Exegetical look into Revelation 5:4-7

 

Jesus is the Lamb who is slain for us. He is the sacrifice for our redemption and He is the Lion, the One in charge of all things seen and unseen. He is Sovereign and Judge (Lion) and our Savior (Lamb) (John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-20). 

  • I wept refers to a loud wailing as in intense mourning for a loved ones death, a common expression in Middle Eastern cultures. John longs for God’s purpose to be completed, but that seems to him to be impossible (Matt. 6:10). 
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  • Lion of the tribe of Judah means God is the Judge. He is in charge as the mighty conqueror of sin. He has the right and ability to rule and to judge. This is also a messianic title referring to the promise to the tribe of Judah to rule (Judah means a “lion’s cub”) and the Davidic Kingship. The image of a lion was considered the ultimate depiction of power; it was commonly used to refer to kings and leaders, and denotes authority, strength, and courage. This was used on Torah Shrines and old Jewish art (Gen. 49:8-10; Isaiah 11:1, 10; 35:9; 65:25; Ezek. 21:27; Rev. 17:14; 19:11-21). 
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  • Root of David means David’s kingly line and right to rule, and that the Messiah would come from His linage, even though Christ was preexistent to David (Isaiah 11:1-10; Dan. 7:16; Zech. 4:11; Matt. 9:27; 12:23; 22:41-45; John 1:1; 7:42; Rom. 15:12). 
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  • Triumphed. Christ fulfilled God’s plan and promise that it has been accomplished, His will has been done, His purpose for history and the future will be done (Matt. 6:10; John 19:30)! 
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  • He is able…worthy refers to His work on the cross for our reconciliation and redemption, His life for ours. 
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  • Lamb… been slain means that Christ is the sacrifice. A lamb is the common animal that was “slain” and sacrificed for the atonement of sin and used for commerce. Jesus replaces this lamb as the ultimate sacrifice. This refers to sacrifice, and our Lord who offers us salvation. In contrast to the image of a lion, the lamb was considered the weakest of all animals, needing constant attention and care just to survive. A lamb would die in the wild, where the lion thrives. The image of the lamb was common in apocalyptic literature, depicting victory and power through, and sometimes over death. (Ex. 12:12-13; Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 21:15; Rev. 17:14). 
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  • As though/as if it had been slain. As this act is now past tense, Christ accomplished this by how He lived and how He died for us. His sacrificial death and resurrection was necessary for God’s redemptive plan and coming judgment to take place. Christ is now alive forevermore (Rev. 1:18)! 
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  • Seven horns were a symbol of power, authority, and strength, and called people to attention. In contrast, in Daniel 7:7, 20; 8:3, 5, the fourth beast had ten horns; numbers are not for counting, but metaphors as seven symbolizes full strength and completeness, and denotes Christ’s eternal life and His spirit-filled and empowered life (Duet. 33:17; Psalm 89:17; 92:10; Dan 7:8; 8:3; John 3:34; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:45). 
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  • Seven eyes give us an image of royal Persian emissaries, representing their king as his eyes, and thus referring to the eyes, knowledge, and awareness of God. Others say this refers to powerful beings subservient to Christ or perhaps refers to the angels in the previous passage and/or the seven archangels from Judaism. (Zech. 3:9; 4:10; 6:5-7; Rev. 8:2). 
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  • Seven spirits of God refers to His fullness and perfection, taking it from the previous word phrase. This is also a name for the Holy Spirit, referring to His Fullness, not a split personality. This is debated as some good commentators say it does not refer to the Holy Spirit, rather believing it refers to the seven celestial beings (Rev. 8:2). In Zechariah, this represents the abundant light shining from the lamps, referring to God’s fullness and Spirit. Either way, this passage does seem to testify to the depth and reality of the Trinity (Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:2-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:14). 
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  • He came and took the scroll infers that the addressee of the scroll took and received it; Christ took it, because it was for Him (Rev. 3:5; 20:12).
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