Revelation 5 opens with a question…
Who has the authority to open the scroll??
Jesus is the only one who can open the scroll. He is the Lion of Judah (Gen 49:9) and the Root of David (Isa. 11:1,10; Jer. 23:5-6). He is slain lamb who was foreshadowed by both the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) and Isaiah’s suffering servant (Isaiah 53). Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, came and stood in the center of the throne and took the scroll from God.
What is the importance of the scroll??
Dr. Paul Gardner gives this answer, “As we shall see later, the content of the scroll concerns God’s whole plan of salvation and judgment for this earth from the cross through to the final culmination of his purposes in the new heavens and the new earth.”
He goes on to say,
“This lamb, with all the marks of his death upon him, is in fact standing and has the great figures of heaven in attendance. The lamb has horns indicating his strength and power, and his eyes are looking everywhere as his Spirit searches out his people, saving them and protecting them.” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg 84).
John’s description of Jesus in the throne room of God is a visual representation of the gospel!! And if John’s descriptions of Jesus weren’t enough to convince you of His divinity, the response of those within the heavenly throne room prove without a doubt, that Jesus is Divine. For as Revelation 4 culminated in the worship of the Father, so does Revelation 5 end with the worship of both the Father and the Son.
This is the backdrop of the appalling judgment to be described in the scrolls. Judgment comes only to those who refuse the sacrifice of the Lamb – who was judged in our stead. Judgment comes to vindicate the suffering church – who suffers for the glory of the Son!
The book of Joel describes a final judgment day, “the day of the Lord,” when Jesus will come to judge the earth (Joel 2:1-11). Joel describes God’s judgment in all its terror and pleads with the people to repent – for God relents when His people repent!!
For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome;
who can endure it?
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster (Joel 2:11-13).
Joel ends his book with the promise that God will use the final judgment upon the earth to avenge the blood of His Son and His people (Joel 3:21). Woe to the one who is not covered by the blood of the Lamb! Although we long for Christ’s return, we take comfort in His delay and pray earnestly for those we love to enter the fold of Christ!