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These excerpts are from
Natural, Grammatical Outlines in
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
by Dr. Richard Hughes
Behold, the Lion
The following outline is based on the infinitives modifying the verb prevailed in v. 5.
TEXT: 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. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
NOTE: The book in the right hand of the Father is as the book of Isaiah or the book of Daniel: it is a "book" in scroll form, written "within and on the backside." As the Ethiopian Eunuch read the book of Isaiah [also written on a scroll], he needed someone to explain of whom the prophet spake: was it of himself or of another? In response, Philip began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus [Acts 8:26-40].
The book in the right hand of the Father was Jesus` book. Christ was the only one found worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof. Hence, it is the Lamb`s Book, which implies that it is also the Lamb`s book of life [Rev. 20:15, 21:27]. That book, the Lamb`s Book of Life, will be opened by his angels at the close of the Revelation, a task made possible because the Lamb himself has prevailed to loose the seals thereof.
His "prevailing" involves, in part, his having "soiled principalities and powers" when he made an open show of them, triumphing over them in the cross [Col. 2:15].
- And I saw
- A book
- In the right hand of him that sat on the throne
- Written within
- And written on the backside
- Sealed with seven seals
- And a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice,
- Who is worthy to open the book?
- And who is worthy to loose the seals thereof?
- And no man was found worthy
- In heaven
- Nor in earth
- Neither under the earth
- And no man was able to open the book
- Neither was any man able to look thereof
- And no man was found worthy
- A book
- And I wept much
- Because no man was found worthy to open the book
- And no man was found worthy to read the book
- Neither was any man found worthy to look thereon
- And one of the elders saith unto me
- Weep not
- Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda
- Behold, the Root of David
- He hath prevailed to open the book
- And he hath prevailed to loose the seven seals thereof
That Jesus "prevailed" hints at the struggle involved with the redemption of man. The seriousness of this issue is reinforced by John`s tears: he wept. He wept because of what the strong angel was saying as John witnessed a search in heaven, in earth and under the earth. And the results of that search were conclusive: no man was found worthy to open the book in the Father`s right hand.
Is it out of place to suggest that this strong angels is Satan, prince of the power of the air, "questioning" the Father? He has access to the throne, as shown by the book of Job, up to his defeat in Rev. 11:9. This is the enemy of whom Jesus made an open show [Col. 2:15]. Satan had desired to be as God, to sit "upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north" [Is. 14:13]. His goal may have been to claim the book of life itself from the Father`s right hand. "Life" is what he had offered Eve: to be as God, knowing good and evil. And the pull of sin is still to "live it up."
It may seem strange that John as the church in type at the opening of chapter 4, is weeping much in chapter 5, as he observes the strong angel`s "proclaiming with a loud voice." Yet, we have no way of comprehending the seriousness of these events in heaven. We know, however, that they will lead to war in heaven itself [Rev. 12:7] and to great tribulation on earth [Rev. 12:12]. The accuser to the brethren presents an awesome scene, but our Redeemer is God himself.
The Elders - The elders show their openness to all the saints in their concern for and comforting of John. They remind him of the great truth that the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed. In their contact and concern, they reflect Abraham`s actions as he had comforted Lazarus in Paradise [Luke 16:23].
No Man Was Found Worthy - Just as John saw the future of the church age in chapters 2 & 3, so here he sees the past. Those who claimed the right to be worthy and failed. And, because of the shift from the book itself to the need for one to take the book and to loose the seals thereof, the focus turns to the Lamb "as it had been slain" [5:6], referred to here by the elder as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah [The Root of David] - The Lion of the tribe of Judah is the root of David. He who would end as the Lion, began unseen. He made himself of no reputation [Phil. 2:7], thinking it not robbery to be equal with God. He became the Seed of the woman, to be born of a virgin, born in the lineage of David. And he drew within that lineage such as the Moabitess Ruth.
As the constellations begin with Virgo and end with Leo [shown in the figure of the sphinx], so Jesus began as the root of David and ends as the Lion of the tribe of Judah: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [Shiloh or Christ] shall the gathering of the people be. Binding the foal unto the vine and his ass`s colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk" [Gen. 49:10-12].
The Seven Seals - "Seven" speaks of completion. It also speaks of the presence of the Spirit of God [Rev. 5:6]. The opening of these seals will be the closing of time. Notice that the wording is "to open the book and to loose the seals thereof." The seven seals have a portion of the scroll closed, probably the major portion. As the seven are loosed, they will carry us from this point in time, the rapture [3:10], to the white throne judgment [20:11-15].