Praises in Heaven

Revelation 5:6-14
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

In order to gain a full picture of what is happening in Revelation 5, let’s go back to the Book of Acts and look at the events leading up to the Enthronement of Christ.

Acts 1:6-11
6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

So, as we visualize this scene, we find Jesus and his 11 Disciples. Eleven rather than 12 because Judas, having hanged himself, is out of the picture. It is 40 days after the resurrection. Jesus has appeared in His resurrected flesh to over 500 people. Now it is time for Him to return to the Father. He leaves the Disciples with a few last words and then simply rises into the clouds. The Disciples stand there and wait for Him to come back because that is what He said He would do. They just have no sense of the timing of that return. Instructed by the angels to return to Jerusalem, that is what they do. The Disciples go back into Jerusalem and await what we now call Pentecost. John takes up Jesus’ story in Revelation 5 and tells us what happened to Jesus immediately after His Ascension.

After John has witnessed the incredible worship of the Father in the throne room, he is now presented with a problem. There is a scroll there in heaven waiting to be opened, but no one can be found who is worthy to open that scroll, for it has been sealed with seven seals. These “seals” were a legal device used at this time to guarantee that a document would be opened and read only by the person for whom the document was intended. If a document was opened by someone other than the name written on the seal (which was actually a rope or string soaked in wax), the consequences were dire. Now in heaven there is a scroll and the only One who is worthy to open it is the Lamb of God. As John does not see the Lamb of God, he is stricken with sorrow. But suddenly Jesus (the Lamb of God) appears in the middle of the angels described in the last chapter. The need for sorrow is gone for Jesus is here to open the scroll.

The scroll is in “the right hand of God” from which God always works salvation for His people. The writing on the front and the back of the scroll indicates the completeness of the message. The seven seals indicate the importance of the message and the fact that only One Person is worthy to open it. Jesus Christ is that Person and He is worthy because He has given His life for God’s people.  “. . . the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered” describes Jesus’ authority to open the scroll for three reasons. He is the Lion of Judah, the kingly descendant of David, and the conqueror of sin, death, and the grave. The seven horns represent His great power to rule all the earth and the seven eyes of the Spirit display His all-seeing ability and associate Him with the Holy Spirit. (See Revelation 1:4)

“In Revelation the archenemy of God’s people on earth is Satan. He is symbolized by the dragon who appears with ten horns (12:3). His henchman, the beast from the sea, also has ten horns (13:1; 17:3). The ten horns indicate that the dragon and his beast claim to exercise earthly power over the human race and its affairs. The dragon and the beast also appear with seven heads (12:3; 13:1; 17:3), thus also claiming supreme spiritual power over everything. The claims of course are a lie, for Christ alone has supreme power over all life, as indicated by the seven horns and the seven eyes (5:6).”
Brighton, L. A. ©1999. Revelation. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House.

This seminal moment in the history of the world is completely lost on mankind until John sees a vision of it during his revelation experience on Patmos. Here we find described for us that triumphal moments when the entire spiritual universe recognizes that Jesus has won the final victory over Satan. The end is near, and Jesus now reigns eternally. The praises of the angels fill Heaven and one day, we too shall hear their song.