Revelation Chapter 5
VERSE 5 “But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
BUT ONE OF THE ELDERS: (Those which we saw introduced in Chapter 4)
This verse could be very perplexing since it quotes IDEAS rather than actual words form the prophecies. The Elder is probably the book of Isaiah.
IF we were asked to restrict ourselves to ONLY ONE prophecy to explain Jesus’ place in God’s plan, which would we choose?
Which did Philip choose when he wanted to explain Jesus to the Ethiopian? Isaiah is the answer.
SAID TO ME: The understanding of Isaiah’s prophecy is particularly comforting to the saints in that Isaiah probably explains more about Jesus’ place in prophecy than does any other prophet.
DO NOT WEEP: We need not find these words in Isaiah. We need only know that Isaiah’s assurances of Jesus’ victory will, indeed, wipe away tears from all who learn them.
BEHOLD, THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE ROOT OF DAVID: It should be noted carefully that neither of these two expressions is a direct quote of any Scripture.
Some have suggested Gen 49:9, 10 (as we will see), and Isaiah 11:10; but neither REALLY says these words. The argument COULD BE MADE that Moses (i.e. the book of Genesis) is the Elder of this verse, but Gen. 49 does not say anything about the Root of David.
Isaiah 11, however, IMPLIES a Lion of Judah and a Root of David.
The Lion implies the STRONG ONE. Isaiah 11:1-5 clearly defines one of superior strength and authority.
Judah is, of course, Jesse’s root; therefore, this Lion is from Judah. Judah is prominently mentioned in Isaiah 11.
The Root of David is, of course, also the root of Jesse. Thus, Isaiah 11 fulfills this part of Rev. 5:5.
HAS PREVAILED: Jesus’ overcoming was proven by his resurrection and by the resultant giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Isaiah 53 tells the John Class of these facts.
TO OPEN THE SCROLL AND TO LOOSE ITS SEVEN SEALS: This does NOT say he HAS opened the book and seals. It says he has overcome SO AS TO (to have the right to) open the book and seals. (New Albany Notes on Revelation)
It will be noted in our next commentary that the suggestion is that the elder is the book of Genesis rather than the book of Isaiah this however should not be infer as a division amongst the brethren, it is simply a matter of personal preference. One author sees it one way while another sees it another, both suggestion nevertheless have support.
“The elder who gives John some comfort, some assurance of what to expect, is the message found in, and personified by, the first book of the Bible: Genesis.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10).
Although a long, long period of time had to expire before the arrival of the Promised One, this prophecy narrowed down the field of inquiry to one specific family, the tribe of Judah. The elder assures John that Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the city of David, and who was put to death in the flesh and is now raised victoriously to glory, is indeed Messiah and that Jesus will soon disclose to the beloved Apostle the mystery of the scroll; i.e., the dispensational contents locked within—yea, sealed with seven seals.
In the Book of Revelation and in several other instances, the “lion” pictures justice and judgment; frequently, however, it symbolizes power, both thoughts are implied here. First, it was necessary for Jesus to satisfy the claims of justice against a sin cursed race: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust” (1 Pet. 3:18) and “without shedding of blood is no remission [of sins]” (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). The other aspect that of power, is apparent in that he “hath prevailed.”
However, the statement that “the Lion . . . hath prevailed to open the book” does not signify that Jesus actually opened the book at this point in time, but that he proved worthy.
This verse brings the reader up to the First Advent and then hurriedly introduces, in the next verse, not the “slain” Lamb of Calvary but the now risen and ascended Lord, acknowledging his worthiness in that he “hath prevailed.” It is not until Rev 6:1 that Jesus actually starts to open the scroll.” (The Keys of Revelation)
We move on to Verse 6 in our next post.
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