Revelation 4 pictures God on His throne. The four living creatures cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” Revelation 5:1-7 occur in the same setting.
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, close sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a great voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no one in the heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look thereon. And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look thereon: and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not; behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof. And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though 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 he taketh it out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.
This scroll is sealed because God is transcendent (John 1:18, 1 John 4:12). No person in created existence could read the scroll because no one was worthy, but “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof.” This is Jesus, “the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This Lamb, like the Passover lamb (Ex. 12), has been slain.
The Lamb takes the scroll “out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne” (Rev. 5:7). The Lamb is God in the person of Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:9), the root of David (Isa. 11:1, 10), the only One who can reveal God’s story of salvation.
The Lamb is Worthy Because of His Sacrifice
The Lamb is worthy to open the scroll for He was slain. The sins of humanity separate people from God (Isa. 59:1-2), and merit the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). How can God punish sin and forgive sinners? “God set forth [Jesus Christ] to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood… that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25-26). Jesus as God paid the penalty for sin. If God had left the penalty unpaid, He would not be just. If God had exacted the penalty that was due, humanity would be lost. God paid the price Himself to justify those who had committed sin so that they would no longer be held guilty. The Lamb was the price and He is worthy.
The Lamb is Worthy Because He Gives Salvation
He redeemed humanity by His blood. Redemption means to save from another. Jesus saved from the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23), a conquering tyrant and a horrible taskmaster. Jesus frees from the slavery of sin (John 8:34). Every person serves something, either sin and Satan or Jesus and righteousness. Serving Jesus makes a person free. “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). The Lamb is worthy because He brings salvation.
The Lamb is Worthy Because He Has Given Us His Station
The Lamb makes Christians kings and priests who reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10). Conquering kings generally did not bestow nobility on the conquered, but Jesus made the redeemed part of his royal family. Peter says, “… ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Christians are royalty, elevated from being slaves to being heirs (Gal. 4:4-7). Adopted children are full members of the family. Christians are fully children of God. Jesus, the King of kings, is royal family. God sent the Spirit of His Son into their heart, crying Abba Father, the same relationship as Jesus Christ.
The Lamb is Worthy to be Praised
Revelation 5:11-14 is praise for the Lamb.
And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped.
Millions praise the Lamb as worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. Nothing is held back. Every created thing blesses, honors, and glorifies Him forever. This fulfills Paul’s prophecy in Philippians 2:10-11, “that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures also worship. The Lamb is worthy.