth to three sons meant she was to be highly honored and recognized by her husband in the community; however, Leah was still not given this recognition by Jacob. He was having sex with her, but he was not joining with her in desire for intimacy and commitment.
After having three sons and still not receiving the honor of her husband, Leah decided to shift gears. Leah came to a point in her life that she stopped seeking her identity as the wife of Jacob and turned to God. This is where Judah, her fourth son, comes into the picture. His name means "let Jehovah be praised!" By Leah turning to God with "praise" the Lord was restoring her true identity. Leah received freedom from the anxiety and inner emotions that made her feel like a "nobody" transformed into a "somebody" created by God. Leah gave birth to "praise" which brought her into the presence of God and a sense of self worth that no man can give.
The Tribe of Judah throughout scripture represents the people addicted to praising Jehovah. God passed the traditional succession of linage for inheritance, and brought Judah to the forefront. It was from this tribe that Jesus was born. He is known as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. It is through His testimony of unconditional praise despite all the trials He endured that gave Him the honor to open the book and loose the seals of bondage in our lives. He is the husband of our heart. Only Jesus has the ability to enter into our innermost being and transform our sorrow into praise.
Verse 6: "in the midst of the throne" refers to the very core of our being: our heart. "Four beasts" is symbolic of the complete Godman. "The midst of the elders" refers to the government of God or the sons of God. In the midst of the throne, the beast, and the elders stood a Lamb slain. These are all symbolic pictures. The Lamb slain is Jesus Christ. The picture of Him standing is resurrection life. His location "in the midst of" represents resurrection life in the individual, and then in the corporate body of mankind.
The verse goes on to say, "Having seven horns and seven eyes." The number seven is symbolic of perfection. The horns speak of authority and strength. "Which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." This is a picture illustrating the perfection of the Holy Spirit. God does not literally have seven spirits. These words are a cross reference to Isaiah 11:1-4, where we are told out of the root will come branches where the Spirit of the Lord shall rest. In John 15:2 we are told that Jesus is this root, or vine, and we are the branch IN HIM. Also in John 15 Jesus tells us in verse 16 that we didn't choose Him, but He chose us. When did this choosing take place?
"According as He hath chosen us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4).
Putting all this together we see that He chose us before the world was created. Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus was slain at this time also, so we were already redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The Spirit of God is sent out from the midst, or throne, of where the resurrected Lamb is which is our heart (John 14:17).
After Jesus was resurrected, but before the day of Pentecost He asked, "Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts (spirit)?" (Luke 24:38). "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach ALL nations, baptizing them in the name (identity and nature) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you ALWAYS, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:18-20). "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon (in) you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high (the throne of God)" (Luke 24:49).
When was this promise sent? Scripture documents it as the day of Pentecost in Acts. 2:1. In the Old Testament this day was a day of celebration of the firstfruit of the season dedicated to the Lord. It fell fifty days after Passover which is symbolic of the Jubilee celebration of New Beginnings. The Rabbis taught that the Mosaic Law was given on this day. With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the crossing over from death to life bringing into awareness that we are new creatures in Christ (2Corinthians 5:17). Pentecost is something we each must experience to manifest the identity of sonship. This day symbolizes how the priest would wash themselves at the Laver of Brass before going into the Holy Place. They had to continually cleanse themselves until they could look in the water of the laver and no longer see "sin conscious," but "God conscious."
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18).
Acts 2:1 tells us that "when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." This included more than just the disciples, but ALL men and women that were in unity as "Christ-Ones," or the first fruits of this season in time. Keep in mind that the Festival of Pentecost was an annual event; therefore, we must expect that firstfruits will be manifested every generation.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:3). "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34). They were ALL in one accord: one heart, one mind, together as one body of Christ. Joel prophesied this moment in chapter 2:27-28, "And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon (in) all flesh:"
Going back to Revelation 5:6, we have the Lamb, Jesus Christ, having all power and authority in the heart of each of us. He is the strong angel that was crucified and resurrected for all. "But God commendeth (introduced) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto (into) me" (John 12:31-32).
The word "earth" can be taken literally, but to keep with hermeneutical principles we will use this word symbolically referring to the natural man. This understanding flows with Revelation 5:6 where the Spirit of God is sent forth by the Christ in each of us into all the earth, or all flesh. God has sent His Spirit into all; however, it is the elders, or sons of God, who will be known to do the Father's business. They will be walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit where the Spirit of Christ Jesus is manifesting no condemnation (Romans 8:1-2).
Verse 7: "And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne." Again, we are reading symbolic things to address spiritual issues. There is not a literal old man sitting on a throne somewhere, and a literal lamb with scars all over it from being slain taking a book out of the man's hand with his mouth. This is spiritual about Christ.
Back in the first verse of this chapter we established that this book is not the Bible, but the heart of all humanity. Jesus took the book; he took humanity upon himself, and came to the earth as a son of man. Hebrews 2: 9 tells us, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for EVERY man."
Verse 8: "the four beasts and four and twenty elders." These are the "firstfruits" of God that were created before the foundation of the world, and manifested in the season of time that God ordained. Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." As we have said before, the word "God" in this verse is the word "Elohim." This is "Christ" which Jesus is the head of Christ who was slain before the foundations of the world. He is the firstfruit of a body of firstfruits that were there when He was slain.
Revelation 14:4 explains this by saying, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." In the Amplified Bible, James 1:18 tells us, "And it was of His own (free) will that He gave us birth (as sons) by (His) word of truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself).
When these firstfruits saw this "finished work of God" taking place with the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, they fell down before Him. This falling down is an act of worship, not death. This event did not happen when Jesus was crucified at Calvary, but before the foundations of the world. This took place even before sin ever entered into man. The penalty for sin had already been paid in the heavenly realm. Jesus already knew what God had done which is why He didn't panic over any of the trials and tribulations He went through as the son of man.
Verse 8 continued: "Everyone of them having harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints." The harps symbolize praise and worship. These people, firstfruits, had praise and worship because they knew what God had done. "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). Joy is a manifestation of the identity and power of firstfruits, not just a pleasant emotion "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:" (Galatians 5:22-23).
"Golden vials" are vessels or people manifesting the character of God. We are told in this verse that the word "odors" are the prayers for the saints. The sons of God, the mature in Christ, do not pray and focus on self needs but the needs of others. They sing praises and send prayers for the ones who do not have understanding of the finished work of Jesus Christ; the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
These prayers for others are not of judgment and condemnation, but "an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God" (Philippians 4:18). In John 15:13 Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Jesus is telling us that true maturity in Christ is living a life that reflects the Christ identity of Jesus in our own life. We should have a peace that whatever is going on in our own life "God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). However, most people that are declaring to be a Christian are living in a double-minded relationship with God. The sons of God have a responsibility to cover them with prayers of unconditional love and peace knowing that God is in control of their situation.
Verse 9: "And they sung a new song." These words are a pointer to several scriptures. What is this new song? Turn to Psalm 40:1-3 where David wrote, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay (humanity), and set my feet upon a rock (Christ), and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Notice that David says that God did it, and the purpose was to use David as a vessel for others to see the witness of the hand of God drawing people to the Father.
I suggest taking some time to read Psalm 33, Psalm 149, and Isaiah 42:10-17. These are other scriptures that talk about "singing a new song."
The sons of God are singing a new song because Jesus Christ has already redeemed all to God: "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." He did not leave anyone out. Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 18:11-14, "For the son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? If a man (Jesus) have a hundred sheep (all mankind), and one of them be gone astray (non-believer), and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it (which he will because he is God), verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep (non-believer), than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
Notice that Jesus went to look for the lost sheep. The sheep was not looking for Jesus. Also note, it is God's will that none of the hundred sheep, or all mankind, perish. Throughout all generations of creation, if one person where to be "left behind" to go to an eternal hell, the significance of the cross would be void, and God would not be God. Think about that the next time someone tries to make a case of an eternal hell. Yes, God is sovereign, but He is not a killer of children.
Jesus Christ redeemed all before the foundation of the world, however not everyone knows that yet. It will be revealed in God's timing individually and then corporately according to His divine plan. Just because we don't understand the full picture of what God did does not nullify what He is doing. He does not need our understanding or approval for His will to be manifested, but our faith and praise. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Hebrews 11:3).
Verse 10: In this verse the word "us" means "all." It is connected to the word "every" in verse 9. God made us His kings and priests. We didn't do it ourselves. By God calling us kings and priest, He is declaring that we are of the highest royalty race that exists, and that we are holy and righteous. He says we are presented in this identity on the earth, not off in the sky somewhere after we die.
"But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God" (Isaiah 61:6). "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all proper: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6).
Verse 11: In this verse we have the mature in Christ, sons of God, but we also have those that are believers (many angels). The words "ten thousand times ten thousands, and thousands of thousands" is saying the number of those that are giving praise and worship to Jesus Christ is innumerable. The throne of God is in us, our heart. These people have their focus on God allowing Him to ascend to His throne and be in control of their life.
This verse connects with Daniel 7:10 saying, "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
When we come to a place with God that He has your agreement with Him and you just say "Amen" to whatever He wants, then the fruit of His Spirit will be released in your life. "The books," our hearts are opened, and "the judgment was set." Jesus Christ has already redeemed all nations, tongues, and people from all unrighteousness by his blood.
Verse 12: "To receive" means to take to Him. This verse is easier read in the Amplified Bible: "Saying in a loud voice, Deserving is the Lamb, Who was sacrificed, to receive ALL the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and majesty (glory, splendor) and blessing!" The word "ALL" says that everything and everyone belongs to God.
Verse 13: The word "creature" in this verse is #2938 in the Strong's Concordance. It is the Greek word "ktisma" meaning "way." The word "every" is a witness to the word "all" found later in the verse. When we read verse 13 using our English understanding, we interpret it to be referring to every living animal or human that God created from the beginning; however, this interpretation limits the understanding of scripture. If we read James 1:8, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" the word "way" is the same word "ktisma" interpreted as "creature." Our English interpretation of the word "way" does not include "creature," but is defined by Webster as a course leading from our place to another; a passage, route, or journey.
If we re-read Rev. 5:13 using the words "passage, route, or journey" in place of "creatures" it reveals to us that "nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (the sum total of all that God created), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
I would encourage reading Colossians 1:15-21 and counting how many times the word "all" is used. Then, ask yourself if "all" really means "all?" Whether or not we believe that "all" means "all" does not change the fact that God is in control of "all," which includes the paths of life we each take.
"And unto the Lamb forever and ever." The words "forever and ever" are the words "eis aion aion" meaning into "age of ages." These words cause problems with doctrines that believe there is a time line for the age of Israel, the age of the church, and a millennial age. God is eternal; there is no time with Him.
Verse 14: The fullness of the "Godman" is declaring a witness to the finished work of the Lamb by worshipping and saying "Amen" which means "so be it" in both Hebrew and Greek.
Ecclesiastes 3: 11, 14, 15 in the Amplified Bible says,
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy), yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end…
I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so men will (reverently) fear Him (revere and worship Him, knowing that He is)…
That which is now already has been, and that which is to be already has been; and God seeks that which has passed by."