Revelation Chapter 5

The vision of chapter 4 continues.

The message of this chapter is found in the three hymns. (verse 9, 12, 13)

Hymns 1 and 2 are to the Lamb.  

Hymn 3 is addressed to the one on the throne.



The focus of the chapter is on the Lamb as he takes the scroll from the One on the throne.


A papyrus scroll was used in the first century.

Papyrus Scrolls Later in the first century or early second century the papyrus codex was developed and was like a book of papyrus sheets.

Papyrus scrolls (or, rolls) where produced and sold to the public and they were also written and used privately like a notebook.


Public scrolls where written on only one side.

Scrolls private use were occasionally written on both sides.  

These were called an "opisthograph."

The scroll in chapter 5 is clearly full and cover with words on both sides.


Scrolls were sealed with a glob of wax and impressed with a signet ring.

This guaranteed the authenticity of the document.

Only the owner or the one qualified could break the seal and reveal the content of the scroll.

Original documents where sealed.  

Copies where not sealed.  

Originals would be sealed and locked up.  

Copies would be made available to the public.


The significance of this scroll in the vision:

1)  Roman wills were sealed with 6 seals.  Each seal had a different name of the one who sealed it and could only be opened by him.  

2)  The Roman law of mancipatio - the heir received an inheritance at the death of the one who sealed it.

3)  Under the same Roman law of mancipatio - The one who sealed the scroll would allow an executor (familiae emptor) to use the property until his death.  At that time the executor was obligated to distribute the possessions in accordance with the instructions on the scroll.

4)  Some consider the scroll to be words of "lament and mourning and woe" as was the scroll in Ezekiel 2:9-10 revealing the future judgment

5)  The unfolding of history one seal at a time.


The OT Torah (Law) original copy was found in the scroll.


The scroll was a title deed to the earth.

a) Read Jeremiah 32:10-14

b) Christ’s death has earned him the right to open the scroll and reclaim the earth


What does the book of Revelation say about this scroll?

A)     A seal was used to hide or preserve the contents of the scroll:

“For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, ‘Read this, please,’ he will answer, ‘I can’t; it is sealed.’ ”                                           -Isaiah 29:11

B)      The opening the scroll reveals God’s wrath on the earth.

C)      After the sixth seal is open and the seventh seal is next Revelation 6:17 says:

“For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand.” (“their” refers to “him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.”)

D)     The 7th seal opens the seven trumpets. The seventh trumpet is said to be the third woe. The seventh trumpet is the seven bowls of judgment.

1.       POINT: The opening of the seals releases God’s judgment on the earth.

2.       Seven trumpets of judgment come from the seventh seal, and seven bowls of judgment come from the seventh trumpet.

3.       They are all judgment and they all come out of the scroll

E)      The mystery of God’s plan for history is revealed and accomplished when the seals are broken.

“In the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” - Revelation 10:7

1.       The ultimate fulfillment of history will be unfolded and unleashed on the earth when the scroll is opened.

2.       All will be accomplished and all will be revealed.

3.       Only Jesus can reveal what has been hidden

“When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, ’Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.’ ” - Rev. 10:4


“He replied, ’Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’ ” (Daniel 12:9)

F)      The announcement of the inheritance of Christ and his saints

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heave, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ ” - Revelation 11:15

G)     Jesus Christ is the EXECUTOR and the HEIR of the contents of the scroll.

1.       Executor—guards it and delivers it to the rightful heir

2.       Heir—receives the full rights of ownership of the contents of the scroll Jesus became the worthy heir because:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” - Revelation 5:9


No one has the authority or virtue to qualify to be the heir of the deed





Since the scroll contains the revelation, the fulfillment and the inheritance John is understandably upset “weep” expresses strong, unrestrained emotion.

Same as Jesus over Jerusalem Lk 19:41

And Peter after his betraying the Lord (Lk 22:62)

If no one was found to fill this role then death, sin, damnation, and hell would reign forever and the earth would remain in the hands of Satan forever.



There is one who has triumphed over sin and death.

triumphed” is “nikao” and means “overcome, conquer, win a victory”

The victory is because of his death (5:9)


Two OT titles for the Messiah are used:

A)     the Lion of the tribe of Judah”

B)      the Root of David Jesus defeated:

a.       Sin (Romans 8:3;)

b.      Death ( Hebrews 2:14-15

c.       Forces of Hell (Colossians 2:15; 1 Peter 3:19)



But, the image of the conquering Lion warrior from the root of David is instead a Lamb

More, the lamb has been slaughtered just like the Passover lamb.

The Lion of the tribe of Judah is the slaughtered Passover lamb.

“Lamb” is the word “arnion” and refers to a little lamb or a pet lamb.

This is no ordinary lamb.

He stands though he is slain.

He fights the dragon.

The Messiah is referred to as a lamb only one time in the OT, besides in the symbolism of the sacrifices Isaiah 53:7

Jesus is referred to as a lamb only four times in the NT John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19

Jesus is referred to as a lamb 31 times in Revelation


“As if it had been slain” is “esphagmenon” and means “with its throat cut” indicating the slashed throat is still visible

“Slaughtered” is in the perfect tense to indicate the lasting effect of this sacrifice.

“Seven horns”

A)     The horn is a symbol of courage, strength and might

B)      Seven indicates Omnipotence, and absolute power

C)      “Seven eyes” indicate complete wisdom and understanding

D)     Seven indicates Omniscience


“Sent out” - is perfect passive of “apostello” and means “to send, to send as an official representative.”



This is where Daniel 7:13-14 is seen again.


took” in the Greek conveys a dramatic action in this tense of the verb.

It would be more like, “He went up and took it, and now He has it.”

The taking of the scroll is not the victorious act.

The victory was in the death of the Lamb.

The taking of the scroll is done on the basis of the great authority achieved by the death of the Lamb.



When the lamb acts on the authority of his death and seizes the scroll the result in heaven is the singing of three hymns:

A)     the four cherubim and the 24 elders

B)      the four cherubim and the 24 elders and 1000’s and 10,000’s of angels

C)      the four cherubim, 24 elders, 10,000’s angels and every creature everywhere.


The structure of the Greek indicates that only the elders had the harps and the bowls.

Harps are linked with:

A)     worship

B)      Prophecy (1 Samuel 10:5; 2 Kings 3:15; 1 Chron. 25:1, 3, 6)


The mention of prayers at this point is interesting.

The bowls held by the 24 elders are the prayers of the saints.

These are the prayers and the prophecies of all time that have not been fulfilled.

Incense and Prayers:

“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalms 141:2)

These prayers would be the petitions and request for vindication

6:10—The martyred saints cry out: “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”


8:3-4— “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne . . .” These are then hurled to the earth in judgment.



This is called a new song because there has never been one like it in heaven before.

worthy” is due to his work, not to his being.


Content of the song:

A)     “you were slain” Historical Work

B)      “you purchased men” Result of Work

C)      “You have made them to be. . .”


Reason for Work

A)     “a kingdom”

B)      “priest”

They will both:

A)     Serve God

B)      Reign on the earth


with your blood” is “by the price of your blood”

The “powers and authorities” had a hold on the earth (Col. 2:15)

Christ set people free with his death.

The focus here is on the death of Christ and how it secured salvation for us.



they will reign” is the future indicative active of

Basileuo” The reigning of the saints is a FUTURE event



The great number of angels signifies infinite honor and power 5:12 Seven Fold Shout:

A)     Power

B)      Wealth

C)      Wisdom

D)     Strength

E)      Honor

F)      Glory

G)     Praise



These events in heaven cause the same response in all of creation