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Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain

by David A. DePra

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,

and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.  (Rev. 5:12)

     Revelation 5 opens with a question. John is having a vision of
the spiritual realm, and in that realm, he sees God the Father
sitting on His throne with a book, or scroll, in His right hand. A
strong angel then asks with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open
the book, and to loose the seals thereof"? (Rev. 5:2)
     Initially, the answer wasn't encouraging: "No man in heaven,
nor in earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book,
neither to look thereon." (Rev. 5:3) This saddened John. He
said, "I wept much because no man was found worthy to open
and to read the book, neither to look thereon." (Rev. 5:4)
     Notice something here. God is pictured holding this book in
His right hand, sitting on His throne. This is important. It shows
God's possession of the book and all it contains. It also shows
Him as sovereign over that which is in the book. This book must
surely contain something of infinite value. God could hardly
possess anything of less worth in His right hand on His throne.
     This is verified by the fact that no man was "worthy" to open,
read, indeed, even to look upon the contents of the book. In
other words, to open this book and read it, you had to be
qualified. You had to be "worthy." And no human being
anywhere was. Such was the value of what was in the book.
     There is more. Note John's reaction to the fact that no one
could open the book. He wept. It was a tremendous grief to him
that the contents of the book would remain in God's hand,
inaccessible to man.
     Make no mistake about it. This book was eternally important.
It contained things which God wanted to give man directly from
His right hand; directly from His throne. It was of such value that
no person in all creation was able to open it, or even so much as
look upon it. No person, that is, except the Lamb of God.
     John got the terrific news. He was told, "Weep not. Behold,
the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to
open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev. 5:5)
And then John turned and saw He of whom the voice was
speaking: "(There) stood a Lamb as if it had been slain, having
seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God
sent forth into all the earth." (Rev. 5:6)
     This Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, "came and took the book out
of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne." And when He
did, all of heaven and all of creation, broke into spontaneous
worship. Chapter 5 of Revelation ends in a rapture of worship.
     Over the last several decades, as the return of Christ seems
near, we have heard many prophetic interpretations of this book
of Revelation, especially as it pertains this end time. Usually,
these interpretations include the great tribulation, the
Anti-Christ, the rapture, the millenium, and so on. Such
interpretations generally begin with Revelation 6. There we find
the opening of the seven seals. What results from the breaking
of these seals is usually made to correspond to world events
such as false prophets, war, famine, and disease, etc. These first
four seals are often referred to as "the four horsemen of the
     But wait. There is something amiss here. We easily discover
it if we first read chapter 5. If we do that, we will find that we must
adjust many of our prophetic assumptions and interpretations.
For chapter 5 completely redefines and recharacterizes, not only
chapter 6, but the rest of the book of Revelation.
     One common assumption is to say that the first horseman is
the first seal, and the second horseman is the second seal, and
so on. But no. Notice closely Rev. 6:1-2. The horsmen are
NOT the seals. The horsemen are what come out of the book
once the seals are opened by Lamb of God.
     This is vital to see. It sets the entire book of Revelation in
order. The horsemen come out of the book which no man was
worthy to open. They come out of the book which was held by
God Almighty Himself. They come out of a book which contains
unspeakable glory -- such that all of heaven lamented because
no man could open and gain access to it's contents. In other
words, these horsemen are part of what is contained in this
wonderful book. They are part of what the Lamb of God was
worthy to read, look upon, and to loose.
     Do you realize what this means? It means that the horsemen,
and everything else which comes forth from the book, are good
things. They are things which were held in the hand of God
Himself, which only Jesus Christ could make available.
     And the seals? Well, they are what KEEP BACK what is in the
book. They are what locks us out of gaining access to the things
of God. Not surprisingly, only Jesus can break those seals. And
as He does so, He is pictured as the Lamb which was slain.
     Things are now becoming clear. The book which was in the
hand of God contains all that God has for us. Yet these things
are sealed. They are locked away; bound up. Only by His
victory as the Lamb of God through the Redemption was Jesus
able to "break" the seals. And the result is the release of all that
is in that book; everything which God held in His right hand.
     We see this in verse 5:9: "Thou art worthy to take the book,
and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and has
redeemed us to God by Thy Blood out of every kindred, and
tongue, amd people, and nation." That's WHY He was worthy.
Because of His redeeming work.
     What we see here is a picture. It is a picture of the Lamb of
God destroying, through His Redemption, all that kept us from
God. It is an allegory showing Jesus Christ breaking the power
of the Devil, the power of the flesh, and the curse of death.
Those are contained within the seven seals. And once Jesus
breaks them, all which these things held back come forth.
     The Truth is, the remainder of the book of Revelation is simply
the seven seals being broken, and the blessings being released
from the book upon us. Therefore, once we discover this Truth
about what Jesus is doing, the rest of the book is defined.
     The book of Revelation is foremost a picture of the redemptive
work of Jesus Christ. It shows the impact of Jesus finished work
upon man, in his journey back to God. Some of this impact is
pictured negatively, such as in the four horseman. That's
because there is a warfare, and a victory to be worked out in
practical living. And this isn't all that pleasant to the flesh. But
the end result is that the kingdoms of this earth -- of me --
become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. And
thankfully, He shall reign forever and ever! Amen.

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