Revelation Chapter 5
Worthy Is the Lamb
“Just as we saw the 24 elders and the 4 beast fall down and worship God in Rev 4:9-11, in turn they witness that Christ is now able to open the book and to be worthy of worship. This next verse, in symbol, is saying that wisdom, justice, power and love, through all the scriptures, are going to testify positively about the Lamb and the salvation that he has won for us. From this point on, we find that many of the descriptions that originally applied to the Heavenly Father will now also apply to Christ. This is not to say that God and Christ are the same person, but only that God has now given authority to the son, so that he has the ability to carry out his plan.” (Revelation Notes Southern Wisconsin)
Now from the New Albany Notes on Revelation:
VERSE 8 “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
NOW WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE SCROLL, THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS FELL DOWN BEFORE THE LAMB: I
In acknowledgment of the magnitude of the event of Rev 5:7 (the Lord being able to take the scroll from the hand of God), the prophecies and attributes rejoice that the time has come that the ONE who will manifest God’s attributes and prophecies has taken control of the plan and it’s unfolding. Thus, eventually, will all creation likewise respond.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” (Phil 2:9, 10)
EACH HAVING A HARP: This probably refers only to the Elders, not the Living Ones. The harp is an instrument of harmonious music. Each prophecy has a song to sing about the Lamb.
“Each of the 24 elders had a harp, which is what they use to sing the new song of Moses and Lamb. These harps are the harmonious message of truth, which the 24 elders or scriptures are able to sing or reveal to us. Each elder or Old Testament book would have slightly different notes or message, but all of these notes or messages come together to make one harmonious new song, or message. We see the new song and harps, again later in Revelation (Rev 14:2, 3; 15:2, 3).
The 144,000 (representative of the true Church) all learn and sing this new song, of both Moses and the Lamb, all who will be considered faithful. Moses song represents the Old Testament message, and the Lambs song would represent the New Testament message, the message for the Gospel and Millennial age. (Of course there’s more to it, but we will get to that later.)” Revelation Notes Southern Wisconsin
AND GOLDEN BOWLS FULL OF INCENSE:
Incense is what preceded the (typical) sacrifice into the Most Holy of the tabernacle. It was symbolic of the love and devotion, which prompted the sacrifice.
Bowls represent vehicles of delivery and are virtually the same symbolically as CUPS. When Jesus said he would drink of the cup which His Father had poured, he was saying he would accept the experience needful to his victory. (As we had learned in our study on The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Part 4).
Out of experience come lessons or development. Even the Seven Plagues (Chapter 16) arrive in bowls —divinely ordained events to force a lesson or result on Babylon. But here (in Rev 5:8) it is the 24 Elders who have golden bowls –divinely appointed experiences for their development and for their effective service to Him.
These bowls are full of incense —that is to say, by living up to what God appointed for them, the Old Testament faithful ones manifested the love, faith, and devotion (incense) which would later be used by us as examples (Hebrews 11). These Old Testament heroes are the “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) which forms the faith examples for the Church. Thus this verse is telling us that all which the prophets sacrificed was worthwhile because the object of their service (pointing forth the Lamb) was now a reality. Their harmonious testimonies (harps) and their exemplary services (golden bowls of incense) do homage to the Lamb.
WHICH ARE THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS:
It is possible, as many feel, that this refers to the prayers of the Church. After all, our prayers ARE based on the promises of the prophets. (Rev. 12:1) BUT, and this is a BIG “but,” since saints merely means “holy ones” and is often used to refer to Old Testament faithful ones (Compare Matt. 27:52), it seems more likely in this CONTEXT that this is a reference to the PROPHETS who wrote the O.T. prophecies.
Does not the advent of the Lamb ANSWER the prayers and fulfill the sacrificing incense of the prophets?
In our next post we will take a further look at our text as explained in The Keys of Revelation to perhaps gain a for a bit more insight.
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