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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 5

 

 

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Verses 1-14


The Glory of the Lamb

The Church is shown that Christ is on her side. He has overcome by suffering. Now the future is for Him and His people, and He is worshipped with the Father.

1-4. A roll of a book, covered with writing on both sides, signifying the full contents of God's purposes for the future (cp. Ezekiel 2:9.), 'close sealed' (RV) with seven seals, i.e. completely hidden from the knowledge of angels and men, rests on the outstretched right hand of 'Him that sitteth on the throne,' signifying that God offers His will to be made known and His purposes to be worked out (Revelation 5:1). But no created being (RV 'no one') is fit to receive so high a mission (Revelation 5:2.), and St. John weeps, fearing lest the promise of Revelation 4:1 should fail (Revelation 5:4).

5-7. St. John is told that the victory which Christ has won has fitted Him to take and open the book. Christ in His royal power and strength is spoken of as 'the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah' (RV), a reference to Genesis 49:9, which was interpreted by the Jews of the Messiah (cp. Hebrews 7:14), and as the 'Root of David,' i.e. the stem or 'Branch' coming from the root (cp. Revelation 22:16; Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8), another accepted designation of the Messianic King (Revelation 5:5). St. John looks for the Lion and sees a Lamb (cp. John 1:29, John 1:36), 'standing, as though it had been slain' (RV), i.e. recently slaughtered or sacrificed. The reference is to Isaiah 53, and the meaning is that it was by His sacrifice that Christ had won His victory. By the Cross, the devil and the world were already essentially overcome (cp. John 12:31.; John 16:11, John 16:33; Colossians 2:15); and God's purposes for man, which depended on the Atonement of Christ, could now be carried out. It is implied that the persecuted saints, for whom this was written, were not to fear tribulation, because it was for them also the appointed means by which they should 'overcome.' The Lamb has seven horns and seven eyes, signifying the complete power and searching insight of the Spirit by which He rules His people and overthrows His enemies and carries out the divine purpose (Revelation 5:6): see on Revelation 1:4 cp. Revelation 4:6, Revelation 4:8; 1 Samuel 2:10; Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:20; Zechariah 3:9. Then the Lamb takes the book (Revelation 5:7).

We are not to understand that Christ literally has the form of a Lamb. The figures of a Lamb, and of horns and eyes, were familiar to all students of the OT., and the truth about Christ was expressed to St. John's mind in vision under this familiar imagery, just as it might have been expressed solely by words. If figures and words were equally expressive of spiritual realities, either might be employed.

5. Prevailed] RV 'overcome.'

6. In the midst] i.e. in front of the throne. Beasts] RV 'living creatures.'

8-14. The Church, in her praise and prayer, sings the glory of the conquering Lamb. All angels and all creation join their chorus.

8. Vials] RV 'bowls'; as used in the Temple for incense. Odours] RV 'incense': cp. Revelation 8:3; Psalms 141:2. Saints] RV 'the saints,' i.e. the true people of God.

9. Sung] RV 'sing.'

New] because belonging to the 'new' state of Redemption: see on Revelation 2:17 cp. Revelation 14:3.

Hast redeemed, etc.] RV 'didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue,' etc.: cp. Acts 20:28.

10. Kings] RV 'a kingdom': see on Revelation 1:6. Reign] i.e. have power over tribulation and sin: cp. Ephesians 2:6; 1 Peter 2:9.

12. Sevenfold praise is rendered.

13. The chorus of praise becomes universal. Creature] RV 'created thing.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Revelation 5:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/revelation-5.html. 1909.

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