Revelation 5

Revelation 5
CHAPTER 5 is a continuation of the scene we have been dwelling upon. "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals." It was the usual custom in those days to write only on one side of a 'book or roll, and to seal it with one seal. But John saw in the right hand of the occupant of the throne a roll of exceptional character. It overflowed with writing, being covered both within and without, and it was sealed with a perfect number of seals, namely, seven. The right hand of Him who sat was all powerful to execute its contents.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." (Verses 2, 3.) Angels excel in strength. With a loud voice, so that all may hear, this strong angel makes a wide sounding proclamation. "Who is worthy to open the book [or roll], and to lose the seals thereof?" Tremendous issues depend on the reply. But no man (or one) in heaven, or earth, or underneath the earth', was able to open it, or even to look upon it. Not a creature was found worthy in the whole of this sphere on heaven, earth, etc.
This sad fact produced great sorrow of heart in John. "And I wept much, because no man [or one] was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon." No one had been found worthy, not even amongst the most true and devoted servants of God. The words "and to read" are an interpolation. They are not found in the original. Well might John weep that there was not one found worthy even to look upon the roll.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Ver. 5.) The elders, representing, as we have seen, the heavenly saints, are characterized by intelligence. Whilst on earth, through the presence of the Spirit in them, they entered into the thoughts of God. Now seated in glory round God's throne, they enter intelligently into His mind. And one of them, telling John not to weep, calls his attention to One who had overcome so as to open it, which is the force of the passage. Who is it? The elder says two things of Him. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and He is the Root of David! Who else could this be but Christ Himself? Our Lord sprang out of Judah. (Heb. 7:1414For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. (Hebrews 7:14).) And as the Lion He will roar when He takes the prey. (Amos 3:44Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? (Amos 3:4).) He is not only David's Son according to the flesh, but He is also David's Lord, the Root as well as the Offspring. The elder testifies that He had prevailed both to open the roll and to break its seven seals.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts [or living creatures], and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." (Verses 6, 7.) Being invited to do so, John beheld. But instead of seeing the One of whom the elder spake, in either or both of the characters to which he referred, he beheld Him in quite another. He saw a Lamb. In the midst of the throne, of the living creatures, and of the elders, in the very central position, Christ appeared. There stood a Lamb as it had been slain. Though He is the Lion and the Root, it was not thus that He overcame. All that is true of Him thus must most surely, be fulfilled. But He is also a Lamb, the Lamb of God. As such, crucified through weakness, He went into death. John beholds Him, the risen One, in glory, a Lamb as it had been slain. He stands there (for He is about to open the roll of the Judgments and mysteries of God), bearing upon His holy. Person the tokens of His passion, the wounds which He received in the house of His friends, the marks of death. "A Lamb as it had been stain." He is there in the midst of God's holy throne as the One who wrought eternal redemption, the alone worthy One, the mighty Overcomer, the foreordained Lamb, and He is surrounded by all the heavenly, intelligences in God's glory. Having glorified God on earth, and settled the whole question of sin, He is found and recognized worthy to take the book and to break the seals. "Having seven horns and seven eyes” show that the perfection of power and authority, wisdom, discernment, etc., are His. From Him proceed the activities of the Spirit of God. The seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God. In this sevenfold way, in accord with the character of this wondrous book as we have already remarked, the Spirit of the Lord acts in power and administration, being sent forth into all the earth. The whole comes thus under the Lord's judgment and government. The worthy One took the roll from the right hand of the enthroned One.
But before he loosed either of the seals thereof, which act is found at the commencement of the sixth chapter, we read, "When he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials [or bowls] full of odors, which are the prayers of saints." (Ver. 8.) The moment when the Lamb takes the roll is the signal for universal movement, joy and praise. Note first a change which has been pointed out by others. Here for the first time the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders are grouped together, falling down before the Lamb. It has been thought, and we judge rightly so, that the significance of this is, that the moment when the One who obtained eternal redemption commences to exercise His power openly in connection with the things given into His hand, the saints (set forth in the elders), being associated with Him, henceforth commence to share with Him in the administration, as the age (or world) to come is not put in subjection to angels. (Heb. 2:55For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (Hebrews 2:5).) So then that which appears to be angelic in Rev. 4 is saintly in chapter v. and on, and, as we shall see shortly, from this moment forth the angels are seen standing in a circle outside.
Now every one of them has a harp and golden vials (or bowls). In reading this, and many other passages, we must bear in mind the figurative character of the book. This glorious company is seen in a priestly character. They worship God, and present the prayers of the saints, which are a sweet incense before Him. This requires explanation. Nothing can be clearer than that after the translation of the heavenly saints to glory, there will be a fresh dealing of God with man on earth. The glad tidings of grace and glory will then be no longer proclaimed. But God will raise up a remnant of Jews to testify that the rejected Christ is the true Messiah, and that He will appear to the discomfiture and judgment of His foes, and the establishment of His kingdom. (Rev. 6:9-119And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9‑11); Matt. 25:31-4631When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:31‑46); Rev. 11:3-133And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:3‑13).) They will announce the glad tidings of the kingdom-the everlasting gospel-and call on men to fear God. (Matt. 24:1414And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14); Rev. 14:6,76And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6‑7).) God will work in power, and many will be blessed, especially amongst those outside the sphere 'now known as Christendom. (Rev. 7:9-179After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:9‑17).) Many will be tried and some suffer martyrdom. (Rev. 6:9-119And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9‑11).) It is these saints, whose prayers will be as sweet incense in the golden bowls, presented before God by the previously translated heavenly saints. Those who die or are martyred during Daniel's last week, or the seven years of the covenant, will have part in the first resurrection. (Rev. 20:44And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4).) Their resurrection takes place at the close of this short period. (Rev. 20:66Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6).) Many others will be preserved (both Jew and Gentile) for millennial blessing on earth.
(Rev. 7:1-17; 14:1-51And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:1‑17)
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. 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. 5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:1‑5)
.) We shall have to refer to these varied companies again as we seek to further unfold the contents of this book.
“And they sung A new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Vers. 9, 10.) It is evident that the translators failed to catch the true signification of the passage. The force of the original is very different. The latter part should be rendered, "Thou hast been slain, and hast redeemed to God, by thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them to our God kings and priests; and they shall reign over the earth." Several things characterize the singers. They are filled with joy. They know and own the Lamb's worthiness. They are deeply interested in what is taking place. They are intelligent as to the widespread effects of redemption. They sing new song. It 'goes on, and it is an entirely new one. No such 'song has ever been sung in heaven before. The first mention of singing in scripture is when God's people 'Israel were redeemed out of Egypt. Man needs 'redemption in order to sing. Till then, his fallen and guilty, estate before God precludes acceptable song. The only other creatures spoken of in Scripture as singing are the morning stars, who sang at the creation. (Job 38:77When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7).) The sons of 'God are spoken of as shouting for joy, and angels cry 'aloud, ascribe glory, and say, but are not spoken 'of as singing.
The language of the opening of the song again confirms the thought that the singers, the living creatures and elders now grouped together, are the saints. No 'others are privileged to express themselves in 'such intimate language to the holy Lamb of God as "Thou art worthy." What a beautiful response to the loud-voiced proclamation of the angel in verse 2, "Who is worthy?" And angels and every 'creature, as we shall see, voice and re-echo it to the utmost bound of creation. There is no discordant note. The saints in glory, in virtue of redemption, sing the worthiness of the Lamb, the Redeemer, to take the roll and to open its seals. They give an intelligent reason why. "For thou wast slain, and halt redeemed to God." As we have seen, the word "us" has been introduced mistakenly. They 'are not occupied with themselves, nor 'with their own redemption. Their presence there on thrones as a kingly, priestly company, in their glorified state, is a manifest witness to the fact. They are the heavenly trophies of the victory of the Lamb in the midst of the throne. Occupied with Him, they sing His praise, and celebrate the redemption of others. They recognize that it is to God, and by Christ's blood alone. They acclaim the redemption of another company out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. All is in view of the establishing of His kingdom.
Moreover they recognize that this fresh company is also 'made kings and priests unto our God; and they shall reign, not on, but over the earth. A careful study of Rev. 20:66Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6), coupled with verses 4 and 5, and Rev. 6:10, 1110And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:10‑11) will amply repay the trouble, and help to dear the reader on this point. As already said, the company consists of those who died in the Lord (Rev. 14:1313And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)), or are martyred after the heavenly saints are glorified, and 'before He appears to reign. There is clearly, so 'to speak, a supplementary resurrection, which is included in the thought of the first, as distinct from the second, which is that of the dead only. (Rev. 20:5, 65But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5‑6).) Raised just before the manifestation of the King of kings, they live and reign also with Him. Apart from these interesting and instructive scriptures, we should not know what would become 'of the saints of Daniel's last week of seven years, except those who die not, but are preserved for blessing in the earthly sphere of the kingdom.
"They shall reign over the earth." In the age to come, the dispensation (or administration) of the fullness of times, God is going to gather (or head up) in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him. (Eph. 1:1010That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10).) It is clear from this and many other scriptures that there is both' a heavenly and an earthly sphere in the coming kingdom. The heavenly saints will reign with Christ in heaven over the earth '(Rev. 5:1010And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)—Gr.), and this new company, shall have part therein. Israel, converted and restored, and Gentile nations shall be blessed on the earth.
How precious for the Christian heart to contemplate and consider this glorious scene! Everyone who partakes of God's grace now will share in the glory then. All will form part of that heavenly choir, singing the new song, "Thou art worthy," etc. At any moment our Lord Himself may return for His own, and introduce us there.
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." (Rev. 5:11, 1211And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. (Revelation 5:11‑12).) Next John beholds the angelic hosts, who serve from God's throne, and who had ministered to the heirs of salvation during the hour of Christ's rejection and absence on high. They stand, an innumerable company, around the throne, i.e., in an outer circle. What joy for them to behold as their Head the Lamb as it had been slain, in the midst of the heavenly throne, and surrounded by all the trophies of His victory, crowned and robed and enthroned, prostrating themselves before Him, and singing to His praise. No envy at the near place and the rich blessing enjoyed by His saints ever enters the hearts of these blessed, willing, and holy ministering spirits. Gladly they carry on the strain of joy. No angel, as no saint, refuses to join in the praise.
They sing not, "Thou art worthy," but gladly and with a loud voice they say, "Worthy is the Lamb." And like the saints, they acclaim Him who bears the marks of death 'upon His person as the Lamb that was slain. Great as was the glory of God's Son in creation, greater still does it shine forth in redemption. Unfathomable and inscrutable love is centered there! Men talk of the wonders of the world, but the death of God's Son on Calvary is the wonder of wonders before which every other wonder completely and utterly pales! Well may these happy myriads with one loud voice proclaim the Lamb worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, blessing. This sevenfold ascription embraces all that His people Israel and the world denied Him here below. Yea, more. There was not only the refusal of all these things, which were His just due, but, alas! all combined to accord Him the very opposite. "Power?" Man treated Him as a feeble impostor, a false King. Externally, as said elsewhere of Him, He was as a worm, and no man. (Psa. 22:66But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. (Psalm 22:6).) Any miracle which they could not deny, was attributed to Satan, and not to God. The manger, the path, the cross all witness to the darkened mind of man that He was powerless. "Riches?" Was He not the poor and needy man; was He not the carpenter of Nazareth? Had the Son of man where to lay His head? Had Be not to procure a coin from a fish to pay tribute? But, blessed be His name, did He not become poor that we might be rich? "Wisdom?" Why, the wise of this world treated His doctrine as utter folly. Was not Christ crucified a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greek? (1 Cor. 1:22-2922For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29That no flesh should glory in his presence. (1 Corinthians 1:22‑29).) Nay, the proud heart and mind, apart from a divine work, cannot brook, that from the highest to the lowest, the eternal salvation of each depends wholly and solely on Christ and His precious blood! "Strength?" Was He not crucified through weakness? Was He not apparently powerless to escape from the bitter gibe, the cruel blow, the shameless mockery of the religious and of the ungodly? Men taunted Him that He could not save Himself and come down from the cross. "Honor?" Was not every mark of deep and dark dishonor heaped upon that blessed holy brow? Were not even ordinary courtesies of life refused Him? Was He not buffeted, bruised, spit upon? Was He not falsely charged, falsely condemned, compelled to carry His own cross, and crucified without the gate between two thieves? "Glory?" Angels ascribed it at His birth (Luke 2:13, 1413And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13‑14)), but not men. Shame, cruel shame, was His lot in the world of the falsely religious and of the ungodly. Moral glory shone throughout, but man would not recognize it. And nothing but crucifixion on a cross of shame would satisfy their wicked and bloodthirsty hearts. Every kind of shame and wickedness surrounded Him at the hand of man at that awful hour. "Blessing?" He was the curse of the wicked. He began His ministry with blessing, but was treated as an impostor with cursing by the mass, and was compelled by their persistent opposition and hatred to close it with "Woe." In patient grace He allowed Himself to be taken by, wicked hands, crucified and slain, voluntarily bearing the curse of the broken law on the tree, to which those who put Him there exposed themselves.
But, oh, how deeply blessed to see the great change in this glorious vision! He who received the opposite at the hands of man, is owned with one accord by the mighty angelic hosts as worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, blessing. All were His by divine right, and all will be His both in the coming age, and to all generations of the age of ages.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever." (Verses 13, 14.) Here the strain of praise, which commences with the heavenly saints, and is carried on by the angels, is re-echoed throughout creation by every created intelligence. Every creature in heaven, earth, under the earth, on the sea (for it is "on" rather than "in") and all that are in them, were heard by John ascribing four things, Blessing, honor, glory, and power (which, so far as they go, agree with the language of the angels)-unto Him, Jehovah Elohim Shaddai, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever, or, to the age of ages. One vast burst of joy and praise fills the whole universe of God. "Who is worthy?" The Lamb, Jesus. Every saint, every angel, every creature is in blessed harmony and accord, and either sings or says it. There is no dissentient voice. Rebellious men may refuse to own Him worthy, but at that day every knee shall bow. At any moment, dear fellow Christian, we may hear His voice, and be translated by His power, to take part in the glorious new song.
And the four living creatures add their solemn and blessed "Amen." And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped. They commence by falling down in verse 8, and they close in falling down and worshipping in verse 14. The words "Him that liveth forever and ever," though true, are not found in the best authorities in the original.