Reading through Revelation – Chapter 5:1-7, the Lamb and the Book, part 1


A Bible study


Revelation 5:1-7 

GNV

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat upon the throne, a book written within, and on the backside sealed with seven seals.

And I saw a strong Angel which preached with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Then I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

And one of the Elders said unto me, Weep not: behold, that Lion which is of the tribe of Judah, that root of David, hath obtained to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Then I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the Elders stood a Lamb, as though he had been killed, which had seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent into all the world.

And he came, and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.


Thoughts

Awe and joy, amazement and adoration, wonder, glory!


The chapter

Barnes’ Notes

“. . . The design of the whole chapter is evidently to honor the Lamb of God, by showing that the power was entrusted to him which was confided to no one else in heaven or earth, of disclosing what is to come. Nothing else would better illustrate this than the fact that he alone could break the mysterious seals which barred out the knowledge of the future from all created eyes; and nothing would be better adapted to impress this on the mind than the representation in this chapter – the exhibition of a mysterious book in the hand of God; the proclamation of the angel, calling on any who could do it to open the book; the fact that no one in heaven or earth could do it; the tears shed by John when it was found that no one could do it; the assurance of one of the elders that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had power to do it; and the profound adoration of all in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth in view of the power entrusted to him of breaking these mysterious seals. . .”


Insights from commentaries

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

REVELATION CHAPTER 5

“1. in, &c. — Greek, ‘(lying) upon the right hand.’ His right hand was open and on it lay the book. On God’s part there was no withholding of His future purposes as contained in the book: the only obstacle to unsealing it is stated in Rev. 5:3 [Alford].

“book — . . .The writing on the back implies fullness and completeness, so that nothing more needs to be added (Rev. 22:18). . . However, no portion of the roll is said to be unfolded and read; but simply the seals are successively opened, giving final access to its contents being read as a perfect whole, which shall not be until the events symbolized by the seals shall have been past, when Ephes. 3:10 shall receive its complete accomplishment, and the Lamb shall reveal God’s providential plans in redemption in all their manifold beauties. Thus the opening of the seals will mean the successive steps by which God in Christ clears the way for the final opening and reading of the book at the visible setting up of the kingdom of Christ.” 

Ephesians 3:10

10 To the intent, that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God

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The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Oral Edmond Collins

Exposition 5:6-10

“What the elder proclaimed, John now saw through tearful eyes wonderfully dramatized in the heavenly scene. The Lion is a Lamb! A Lamb-like being scarred from mortal wounds, was nevertheless grandly alive and standing before Him in the throne room of heaven. The slain Lamb can represent no other than the One about whom Isaiah said,

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, . . . cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken (Isa. 53:7,8).

“His seven horns and seven eyes indicate His sovereign control over the destiny of His creation as well as His care for His people in ‘all the earth.’

“As the aged and suffering John was comforted, so are we to be comforted by this vision of the Victorious Lamb who is worthy not only to unveil the sealed prophecies, but to call forth the fulfillment of all the glorious predictions of all God’s prophets, insuring that in His time His purposes for His world and for our redemption will be fulfilled. . .”


A little Greek

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Verse 1

“In the right hand (επι την δεχιαν — epi tēn dexian). “Upon the right hand” (επι — epi not εν — en), the open palm. Anthropomorphic language drawn from Ezekiel 2:9.

“A book (βιβλιον — biblion). Diminutive of βιβλος — biblos but no longer so used, βιβλαριδιον — biblaridion occurring instead (Revelation 10:2). Written (γεγραμμενον — gegrammenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of γραπω — graphō and on the back (εσωτεν και οπιστεν — esōthen kai opisthen). “Within and behind.” Description of a roll like that in Luke 4:17, not a codex as some scholars think. Usually these papyrus rolls were written only on the inside, but this one was so full of matter that it was written also on the back side (οπιστεν — opisthen), and so was an οπιστογραπον — opisthographon like that in Ezekiel 2:10. There are many allegorical interpretations of this fact which are all beside the point. Sealed (κατεσπραγισμενον — katesphragismenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of κατασπραγιζω — katasphragizō old compound (perfective use of κατα — kata), to seal up (down), here only in N.T. With seven seals (σπραγισιν επτα — sphragisin hepta). Instrumental case of σπραγις — sphragis old word used in various senses, proof or authentication (1 Corinthians 9:2Romans 4:11), signet-ring (Revelation 7:2), impression made by the seal (Revelation 9:42 Timothy 2:19), the seal on books closing the book (Revelation 5:1Revelation 5:2, Revelation 5:5, Revelation 5:9Revelation 6:1, Revelation 6:3, Revelation 6:5, Revelation 6:7, Revelation 6:9, Revelation 6:12; Revelation 8:1). . .”


 

A song in the Valley of Humiliation


James 4:5-7

NASB

Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.


From Part 2 of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Here, Christiana, her sons, and fellow pilgrim, Mercy, are being led through the Valley of Humiliation by Mr. Great-heart, their protector.


Now as they were going along and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favoured countenance, and as he sat by himself he sung. ‘Hark,’ said Mr. Great-heart, to what the shepherd’s boy saith. So they hearkened, and he said,

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‘He that is down, needs fear no fall,

He that is low, no pride:

He that is humble, ever shall

Have God to be his guide.

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‘I am content with what I have,

Little be it, or much:

And, Lord, contentment still I crave,

Because Thou savest such.

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‘Fullness to such, a burden is

That go on pilgrimage:

Here little, and hereafter bliss,

Is best from age to age.’


Image: AllPosters

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 4, From earth to Heaven!


Tyndale Bible

A Tyndale Bible, Bodleian Library, Steve Bennett (stevage)


Revelation 4 

GNV

4 1 Another vision containing the glory of God’s Majesty:  3 which is magnified of the four beasts, 10 and the four and twenty Elders.

After this I looked, and behold, a door was open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be done hereafter.

And immediately I was ravished in the spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.

And he that sat, was to look upon, like unto a Jasper stone, and a sardine, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald.

And round about the throne were  four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and had on their heads crowns of gold.

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

And before the throne there was a Sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne were four beasts, full of eyes before and behind.

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying Eagle.

And the four beasts had each one of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they ceased not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and which is, and which is to come.

And when those beasts gave glory, and honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, which liveth forever and ever,

10 The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy will’s sake they are, and have been created.


Thoughts

Worthy are You, O Lord!


Commentary

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

4:1-8 After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches the things that are, there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God’s awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.

4:9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.


Greek

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Verse 3 

To look upon (ορασειhorasei). Locative case of ορασιςhorasis old word (from οραωhoraō to see) for appearance (in appearance) as in Ezekiel 1:5, Ezekiel 1:26.

Like a jasper stone (ομοιος ιασπιδιhomoios iaspidi). Associative-instrumental case of ιασπιςiaspis old word (Persian), used for stones of different colors, one opaque like opal, one translucent (Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:18, possibly here, only N.T. examples), one a red or yellow stone (Isaiah 54:12). Some even take it for the diamond. Certainly not our cheap modern jasper. A sardius (σαρδιωιsardiōi). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 21:20. The carnelian or other red stone, derived from Sardis (Pliny). Rainbow (ιριςiris). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 10:1. From Ezekiel 1:28. An emerald (σμαραγδινωιsmaragdinōi). Adjective (from σμαραγδοςsmaragdos Revelation 21:19), of emerald (supply λιτωιlithōi), in associative instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios John sees no form for God (Exodus 24:10), but only the brilliant flashing gems. “In the vision the flashing lustre of the ιασπιςiaspis and the fiery red of the σαρδsard are relieved by the halo (ιριςiris) of emerald which encircled the Throne” (Swete). A complete circle.


Historic NWS Collection - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Image ID wea00133 - Photo credit: Ralph F. Kresge

Historic NWS Collection – Fort Lauderdale – Image ID wea00133 – Ralph F. Kresge

File:Emerald.png

Uncut emerald showing hexagonal structu

Jasper pebble – notice the tiny  rainbow in the spot of reflected light!

File:Picture Jasper.jpg

Picture jasper from Bruneau, ID, held in the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, photo by Chris857

 

Sardine

“The Hebrew odem (also translated sardius), the first stone in the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red stone, probably sard but perhaps red jasper.” (Wikipedia, Carnelian)

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Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Heck cattle – photo: Eva Hejda

See the source image

Face of a man
Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador, 1927-1956

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Captive Golden Eagle in flight in the UK – Tony Hisgett


 

 

 

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Reading through Revelation – Chapter 3:14-22, Laodicea


Mark 4:24

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.


A Bible study


Revelation 3:14-22

gnv

14 And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, These things saith Amen, the faithful and true witness, that beginning [origin, source]∗ of the creatures of God.

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou werest cold or hot.

16 Therefore because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, it will come to pass, that I shall spew thee out of my mouth.

17 For thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not how thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried by the fire, that thou mayest be made rich: and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that thy filthy nakedness do not appear: and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and amend.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and sit with my Father in his throne.

22 Let him that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.

*The beginning of the creation of God (η αρχη της κτισεως του τεουhē archē tēs ktiseōs tou theou). Not the first of creatures as the Arians held and Unitarians do now, but the originating source of creation through whom God works (Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:18, a passage probably known to the Laodiceans, John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2, as is made clear by Revelation 1:18; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:13). 

Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament


Thoughts

May the Lord not count us in their number, but among the noble-minded Bereans and faithful Philadelphians!


History

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Laodicea

“The city of this name mentioned in Scripture lay on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Revelation 3:14), on the banks of the Lycus. It was originally called Diospolis and then Rhoas, but afterwards Laodicea, from Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II, [Seleucid] king of Syria, who rebuilt it. It was one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. At a very early period it became one of the chief seats of Christianity (Colossians 2:1; 4:15; Revelation 1:11, etc.). It is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar or ‘old castle.'”

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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

LAODICEA

“. . . Little is known of the early history of Christianity there; Timothy, Mark and Epaphras (Colossians 1:7) seem to have been the first to introduce it. However, Laodicea was early the chief bishopric of Phrygia, and about 166 A.D. Sagaris, its bishop, was martyred. In 1071 the city was taken by the Seljuks; in 1119 it was recovered to the Christians by [Byzantine Emperor] John Comnenus, and in the 13th century it fell finally into the hands of the Turks. . .”

E.J. Banks

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Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, Zondervan, p. 699

“. . .  The city lay on one of the great Asian trade routes, and this ensured its great commercial prosperity. Laodicea was a leading banking center. In 51 B.C. Cicero, en route for his Cilician province, cashed drafts there. It was no doubt the rich banking firms which, in A.D. 60, financed the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake which prostrated it. Laodicea refused the Senate’s earthquake relief. She was ‘rich and increased with goods’ and had ‘need of nothing’ (Revelation 3:17). The Lycus valley produced a glossy black wool, the source of black cloaks and carpets, for which the city was famous. Laodicea was also the home of a medical school, and the manufacturer of collyrium, a famous eye-salve. The scornful imagery of the apocalyptic letter to Laodicea is obviously based on these activities. It also has reference to the emetic qualities of the soda-laden warm water from nearby Hierapolis, whose thermal springs ran into the Meander. Laodicea’s water supply also came from Hierapolis, and Sir William Ramsay suggests that its vulnerability, together with the city’s exposed position, and its easy wealth caused the growth in the community of that spirit of compromise and worldly-mindedness castigated in the Revelation. Under Diocletian [Roman Emperor, A.D. 284-305], Laodicea, still prosperous, was made the chief city of Phrygia – Wikipedia. (The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary)”

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Smith’s Bible Dictionary

Laodice’a

“. . . We have good reason for believing that when, in writing from Rome to the Christians of Colossae, he [Paul] sent a greeting to those of Laodicea, he had not personally visited either place. But the preaching of the gospel at Ephesus (Acts 18:19; Acts 19:41) must inevitably have resulted in the formation of churches in the neighboring cities, especially where Jews were settled; and there were Jews in Laodicea. In subsequent times it became a Christian city of eminence, the see of bishop and a meeting-place of councils. The Mohammedan invaders destroyed it, and it is now a scene of utter desolation, as was prophesied in (Revelation 3:14-22) and the extensive ruins near Denislu justify all that we read of Laodicea in Greek and Roman writers. Another biblical subject of interest is connected with Laodicea. From (Colossians 4:16) it appears that St. Paul wrote a letter to this place when he wrote the letter to Colossae. Ussher’s view is that it was the same as the Epistle to the Ephesians, which was a circular letter sent to Laodicea among other places. The apocryphal Epistola ad Laodicenses is a late and clumsy forgery.


Commentary

The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Oral Edmond Collins, pp. 96-97

15. The Laodiceans were spiritually neither cold nor hot. 16. Because you are . . . neither hot nor cold—am about to spit you out. The analogy of hot and cold is best understood of the medicinal hot springs at Hieropolis and the cold, pure water of Colossae. The point is not that the ‘spiritual temperature’ of the Laodiceans is medium. Though they excelled in the material arts and commerce, spiritually they lacked any utilitarian value. Their works were barren. . .”

 


Interesting!

Private Tour – Laodicea

Laodicea today

“The present-day visitor to Laodicea finds a large area littered with broken marble, tops of stone masonry walls, and here and there public buildings: two theaters, a large stadium, nearby it a water tower, an odeon, and the nymphaeum which was excavated in 1961-1963. In the side of the hill just as one approaches Laodicea one can also see the truncated conduits that were part of the water supply system for the city. Much, much more is obviously right under foot.”

Ancient medicines

“One of the principles of medicine at that time was that compound diseases required compound medicines. One of the compounds used for strengthening the ears was made from the spice nard (spikenard? an aromatic plant). Galen says that it was originally made only In Laodicea. . . Galen also described a medicine for the eyes made of Phrygian stone. Aristotle spoke of it as a Phrygian powder. Ramsay tries to explain what kind of medicine it was by saying it was not an ointment but a cylindrical collyrium that could be powdered and then spread on the part affected. The term used by John in Revelation is the same that Galen uses to describe the preparation of the Phrygian stone.  Would not these medicinal concoctions be a reason why John cautions the Laodiceans to buy ‘ointment for your eyes so that you may see’ (Rev. 3:18)?”

[Bausch and Lomb makes collyrium eyewash for personal use. Collyrium is also used in an emergency to flush foreign bodies and chemicals from the eye.]


Roman province of Lydia circa 50 AD - English legend, Photo - Caliniuc. Sardis was its capitol.

Roman province of Lydia circa 50 AD – English legend, Photo – Caliniuc. Laodicea is in the neighboring province of Phrygia, spelled LAODIKEIA. 


Laodicea temple: Rjdeadly


Hieraoplis. Hot thermal springs have medicinal value. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.