What! – The Unworthy Christ?
In order to fully understand the implications in Revelation 5:1–14, it is important to first recognize John is seeing prophetic events past, present and future. As evident to this assertion, the text, though written after Christ’s ascension, is referring to Jesus before and after His crucifixion. It is essential to distinguish the intended differences, which separate the two distinctions surrounding Jesus the Christ as portrayed within the first seven verses of Revelation 5. The first distinction is seen in verses 1 through 4. Though Jesus is not specifically mentioned by name, the passage is referring to Jesus before His crucifixion. When the text in verse 2 calls for (anyone) “… who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals,” it is not simply calling for Jesus Christ. Jesus was alive and well, ministering in Israel when the angel cried out and no one was found worthy either in heaven or on earth or under the earth (Sheol, the grave) to come and take the little book. Because Jesus had not yet died for the sins of the world, He had not yet fulfilled several necessary edicts required to qualify Him as worthy to open the book or unlock its seals. Verses 5, 6, and 9 confirm these requirements, for only after Christ had been slain for humanity did He become worthy to open the little book.
In the first four verses, though Jesus was the Christ, “the Lamb of God,” He had not yet died for the sins of the world. Jesus had not yet fulfilled the required edicts listed in the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy.(1) Fulfillment of the first four edicts was a requirement for completing the first half of the covenant, a part of the Christ’s ministry and the covenant of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus was not yet the Lamb slain, He was not yet found worthy to open the book or release its seven seals. For this reason, the first embodiment of Christ in Revelation chapter 5 relates to Jesus the Christ, the Lamb of God, who was not yet slain for the sins of the world. The distinction benchmarks the time frame to a period before Christ’s crucifixion. The angelic beckoning was given during the first half of the seventieth week, sometime before Jesus died for the sin of the world. The event established a time stamp for the prophecy’s fulfillment.
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. (Revelation 5:1–4 NKJV)
Revelation 5:5-6 reveal the second embodiment of Christ. In these two verses, Jesus is perceived as “…The Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Root of David.” The phrase, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah” alludes to the Christian priesthood where Jesus is seen as a priest after a new order, the order of Melchisedec. (2) Jesus is the chief priest, forming a new and better covenant based in faith rather than works. In His role as chief priest, Jesus is perceived as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Maker of a new and better covenant. The phrase, the Root of David relates to Jesus as both the root and the branch of David. As David’s Creator,(3) Jesus is the root of David. As David’s descendant, who will sit on the throne of David in accordance with the Davidic covenant,(4) Jesus is the branch.(5) The manifestation of Christ presented in verses 5 and 6 is an embodiment of the new covenant. In these verses, Jesus is the Lamb of God slain for humanity. The imagery in verses 5 and 6 relates to the prophetic fulfillment of the first four edicts taken from Daniel 9:24, which placate the laws of Moses, abolishing or washing away all impartation of sin through His shed blood. In verse 6, Jesus is seen as, “…A Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Holy Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” This is Christ’s evangelical mission statement for the Church Age. The symbolism taken from verses 5, 6, and 9 further presents Jesus as the Messiah and the only one who is now worthy to receive and open the seven seals. Jesus has become the Savior, Christ, and Messiah.
But one of the elders said to me, “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:5–7 NKJV)
It is important to recognize the two distinct embodiments of Christ as they are differentiated within Revelation 5. The first four verses are taking place during the end of Christ’s ministry when Jesus is not yet considered worthy to take the book or open its seals. This is the initial period of the angel’s petition from the heavenly realm. At that time, Jesus is not found worthy to open the book or seals. Once crucified and resurrected, Jesus brings the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week and prophecy to a close. Forty days later, shortly before the day of Pentecost, Jesus ascends into the heavenly realm, ending the first three and a half years of the covenant as found in Daniel 9:27 of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy.(6) We await the second three and a half years…
Next time we will jump into the second incarnation of Christ in “This Side of the Whirlwind: The 70th Week 3.”
I head to the great Mount of God to find my rest,
And He is sweet!
(1) Daniel 9:24–27, “To finish the transgression; to make an end of sins; to make reconciliation for iniquity; to bring in everlasting righteousness.”
(2) Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:5–10.
(3) Colossians 1:13–17, “… By Him were all things created …”
(4) 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the Davidic covenant.
(5) Isaiah 11:1, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
(6) Acts 1:9–11, “… He [Jesus] was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
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