Sermon #1373                                   Miscellaneous Notes


     Title:     THE THRONE, THE BOOK,

                             AND THE LAMB

     Text:      Revelation 5:1-14


     Subject: John’s Vision of Christ


     Tape #  



In Revelation 5, the vision John relates to us conveys one message: Everything God has for men is in the Lamb, provided by the Lamb, revealed through the Lamb, and shall bring praise to the Lamb of God. All that God requires of sinners is in Christ. All that God gives to sinners, he gives through Christ. And all that God receives from sinners, he receives through Christ.


·       In chapter 4, John saw the sovereign majesty of the triune God in creation.


(Rev 4)  "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. (2) And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. (3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (4) 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 they had on their heads crowns of gold. (5) 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. (6) 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. (7) 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. (8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (9) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, (10) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."


·       In chapter 5, he tells us how that he was made to see the sovereign majesty of the triune God in the redemption of sinners by Christ Jesus.


John saw five things described in these 14 verses.


I.       First, he saw THE THRONE OF GOD.


The central object of the vision John relates to us in chapters four and five is the throne of God. His vision was constantly filled with "him that sat on the throne" (v. 1). In these two chapters, he calls our attention to God's throne seventeen times!


·       In chapter 4, John describes the splendorous, incomparable glory of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in his sovereignty.

·       In chapter 5, he describes the Mediator, the Lamb, whom he beheld in the midst of the throne, by whom the triune God makes himself known to men. And that Lamb is himself God, the Son.


A.   As always, the throne of God is a symbol of his sovereignty.


It is a symbol of God's supreme majesty and universal power, authority, and dominion. Let it never be forgotten that our God is God upon a throne. He rules all things in total sovereignty. A god without a throne is a worthless god, for such a god is no God at all! "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Psa. 115:3). "Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Psa. 135:6).


The Lord our God, the one true and living God, is a God of absolute sovereignty. He always does exactly what he wills in creation (Rev. 4:11), in providence (Rom. 8:28; 11:36), and in grace (Rom. 9:11-24). Every believer has learned, and rejoices to know, "that the heavens do rule" (Dan. 4:26).


B.   And we rejoice to know that God's sovereign throne is a throne of grace (Heb. 4:16).


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)


Grace originates at God's throne. Grace is dispensed from God's throne. And grace brings sinners to God's throne. Our God is sovereign; and he is gracious. He is great; and he is good. He is almighty; and he is merciful. "He delighteth in mercy!" God always exercises his sovereign power and dominion to accomplish his everlasting purpose of grace toward his elect.


First, John saw the throne of God, the throne of all sovereignty and grace. Then he saw...




In the right hand of the eternal God, John saw a book, a book written within and without, bound shut, and sealed with seven seals (vv. 1-4).


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.    And I saw a strong angel proclaiming 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.    And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.  (Revelation 5:1-4)


This book is the book of God's eternal decrees. It represents God's eternal plan and purpose of grace, his purpose of predestination, which includes all things. It is to this book that our great Surely referred when he said, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God" (Ps. 40:7-8; Heb. 10:5-10).


William Hendriksen said of this book, "It symbolizes God's purpose with respect to the entire universe throughout history, and concerning all creatures in all ages and unto all eternity."


A.   Our God is a God of purpose, eternal, unalterable purpose (Isa. 46:9-11).


Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me,    Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:    Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.  (Isaiah 46:9-11)


1.    God's purpose of predestination includes all things (Eph. 1:11).


In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  (Ephesians 1:11)


2.    The object of God's eternal purpose of predestination is the salvation of his elect (Rom. 8:28-30).


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.    For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  (Romans 8:28-30)


3.    Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity (Rom. 11:36).


For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.  (Romans 11:36)


4.    And the object of God in all that he does is the effectual accomplishment of the everlasting salvation of his elect.


In election, God chose a people whom he would save. In predestination, he sovereignly ordained all things that come to pass to secure the salvation of his chosen. And in providence, he accomplishes in time what he purposed from eternity.

B.   As John saw it, the book of God was closed, a mystery sealed with seven seals.


These seven seals do not represent an imaginary "seven dispensations" of time. The writing within and on the back and the seven seals simply mean that God's purpose is full, complete, perfect, and unalterable. Nothing can be added to it. Nothing can be taken from it.




The seven seals also tell us that God's purpose of grace is unknown, unrevealed, a secret known only to God, until Christ reveals it. He revealed it at first in the types, shadows, and prophecies of the Old Testament. Then, in these last days, he has revealed it to us more fully in the gospel. And in the last day, when the restitution of all things is made, our Lord will perfectly reveal God's purpose in all things.




The closed book indicated that God's plan was both unrevealed and unexecuted. If the book should remain closed, God's eternal purpose would not be realized. His plan would not be executed.


The thought of God's purpose being shut up, unrevealed, and unfulfilled, caused John great lamentation and grief. And he began to weep. If God's book is opened, if the seals are broken, then the universe is ruled and governed in the interest of God's elect, according to the purpose of his grace. Then God's glorious purpose of redemption would be accomplished. But if it is not opened and fulfilled, then the purpose of God himself would be thwarted. The grace of God would be frustrated. The plan of God would go unfulfilled. God himself would lose his glory. But there is no cause to weep! Look at the next thing John describes.




And 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.    And 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 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 took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.  (Revelation 5:5-7)


“One of the elders," one of those chosen of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and saved by grace, "saith unto me, weep not." Why should he stop weeping? "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."


In other words, Christ has conquered all his enemies and ours (John 12:30-32). By the shedding of his blood, by his death upon the cross, this Lion of Judah, this Root of David, has prevailed. He has removed the sins of his people, satisfied the law, crushed the serpent's head, and conquered death. By virtue of his sacrifice, Christ has earned the right to open the book and to rule the universe in accordance with God's eternal purpose of grace (Rev. 10:1-3). God has given him power over all flesh that he might give eternal life to his elect (John 17:2).


A.   John beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as a conquering Lion, but also as a sin atoning, mediating Lamb.


He saw the Lamb in the midst of the four beasts and the twenty-four elders as a Lamb that had been slaughtered. That means that the virtue and merit of his sacrifice is abiding, perpetual, and efficacious (1 John 1:9; 2:1-2).


This Lamb, symbolically, has "seven horns." Horns are emblems of power. Christ is the horn of salvation. As such, he has plenty of power. He is able to save his people (Heb. 7:25), keep them in his grace (John 10:27-29), and to do for them all that they need.


He also has "seven eyes," abundant, perfect wisdom. These seven eyes represent the gifts, power, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit which are dispensed to God's elect upon the earth by virtue of Christ's death, resurrection, and exaltation as our Substitute (Psa. 68:18-20).


Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].    Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah.    [He that is] our God [is] the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord [belong] the issues from death.  (Psalms 68:18-20)


B.   Then, as John looked on, Christ the Lamb took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne (v. 7).


John Trapp said, "As a Mediator he took it, as God he gave it." Our Savior did not ask for the book. He took it, because it is his right to do so.


This is the significance of what John saw.—The Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator, received authority to rule the universe according to the will of God by virtue of his sin-atoning sacrifice (John 17:2). This is a picture of the coronation of King Jesus (Heb. 2:8-9). As the Father's reward to him for his mediatoral accomplishments at his ascension, Christ received for himself a kingdom (Luke 19:12; Phil. 2:6-11; Psa. 2; 110; Dan. 7:9-14).


God has turned the world over to the rule of the God-man, the Lamb, our Mediator! God governs the universe, according to his own eternal decrees, through the Lamb. This is Christ's reward and every believer's comfort.


And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:    And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth,    And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.  (Revelation 10:1-3)


IV.           HERE IS THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED (vv. 8-12).


And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.    And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;    And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.    And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;    Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.  (Revelation 5:8-12)


As soon as the Lamb took the book in his hands, and accepted the sceptre of universal monarchy, a song of praise broke out in heaven. This song began with the church, the redeemed ones, and was taken up by the heavenly angels. This song is a celebration of Christ's worthiness to rule the universe according to God's purpose (Rev. 10:1-3), and to receive all praise, honor, and glory forever.


A.   The basis of both his worthiness of such honor and the praise given to him by saints and angels is his effectual redemption.


Praise is not given to him simply because he was slain, (Many have been slain!), but because his slaughter was the accomplishment of our redemption.


B.   The death of Christ, as the sin-atoning Lamb, was the accomplishment of a particular and effectual redemption.


The song does not say, "Thou hast redeemed every kindred, tongue, people, and nation." That would mean either that his blood was shed in vain for the multitudes who are lost, or that all the universe is saved. Neither of which is true. This song says, "Thou hast redeemed us OUT OF every kindred, tongue, people, and nation!"


C.   All those redeemed by Christ are saved by him as well (v. 10).


They are made kings and priests unto God, made to reign with Christ their King upon the earth, by the indwelling power and grace of his Spirit.


Having seen the throne of God, the book of God and of the Lamb of God, and after hearing the song of the redeemed, John beheld...




Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.    And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.    And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.  (Revelation 5:12-14)


It is God's ultimate purpose that everything and everyone in his creation bow before and bring honor to his dear Son. And God will see to it that his purpose is accomplished in the end (Psa. 76:10; Isa. 45:20-25; Col. 1:18). He who made all things, sustains all things, and rules all things shall have the eternal praise of all things.


"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past  finding out!...For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:33, 36).


These are the things John saw when he was in the Spirit. He saw that the entire universe is governed by the throne of almighty God, and that God rules the universe through the Mediator Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. Having accomplished the redemption of his people by the sacrifice of himself, our Lord Jesus ascended back into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, exalted above all principality, power, and dominion. God the Father put all things in subjection to Christ, under his feet, and made him to be Head over all things to his church, which is his body, "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22-23). Ultimately, all things will glorify Christ, our God and Savior. God's purpose will be carried out in his creation. The throne of God is secure. The Lamb of God reigns supreme, without rival, by incontestable right. The kingdom of God is safe and secure. The glory of the eternal God is sure. Blessed is that person to whom these things have been revealed!